In celebration and defense of progress for women's health

I was delighted to read that Planned Parenthood selected Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen as next President. Dr. Wen, an ER doctor, a fierce advocate and outspoken leader in Public Health, is the right person to take on the fight to protect women’s access to reproductive health care in times, in which women’s rights are increasingly under attack, women’s health issues are neglected, and efforts are under way to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Aside from the moral imperative that women should be free to make decisions about their own bodies, there is also vast scientific evidence showing that access to preventive and reproductive healthcare leads to better physical and mental health outcomes. Furthermore, empirical studies have demonstrated that it can interrupt vicious cycles of disadvantage, experienced in particular by young women and women from marginalized communities.

Elected officials should therefore strongly oppose any bill that tries to criminalize abortion as well as the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a move that threatens to reverse decades of progress for women’s rights, and instead act in accordance with scientific findings and support health care equity and reproductive justice.