The Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center’s local funding recently came under attack. This is my response.
If you are thankful for reproductive health services and providers, take a minute to write to the legislators – local and federal – who have your back and thank them for their continued support. Make sure they hear our voices too and not just the voices of those who wish to take away our access to affordable, medically accurate information and services.
Dear Boulder County Commissioners,
I want to thank you for your continued support of Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center and their Longmont Teen Clinic.
The funding provided to them in Boulder County’s annual budget is crucial to their mission and critical to their ability to provide services not just to women, but also men, and to teens.
I want to speak specifically to the importance of providing confidential, safe and affordable services to this last group, teens.
This is one of our most vulnerable populations, and one of the most underserved. It is on their behalf that I thank you for the stance you have taken to continue funding BVWHC and the Longmont Teen Clinic.
While I understand the concerns of some of the speakers at the last meeting who were upset that BVWHC and the Teen Clinic provide health services to teens without parental notification and consent, the truth is that many teens who need these services do not have the understanding or support of their parents in seeking those services. As a result, requiring parental notification could result in a spike in teen pregnancies and STDS.
As you pointed out at the meeting, the risks of not providing services to teens far outweighs the risks of denying them services or requiring consent from unsupportive parents.
In addition, even teens with supportive parents who provide them with the information that they need to make healthy decisions still sometimes need to talk to someone who is not a parent, who will not judge them for their choices or mistakes and who can help them to move into the future as healthy and responsible adults.
As you so rightly pointed out, the clinic is in compliance with all state and federal notification and funding laws, and state funds are not being used for abortions, nor are teens being provided with abortion services outside of Colorado law.
It is critical that we maintain affordable and complete access to reproductive health services for teens as well as providing them with medically accurate comprehensive sex and reproductive information.
Banning sex education and access to health services does not stop sexual behavior, it only makes those behaviors more risky. Likewise, providing access to comprehensive reproductive information and health services does not increase sexual activity, it tends to decrease it and to make that behavior less risky when it does occur.
Thank you again for your continued support of this critical local health provider. I hope that they continue to be available when my own children need them.