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Sen. Ron Wyden pledges to defend women's reproductive rights at Planned Parenthood press conference in Bend 

click to enlarge Sen. Ron Wyden speaking at Planned Parenthood's Bend Health Center on Saturday, July 28. - KEELY DAMARA
  • Keely Damara
  • Sen. Ron Wyden speaking at Planned Parenthood's Bend Health Center on Saturday, July 28.
On July 28, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) made a stop at Planned Parenthood in Bend for a brief press conference before heading to a town hall meeting at Sisters High School Auditorium.

Voicing his support for women’s health care, Sen. Wyden pledged to defend "Roe vs. Wade" in the wake of President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.

Sen. Wyden pledged to use his position as a ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Medicaid program, to fight for women's reproductive rights.

"We're not going to sit by and idly tolerate this," said Sen. Wyden. "We're going to show that Oregon has zero tolerance for turning back the clock on the health care rights for women in our state."

Planned Parenthood's Bend Health Center sees 7,000 visits annually, serving residents of Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties. Individuals on Medicaid account for 70 percent of the clinic's patients, while 76 percent are women ages 16 to 34.

Regional Health Center Manager Tricia Wilder, who also spoke at the event, stressed the importance of Planned Parenthood's services in small, rural communities with limited access to abortion clinics.

Wilder also said the Bend Health Center plans to launch trans healthcare services in fall of this year, which will include hormone therapy. According to Wilder, providing transgender-inclusive health care services is a natural fit for the Bend Health Center, which already offers a safe environment for individuals to receive nonjudgemental, quality care.

The Bend Health Center will provide transgender health services for those 18 and older, Wilder said, and has partnered with Mosaic Medical who will provide transgender-inclusive health care to teens.

Anne Udall, CEO of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, spoke about the recent qualification of Initiative Petition 1 for the November ballot, a measure that would eliminate public funding of insurance plans that cover abortions.

She says Planned Parenthood has formed a coalition and is ready to fight the ballot measure in November.

"We're strong, we've got a coalition going and we've been ready for it," said Udall.
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