To a lot of people Planned Parenthood means sex education and birth control. Six Rivers Planned Parenthood’s director of public affairs, Tia Baratelle, visited the Garberville Rotary Club last week to inform the audience about all the organization has to offer. Six Rivers Planned Parenthood has been serving Humboldt, Trinity and Del Norte counties since 1975.
Planned Parenthood has 70 affiliates nationwide with eight of those and 100 clinics in California. Six Rivers has around 60 employees including health center staff.
Baratelle said Six Rivers Planned Parenthood envisions a world of wanted children and healthy communities, where all people have the knowledge, freedom, mutual respect and access to make responsible choices about their sexual lives.
Their mission states:
Six Rivers Planned Parenthood will ensure access to reproductive and sexual health care for all;
Six Rivers Planned Parenthood will educate about healthy, responsible sexual behavior and reproductive choice, ensuring that sexuality is understood as a lifelong aspect of being human;
Six Rivers Planned Parenthood will advocate for the passage of laws and policies that guarantee reproductive freedom.
Baratelle said, "Health education is mandated and having Planned Parenthood in the schools is unique."
She said there has been some opposition to their presence in local schools but they have worked through most of those problems. Their education services include providing accurate sexual education for youth and adults and The Spare Change Theatre Troupe performs to raise awareness and involve students and adults in their own health care. Teen pregnancy has been going down in California the past few years. Minors do not need parental consent to go to Planned Parenthood.
Baratelle said, "Abstinence is part of education, but it doesn’t work on its own."
Planned Parenthood offers the following health and information services: abortion, birth control, body image, morning after pill (emergency contraception), general health care, men’s sexual health including vasectomies, pregnancy, relationships, sex and sexuality, sexual orientation and gender counseling, sexually transmitted diseases, and women’s health including help with menopause.
Baratelle said as the public affairs director she advocates for pro-choice ballot initiatives and legislation helping to ensure funding for free health care. She also works with Clergy for Choice who helps those patients in need make important choices about their health and provides spiritual guidance.
Baratelle said it is important to get involved with your health care by making a donation, joining the Heritage Society, or attending fundraising events. Planned Parenthood receives 70% of their funding from clinic fees and reimbursements from federal and state sources, 20% from donations, 11% from grants, and 3% from other sources.
They accept Family PACT, Medi-Cal, insurance and private pay. No one is turned away due to inability to pay. Planned Parenthood for some is the only form of health care and the majority of their patients are low-income individuals. Six Rivers Planned Parenthood had 9,000 patients with 19,000 visits last year.
She said volunteers are greatly needed in all capacities in the organization. Last year alone they had 9,318 volunteer hours saving them over $90,000.
Well-known former Southern Humboldt resident Carol Scher has been with Planned Parenthood for over 20 years. She was awarded the Margaret Sanger "Maggie" award for her volunteer service. Scher’s grandmother worked with Margaret Sanger. Scher said it has been a very rewarding experience for her. Her daughters are also involved in the organization.
Baratelle said, "If you need help, call Carol. She gave one of the most inspiring speeches and was very humble in her acceptance. She even asked if she had to accept the award."
Another Six Rivers Planned Parenthood volunteer was presented with the national Volunteer of the Year Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation.
Baratelle said, "We are a small affiliate in the redwoods who has been recognized nationally, which is quite an accomplishment."
Baratelle said for more information, contact Six Rivers Planned Parenthood Eureka’s Clinic, 3225 Timber Fall Court
Eureka, CA 95503. Call the following numbers for assistance: administration 707-442-2961, education 707-445-2018 or the clinic 707-442-5700. Those interested can also check them out on facebook.
REDWOOD TIMES PHOTO BY SUSAN GARDNER
Six Rivers Planned Parenthood director of public affairs Tia Baratelle was the guest speaker at last week’s Garberville Rotary Club.