In response to the recent shootings of unarmed black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the killing of five police officers in Dallas, Texas, Physicians for Reproductive Health Board Chair Dr. Willie Parker issued the following statement:
“Physicians for Reproductive Health denounces the senseless, hateful violence committed against unarmed people of color and against police officers in recent days. As reproductive health care providers, we are dedicated to helping women and men exercise their right to lives of autonomy, dignity, self-determination, and opportunity – a right that should be afforded to all people. We serve our patients every day with compassion so that they can make their own decisions regarding their health, their families, and their futures. All acts of violence – and especially those committed against vulnerable people and communities of color, and those seeking to serve and protect them – undermine these fundamental human rights.
“Despite the historic Supreme Court decision last month, women across the country still face near-unprecedented barriers to accessing abortion and reproductive care, a challenge that disproportionately impacts communities of color, and is especially true in the South where I work. Many of the families I serve do not have adequate access to basic health care services. They lack economic opportunity, the freedom to escape lives defined by poverty, and the ability to live in their own communities without fear of discrimination and violence. Every day that I provide care, I see firsthand that the fight for reproductive justice and the fight for racial justice are inextricably linked.
“As physicians, our hearts break in response to the recent tragedies – both for the lives lost, and because of the painful reminder of how much work remains to be done to ensure full equality for our black and brown brothers and sisters. But our resolve to move forward is stronger than ever. Together, we must elevate the voices of women and people of color, listen and learn about the work that needs to be done in our most underserved communities, end discrimination and unequal treatment in health care settings, and show through our actions and through our laws that black lives truly matter.”