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Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund Endorses Ayanna Pressley and Jack Kelly for Boston City Council At-Large

Pressley and Kelly will champion sexual and reproductive health, comprehensive sexuality education

8/26/2013

BOSTON – Today, the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund (PPAF) endorsed Ayanna Pressley and Jack Kelly in the Boston City Council At-Large race. This is only the second time in its history that PPAF has endorsed in a municipal election. The group will launch an online voter guide for the Boston mayoral and City Council races tomorrow, August 27.

“We are proud to endorse two champions for sexual and reproductive health in the preliminary election for Boston City Council,” said Martha 'Marty' Walz, PPAF President. “Pressley and Kelly clearly distinguished themselves as strong public health advocates committed to full implementation of the new Boston Public Schools wellness policy. We are confident they will use their roles on the City Council to improve access to health care and comprehensive sexuality education.”

At-Large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley has made women’s health a priority throughout her career. As a City Councilor, she formed and serves as the chair of the Committee on Women and Healthy Communities, which has tackled issues such as violence prevention and teen pregnancy. She also played a leadership role in getting a new wellness policy passed by the Boston School Committee this year to bring condoms and comprehensive sexuality education to Boston schools. PPAF endorsed Pressley in her 2011 City Council re-election campaign, in which she ultimately earned more votes than any other candidate.

As a community health worker at Massachusetts General Hospital, Kelly has worked directly on sexual health care issues, including HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention and treatment. With on-the-ground experience in some of Boston’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, Kelly has seen up close the intersections between health, crime, education, and neighborhood vitality and knows that improving the health of our communities requires smart public policy.

“If re-elected, Pressley will continue her important work on the City Council to improve access to comprehensive sexuality education and reduce health care disparities. Kelly will be a strong addition to the City Council and an ally we can count on to make health care a priority. We encourage Boston voters to get out and vote for Ayanna Pressley and Jack Kelly in the September 24th preliminary election,” Walz said.

Access to sexual health care and comprehensive sexuality education are important public health and education issues that require solutions championed by local leaders. Given that parenthood continues to be a leading cause of high school dropout, access to comprehensive sexuality education is especially important for improving educational achievement and reducing the rate at which students drop out of school. This is particularly important in Boston, where the dropout rate (5.2%) is almost twice as high as the statewide dropout rate (2.9%).

Boston also faces disproportionate rates of chlamydia among young people. In 2010, the chlamydia rate among Boston youth ages 15-19 was 4,362 per 100,000. That’s more than triple the already-high statewide rate of 1,310 per 100,000. Additionally, Boston’s chlamydia rate has increased by almost 70% in the last decade – yet barely 50% of BPS high-school students were taught how to use a condom in 2009.

The Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts (PPAF) is the advocacy and political arm of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM). Formed in 1984, PPAF believes that working within the political process is critical to advancing PPLM’s mission to increase access to sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education for women, men, and families across Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.pplmvotes.org.

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