Care without judgment. The belief that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect is a cornerstone of the OC Women’s March and is something severely lacking in the current vitriolic, hostile political environment. An environment in which open disdain for women, those with low income, immigrants, and minorities has become mainstream. At Planned Parenthood, these are the very populations we proudly serve.

We daily witness waves of policies designed to undercut the very people we serve, including drastic cuts to public assistance programs and elimination of Title X family planning funding for Planned Parenthood.

At the nine health centers of Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties (PPOSBC), more than 100,000 patients stream through the doors annually, seeking all types of services from primary care and cancer screening to birth control, pregnancy options counseling, and STI testing.

And our commitment to our patients is that they should have a first class experience the moment they walk through our doors, regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status. Our newly renovated health centers are open seven days a week, patients wait no more than 15 minutes to see a provider, and staff are trained in providing non-judgmental and compassionate care. This is how we demonstrate our commitment to treating our patients with dignity and respect.

In this environment, treating those who are otherwise derided or ignored with respect has become an act of political warfare; from the WIC participant who can now use an ATM card for subsidized foods, to the patient seeking a safe space to make decisions about her reproductive health. The current hateful political environment only strengthens our resolve.

The OC Women’s March is a sea of varied people coming together in our collective belief that everyone – no matter gender, age, race, income, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation, or abilities – deserve to be treated with dignity. It is a day to show the world that decency and respect for all types of people will persist.

Betha Schnelle, COO, Planned Parenthood Orange and San Bernardino Counties

Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at

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