WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) will present House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi with their highest award on Thursday for her contributions to women’s reproductive rights and health care.

The California Democrat will receive the Margaret Sanger Award from America’s “most trusted provider of reproductive health care” for her work in expanding women’s access to health care during her career as the first woman to serve as speaker of the House.

In a statement issued through Planned Parenthood’s website, the group’s president lauded Pelosi for her role in passing the Affordable Care Act and her ongoing commitment to ensuring “the promise of the law is realized for millions of women as the greatest advancement for women’s health in a generation.”

“On behalf of Planned Parenthood and the millions of patients we serve each year, it gives me great pleasure to announce that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will receive the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Margaret Sanger Award, our highest recognition of leadership, excellence, and outstanding contributions to the reproductive health and rights movement,” Cecile Richards said in a statement.

The Catholic congresswoman has shown continuing support for reproductive health and women’s access to contraception extended through the Affordable Care Act – an attitude with little support among many religious leaders and pro-life conservatives who criticize Planned Parenthood as the country’s leading provider of abortions.

“Four years ago, Congress and President Obama made history for our country and progress for the American people with the enactment of the Affordable Care Act,” Pelosi said in a statement last week. “With this law, we extended the reach of affordable, quality health insurance to millions of Americans, eliminated barriers to coverage for women, students, seniors, and young adults, and ended the worst abuses of the insurance industry.

The Margaret Sanger Award is named for the American birth control activist who is widely regarded as the founder of the modern birth control movement. She founded what later became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in New York City in the 1920s.

Past recipients of the Sanger Award include Martin Luther King Jr., Katharine Hepburn, Justice Harry Blackmun, and Hillary Clinton.

According to the PPFA website, “Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment.”


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