You have, undoubtedly, heard of Planned Parenthood for one reason or another. But who are they, really?
Planned Parenthood has been supporting women by providing them with information to assist them in leading strong, healthy lives since 1916. They are a trusted provider of reproductive health care, and they are dedicated to offering high-quality, affordable medical care (Planned Parenthood, “Who We Are”, n.d.).
They have more than 600 health centers that provide a wide range of care. A majority of what PP does it preventive care, including providing contraception to prevent unintended pregnancies, offering testing and treatment to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections, and screening patients for cervical and other cancers.
Who Does Planned Parenthood Help?
Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide, and one in five American women has chosen PP for health care at least once in her life (Planned Parenthood, “Who We Are”, n.d.).
PP provides information for teens on bullying, Puberty, Sex, Preventing STDs, relationships, and so much more. They even have a section discussing going to the doctor, when women should start seeing a gynecologist, what you should talk about with your doctor, and what to expect.
PP provides support for parents who need assistance in talking to their children about health and relationships. Not only do they have different topics to help (e.g. identity, pregnancy), they also have information on how to talk to children/adolescents of different ages (ages 0 -19).
Those teaching sex education need reliable, evidence-based information to relay to their students. You can even find a Planned Parenthood Education Program in your area (Planned Parenthood, Sex Education, n.d.) and use their digital games and videos to help form lessons.
What Services Does Planned Parenthood Provide?
Before I list the many services this provider offers, you should know that a large service they have readily available is information. They want you to have as much information as possible regarding relationships, sex, and any services you are requesting. I am also going to provide links with each of the services I describe, in case anyone has questions or would like to learn more. In addition, I would like to mention that not all services are provided at every location.
Planned Parenthood lists different forms of birth control, and provides information about each, including it’s efficacy, benefits, and disadvantages. They continue to explain insurance plans to cover PP services, as well as programs to help cover the cost of birth control (Planned Parenthood, All About Birth Control Methods, n.d.).
They provide information regarding emergency contraception and the different forms available. You can make an appointment if you feel you need to discuss these options with a medical professional and obtain a prescription (Planned Parenthood, What Kind of Emergency Contraception Should I Use?, n.d.).
Not only does PP reinforce the information regularly circulated about how STDs are passed, but they also describe the symptoms and treatments for each known infection. They make sure patients are aware that testing is quick, easy, and “no big deal”, as the sooner you get tested, the sooner you can get treated, if needed. You can easily use their tools to find a location near you to make an appointment to get tested. (Planned Parenthood, STDs, n.d.).
Planned Parenthood offers many services to help those who are considering pregnancy or are already pregnant. You can learn more about taking care of your health before becoming pregnant, where to find pregnancy tests, and prenatal care. There is even a way to talk to an expert, online or via text, who can answer your questions about pregnancy. They also provide information about infertility, fertility treatments, and information on fertility specialists in your area (Planned Parenthood, Pregnancy, n.d.).
PP clinics can help answer your questions about abortion, a safe and legal way to end a pregnancy. They give facts about both the in-clinic abortion and the abortion pill, as well as parental consent questions. Most importantly, they want you to know that you can come to them without judgment to get the help you need (Planned Parenthood, Abortion, n.d.).
Sexual Orientation and Gender
Have questions about the differences between sex, gender, and gender identity? Planned Parenthood may be able to help you understand those definitions. They also want you to know that “there’s more to gender than just male and female”, so they want you to have information about trans and gender non-conforming identities. They provide support to people who are considering coming out and families who want to know how to make sure their children feel safe and supported (Planned Parenthood, Sexual Orientation and Gender, n.d.).
Sex and Relationships
Although this webpage is for everyone, it is obviously geared more toward adolescents. You can learn more about healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, ending relationships, what it means to have a healthy sex life, and even masturbation (Planned Parenthood, Sex and Relationships, n.d.).
As we’ve been told 500,000 times… GET REGULAR CHECKUPS AND CANCER SCREENINGS. Luckily, PP can help with that. You can get screenings, Pap smears, and HPV tests. I’m just going to leave the link, because there is a LOT of information (Planned Parenthood, Cancer, n.d.).
It might surprise many people that Planned Parenthood provides a lot of information and support, and is always ready for questions from people of any gender and age. Additionally, they do much more than just perform abortions, which I know comes as a huge shock. They run tests and help people with their overall and reproductive health. Yes, they do perform abortions, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to help women who make their own decision to end their pregnancy. Federal tax dollars do not pay for abortions (take a gander at the Hyde Amendment), so stop acting like your money is going to it and you get some kind of say in what another woman chooses to do with her body.
I know that many people have an issue with the birth control pill, because, well, actually I really don’t get it, but everyone should know that it has many uses. Obviously, it helps women who are not ready to become mothers, prevent pregnancy. Some women have trouble with their periods not coming on a regular cycle, and birth control can help regulate that. I have met women who have used it to help with acne and even painful cramps during menstruation. AND the pill can even help reduce a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer. If you go to your gynecologist for your regular exam (which you should be doing!), your doctor gives all of this information and can even discuss what options are right for you. Trust me, your doctor knows much more about birth control than Fox News.
I stand with Planned Parenthood, and here are some helpful links if you would like to get involved and/or donate.
Feel free to comment your opinions, and share this post with your friends. Let me know your stories and why you stand with Planned Parenthood.