What Planned Parenthood ACTUALLY Does

It's extremely confusing to me to think that there are people in this world who can wholeheartedly despise something without doing their research on it. Many people base their opinions on an what an individual or company says, or “alternative facts” that they may have heard from an unqualified politician. Planned Parenthood (PP) is an organization that has always been scrutinized by the public, especially those who don’t seem to have the slightest idea what really goes on in one of their clinics. As someone who has volunteered for PP, I’ve gone into the clinic with a large group of protesters outside trying to hand me booklets centered around pro-life options. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs on the matter, but what really irked me is when I was greeted by a sign that read, “Welcome to Planned Parenthood: America’s Version of Auschwitz.” Knowing that I’m not encouraged to converse with the protesters, I bottled up my frustration and went right past. This moment made me realize that most people who oppose PP really don't know what they do and what they don’t do. So, for people who have not been educated on PP and for people who are just curious, alike, here is a comprehensive list of services PP offers. 

General Healthcare

Do you have the flu? Or do you need a physical for sports or work? PP provides general health related services for children, men and women, just like a regular doctor’s office. The benefit of receiving care from PP is that many clinics charge according to your income, so their care is affordable, especially if you’re uninsured.

Women’s Healthcare

It’s no secret that PP has always offered care specifically for women. Some of the services that they offer are Pap tests, breast cancer screenings, infertility treatments and tests for UTIs and STDs. All of these are vital for a woman’s health and need to be done on a regular basis to avoid any complications down the road.

Men’s Healthcare

In addition to offering tests and treatments for women, PP also offers services to men. Men are able to receive screenings for colon, prostate and testicular cancers, as well as other issues related to their health, like STD testing, erectile dysfunction treatments and vasectomies. You definitely don’t have to identify as a woman to be taken care of at PP.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Services

PP provides care to people in the LGBTQ+ community and will address all of their reproductive and sexual health questions in a non-judgmental and welcoming manner. They also provide many online resources available to people in this community to help with any other questions they may have.

Birth Control

There are many different types of birth control and a variety of reasons why a woman chooses to use each one (check out this article if you want to learn more about each one). A doctor at PP will sit down with the patient and they’ll discuss what the best option is for the patient based on their current lifestyle and financial means. Contraception is thebomb.com for many reaons, but one of the many reasons is that when used correctly, it’ll almost always prevent pregnancy. This is great for people who are sexually active, but don’t want kids at the moment. In fact, the rate of teenagers between the ages of 15-19 who give birth is historically at the lowest rate it’s ever been, most likely due to the education of contraception methods from providers like PP.

Online Appointments

If you’re a busy college student juggling a full course load, an internship and volunteer hours, it may be difficult to find the time or transportation to go to an actual PP clinic. Instead of skipping a visit, it’s now extremely trouble-free to have a video visit with a PP doctor from the comfort of your own household. The best part is they’ll continue to bring the convenience to you by sending your birth control or a STD testing kit in the mail.

Educational Programs

PP makes education easily accessible to as many people as possible. They have reproductive health trainings for Latinas, American Indians, parents with teenage children and nurse practitioners. They also have mother-daughter or mother-son retreats that promote open-dialogue with one another while offering a fun environment to learn about healthy relationships.

Informed Chit-Chat

If you have a quick question about birth control, pregnancy, STDs or other reproductive health topics, PP makes it easy to confidentially chat with a health educator online. They’re available 7 days a week at convenient times, so it’s simple to have your questions answered discreetly by a professional.

Abortion

PP offers two types of abortion services: in-clinic abortions and the abortion pill. In-clinic abortions use either a suction and/or medical tools to empty the patient’s uterus. The abortion pill is as simple as it sounds: the patient takes two pills, one pill at the clinic and the other at home. The only clinic in Minnesota that offers abortion services is the St. Paul Planned Parenthood location.

The biggest problem that people seem to have with PP is that some of their clinics offer abortion services. But let's keep in mind that abortion services only make up 3% of the total services at PP. Political views aside, according to the Hyde Amendment, federal funds cannot be used for abortion, unless under extenuating circumstances. The few instances where federal funds can be used are in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, or if the pregnancy occurred from rape or incest. Currently, 17 states use their own funds for all or most medically necessary abortions through Medicaid. In Minnesota and twelve other states, a court order is necessary for coverage. While some private insurances cover abortions, many states have strict restrictions of coverage for abortions. With that being said, a study conducted in 2013 found that in their sample, 69% of women who had abortions paid for them out-of-pocket. This means that depending on how far along a woman is in their pregnancy, they could pay around $800 for the abortion pill or $1,500 for an in-clinic abortion in their first trimester. To sum this up, abortions are not paid for using federal funding unless the mother’s life is at risk, or in cases of rape or incest. Women typically have to pay for 100% of the abortion without any help from their insurance. Your tax money doesn’t go towards abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at risk. I’m going to repeat this point again because I don’t think that people understand it: federal funding doesn’t go towards abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at risk

To summarize, PP is an incredible organization and resource that has helped so many women, children and men have access to affordable healthcare. Healthcare is a basic human right and cutting federal funding for organizations like Planned Parenthood would have a devastating impact on the accessibility of healthcare for millions of Americans. Before someone judges simply by the fact that some of their clinics offer abortions, it would be extremely beneficial for them to step foot in one of their locations to see the positive impact it has on nearly five million people a year.