5 Reasons Why There Should Be A Planned Parenthood In State College

For Penn State students and residents of central Pennsylvania, the closest Planned Parenthood location is approximately 60 miles away in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This clinic is around an hour and a half drive or a two hour bus ride. Either way, that is too far for many college students who are without easy access to transportation. While there is an ongoing political debate about both the funding of Planned Parenthood and the reproductive rights of women, the simple fact is Planned Parenthood offers affordable healthcare services that many college students may need to seek out during their years of education. Whether that idea falls within your own beliefs or not, it is the truth. The reality is, there is not a Planned Parenthood within a close proximity to State College and by not having an accessible location, the sexual and reproductive health of students is being compromised. 


1. Planned Parenthood Offers More Services Than We Think 

So many people think that Planned Parenthood is only about abortions, but the truth is that is only a small percentage of what they actually do, really only about 3% of the services the organization offers. Most of what they do is centered around tests and screenings in regard to sexually transmitted infections and providing contraception to women and men who may seek out those services. Just to name a few, they also offer resources for individuals who are in need of cancer screenings, adoption referrals, and prenatal care. 


2. An Out Of Reach Location 

As stated earlier, for those residing in the State College area, the closest Planned Parenthood is in Harrisburg, Pa. This is farther than a lot of people are willing or able to travel to receive services that they may need, and not would otherwise get if they were not willing to make the trip. It is not a given that students have a vehicle or other means of transportation to easily get themselves to this clinic, and because there is not one in within convenient location to State College students, their health and safety may be jeopardized. There are 28 Planned Parenthood locations in the state of Pennsylvania, and the fact of the matter is, none of them are in a location that is easily accessible to Penn State students.   

3. Pennsylvania Law Makes Things Complicated

For those who are seeking abortion services, Pennsylvania law can be a little confusing. It is important to have an understanding of the Pennsylvania Abortion Act that has been in effect since April 1, 2017. For a woman to receive an abortion in the state of Pennslyvania, she must recieve state-mandated counseling twenty-four hours prior to the procedure, this counseling is  formulated to discourage the woman from going through with the abortion process. While in certain occasions this counseling can be done over the phone, but in the case of the Harrisburg location it cannot be done over the phone unless you live within close proximity to that clinic. For those who do not live within a close distance to facilities that offer these services, it adds even more difficulty and requires a second trip to the clinic. Abortion services in Pennsylvania will also not be covered by public funding, or by many insurance providers unless it is being done in response to life endangerment, rape, or incest. Without coverage, these procedures can cost anywhere from $350 to over $1,000. These services are available to all women in Pennsylvania, but due to the laws that are in place, for many it is difficult and often expensive to exercise their right to choose. 


4. College Students Deserve Accessible Healthcare Services 

College students are always figuring out how to do things on their own. For many, it is the first time being away from home and making appointments and being responsible for their own healthcare can be a bit daunting. While doing all of this, it is incredibly important that college students are making sure that their sexual health is in check. Planned Parenthood can make that easy and stress free. Some services that Planned Parenthood offer to anyone; include contraception (that is often free) and STI, HIV, and HPV testing as well as treatments and preventative measures against those infections and viruses. 


5. Sex Education 

In the state of Pennsylvania, sex education is not mandated. Actually, sex education is only mandatory in 24 states, and only in 9 of those is a discussion of consent required. In only 18 states it is required that educators discuss birth control, and only 9 states require a conversation about LGBTQ+ identities and relationships. There are even 7 southern states that prohibit educators from discussing LGBTQ+ identities or relationships, though some require educators to discuss said topics negatively. The fact is, young adults come out of their K-12 education experiencing all different types of sex ed, and organizations like Planned Parenthood can offer anyone information that goes beyond their middle school or high school health class. Coming to college, everyone should have this kind of information available to them, and should have a basic understanding of topics like contraception and consent. 


While not everyone loves Planned Parenthood and some of the services that they provide, the truth is it’s an organization that could really help someone out. Not having a location that is easily accessible to Penn State students is inconvenient and could be detrimental to their health. 


Links for resources and additional resources are listed below: 


2018-2019 Annual Report (Includes a List of all services offered by Planned Parenthood)

List of Planned Parenthood Locations in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Abortion Laws

Sex Education Information