By Crystal Earl, Nasheetah Hossain
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health care in the United States and globally. While Planned Parenthood does research into and gives advice on contraception, family planning, and reproductive problems, it is often believed that the organization focuses primarily on abortion.
This false belief results in misconceptions about the services that Planned Parenthood provides to people throughout the nation and the world; Planned Parenthood is the leading source of reproductive health information, education, and advocacy. It has participated in more than 75 research studies and published 28 articles in peer-reviewed journals. It also provides services specifically for the transgender community, as well as assistance regarding mental health, cancer, diabetes, and substance abuse.
While the origin of this abortion-centered idea of Planned Parenthood is unknown, leaders of and advocates for the organization make its purpose clear. The mission of Planned Parenthood is to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services that protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual. Planned Parenthood provides educational programs which enhance understanding of individual and societal implications of human sexuality and promote research and the advancement of technology in reproductive health care.
In simpler words, Planned Parenthood is looking to create the healthiest generation possible, both in the United States and around the globe. They offer several other essential healthcare services, including STD and HIV testing and treatment, birth control, screening for reproductive cancers, Pap tests and Well-Woman exams, vaccines, PrEP and PEP (medicine to help prevent HIV), pregnancy services, transgender health services, vasectomy, and sterilization services. The organization also offers free condoms and dental dams.
The list of services that Planned Parenthood provides is endless. Abortion is available in 357 health centers, while transgender patients can access hormone therapy in 21 states. According to a 2017 Planned Parenthood report, 48.7% of its services are STI testing and treatment, 27.1% for contraception, 13.4% for other women’s health services, and 6.3% for cancer screenings/prevention. Only 3.4% of services in 2017 dealt with abortions.
Planned Parenthood is also the nation’s largest provider of sex education. Whether online, in schools, or in the community, its sex educators are dedicated to providing non-judgmental, medically accurate information for adults, teens, and parents. Planned Parenthood has a number of digital tools to help people stay healthy and informed. For example, the organization has developed Spot On, a period and birth control tracker, Chat/Text, a free hotline staffed by sex educators, and Planned Parenthood Direct, through which health care services can be accessed.
The goal of Planned Parenthood is to help many women, men, and teenagers in their struggles, and put a stop to the stress and fear that comes with pregnancy, sexuality, and reproductive health in general. Planned Parenthood also acts as an advocate for those who struggle with gender dysphoria. All rumors aside, Planned Parenthood only wants to provide people with the care they need, and to make the world a healthier and better place.