As a practicing OBGYN and board member of Planned Parenthood, Los Angeles for 7 years, I have witnessed the level of integrity and commitment these hard working and dedicated staff and volunteers give to this wonderful organization each and every day.
In honor of September 29, 2015 #PinkOut Day, and the repeated (and failed!) attempts by Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, I felt compelled to continue the conversation I have been having with many friends and family who are confused, upset, and damn right angry at what is being seen and heard about the recent developments.
First, let me share with you the facts of what exactly Planned Parenthood health centers throughout the United States do for over 2.7 million women…and men!
- Planned Parenthood is the leading provider of reproductive healthcare and education. 1 in 5 women has been a Planned Parenthood patient in her lifetime.
- Over 93% of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are preventive – including life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing and treatment
- Planned Parenthood provides medically-accurate sex education and programs for parents to help improve communication with their teens.
- Planned Parenthood does routine vasectomies for men and offers breast exams for women.
- Planned Parenthood does not turn anyone away for lack of insurance or inability to pay.
- Planned Parenthood stands at the forefront in advocating for reproductive rights and access to care.
- In Los Angeles County alone, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles operates 20 health centers throughout providing care for over 150,000 women, men and teens a year.
Here in Los Angeles, over 90% of Planned Parenthood’s patients rely on some federal funding for their care. This is because the vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s patients are low income (living at or below the Federal Poverty Line), and access healthcare via the Medicaid program — which is a combination of state and federal dollars.
The federal government also funds a program called Title X, which provides family planning and related preventative health services to low income and uninsured families. No money coming from the federal government pays for abortion services — in fact, in Los Angeles, Title X funds go directly towards education and outreach programs. As Senator Elizabeth Warren said, “not one dime for the past 40 years comes from the federal government which prohibits funding abortions unless it’s for incest, rape or life endangerment.”
It is well known that anti-abortion organizations have made it their mission to create misleading information and other shocking propaganda aimed at compromising Planned Parenthood, both financially and through the conscious of society. Let me remind you again that the federal government does not fund abortion — at Planned Parenthood or anywhere else. Defunding Planned Parenthood takes away reproductive and sexual healthcare for women and men who may not have any other options for medical services. If healthcare services and access to affordable contraception is not available, it is logical that there will be an increase in unplanned pregnancies and studies show 50% of these pregnancies end in abortion.
Planned Parenthood’s mission is “to provide convenient, affordable access to a comprehensive range of quality reproductive healthcare and sexual health information, through patient services, education and advocacy.”
What I have realized over the past 7 years working closely with Planned Parenthood is this organization is not eager to spend resources engaging in a politicized “pro-choice” debate, but is instead staunchly “pro-women” (and men!) and committed to doing what they do best — providing quality, compassionate healthcare to those most in need.