Planned parenthood celebrates 100 years

Reproductive healthcare continues to serve million of men and women

Planned Parenthood celebrated 100 years of providing life-saving healthcare for women on Oct.16, including access to birth control, treatment for urinary  tract infections, testing  for sexually transmitted diseases, screenings for breast and cervical cancer and educational programs.

According to a CNN article, “At 100, Planned Parenthood at center of abortion debate,” Planned Parenthood was first opened on Oct. 16, 1916, by American contraception activist and nurse Margaret Sanger in Brooklyn, New York. Since then it has grown to serve millions of men, women and children across the country, and has become a leader in reproductive healthcare. Planned Parenthood also provides critical sex education and information.

Reproductive health and rights have changed drastically since Planned Parenthood was created. Roe v. Wade was passed, the birth control pill was invented, along with many other types of birth control and the rate of death for women during childbirth has dropped dramatically. At the same time, many conservative politicians and activists have lobbied for these rights to be taken away, most notably the right to have an abortion. All the while, Planned Parenthood has been providing life saving information and resources to men, women and children.

Planned Parenthood has suffered from a lot of controversy and misinformation over its 100 years. The people who work in clinics and those who are using the clinic’s services have been attacked or even killed by radical pro-life activists, and are frequently harassed when walking in or out of a clinic. Major politicians have threatened to cut off all federal funding to Planned Parenthood should they become president, and have done so on a state level as a Governor—John Kasich, for example. According to CNN, Donald Trump made this same vow while campaigning for president.

One of the largest misconceptions about Planned Parenthood is that their sole purpose is to provide abortions and “kill babies.” According to their website, “three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.” That means the other 97 percent of their services are not related to abortions, and yet this is something that is often the focus—or rather the target—of deeply conservative right-wing activists. This one completely legal service has caused people to condemn Planned Parenthood altogether and take violent, destructive action, all while Planned Parenthood is trying to save people’s lives and provide healthcare to those who need it.

I am an adamant pro-choice activist. I have marched for reproductive rights while abroad in Berlin, and I am very proud of the women in Poland right now for marching through the streets and protesting for their reproductive rights. This is an issue near and dear to my heart, and one that I will continue fighting for, standing for and writing about for as long as I can. Everyone should have access to health care, reproductive and otherwise. Every woman should have the right to have an abortion if she chooses. Everyone should have access to birth control and comprehensive sex education. These are basic human rights.

The value of these low-cost or free health clinics cannot be overstated. Healthcare in this country is unfortunately out of reach for many people financially, so having a service like Planned Parenthood that provides critical services and information changes the lives of those who might not have access to other healthcare. Planned Parenthood serves everyone, regardless of income or economic status.

I stand with Planned Parenthood, and I will always stand with Planned Parenthood.