Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Introduction

This organization astounds me. It has been surrounding by so much controversy and false beliefs.

When I was in Philadelphia this summer for an internship, I stopped outside of a Planned Parenthood and watched protesters who held up signs with fetuses on them and told people “you are part of the next Holocaust”.  Mass genocide of a people does not compare to abortions, though I can see their point. Going inside the facility, I realized, how little the protesters knew. Planned Parenthood is associated with abortion, but that is not what they are all about. They are about sex education, std tests, and more.Here, I plan to educate people about what planned parenthood is all about.

Here is their website!!! http://www.plannedparenthood.org/

Planned Parenthood covers:

  1. politics
  2. health issues
  3. education

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood is the collective name of organizations worldwide who are members of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is the U.S. affiliate of IPPF and one of its larger members. PPFA provides reproductive health and maternal and child health services. Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. (PPAF) is a related organization that lobbies the U.S. political system for pro-choice legislation, comprehensive sex education, and access to affordable health care.[3]

The organization has its roots in Brooklyn, New York where Margaret Sanger opened the country’s first birth control clinic. Sanger incorporated the American Birth Control League in 1923, which changed its name to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. in 1942. Since then, it has grown to about 880 clinic locations in the United States, with a total budget of approximately US$1 billion, and provides an array of services to over three million people.

Dealing with sexuality, the organization is often the centre of controversy in the United States. The organization’s status as the country’s leading provider of surgical abortions has put it in the forefront of national debate over the issue. Planned Parenthood has also been a party in numerous Supreme Court cases.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_parenthood)

Facilities and funding

PPFA is a federation of 99 independent Planned Parenthood affiliates around the United States. These affiliates together operate more than 880 locations, offering a variety of services to more than three million people. Services include abortion services, contraceptive (birth control) services; emergency contraception; screening for breast, cervical and testicular cancers; pregnancy testing and pregnancy options counseling; testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases; sexuality education, menopause treatments; vasectomies and tubal ligations, and more. Not all services are available at all locations.

Planned Parenthood describes itself as “the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider.” In 2006, Planned Parenthood provided 289,750 surgical and medical abortions, about 3% of its total services. They referred 2,410 adoption cases that same year.[2]

Planned Parenthood receives almost a third of its money in government grants and contracts ($336.7 million in FY 2007). In the 2006–07 Annual Report, clinic income totaled $356.9 million and miscellaneous operating revenues $65.5 million. Planned Parenthood is also heavily sponsored by private individuals, with over 900,000 active individual contributors.[2] Large donors such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Foundations, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contribute a substantial part of the organization’s budget.[4]

Some pro-life organizations that disagree with Planned Parenthood’s mission and services have set up campaigns and petitions to stop Planned Parenthood from receiving government funding.[5] They have often also asked for boycotts of private donors to Planned Parenthood, though there has been no notable success in this regard.

History and organization

Planned Parenthood headquarters on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Planned Parenthood headquarters on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Planned Parenthood traces its origins to 1916 when Margaret Sanger opened the first American birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. The organization began as the American Birth Control League and was incorporated in 1923. The League was influential in liberalizing laws against birth control throughout the 1920s and 1930s before changing its name to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. in 1942.

Faye Wattleton was president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1978 to 1992, the longest term in the organization’s history since Sanger. During her term in office, the organization considerably expanded its services and became publicly visible in working for women’s reproductive rights.

On February 15, 2006, Cecile Richards became president of the organization.[6]

Stand on political and legal issues

Planned Parenthood and its predecessor organizations have provided and advocated for access to birth control. The modern organization of Planned Parenthood America is also an advocate for reproductive rights, including the right to abortion. This advocacy includes contributing to sponsorship of abortion rights and women’s rights events[7] and assisting in the testing of new contraceptives.[8] The group opposes restrictions on abortion, including:

  • laws requiring parental consent or notification for girls under the age of 18 (or 17 in some states) to have an abortion
  • laws requiring an ultrasound before abortion (many Planned Parenthood clinics perform, but do not require, ultrasounds)
  • laws requiring a waiting period (ranging from a couple of hours to a day or more)

Planned Parenthood argues for the wide availability of emergency contraception (EC) measures,[9] and opposes refusal clauses (also called conscience clauses) which would allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense contraceptives if doing so would conflict with their personal beliefs.[10] Planned Parenthood has also been critical of hospitals that they claim obstruct access to EC for rape victims.[11] Planned Parenthood supports and provides FDA-approved abortifacients such as mifepristone.

Planned Parenthood also opposes abstinence-only education in public schools. Instead, Planned Parenthood favors (and offers) comprehensive sex education, which includes discussion of both abstinence and birth control.

Controversy and criticism

Planned Parenthood has been accused by pro-life organizations of agreeing not to report cases of statutory rape to the authorities; for example, a pro-life activist, posing as a 13-year-old impregnated by her 22-year-old boyfriend, called over 800 clinics requesting an abortion. According to the recorded audio and transcripts, over 90% of the clinics agreed to her request not to report the boyfriend to the police for statutory rape.[12]

Planned Parenthood has received criticism for withholding court-subpoenaed medical records of patients in these and other cases, but defends its actions on the grounds of medical privacy. Cases in Indiana and Kansas remain unresolved.[13][14] In October 2005, Planned Parenthood Minnesota/North Dakota/South Dakota was fined $50,000 for violation of a Minnesota state parental notification law.[15]

In 2007 Planned Parenthood in various states was subjected to a series of phone calls by students on the staff of a University of California, Los Angeles student-run magazine, The Advocate, run by a student pro-life organization. The calls included one in July 2007 to Planned Parenthood of Idaho offering a donation if it could be earmarked for abortions for black women because, “the less black kids out there the better.” Answering the phone call, the organization’s vice president of development and marketing said, “Understandable, understandable” and continued, “Excuse my hesitation, this is the first time I’ve had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I’m excited and want to make sure I don’t leave anything out.” Planned Parenthood of Idaho’s CEO later issued a statement saying that the officer “violated the organization’s principles and practices” and was suspended.[16] The editor of The Advocate stated that Planned Parenthood of Idaho and the six other states were selected, in part, for having laws that allow single party approval of taped telephone conversations.[17][18]

Planned Parenthood and the U.S. Supreme Court

Planned Parenthood regional chapters have been active in the American courts. A number of cases in which Planned Parenthood has been a party have reached the Supreme Court of the United States.

Notable among these cases is the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, where Planned Parenthood is the Southeast Pennsylvania Chapter, and Casey is the late Robert Casey, who was a pro-life Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania.

The ultimate ruling was a split plurality, in which Roe v. Wade was upheld in an opinion written by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Sandra Day O’Connor, and David Souter, all of whom were Republican appointees to the Supreme Court, with Justices Harry Blackmun and John Paul Stevens (also Republican appointees) concurring with the main decision in separately written opinions. The Supreme Court also struck down spousal consent requirements for married women to obtain abortions.

Dissenting were Justices William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Byron White, all of whom were Republican appointees except for Justice White. Justices Blackmun, Rehnquist, and White were the only justices who voted on the original Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 who were still on the High Court to rule on this case, and their votes on this case were consistent with their votes on the original decision that legalized abortion[19].

Other notable cases

  • July 1976: Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth. This was a constitutionality challenge by Planned Parenthood to a Missouri law encompassing parental consent, spousal consent, clinic bookkeeping and allowed abortion methods. Portions of the challenged law were held to be constitutional, others not. Syllabus, Opinion, one Concurrence, and two Concurrence & Dissent statements
  • 1983: Planned Parenthood Association of Kansas City v. Ashcroft. This was a constitutionality challenge by Planned Parenthood to a Missouri law encompassing parental consent, clinic record keeping, and hospitalization requirements. Most of the challenged law was held to be constitutional. PMID 12041276.
  • 2001: Planned Parenthood v. ACLA. The American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA) released a flier and “Wanted” posters with complete personal information about doctors who performed abortions. Through the release of the information, the ACLA promoted controversy and called people to action. A civil jury and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals both found that the material was indeed “true threats” and not protected speech.
  • January 2006: Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. docket link This relates to a constitutionality challenge by Planned Parenthood et al. of a 2003 New Hampshire parental notification law related to access to abortion. Questions before the Court Opinion of the US First Circuit Court of Appeals leading to the Questions before the Court In Sandra Day O’Connor’s final decision before retirement, the Supreme Court sent the case back to lower courts with instructions to seek a remedy short of wholesale invalidation of the statute.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_parenthood)

Conclusion

Planned Parenthood, as an organization, has been a target of many groups and has been providing for a countless number of individual in need of medical service. They are a brave organization and deserve to be recognized for all their efforts to provide a choice to individuals about their health care and lives.

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1 Comment

Filed under Education, Health, history, Sexuality

One response to “Planned Parenthood Federation of America

  1. sexpertise

    Thank you for this post. Planned Parenthood does, indeed, provide an array of essential health and education services.

    http://sexpertise.wordpress.com

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