Planned Parenthood is officially known as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and it is the one of the largest members of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. It is a pro-choice organization that is the largest producer of reproductive health care services which include contraception, abortion, and HIV and cancer screenings. It strives to provide affordable health care to those of lower income, especially in urban cities. Planned Parenthood originated with Margaret Sanger.
Goals of the Organization:
Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization that provides important reproductive healthcare and information about sex to millions of women, men and young people around the world. It respects all informed choices that women make including: family planning, health, and sex. They provided these services so that women could choose whether or when they want to have children.
- Birth Control
- Body Image
- General Health Care
- Men’s Sexual Health
- Morning-After Pill (Emergency Contraception)
- Sex & Sexuality
- Sexual Orientation & Gender
- Women’s Health
1921 Birth control used to have multiple meanings. It would imply: healthy space between the mother and child, dignity of womanhood, ability to take control capacity of having births of children, independence and freeness of women. Margaret Sanger saw that women desired this and took action and opened the first birth control clinic in New York and she was later arrested for this. One year later, the National Birth Control League was founded. (Roberts, 1985)
In 1961, a president opened up a birth control clinic that provided women the use of contraceptives and this challenged the state’s ban on birth control. In 1965 this went to the Supreme Court and ultimately removed the barrier that state law forbids the use the contraceptives by married couples. By 1966 10 states liberalized family planning legislation and liberalizes the abortion law.
After Faye Wattleton’s presidency, PPFA grew to become the nation’s seventh largest charity that provided educational and medical services to millions of Americans each year. They added Family Planning International Assistance that assisted dozens of developing nations as well.
Significance to Women of Color:
Every race has a unique background and specific family planning needs. Planned parenthood works to make sure that women of all color, including black and latino minority groups, receive the care that they need. Planned Parenthood clinics are strategically located in areas where there are the highest need for reproductive health care. A study was done in an urban area in the southwest, which studied four planned parenthood clinics located in different communities around the area, found that nearly ⅓ of all women in the population went to planned parenthood for some sort of reproductive health need (Cummings, 1983). Between 2000 and 2008, the number of women in need of family planning services who were Hispanic increased by 27% and the number who were blacked increased by 11.5%, while the number who were white decreased by less than 1% (Singh & Darroch, 2012). ¾ of uninsured, poor, African American, Latina, or immigrants consider the health care they receive from a family planning service to be their main source of medical care. The rise in health care needs has given Planned Parenthood the ability to grow as a leading healthcare provider for minorities and low income families.
In 1978 Faye Wattleton was the first female African American to become president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). Before becoming president she earned a bachelors degree in Nursing and gained knowledge on the many reproductive injustices at the hospitals she worked at. One issue that she witnessed was women performing illegal abortions, sometimes on themselves. She used her experiences to fight and protect women’s rights to make their own choices about their bodies and to choose when to have a child. She believed that everyone should be educated about women’s reproductive rights and have access to birth control (McGuire, 2015). As the president of PPFA she spoke about abortion and contraception when it was still illegal in the United States and pushed for it to be legalized. In a response to criticism on planned parenthood, Faye reported that, “The future and strength of all races is for women to be able to have kids when they want them and to love and provide them with the tools they’ll need to get through a hostile world” (McGuire, 2015). She brought fundraising and publicity to the organization and under her reign Planned Parenthood Federation of American became one of the largest charitable organizations for reproductive health (Marshall, 2002). Together Faye Wattleton and PPFA were able to secure funding for birth control and prenatal programs. She was named one of the best managers of nonprofit organizations by Business Week and in 2000 was selected to be one of the five outstanding Americans to project the forces that will shape life.
Cummings, Michele, and Scott Cummings. “Family Planning Among The Urban Poor: Sexual Politics And Social Policy.” Family Relations 32.1 (1983): 47-58. Chicano Database. Web. 1 May 2015.
Marshall, Lauren. “Women’s Rights Advocate Faye Wattleton Elected Newest Columbia Trustee.” Columbia News. N.p., 04 Apr. 2002. Web. 01 May 2015.