The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), otherwise shortened to Planned Parenthood, is a resource for reproductive and maternal health services. The organization offers low-cost or free healthcare, depending on an individual’s insurance and/or income. Planned Parenthood services include providing contraceptives, preventative cancer screenings, pregnancy testing, different types of counseling, sexually transmitted disease/infection (STD/STI) testing and treatment, sex education, menopause treatments, LGBT resources, vasectomies, tubal ligations, and abortion.
These services are not limited to women, but to anyone wishing to pursue them. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF), a related organization of PPFA, is an advocacy network committed to progress towards the Affordable Care Act, birth control, preventative services, sex education, abortion access and global reproductive health policy. The PPAF was founded in 1989 to lobby and support the right of an individual’s reproductive choice.
President Barack Obama has advocated for women’s rights throughout his term. His chief accomplishments for women include passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, as well as including contraception and cancer screenings in the new health care reform. He has fought conservative attacks against Planned Parenthood and its Action Fund, and has ended insurance company discrimination against women. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney voiced his stance on Planned Parenthood’s health services and sexual freedom advocacy in an interview last March, saying, “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.”
Earlier this month, Romney also told reporters, “The actions I’ll take immediately is to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget.”
Ever since, the pro-life candidate has campaigned against political progress in women’s health, such as birth control and abortion rights. In June, Romney’s senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that issues like abortion and women’s rights are “shiny objects” being used to “distract” people from the economy.
Planned Parenthood and its affiliate action fund are significant because the two advocate for sexual freedom and help promote health care access to those in need. Today, an average of one in five women has visited a Planned Parenthood clinic once in her lifetime. It is the country’s leading sexual health care provider with over 800 different centers nationwide. Planned Parenthood annually serves nearly 5 million women, men, and adolescents internationally. Three million American women, men, and teenagers consistently rely on Planned Parenthood for health care every year. Seventy-six percent of Planned Parenthood’s health services contribute to unintended pregnancy prevention. Only 3 percent of services go towards abortion. The majority of services include providing contraception and STD/STI testing and treatment, as well for HIV. As a result, these clinics help prevent over 584,000 pregnancies a year.