The Truth about Planned Parenthood: Essential Community Health Provider for All

For over 50 years, Planned Parenthood has been serving our community with high-quality, comprehensive reproductive care, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. Last year, our nine area health centers provided more than 180,000 medical visits including, well-woman exams, breast and cervical cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing, birth control, prenatal care, abortion and more to anyone who needed it.

Recently, outrageous and false claims against Planned Parenthood were made by opponents who want to end all abortion. But beyond the politically manipulated headlines and manufactured scandals, the real truth about Planned Parenthood is much different.

Here are the facts: The false claims that Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of fetal tissue have no basis in fact. Planned Parenthood has had a fetal tissue donation program for our patients in Orange County since 2007. We have never accepted any payments for assisting our patients in making tissue donations for stem cell research. Instead, we have absorbed the cost of the tissue donations to ensure that we could not be accused of profiting from this program.

Claims have also been made that Planned Parenthood is using federal funds to pay for abortions. This, too, isn’t true. We’ve been audited many times, and each time the answer is clear — federal funding does not pay for abortion services at Planned Parenthood.

One in five women in Orange and San Bernardino counties receives their family planning care from a Planned Parenthood health center. They trust us because our rigorous health standards have been developed over decades with the nation’s top medical experts.

At Planned Parenthood, we believe that health care is a basic human right and that prevention is the best medicine. Over 90 percent of our services are preventive, including life-saving cancer screenings, well- woman exams, education programs, STD prevention and treatment, family planning, WIC nutritional services, prenatal care and more.

We provide highly accessible, culturally competent health care and are open 7 days a week, 10 hours a day. Wait times for appointments average only 15 minutes, and we have a 94 percent satisfaction rate among patients.

Despite overhyped claims to the contrary, abortion makes up just 3 percent of services on a national level.  Locally, it’s closer to 6 percent.

Planned Parenthood provides health care services, including abortions, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. We accept insurance and also provide services on a sliding scale, when needed, to ensure everyone in the community can get the care they need.

We are more than just the area’s leading reproductive health provider. Planned Parenthood is, in essence, the only medical provider for many of our patients – most of whom are low income and often face difficulty finding a provider to get needed health care.

Because Medi-Cal reimbursement rates haven’t been increased in 30 years, many other providers have simply stopped accepting it and that’s led to a shortage of care. We’re proud to accept Medi-Cal and offer high-quality medical care to everyone in our community.

We provide clinical breast exams, which are the foundation of breast health. Just like any other OB- GYN’s office, we conduct a breast screening and order a mammogram if needed. We then refer the patient to a specialist if indicated. We often hear meaningful stories from our patients about their experiences with breast cancer screenings at our health centers. For example, here is a Yelp review that was posted by one of our patients last month (9/24/15):

“During a routine exam at Planned Parenthood, the doctor noticed a lump and directed me to follow up with my primary care doctor. To make a long story short, this lead to the discovery of a tumor that was barely caught in time. A medical team of oncologists and surgeons may receive most of the credit for curing me of my tumor, but if Planned Parenthood had not initially found it (due to the thoroughness of that exam), I would not be writing this review. Thank you, Planned Parenthood, for saving my life and saving the lives of so many women.”

To help meet the critical need of quality medical care for our community, Planned Parenthood recently started offering comprehensive primary care services with Melody Women’s Health. For the first time, women in their reproductive years have a primary care medical practice devoted exclusively to them. By providing top-tier primary care physicians along with our expert OB-GYNS, Melody Women’s Health is enhancing our reproductive health services by treatment for common conditions such as obesity, depression, diabetes, hypertension and asthma (www.MelodyHealth.com ).

Our services also extend beyond health care. Last year, we educated the community on comprehensive sexual education — over 60,000 times — in person, via phone, chat and text. Our Health Educators and Certified Peer Educators are in the community every day providing honest, medically accurate, age-appropriate health information to young people and adults. There is a key need for this education, as some local school boards are mandating “abstinence-only” teachings – a recipe for unintended pregnancy.

Through Planned Parenthood WIC, we helped almost 15,000 young families grow healthier by providing vouchers for nutritious foods, supporting breastfeeding mothers, and educating pregnant women, mothers, and young children about healthy eating habits.

The majority of Americans knows that the smear campaign against Planned Parenthood just doesn’t add up, because their personal experience with us is much different than is being portrayed in politically motivated stunts. For example, a recent NBC-WSJ poll shows that Planned Parenthood has a significantly higher favorability rating than any other group or individual tested – including the U.S. Supreme Court, President Obama, both political parties, and key Republicans running for president.

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that a majority of Americans support federal funding for Planned Parenthood’s preventive services, and strongly oppose attempts to block millions of patients across the country from accessing care at Planned Parenthood’s health centers. Fully 54 percent of people said they support federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and just 26 percent oppose.

Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties is a trusted organization that has served as an essential community health partner for almost 50 years. We are committed to continuing to serve our community to ensure healthier families and healthier tomorrows.

Jon Dunn is President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties, which provides essential reproductive health care, nutrition services and education programs to more than 180,000 local women and men, regardless of their personal circumstances or ability to pay. We’ve been building healthy communities since 1965 with the most sophisticated instrument in medicine: accurate information that can help people make the best decisions about their health.

To learn more, visit us at www.PPOSBC.org.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue please contact Voice of OC Engagement Editor Julie Gallego at jgallego@voiceofoc.org.

Related:

5 Myths About Planned Parenthood Debunked

  • Imjesayin

    ^^^^^^^^ yes. This. A million times…

  • Paul Lucas

    Joe,
    Well done thank your for your service.

  • LFOldTimer

    I agree that PP provides a very valuable health care service to the community. Imagine how many abortions PP prevents by providing low cost contraceptives to low income households? And how many STD epidemics are prevented by low income individuals using PP as an avenue for treatment that may otherwise not be available to them? I am neither pro or con on abortion. I have never been faced with that choice since I can’t get pregnant. But those who can should be able to make their own choice if we truly are a ‘free’ society. If the Republicans condemn abortion then go change the law. But don’t go out of your way to punish those organizations that simply provide individuals with the right to exercise their choice under the law. If they make the wrong decision then they can take it up with God at a later time.