10 Services You Didn’t Know Planned Parenthood Provides
There’s no lack of controversy when it comes to abortion, or the nonprofit organization most associate with it: Planned Parenthood. But that’s not all this organization does. In fact, a slew of other high-quality, affordable health care services are available to women (and men!) thanks to Planned Parenthood. Here are 10 worth noting.
1. Sex ed
Support for sexual education among public schools still faces opposition to this day, with many conservatives and health advocates wary about the teachers and curriculum formats. Planned Parenthood, however, knows the importance of a proper understanding of both sex and sexuality, and the decisions that involve an individual’s sexual health. That’s why they provide this type of education to 1.5 million young people and adults each year, covering topics from sexual and reproductive anatomy to gender identity.
2. STD testing and treatment
Planned Parenthood provides more than 4.2 million tests and treatments for a variety of sexually transmitted infections each year, including more than 650,000 tests for HIV alone. And they do so privately. This means if a person experiences sexual assault and they choose not to tell their parents, for example, they can visit Planned Parenthood without parental permission. Whether you’re coming for a routine STD check or because of an incident, they have you covered.
3. Birth control
In addition to providing birth control prescriptions, Planned Parenthood staff members will discuss all of the safe and effective options available. And this covers more than just the pill — they’re happy to go over condoms and IUDs as well. Around 80% of Planned Parenthood patients receive such services for preventing unintended pregnancies.
4. Women’s cancer screenings
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 39.6% of adults in the U.S. will receive a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lifetime. That’s an alarming statistic, but one most of us are not surprised by when we consider the amount of family members, friends, and acquaintances we see get diagnosed with cancer every day. So, the fact that Planned Parenthood is providing cancer-screening services to women who may not be able to afford a regular doctor visit is pretty important.
The organization provides more than 270,000 pap tests and 360,000 breast exams each year to screen women for a variety of reproductive cancers. They also provide pelvic exams, which are just as critical.
5. Men’s cancer screenings
Most people think Planned Parenthood is just for ladies, forgetting the nonprofit provides all sorts of resources for men as well. Just as they provide cancer screenings for women, they provide the same for men. This includes both prostate and colorectal cancers, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists as two of the most common for men. They can also be screened for testicular cancer, get physical exams, and seek treatment for erectile dysfunction.
This procedure is a form of permanent birth control for men that involves closing or blocking the tubes in a male’s body that carry sperm. It’s a fairly common operation, with a 2015 report by the United Nations showing approximately one in 10 men in the U.S. undergoes it. In 2014, Planned Parenthood reported 3,445 vasectomies nationwide, showing its efforts to reduce unwanted pregnancies go far beyond performing abortions.
7. Male infertility screening and referral
Millions of men face infertility, which can be caused by a variety of factors including low sperm count, slow-moving sperm, and troubles related to ejaculation. The problem now affects more than one in 10 couples, according to the CDC, so it’s nice to know men can visit a Planned Parenthood clinic to get screened for infertility. The organization provides answers and assistance to questions and concerns about male infertility in addition to testing.
Most, if not all, of the issues that might lead someone through the doors of a Planned Parenthood clinic are sensitive — and the organization encourages all of their patients to seek out counseling as a resource to help them get through whatever it is they are dealing with. Their related services include pregnancy options counseling as well as post-abortion counseling. They have professionally trained counselors who are available regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, spiritual beliefs, or cultural background.
9. Hormone replacement therapy for transgender patients
In our society, it can be immensely difficult for transgender Americans to seek out safe, affordable, and judgment-free services that provide them with their desired treatments. But Planned Parenthood feels strongly about providing care to all individuals. One example is hormone replacement therapy, which consists of increasing the body’s natural hormone levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, and can be difficult to attain. However, a member of Planned Parenthood’s transgender program staff will work with anyone seeking hormone therapy.
10. Affordable care
Planned Parenthood is able to offer very reasonable fees for their services, especially compared to a regular doctor visit. They’re able to do this through private donations as well as Title X funding from the U.S. government. According to the website, “The government provides money to family planning clinics, like Planned Parenthood, so that women who do not have health insurance can get care at reduced rates, or in some cases free, depending on their family income at the time of their visit.”
Planned Parenthood does ask all potential patients seeking care to provide proof of their income (such as pay stubs, child support, or proof of public benefits) to help determine where they fall on the discounted fee scale.