Planned Parenthood

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Image:Logo plannedparenthood.gif Planned Parenthood<ref>The formal name for the organization is "Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc." It is also known by the abbreviation "PPFA".</ref> is the name of several federations of health clinics that are spread out across the world, (the International Planned Parenthood Federation, various regional federations, as well as country-specific ones) focusing on issues related to reproductive rights. It is both a reproductive services provider and a political organization that seeks to advance and preserve the legal status of the services it provides. It is a vocal political advocate of comprehensive sex education and holds a pro-choice position on the issue of abortion and expression of sexuality. This article focuses on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA).


Facilities and funding

PPFA is a federation of 120 independent Planned Parenthood affiliates around the United States. These affiliates together operate nearly 850 locations, offering a variety of services to more than 5 million women, men and teens each year. Services include contraceptive (birth control) services; emergency contraception; screening for breast, cervical and testicular cancers; pregnancy testing and pregnancy options counseling; abortion services; 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.

According to a recent statement from Karen Pearl, recent past interim president of PPFA, Planned Parenthood is the "largest source of reproductive health care in the (United States)".<ref>This statement appears as the opening statement in a letter signed by Karen Pearl (noted as "Interim President") distributed with a petition sent through the United States mail in 2005.</ref>

Planned Parenthood receives almost a third of its money in government grants and contracts ($265.2 million in FY 2004). It received $306.2 million in clinic income that year, $191 million in private contributions and bequests, $40 million in other income and $7.6 million from the Alan Guttmacher Institute for a total of $810 million.<ref>{{Citepaper

|Author=Planned Parenthood Federation of America
|Title=Annual Report 2003–2004


Organizations such as the American Life League, who morally disagree with Planned Parenthood's mission and services, have set up campaigns and petitions to stop Planned Parenthood from receiving government funding.<ref>{{cite news

| url=
| title=ALL Launches Full-Scale National Campaign to Stop Planned Parenthood Tax Funding
| publisher=U.S. Newswire
| date=January 23, 2006


History and Organization

Planned Parenthood began as the National Birth Control League, which was founded in 1916 under the leadership of Mary Ware Dennett, a friend of Margaret Sanger. The organization was later renamed the American Birth Control League under the direction of Sanger, a birth control and family planning advocate who had been jailed numerous times for breaking New York's Comstock Laws against disseminating birth control information. Sanger had fled to England to avoid arrest at the time the National Birth Control League was founded. 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.

On February 15, 2006, Cecile Richards, daughter of former Texas governor Ann Richards, became president of the organization.<ref>{{cite news

| first=Darragh | last=Johnson | pages=C01
| title=Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood's Choice Leader
| date=March 25, 2006 | publisher=Washington Post
| url=


Stand on political and legal issues

Planned Parenthood has been an extremely vocal advocate of birth control and legalized abortion since the 1940's. This advocacy includes contributing to sponsorship of abortion rights and women's rights events<ref>Planned Parenthood was one of the co-sponsors of the March for Women's Lives, held April 25, 2004.</ref> and assisting in the testing of new contraceptives<ref>Planned Parenthood has been engaged in large scale tracking of the effectiveness and safety of Mifepristone within its clinics. {{cite web

| author = 
| year = 2004
| url =
| title = PPFA 2003–2004 Annual Report
| format = PDF
| publisher = Planned Parenthood Federation of America
| accessdate = January 29
| accessyear = 2006

}}</ref>. The group opposes virtually every restriction on abortion, including but not limited to

  • laws requiring parental consent or notification for girls under the age of 18 (or 17 in some states) to have an abortion
  • "informed consent" laws that would require full disclosure of the procedure and possible risks: any surgical procedure and/or drug must fully disclose any possible risks or complications, including surgical and chemical abortions, even without these laws targeting specifically abortions
  • laws requiring an ultrasound before abortion (many Planned Parenthood clinics perform, but do not require, ultrasounds)
  • laws requring a cool off period (ranging from a couple hours to a day or more)

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

Due to their pro-choice stance Planned Parenthood generally supports Democratic Party candidates, though it has invested significantly in political efforts amongst Republicans who uphold a pro-choice stance.Template:Citation needed

Controversy and Criticism

In August 2005, amidst some controversy, Planned Parenthood Golden Gate (the San Francisco section of the organization) released an animated video depicting violence against those critical of Planned Parenthood, including the drowning of an abstinence proponent in lubricant, blowing up zombie-like demonstrators at their clinic, and decapitating one of them with a giant condom. The link from its main page was quickly removed after some criticism began.<ref>{{cite web

| author = unknown
| year = 2005
| url =
| title = A Superhero for Choice
| format = MP4
| publisher = Planned Parenthood Golden Gate
| accessdate = January 29
| accessyear = 2006


this link no longer works and a verified authentic replacement has not yet been identified, though this page claims to have links to the animation; Internet Archive does not currently list entries for the site after March 2005

</ref><ref>{{cite web

| author = Dawn Eden
| year = August 08, 2005
| url =
| title = Planned Parenthood Fantasizes About Blowing Up 'Anti-Choicers'
| work = The Dawn Patrol
| accessdate = January 29
| accessyear = 2006}}</ref>

Planned Parenthood has been accused in several cases of providing illegal late term abortions on minors without parental notification, and agreeing not to report statutory rape to the authorities. They have also withheld court subpoenaed medical records of minors who've sought "reproductive health services" in several instances.<ref>{{cite press release

|date=March 7, 2005
|title=Abortion industry busted!
|url = 

}}</ref><ref>{{cite news

|title=Indiana Planned Parenthood Asks Court To Prevent State AG From Accessing Medical Records of Teens Seen at State Clinics
|date=March 16, 2005
|publisher=Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation


Because Planned Parenthood provides abortions and contraceptives, pro-life citizens and organizations who view these actions as immoral often picket and protest outside Planned Parenthood run clinics.

Lifenews recently criticized Planned Parenthood for their new advertisements including the chance to win an Ipod and discounts on movie tickets. They believe this series of advertisements is aimed at teenage children, and do not believe teenage children should receive services from Planned Parenthood clinics. One poster depicts a teenage girl whispering into the ear of her friend with the caption, "Get free movie tickets? Yes. When you tell a friend about Planned Parenthood.".<ref>{{cite web

| author = unknown
| year = 2006
| url =
| title = Planned Parenthood campaign aimed at teenagers
| format = MP4
| publisher = Life News
| accessdate = January 29
| accessyear = 2006}}</ref>

Planned Parenthood and the US 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 High Court, with Justices Harry Blackmun and John Paul Stevens (also Republican appointees) concurring with the main decision in separately written opinions. The High 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. It should be noted that 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.



  • July 1976 (decided): 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.
  • June 1992 (decided): Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. This was a constitutionality challenge by Planned Parenthood to a Pennsylvania law encompassing parental consent, spousal consent, clinic bookkeeping, post-consent waiting period, and mandated information dispersal to clinic patients. Most of the challenged law was held to be constitutional. Syllabus, Opinion, and four Concurrence & Dissent statements

See also

External links

Critics of Planned Parenthood

Notes and references