A Person of Color’s Guide to Planned Parenthood

Earlier this summer, Center for Medical Progress, (CMP) anti-abortion group, leaked deceptively edited videos that showcased Planned Parenthood employees speaking in offhand conversation about the selling of fetal tissue.

The video series depicts months of conversation between undercover CMP employees and Planned Parenthood staff.

The video has in return added more fuel to the “let’s-shut-the-government-down” and “let’s-defund-Planned-Parenthood” fire many Republicans on the campaign trail are brewing.

As the he said, she said continues to boil — we often neglect to remember the depth of impact Planned Parenthood has on communities, especially those of color.  

There are many reasons why access to Planned Parenthood is critical for the health and wellbeing of women and men of color. For starters, Planned Parenthood is the primary health provider and family planning consultant for many hispanics and blacks, namely low-income women and men of color that pay for the services through Medicaid and Title X.

There is significant research that highlights the importance of women’s ability to choose when and how to have their pregnancies has shown to improve their family’s economic stability, improve mental health and improve the wellbeing of the children.

Moreover, there is distinct evidence that black women are four times more likely to get an abortion than white women. This phenomenon has been explained as a correlation to black women’s poor access to the most effective forms of contraception which can be further related to overall health care barriers. It’s also worth noting that one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime.

But perhaps you’ve stumbled across this page because you’re curious about what services Planned Parenthood can provide you. We get it. it’s hard to sort what’s actually what.

Woman at Planned Parenthood rally in Manhattan. Photo via Timothy Krause (Flickr)
Woman at Planned Parenthood rally in Manhattan. Photo via Timothy Krause (Flickr)

You’ve got the questions and we’ve got the answers. Here’s what Planned Parenthood can do for you as a person of color:

Text chat / online chat system

With Planned Parenthood’s online chat and text system, individuals can ask a Planned Parenthood health educator questions about: sexual and reproductive health, interpersonal relationships, missed periods, pregnancy, birth control options, STDs and more.

To talk to a health educator questions online, visit: http://www.plannedparenthoodchat.org/.

The live chat is available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. (PST) and Sunday, 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. (PST).

To text a health educator questions or concerns, text: 53634.

You can also call Planned Parenthood’s toll-free hotline at: 877.4ME.2ASK Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (PST).

Schedule an appointment online

Sometimes you want to schedule an appointment without the discomfort of discussing it over the phone. To schedule an appointment (and to find out what services the healthcare center near you offers) visit this site.

(You can also call to make an appointment at 1-800-230-PLAN)

Get a birth control consultation

Not sure what kind of birth control is for you? A birth control consultation can include questions about your sex life, history and health. Based on what you and the Planned Parenthood health care professional discuss, you both will come to terms what kind of birth control works for you. Whether that is the pill, a vaginal ring, the patch, a diaphragm, IUD, or other options.

Get STD screenings by mail

If you are a resident of Washington state, Minnesota, or California you can get an STD kit sent to you from Planned Parenthood by mail that tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea that comes with step-by-step instructions.

Get birth control by mail

If you are a resident of Washington state, Minnesota, or Alaska you can get birth control sent to you from Planned Parenthood by mail after a video consultation with a health care provider. Insurance is accepted for this service.

Woman at Planned Parenthood rally in Manhattan. Photo via Timothy Krause (Flickr)
Woman at Planned Parenthood rally in Manhattan. Photo via Timothy Krause (Flickr)

Breast and Cervical Cancer Screenings

Among women diagnosed with breast cancer, African-American women are most likely to die from the disease. Breast cancer is also the leading cancer cause of death among Latinas and Asian women.

With this being known, preventative measures such as breast exams and mammograms are performed at Planned Parenthood centers.

Pap / HPV tests

Pap and HPV tests are a part of a yearly women’s health exam and are given annually to avoid getting cervical cancer.

American Samoan women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with and die from cervical cancer than that of non-Hispanic whites.

Women can schedule their routine checks with Planned Parenthood online.

Provide coverage if you’re uninsured

Planned Parenthood won’t turn you away for care, even if you’re not covered by insurance. Based on your income and location you may also be eligible for sliding scale pay or discounted payment options.

Provide information about healthy and stable interpersonal relationships

Often times the health and stability of interpersonal relationships has a direct correlation with safer sex practices. Planned Parenthood has an online resource about relationships that highlights the importance of consent, control and health.

Perform HIV tests

African Americans are most affected by HIV, the rate of new infection in African Americans is 8 times that of whites.

Furthermore, according to Planned Parenthood — 1 out of 6 people who have HIV, don’t know it. HIV testing can help individuals get proper treatment to prevent you from getting AIDS.The can typically be anonymous (depending on your state laws.)

Pregnancy Tests and Care

Planned Parenthood can offer you pregnancy tests and answer the many questions you may have about prenatal care, the stages of pregnancy and miscarriages. More information can be found here.

STI/STD test

STD/STI testing, which accounts for over 40 percent of what Planned Parenthood does, is especially critical in communities of color. Native American men and women, for example, have four times the rate of both chlamydia and gonorrhea than that of whites.

To get tested for STDs, find a Planned Parenthood near you.

Men’s Healthcare

There is a common misconception that Planned Parenthood is just for women. Contrary to popular belief, Planned Parenthood offers services that affect only men’s health. Including but not limited to: vasectomies, male infertility, prostate health exam, general men’s healthcare, erectile dysfunction, UTIs, etc. More information is available here.

LGBT Friendly

Planned Parenthood is also LGBT friendly, there are pages upon pages of research (and physical pamphlets/handouts) that Planned Parenthood can offer you if you have questions or concerns about your gender (identity) or other health issues that are unique to the LGBT community. For more information is available here.

Advocacy

Planned Parenthood advocates on the state and federal level to help enact laws / policies that will help advance reproductive health care comprehension. They also have established Planned Parenthood Black Community and Latinos for Planned Parenthood as an effort to make the diverse reproductive needs of communities of color known.  Planned Parenthood also works around the globe to increase access to sexual and reproductive health information and services.

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