This article seeks to analyze Planned Parenthood, an organization that began in America with the aim of providing reproductive health care services to women. It intends to help the reader understand precisely, what the organization is all about by focusing on what the movement deals with and who runs it. It also concentrates on the factors behind the development of the team by identifying some of its responsibilities in America and the rest of the world since it is an international organization. Besides, the issue of how the organization operates has been discussed, which helps in providing a clear insight of the debates that have been making headlines in the media regarding how they conduct their activities. The article relied on information from newspapers, books, and current journals.
Keywords: Planned Parenthood; birth control; abortion; reproductive health care; sexual education
“I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world who obtained diseases from their parents that have no chance in the world to be a human being. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they are born. That to me is the greatest sin that people can commit.”
—Margaret Sanger, “The Mike Wallace Interview” (1957)
People have different views concerning parenthood. Some argue that it is the toughest experience while others believe it is the most rewarding responsibility that any human being enjoys. Parents are expected to fulfill all their responsibilities that vary from providing the basic needs of their children, teaching morals and values, and providing care until the kids become independent. There is no defined stage when one can become a parent, but Scientists argue that an individual has to be mature and biologically capable of producing children to qualify to join parenthood. Reproduction and Rearing of children entail different responsibilities, although there are those who believe that if you reproduce you are automatically responsible for nurturing that child.
During the Negro project in America, where Africans were treated as slaves, women were not allowed to get pregnant. Thus to save the lives of their babies, they would give them away to strangers to care for them. Such experiences led to the formation of Planned Parenthood in America. The organization has recently been making headlines in the media after the government signed into law a restriction on provision of grants to any group promoting abortion. An analysis of Planned Parenthood reveals what it is all about, when and where it was started, who runs the organization, why was it started, and how it operates. This investigative report fully explains what Planned Parenthood’s role is all about. It does not argue for or against what it attempts to do but instead, it is aimed at clarifying its place in society.
Margaret Sanger, together with her sister, and a friend, started the movement as American Birth Control Movement that later came to be known as the Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) in Brooklyn, New York in 1916 (Laguens, 2013). Sanger believed that women had the right to control their body, everyone has a right to decide their ideal time to reproduce, and the female fraternity is allowed to engage in sexual pleasure and fulfillment. Based on the above principles, she urged women to use birth control methods such as contraceptives as it was essential to plan one’s family. The group grew over the years since Sanger managed to open more clinics in 1930-1942 (Laguens, 2013). She strived to make Planned Parenthood’s services more widespread and accessible to populations who are underprivileged and who have high infant mortality rates, namely low-income families. Sanger used the media and religious groups to create awareness about the movement and to reach out to more women in the American society. It was in 1942 when the organization had collaborated with more than 700 clinics in the US and internationally that came to be known as PPFA commonly referred to as Planned Parenthood (Mitchell, 2012). The movement continued with its operations and continued to change women’s attitude towards their freedom of reproduction. The federal government was also being involved in the affairs of the organization and in 1977; it was made an independent movement (Laguens, 2013). Since then, PPFA has been operating both in the US and internationally.
Planned Parenthood is a non-profitable organization that is affiliated with other clinics and hospitals to provide healthcare services such as birth control methods. An editorial observer of the New York Times said that the movement conducts a program that offers free tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (North, 2016). Planned Parenthood also educates teenagers who are placed in foster care and the juveniles about sexual education. The organization’s staff conducts home visits to new mothers who may be considering committing abortions due to early pregnancies or fear of being single parents if the fathers do not wish to be involved in the rearing of the child. Although many people believe that the organization primarily advises all individuals who seek their services to commit abortion, it is evident that it provides a broad range of other services that are essential to the community as illustrated in the diagram below. For instance, individuals such as Ms. Thurman visited the health center to get an injection on birth control because she decided to engage in family planning (North, 2016). Most of the individuals who are utilizing the services of the health center are vulnerable people who find the tests, treatments and information unaffordable, hence the reason; Planned Parenthood is not focused on generating profits, but rather facilitating community development (Spitzer, 2012).
The PPFA organization is run by an affiliation of men and women whose aim is to provide access to quality healthcare, education, and information to women in the world. The organization works with other individuals who are experts in the fields of medicine, sexual health, law, communication, and advocacy. Their skills and adequate knowledge are significant in conducting the affairs of the organization since they brainstorm different ways of protecting the health and safety of women globally. PPFA has an executive team that helps the leaders in managing the movement as well as national spokespersons operating in various countries in which Planned Personnel offers it services (Hendershott, 2015). The organization also operates with the assistance of activists and supporters who are located across different states in America. There are also donors who support all the activities of the organization. Since PPFA is an international organization, the management has developed a network that allows all its stakeholders to connect and interact through an online platform.
The government is also directly involved in running the organization through providing funds to support the activities of the movement. North, (2016) said that the government paid for grants that supported the programs of Planned Parenthood such as birth control and sexual education to the teenagers and young mothers. It is also involved in the formulation and implementation of laws concerning reproductive health. Some of the government policies may raise oppositions from the movement and the community they serve. For instance, a new law was applied in February 2016 that allowed the government to stop issuing grants to groups that either perform or promote abortion in the society (North, 2016). The law requires health clinics under the federal program to purchase drugs at the actual costs and to be charged a dispensing fee unlike in the past where they could buy the drugs at discounted drugs (Morris, 2016). The changes in the legislation have affected PPFA since it supports abortion, and the budget cuts increases the expenditure costs for the movements. Some of the effects of the legal actions include closure of some of its clinics and limiting the provision of some of the services.
Planned Parenthood has been interpreted differently among Americans. It is essential to focus on how the organization operates to acquire a deeper meaning of the existence of the movement. The group relies on funding from the government and individual donors who support their course (Spitzer, 2012). Once Planned Parenthood receives the funds, they allocate them across the other groups that they have collaborated with in the developing countries (Baumgardner, 2006). The management oversees the implementation of their plans through frequent communication with the staff and conducting regular visits to the clinics and areas where the programs are held. The organization also helps passionate individuals who have ideas to develop them into sustainable projects that contribute to changing women’s live in the world. Planned Parenthood has ensured that its staff has the necessary expertise required to improving the quality of women’s live and to address the challenging situations they may experience each new day. The organization has been able to develop a close relationship with the people who seek their services since they are assured of help for anything one requires (North, 2016).
Planned Parenthood is committed to complying by the ethical standards and guidelines. It has a code of conduct that guides the management and all its stakeholders in decision-making and implementation of their activities (Perego, 2013). The group is committed to doing well to their patients and clients so that they can trust them. When a patient seeks their services, they ensure they provide adequate help to the client so that they are fully satisfied. PPFA also does not want to cause any harm to their patients. Therefore, the management has developed policies that correct any problems or issues that arise in the organization. For instance, if there is an indiscipline employee, the management can terminate their employment, and in the event of their involvement in any criminal activity associated with the organization, the authorities are notified. The patients, employees, and volunteers are also allowed to report any form of concerns and they are free not to provide any form of identification. The organization is also committed to obeying the law by cooperating fully during government audits and investigations. Besides, when there are changes in the laws affecting the operations, PPFA complies with the new laws or amendments (Perego, 2013). Although, Planned Parenthood has implemented measures to ensure it complies with ethical standards, abortion is a crucial issue in the society by focusing on the community and personal values and morals. Norms and values vary among people, which can explain the different opinions among the services offered by Planned Parenthood.
How Successful has Planned Parenthood been?
Planned Parenthood has been successful throughout the world since it educates young teenagers on unplanned pregnancies and the use of contraceptives. It has also managed to offer training to community health workers who offer counseling and healthcare education in African countries where people are infected with HIV/AIDS. The organization has also managed to fight against discrimination of women concerning family planning care, and to provide information on sex education to clients without being judgmental. The organization has been unsuccessful in obtaining an alternative source of funds to support some of its course such as free testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (North, 2016). It has also been unsuccessful in convincing the public that the group does not offer abortion services and eradicating the misconception that saw the grants for Planned Parenthood reallocated to other programs.
The analysis of PPFA indicates that it has been in existence for several decades. Planned Parenthood began as a birth control movement, but it has grown to provide other services such as sexual education, cancer services and prevention, and other women health services. An executive team who oversee the activities of their employees, and volunteers and donors who fund their activities run the group. The government is also a stakeholder of the organization since it also provides funding and is involved in developing laws concerning the delivery of health services in America. The investigation also reveals that Planned Parenthood abides by the ethical standards to facilitate the quality of services delivered by the organization to their clients.