Understanding Planned Parenthood's Services

Planned Parenthood Provides Much More Than Abortions

Planned Parenthood
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Planned Parenthood was founded in 1916 by Margaret Sanger, to provide cisgender women with more and better control over their bodies and reproductive functions. According to the Planned Parenthood website:

In 1916, Planned Parenthood was founded on the idea that women should have the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives and fulfill their dreams. Today, Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 600 health centers across the United States, and Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people. Planned Parenthood is also the nation’s largest provider of sex education. ​
Birth Control Pioneer Sanger
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Of course, the specific services and offerings provided by Planned Parenthood have changed a great deal over the years. Nevertheless, its basic purpose has remained the same.

Today, the organization runs 56 independent local affiliates that operate more than 600 health centers throughout the U.S. Services are typically paid for by Medicaid or health insurance; some clients pay directly.

How Much Dedicated to Abortions?

Although the name Planned Parenthood clearly states the primary objective of the organization—responsible family planning—it has been portrayed by opponents such as Arizona Senator Jon Kyl who famously announced on the Senate floor on April 8, 2011, that providing abortions is "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." (Hours later, Kyle's office made it clear the senator's comment "was not intended to be a factual statement.")

The senator's statement had its roots in misleading information provided by an organization called the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA.) According to the Washington Post,

"The SBA List, which opposes abortion rights, arrives at its 94 percent figure by comparing abortions to two other categories of services that are provided to pregnant patients — or 'pregnancy services.'”

According to Planned Parenthood itself, of 10.6 million services provided in 2013, 327,653 of them (about 3% of total services) were abortion procedures. The other 97% includes testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, contraception, cancer screening and prevention, and pregnancy testing and prenatal services. 

The Washington Post notes, however, that Planned Parenthood's figures also are misleading and its Fact Checker gives both sides Three Pinocchios.

The Post says of Planned Parenthood,

"The organization treats each service—pregnancy test, STD test, abortion, birth control—equally. Yet there are obvious difference between a surgical (or even medical) abortion, and offering a urine (or even blood) pregnancy test. These services are not all comparable in how much they cost or how extensive the service or procedure is."

Non-Abortion Services Provided

Planned Parenthood provides a huge range of health, reproductive, and counseling services for people of all genders.

Below is a breakdown of all patient care services. The majority of services provided relate to STD (sexually transmitted disease) testing and treatment, with another very large percentage dedicated to birth control, provided by Planned Parenthood affiliate health centers.

Newer Service and Programs:

  • Zika Education and Prevention
  • Transgender Hormone Therapy and Referrals
  • LGB Healthcare Services
  • HIV Prevention
  • Clinical Research
  • Online and Video Counseling
  • Mobile apps to support medical regimens 
  • Planned Parenthood Generation Action college campus chapters 
  • Men's Health Programs

General Health Services:

  • Anemia Testing
  • Checkups for Sexual Health Problems
  • Cholesterol Screening
  • Colon Cancer Screening
  • Diabetes Screening
  • Employment and Sports Physicals
  • Flu Vaccination
  • High Blood Pressure Screening
  • Rape Crisis Counseling Referrals
  • Routine Physical Exams
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Tetanus Vaccination
  • Thyroid Screening
  • UTI Testing and Treatment

Pregnancy Testing and Services:

  • Pregnancy Testing
  • Adoption Services
  • Adoption Referrals
  • Fertility Awareness Education 
  • Pregnancy Planning Services
  • Prenatal Services
  • Childbirth Classes
  • Postpartum Exams
  • Trained Staff to Discuss Options If You Are Pregnant
  • Trained Staff to Talk with You About Miscarriage

Birth Control:

  • Birth Control Implant
  • Birth Control Patch
  • Birth Control Pill
  • Birth Control Shot
  • Birth Control Sponge
  • Birth Control Vaginal Ring
  • Cervical Cap
  • Diaphragm
  • Condom
  • FC2 Internal Condom (also known as female condom)
  • Fertility Awareness Method (FAMs)
  • IUD (hormonal, copper)
  • Spermicide
  • Penile Sterilization (Vasectomy)
  • Sterilization (Essure, Tubal Ligation)

Emergency Contraception:

  • Birth Control Pills as Emergency Contraception
  • Morning-after Pill (Plan B and Similar Brands)
  • Morning-after Pill (Ella)
  • IUD (Copper)



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Your Citation
Lowen, Linda. "Understanding Planned Parenthood's Services." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/planned-parenthood-services-3534167. Lowen, Linda. (2021, February 16). Understanding Planned Parenthood's Services. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/planned-parenthood-services-3534167 Lowen, Linda. "Understanding Planned Parenthood's Services." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/planned-parenthood-services-3534167 (accessed May 8, 2021).