Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz has called Planned Parenthood a criminal enterprise that shouldnt be funded with taxpayer money. Jeb Bush has declared that Planned Parenthood is not actually doing women’s health issues.
Thats pretty strange, because Planned Parenthoods stated mission is to promote a commonsense approach to womens health and well-being.
Few healthcare providers have been the target of such vitriol in public, in private, at debates, on social media, and at clinics around the country. For years, protesters have marched outside of Planned Parenthood facilities across the US, holding anti-abortion signs and antagonizing women as they walk inside for their appointments (appointments that include potentially life-saving Pap smears, mammograms, and STD checks).
For decades, clinics have been set on fire, bombed, and attacked. And last week, a gunman opened fire at a Colorado Springs clinic, killing three people and wounding several others.
The shooting was the latest reminder that some anti-abortion advocates have turned Planned Parenthood into the enemy, making affordable health care for women a dangerous proposition.
Rosanna Cacace, a health educator at Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley in California, says, while she feels her community is supportive of Planned Parenthood, shes aware of the potential threats. Cacace says,
I just don’t engage. If I dont feel safe I let the right people know.
Founded in 1933, Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley is one of the oldest affiliates in the country. Theyve expanded since the early yearsand say theyve seen a 600 percent growth in patient volume since 2002.
2015 has been a rough year for Planned Parenthood…
Over the summer, an anti-abortion group called The Center For Medical Progress (CMP) released secretly recorded videos that portrayed Planned Parenthood as a sinister organization trading in baby parts.
Some thought the heavily edited videos were shocking evidence of unethical, immoral practices. Planned Parenthood spokesman Eric Ferrero countered that they donate tissue for scientific research with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards.
Theres nothing illegal about it, but the topic of abortion can stir up some intense emotions. It can spur a group to release inaccurate videos, or a gunman to start shooting.
Julianne Hines, VP of External Affairs at Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley, says she found out about the CMP videos the way the rest of the public did online, the day they were released. She says of the videos,
Weve been down this road before. Its another Tuesday morning at Planned Parenthood.
Hines wasn’t being flippant about the attacks (real or virtual) that Planned Parenthood has experienced over the years. But she does touch on the very real fact that the organization has been under fire for decades, mainly due to the fact that some facilities offer abortion services.
And the attacks seem to be getting more serious. The topic is once again center stage, especially with a presidential election just around the corner.
Heres what Planned Parenthood really provides…
Hines says, 90 percent of their services are preventative, which means birth control, cancer detection and screenings, domestic violence awareness, and sex education. Additionally, about 10 percent of their patients are men.
Hines adds, the Pasadena clinic has been widely embraced by the community because weve been here so long. After the CMP videos were released and a few protesters marched outside the Pasadena location, a resident in the neighborhood put up a sign in the window of their house which read, Planned Parenthood saved my life. It didn’t stop the protesters from marching, though.