Media coverage enhances the public's understanding of reproductive rights and sexual health issues - including abortion, contraception, sex education, racial equity, HIV and STIs, LGBTQ + identities, public health, and health equity - and is vital to our country's continued progress. This past year, in the face of increasing political attacks by state legislatures and in the courts, news stories that accurately and compassionately covered sexual and reproductive health and rights were more important than ever.
As 2021 comes to a close, Planned Parenthood is showcasing some of this year's best journalism on sexual and reproductive health. The list doesn't include op-eds (although you should definitely read Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson's NYT piece about being done making excuses for Margaret Sanger) or pop culture moments (although you should definitely watch Cecily Strong's SNL skit on clown abortions). Planned Parenthood is grateful to everyone who spoke up, who listened, and who shared their story in 2021. Thank you for bringing more truth and empathy to our world.
HEALTH EQUITY AND REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE
As Reproductive Justice leaders have long taught, a right without access is meaningless. These stories highlight the connections between health care equity and other justice issues, clearly showing intersections of racial justice, disability justice, transgender health needs, and sexual and reproductive health.
- Rewire News Group: It's Time to Stop Talking About Whether Margaret Sanger Was Racist” -By Imani Gandy
- Health: "Britney Spears Says She's Being Forced to Keep Her IUD - Here's How That's a Form of Reproductive Coercion”By Susan Rinkunas
- The 19th: "'We can't protect them': Mothers on what it means to have Black children in America”By Barbara Rodriguez and Mariel Padilla
- Telemundo: "There are millions of Latino parents without health insurance. "It is living with stress, with fear," says the mother of a child with cancer”By Pamela Subizar
- MEL: "The Quiet Revolution in Trans Health Care" by Calvin Kasulke
- The Texas Tribune: "Low-income Texans struggle to find new doctors as state officials boot Planned Parenthood off Medicaid" by Shannon Najmabadi
ABORTION ACCESS: PATIENTS AND POLICY
Throughout 2021, reporters amplified the impact of abortion restrictions on patients, particularly Texas's abortion ban that has been in place for more than 110 days, and the harm these laws cause thousands of people seeking reproductive health care.
- ABC Nightline's “The Appointment,” a two-part series on abortion restrictions in Texas and Mississippi, reported by Rachel Scott.
- Antonia Laborde's reporting in El País on abortion being under attack appeared in both their magazine and newspaper:
- The country: "Against the Stigma of Abortion"
- The country: "Abortion returns to the Supreme Court of the United States"
- Univision: "'There are very few women we can help ': a doctor tells how Texas law affects access to abortion" by Patricia Clarembaux
- Carolina Cruz's series for Univision 62 in Austin:
- The Houston Chronicle: "What Texas abortion ban means for survivors of rape, incest and others whose choices were stolen" by Gabrielle Banks, Jeremy Blackman, and Taylor Goldenstein
- CNN: "Texas abortion ban is an early glimpse of what post-Roe America would look like for women" by Katherine Dautrich, Isabelle Chapman, Majlie de Puy Kamp and Casey Tolan
ABORTION STORIES AND STORYTELLERS
In these stories, the voices of patients and health care providers clearly show that every pregnant person's circumstances are unique. No one can make that decision for someone else.
- AP: "'We have to be heard': Texas women travel to seek abortions" by Sean Murphy
- The New Yorker: "Inside an Oklahoma City Abortion Clinic" by Katie Watson
- Essence: "My Abortion Is Not a Sad Story" by Ebony Wiggins as told to Victoria Uwumarogie
- MSNBC's The Reid Out, reported by Ali Vitali: “Rep. Barbara Lee, Cori Bush, Pramila Jayapal share their deeply personal stories of abortion"
- The Washington Post: "This doctor commutes 800 miles to provide abortion services in underserved communities" by Emily Wax-Thibodeaux
SEX EDUCATION FOR ALL
We're never too old to learn about sexual health! These stories shone a light on the state of our country's sex education, the connections between sexual health and mental health, and what the pandemic could mean for communicating about sexual health.
- Refinery29: "Sex Education in the US is Broken, But It Doesn't Have To Be" by Molly Longman
- NPR's 1A: “'Plan B,' Sex Education, And Contraceptive Access" produced by Arfie Ghedi
- The News Station: “Could COVID-19 Change the Way We Talk About Sexual Health?" by Em Cassel
- Psych Central's "Mood, Mind & Good Sex”Series explores how sexual health and intimacy can improve your overall well-being, with pieces by Maisha Johnson, Morgan Mandriota, Taneasha White, and Alex Carroll
WHAT'S AHEAD ...
The new year is just around the corner! We're excited about the potential for a permanent repeal of the global gag rule, and the result in some states of the FDA's permanent expansion of medication abortion access via telehealth.
And there are huge elections in 2022, which is why Planned Parenthood advocacy, as well as political organizations, are already preparing for next year's governors' races, which Teen Vogue reminds us will be crucial for protecting abortion access.
Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.