Founded on the belief that women should be able to plan and space their pregnancies, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) — the nation’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, and a trusted source of primary and preventive care for women, men, and young people — celebrates its 95th anniversary on Sunday, October 16.
On October 16, 1916, a small clinic seeking to provide birth control and information to men and women opened in Brooklyn, NY. It was the nation’s first birth control clinic. Its opening would lead to the formation of the American Birth Control League, which became Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
“Planned Parenthood was founded to make sure women could plan their pregnancies,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “Ninety-five years later, we are still committed to a world where all people are empowered to live healthy lives, without fear of unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, a world where young people can delay pregnancy until they are ready to support a family.”
From its inception, Planned Parenthood worked for access to family planning for all women —regardless of economic status. Planned Parenthood led the charge on several critical women’s health and rights victories, including: the creation of the birth control pill and the development of the IUD; the legalization of birth control and abortion care; insurance coverage for contraception; public awareness and availability of emergency contraception; ensuring that pharmacies fill prescriptions for birth control; and coverage without co-pays of the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods.
Planned Parenthood has transformed health care, enabled healthier, stronger families, and contributed greatly to profound and beneficial social changes tied to family planning access. Since women have had the freedom to plan and space their pregnancies, maternal and infant health have improved dramatically, the infant death rate has plummeted, and women have been able to fulfill increasingly diverse educational, social, political, and professional aspirations.
A Trusted Provider
Today, there are nearly 800 Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide. One in five women has turned to Planned Parenthood at some time in her life for professional, non-judgmental, and confidential care.
More than ninety percent of Planned Parenthood services are focused on prevention, including birth control services to nearly 2.5 million women and men, nearly one million Pap tests, nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, and education programs for nearly 1.2 million people. The work of Planned Parenthood prevents an estimated 612,000 unintended pregnancies and 291,000 abortions each year in the U.S.
Online, Planned Parenthood websites, including Planned Parenthood En Español, receive an estimated three million visits each month from people seeking real health care information in real time. And for 40 years, PPFA’s Planned Parenthood Global program has helped meet the health care needs of millions of women and men around the world by working with partner organizations in developing countries, providing financial and technical support for women’s health care delivery and advocacy.
In all, Planned Parenthood programs provide health care and education to more than five million women, men, and young people worldwide each year.
“Even as millions of people count on Planned Parenthood for essential health care, there are some politicians working to turn the clock back when it comes to women's health,” said Richards. “They are working to take away women's access to birth control, cancer screenings and other essential health care. But we are here to stay.”
To see a visual representation of how far Planned Parenthood has come, click over to our Who We Are page.
October 14, 2011
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
October 14, 2011