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New York, NY — Planned Parenthood Federation of America Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens will present a keynote speech today at the first-ever ‘VR for Good’ Summit at the Games for Change Festival, highlighting how virtual reality (VR) and other technology can transform access to health care and information. The goal of the  ‘VR for Change’ Summit is to drive pioneering discussions focused on the most exciting technology and experiences being built with virtual reality (VR) and on ways to support and grow a ‘VR for Change’ community, with an emphasis on diversity throughout all programming.

Laguens said, “Technology has opened up new fronts and given us new tools to give people the information and care they need. We use technology lots of ways: to leapfrog the barriers too many patients face when they’re trying to get health care, to get folks involved in this fight, and to reduce the stigma surrounding sexual and reproductive health. On all these fronts, technology is changing the game for Planned Parenthood.”

Virtual reality has the potential to be a game changer in  empathetic storytelling by challenging stigma and shifting the conversation about abortion access in America. For example, the virtual reality film Across the Line places viewers in the shoes of a patient who encounters protesters while entering a health center for a safe and legal abortion. Co-created by Nonny de la Peña of Emblematic Group and Brad Lichtenstein and Jeff Fitzsimmons from 371 Productions/Custom Reality Services, and executive produced by Planned Parenthood, Across the Line uses real audio gathered at protests along with scripted scenes and documentary footage.

Survey data shows that Across the Line influences the way viewers feel about the harassment experienced by  many patients, providers, and health center staff.  Preliminary research of people with moderate and conservative views about abortion found that after seeing the film, they had less tolerance for clinic harassment and increased empathy toward women who decide to have an abortion.

“We want to continue to leverage technology to make Planned Parenthood’s second century even more revolutionary than our first,” Laguens added.

Planned Parenthood was recently recognized as one of Rock Health’s Top 50 in Digital Health for 2017 as the Most Tech-Friendly Provider.

  • Planned Parenthood makes scheduling an appointment at a health center as easy as clicking a button at health centers around the country. Planned Parenthood offers same-day appointments online and has extended health center hours, which means people can get the care they need, when they need it.

  • Planned Parenthood makes sexual and reproductive health information readily available online 24/7 atplannedparenthood.org to nearly 70 million people every year in both English and Spanish.

  • Planned Parenthood’s Chat/Text program enables young people to correspond with trained staff via online chat or text message with urgent reproductive health questions, reaching them with critical information about sex and health when they are in need of fast, confidential help. It is the largest digital sex education program in the country and supports 15,000 immediate, tailored conversations each month. We’ve had over 800,000 conversations since the program started.

  • Last year, Planned Parenthood released SpotOn, a free birth control and period tracker app that helps people track and predict their periods, understand their menstrual cycle, and manage their birth control, as well as provide guidance, tips, and fun facts from Planned Parenthood experts. Over one million people have downloaded the app and it has active users in 160 countries and in every state in the U.S.

  • Through telemedicine, Planned Parenthood is offering the same high-quality care someone would receive during a visit at a Planned Parenthood health center. But with technology, Planned Parenthood is minimizing barriers such as time and transportation, which can prevent people from obtaining the timely health care they want and need.

    • The Planned Parenthood Care™ app (available in Minnesota, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and Idaho) allows people to talk to a Planned Parenthood provider online and face to face through a secure video consultation system to receive birth control or an STD test kit and treatment, if necessary, in the mail.

    • The Planned Parenthood Direct™ app allows people in California to order confidential STD testing kits, receive STD and UTI treatment, and birth control prescriptions through their mobile phone.


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.


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