Investing in Patients and Building Power: Planned Parenthood Will Never Back Down
By Alexis McGill Johnson | May 23, 2023, 3:15 p.m.
Planned Parenthood has blazed a trail to make sexual and reproductive health care accessible for people across the country for more than 100 years. Every step of the way, we have faced political and legal challenges, and have fought to protect reproductive freedom and access to care. Without question, the world we are living in right now — the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and the loss of abortion access, the weaponization of our courts and attacks on our democracy, the criminalization of providers and patients, and rampant misinformation — is vastly different than just a decade ago. Planned Parenthood must change too.
Planned Parenthood’s power is in the scale of its infrastructure across the country. Planned Parenthood affiliates serve more than 2 million patients. Planned Parenthood has 18 million supporters. And more than 200 million people visit our websites every year to get honest, accurate information.
Our big bet? Centering and scaling health equity in an ever-changing health care landscape, and building the infrastructure at the intersection of movements for freedom is our path forward. And it starts with investing in the states. Beginning this summer, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (“PPFA”) and Planned Parenthood Action Fund (“Action Fund”) will deploy our financial resources to better meet the needs of Planned Parenthood patients and communities today, tomorrow, and into the future.
Specifically, the Planned Parenthood national office is expanding its direct investment in the 49 independent Planned Parenthood affiliates across all 50 states and D.C. — so that they can continue to provide high-quality health care and education to more patients in the communities they serve; increase access to abortion care; and build a powerful movement for abortion access at the local and state level. PPFA will also make deeper investments in digital and health care platforms that provide patients streamlined access to sexual and reproductive health care and information no matter where they live. These investments total more than $70 million.
Investing more in Planned Parenthood local organizations, along with reimagining the role of the national office, means there will be a reduction in the national office workforce. We believe this strategic decision is essential to meet the current moment for Planned Parenthood patients and the future of reproductive health and rights.
Starting in July 2023, the Planned Parenthood national office is:
- Expanding PPFA’s investment in health care service delivery and abortion access by directing more resources directly to Planned Parenthood affiliates to expand access to high quality care in the communities they serve, particularly in states that have banned abortion; supporting affiliates who are absorbing the thousands of patients seeking abortion care where abortion is accessible; bolstering patient navigation efforts to help patients get to an abortion provider, whether at a Planned Parenthood health center or an independent clinic; and to support building a powerful movement at the local and state level to restore, protect, and expand abortion access.
- Increasing PPFA’s investment in cutting edge technology that connects even more people to Planned Parenthood health care services, information and education. PPFA is expanding our investment in EPIC — a shared state-of-the-art electronic medical record system to streamline health care across states and communities — and expanding our telehealth services to increase access to care in areas with few to no providers, and to reduce the need for travel and in-person appointments. We’re also investing in innovative approaches to education, establishing Planned Parenthood as a beacon for sex education that serves the federation and the public, and scales our unique expertise and digital footprint.
- Launching PPFA’s Black Health Equity Initiative to address the deep inequities within the health care system by developing equity-based health care delivery models to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities, particularly for Black patients, starting with states in the South and Midwest. PPFA’s investments will center the health and well-being of Black women to improve the quality of care, close disparities in abortion and birth control access, and reduce the rates of cervical cancer and STIs for every community Planned Parenthood health centers serve — all things that Planned Parenthood is uniquely positioned to do.
- Not backing down from the fight. The scale of our advocacy across 50 states is massive, and PPFA and the Action Fund intend to harness that superpower by using the strength of national and local Planned Parenthood organizations across the country to mobilize supporters to protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice; building an intersectional movement; developing research-based content to reduce stigma and shift societal beliefs; and working strategically in states to rebuild the federal right to abortion. Separately, the Action Fund and PPVotes will continue to make robust investments in national and state elections, ballot initiatives, and constitutional amendments — because when abortion is on the ballot, it wins.
These expanded investments mean that PPFA and the Action Fund will prioritize what the national office must do and cut programs that we will not do. That shift in strategy and resource prioritization requires a reduction in our current workforce.
We don’t make these changes lightly. We deeply value the national office staff who have shown up and shown out for us in the darkest of times over the last months and years. We want the best for them, as we do for Planned Parenthood patients. Our process with our staff has been designed with our values in mind: responsible transparency, and prioritizing their dignity and transition support. In March, we shared the planned strategic shifts with national office staff and informed them that some of our dedicated and talented colleagues may be affected. Today we informed them that affected staff will receive notice of job loss in mid-June.
We don’t take this moment lightly. The shifting landscape requires very difficult decisions about the way forward, meaning that some of our fiercest, most incredible staff won’t continue on this journey with us. They will receive financial support and health care coverage, as well as career transition assistance.
Planned Parenthood is going to meet this moment boldly, proudly, unapologetically. We have the opportunity and obligation to put forward a new vision that better serves Planned Parenthood patients and empowers people to control their own bodies and lives. Planned Parenthood providers, staff, and the care Planned Parenthood health centers provide position us to drive toward the future we want to see. The communities we serve deserve nothing less.
After this transformation, the Planned Parenthood national office may look a little different, but we are the same Planned Parenthood that never backs down. We will fight like hell, take on tyranny, and care with all our hearts. We will restore reproductive freedom and reach our north star: health equity. No. Matter. What.
— Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America & Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Tags: Planned Parenthood