From birth control to cancer screenings, Planned Parenthood health centers offer a wide range of reproductive health care services. Many of these health centers, as brick and mortar physical locations, are landmarks of acceptance and anti-bias within their neighborhoods, towns and communities, just as they are targets for anti-abortion and anti-woman protesters.
While the protests outside health centers can range from dismaying to frightening, often the community support for Planned Parenthood outnumbers the detractors – in more ways than one.
At a Washington health center, the manager described a surprising display of support: “...A delightful human walked into our health center... She said she was driving by and saw protesters and it angered her. She pulled into the parking lot, got out of her car, handed me her credit card and said she wanted make a donation. Thinking it would be for $20 or maybe $50, I brought up the screen, but when I asked her how much - she said $500! We graciously accepted and thanked her for her generosity and support.”
Rather than being a unique occurrence, anti-choice protests outside of Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health care clinics are unfortunately common. The silver lining is that the visible obstruction, harassment and sometimes vandalism spurs some of our supporters to come inside the health center and donate.
Because health centers are a common point of contact for Planned Parenthood supporters (who are often also patients), accepting donations within health centers has become a refined and cohesive process.
In fact, patients donate on a regular basis. While non-patient supporters give dozens of gifts a month within health centers, PPGNHAIK accepts over 9,000 patient donations a year - ranging from a few cents added to an exam bill, to several hundred dollars.
“Every patient is asked to give a donation as part of their bill when they check out. It treats everyone equally, gives everyone the opportunity to support, and it’s no big deal if they say no,” said Caleb Kay, PPGNHAIK Development Officer.
Puyallup Health Center Manager Kimberly Ross agreed: “We ask everyone consistently. Because we are so consistent, people have come to expect it and often have their donation ready with an amount in mind before we ask. And for those who don’t donate that day, they know it’s okay and nothing bad happens. Everyone is treated the same!”
Ross had her own uplifting patient donation story to share: “We had a patient who had a preventative visit and first HPV vaccine that day. At the end of her visit, she decided to donate the cost of a preventative visit and vaccine for another patient who might not be able to afford it... that very same day, a new patient came to us with that need.”
Eduardo Ramirez, White Center Health Center Manager, echoed Ross’ tactics and attitude towards patient gifts. “We just treat everyone equally, meaning we ask everybody, insured and uninsured.”
Ramirez asserted that his staff focuses on gratitude towards patients, and humbly asserted his health center was not doing “anything special.” However, in some months, patients at White Center have donated over $4,000.
Across the PPGNHAIK affiliate’s six states, there have been some huge shows of community support towards Planned Parenthood health centers this past year, including in Bloomington, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis-Midtown, Louisville, Lexington, Honolulu, Boise, Meridian, Twin Falls, Soldotna, Anchorage, University District, Everett, Port Angeles, Bellevue, Marysville, and Olympia health centers.
“It shows how much support there is for Planned Parenthood,” said Sharon Dudash, Executive Vice President of Patient Services at PPGNHAIK. “Patients give because they see our mission in action, directly, when they come [to the health center].”
Health center giving is one of the many ways to support Planned Parenthood.
It’s easy to make a donation in a Planned Parenthood health center within the PPGNHAIK affiliate. All you need to do is inform the front desk staff person — you will be directed through the process, will be provided with a temporary receipt, and a formal paper receipt will be sent to you through the mail.
Security and Safety Director George Collins reminds our supporters to refrain from engaging with protestors outside health centers. “Do not engage with protesters. The most effective way to discourage them is to ignore them completely.”
You can find your closest Planned Parenthood health center via our web site, or support us online anytime!