The Mother's Health Association was founded in 1932 in Columbus, Ohio. This clinic was founded by nine concerned Columbus women. The administration building we occupy today at 206 East State Street is named in the memory of Hattie Lazarus, one of the founders. These women saw a need to assist financially deprived women in getting contraceptives.
When the first clinic opened, it was staffed by one female doctor and volunteers.
The name of the clinic changed to Planned Parenthood Association of Columbus when it became affiliated with the state and national organizations. In order to have the title of "Planned Parenthood," the agency has to meet very strict medical and educational standards set by Planned Parenthood Federation. This affiliation also gives us legislative assistance and ties the agency in with family planning throughout the world. We have international connections because the Federation works in conjunction with the International Planned Parenthood.
World War II
During World War II, birth control received added emphasis as many women left their domestic roles and assumed various factory jobs in order to aid the war effort. Planned Parenthood responded by making its services available to these as well as to low-income women.
Oral contraceptives and IUDs stimulated much public interest in the early 1960s. In 1965 the Ohio Legislature removed birth control from the obscenity statutes and it became legal to discuss the subject. Closely following the passage of H.B. 120 (the legislation that repealed the Comstock Law in Ohio), Planned Parenthood began to decentralize and increase its services at the request of the community. The agency received its first federal grant in 1968 through the Office of Economic Opportunity.
Many landmark developments occurred in the 1970s. In 1970, Congress enacted Title X, which provided funding for family planning, education, and research. Also in 1970, New York enacted the most liberal abortion law, permitting abortion through the 24th week if performed by a licensed physician. In 1973, Roe v. Wade was decided, saying that the constitutional right to privacy extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion.
In 1975, our name was changed to Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio.
During the 1970s, Planned Parenthood continued to expand in size, services, and program area (the counties Franklin, Delaware, Madison, Marion, Pickaway, and Union).
The 1980s were a decade of tremendous growth for Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio, including in the realm of education. The first of several Teen Centers opened, educating our young people on a broad range of topics, including sexuality, prevention of teen pregnancy, and more. Also in the 1980s, PPCO added AIDS prevention education. In 1986, a major capital campaign was conducted to support opening a new Center, endowment, equipment, and building renovations. The goal was $1.1 million; final totals surpassed $1.2 million. The new Center opened the following year.
In February of 1991, the South Grant Avenue Clinic was firebombed, causing extensive damage. Also that year, Project Link, PPCO's comprehensive sexuality education program, was temporarily suspended from five Columbus schools despite widespread support. Ninety percent of parents had enrolled their children in this program, yet a small anti-abortion minority was able to force its removal. Despite these setbacks, PPCO opened several new Centers in the 1990s and added new services, including Depo-Provera.