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We are celebrating Planned Parenthood’s 100th Anniversary year with events across the country including a local celebration on Monday, October 17, 2016. At the event held earlier today, Planned Parenthood staff from our region dressed in costumes representing people from each of the last 10 decades who strived to gain reproductive health care and equal rights. The celebration included a giant cake in the shape of a birth control pill pack to commemorate the profound advancements birth control has had in the lives of women, men and families over the last 100 years.

Planned Parenthood has transformed women’s health and empowered millions of people worldwide to make informed health care decisions, forever changing the way they live, love, learn and work. From a single clinic in Brooklyn that opened its doors in 1916, Planned Parenthood has now grown to approximately 650 health centers across the country and is part of the fabric of American society in all 50 states. Planned Parenthood began its work in San Diego in 1963 as an informational booth in Balboa Park founded by an Episcopal reverend. We now have 12 health centers in San Diego County and serve about 100,000 people each year.

“We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us,” said Darrah DiGiorgio Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. “But don’t think for a second that we’re done making history. We're launching our second century with as much passion, courage and conviction as we did the first.”

Founded on the revolutionary idea that women should have the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives, Planned Parenthood has helped women and families fulfill their dreams.

“It’s remarkable to think that women now have opportunities that were unimaginable in 1916,” said Tracy Skaddan, general counsel for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. “Today women are nearly half the workforce and more than half of college students. They’re in every major profession and job category in the United States — serving in our military and in law enforcement, practicing medicine and law, in education and major corporations, in professional sports and managerial positions. Here in San Diego County we feel incredibly honored to be part of this progress.”

For the past 100 years, Planned Parenthood has been at the forefront of epic fights to create and expand opportunities for women – legalizing birth control, ensuring the availability of safe and legal abortion, and getting women covered for preventive care and birth control under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“I look forward to the next 100 years of courage, compassion, and strength Planned Parenthood will bring to San Diego County,” said Medical Director Sierra Washington, MD. “We have done tremendous work here, and we have just gotten started.”

“Our partners in the reproductive health, rights, and justice community have been a great asset to us in the last 100 years, and we know those relationships will only make us stronger in the future,” said Nora Vargas, vice president of Community and Government Relations. “We have done tremendous work here, and we are just getting started.”

Background on Planned Parenthood’s Centennial

  • 1916: America’s first birth control clinic opens. Margaret Sanger — together with her sister Ethel Byrne and fellow activist Fania Mindell — opens a birth control clinic in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Nine days later, police raided the clinic and shut it down. Less than a month after opening their storefront, all three women were charged with crimes related to sharing birth control information. Sanger refused to pay the fine, instead spending 30 days in prison, where she shared birth control information with other inmates. Today, there are approximately 650 Planned Parenthood health centers across the country and 99 percent of sexually active women have used birth control at some point in their lives.
  • 1963: Episcopal Reverent Arthur G. Elcombe opens a Planned Parenthood informational both in Balboa Park. The effort to provide sexual and reproductive information, education, and health care expanded over the years. Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest now serves about 140,000 people each year and provides information and education to more than 60,000 people in San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties.
  • 1970: Planned Parenthood of Syracuse, New York, becomes the first affiliate in the nation to provide legal abortion after New York state, following the lead of Hawaii, repealed its state law criminalizing abortion. Today, abortion is one of the safest medical procedures and nearly 1 in 3 women will have an abortion at some point in their lifetime.
  • 1971: Planned Parenthood’s international work begins with a grant to improve reproductive health care around the world. Today, 1 million individuals are reached with information and services by more than 100 Planned Parenthood Global partners in 12 countries across Africa and Latin America in a single year.
  • 1979: Planned Parenthood develops its National Education program to ensure teens had access to medically accurate information and confidential health care services. Today, 1.5 million young people and adults are reached through Planned Parenthood’s educational programs and outreach in a single year.
  • 1989: Planned Parenthood Action Fund is established to engage in public education campaigns, grassroots organizing, legislative and electoral advocacy. Today, Planned Parenthood has nine million activists, supporters, and donors working to protect sexual and reproductive health, safety and fundamental rights.
  • 1996: Planned Parenthood Federation of America launches plannedparenthood.org. Today, 72 million people visit Planned Parenthood online for sexual and reproductive health information in a single year.
  • 2000: Planned Parenthood establishes its first campus group to organize students around reproductive health and rights. Today, Planned Parenthood organizations work with more than 275 campus groups to help build the healthiest generation ever.

Learn more about Planned Parenthood’s services.