More than an abortion clinic

Fabiana Correa, Contributing Writer

Let’s talk Planned Parenthood. Since its founding in 1916, Planned Parenthood has been at the forefront of the discourse surrounding abortion. Although, historically, it was not the sole provider of abortion services in America, landmark Supreme Court cases — such as Planned Parenthood v. Casey — and media have painted the organization as such in the public eye. This is only one of the many misconceptions that question the mission of this non-profit organization. 

Planned Parenthood describes their mission as “[ensuring that] all people have access to the care and resources they need to make informed decisions about their bodies, their lives and their futures.” They have worked to fulfill their purpose by acting as health care providers, educators and advocates for thousands of communities across the globe. It’s very simple to engage in discussions over political differences without ever reaching a common ground. Regardless of your personal position, it’s likely to get carried away in these seemingly endless debates. After all, you are not the person in the hypothetical situation who is facing an incredibly tough decision to make, and you are also not the person in the field supporting these people during a difficult time. That is Planned Parenthood: the pillar for the very real individuals who are seeking help. Just as we applauded essential workers, doctors and nurses during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we should also applaud physicians, nurses, staff and clinic defenders at every Planned Parenthood across the nation for over one hundred years of providing substantial services to the United States and the world. 

However, as previously stated, Planned Parenthood offers much more than abortions. 

As UTSA opens more in-person classes and events, I find it important to inform my fellow ‘Runners of some of the services that Planned Parenthood can provide for us all. The most widely used medical services at Planned Parenthood are STI testing and treatment. Doctors recommend individuals who are sexually active to get tested at least once a year; Planned Parenthood offers free to low-cost testing services, treatment and vaccinations for individuals who fit into this category. Members of the LGBTQ+ community mention how important this service is for them: “I am a gay man. Planned Parenthood has provided me easy and safe access to STD testing, as well as PrEP to keep myself safe” (Anonymous). Additionally, transgender individuals can receive counseling and guidance to begin their transition process. Some Planned Parenthood locations offer Hormone Replacement Therapy; in San Antonio, the Planned Parenthood – South Texas Medical Center clinic is a great option for students who live close to campus. 

Planned Parenthood also offers various methods of birth control, such as implants, IUDs, condoms, pills, vasectomies and more. Additionally, they have healthcare professionals on staff that will guide you through the process of picking out which method is the best fit for your needs. For any individual over 18-years-old, the organization offers emergency contraception products on a walk-in basis, or you may purchase them in any quantity to keep in your home. Another incredibly important service they provide is cancer screenings and prevention for people who may be at risk of ovarian or breast cancer. 

Lastly, Planned Parenthood does provide abortion services in states where they are legal. However, as many of us may already know, Governor Greg Abbott has outlawed abortion procedures for pregnancies as early as six weeks. If you find yourself needing an abortion, but are located in Texas, Planned Parenthood has virtual and in-person appointments with healthcare providers who will help you exercise your right to privacy in choosing to receive an abortion by referring you to other clinics or doctors who may be able to do this procedure. There are also amazing clinic defenders at almost every location. They have volunteered to safely escort you away from protesters into the clinic. 

Planned Parenthood prides itself on being the nation’s largest provider of sex education. They have made information about consent, gender identity, emergency contraception, sexual relations, sexuality and pregnancy easily accessible by providing resources for parents and educators to pass on the knowledge. The role of Planned Parenthood in the community is crucial to the goal of destigmatizing the natural processes and needs of the human body, as well as establishing the importance of bodily autonomy.