It seems as if anytime I see something in the news involving Planned Parenthood, it's because either the organization itself or a woman's right to choose is under attack. You know, despite the fact that the majority of PP's services include necessary services like birth control, STI screenings, and cancer screenings. So you can imagine how refreshing it was to finally see an encouraging bit of news. Because as it turns out, Planned Parenthood's mobile app expanded its coverage after losing its Title X funding.
On Wednesday, Sept. 4, Planned Parenthood announced that it has expanded access to its mobile app, Planned Parenthood Direct, to more than half the country, Business Insider reported. This now includes 27 states and the District of Columbia, according to a news release, with access expected in all 50 states by the end of 2020. Through the Planned Parenthood Direct app, users are able to have birth control pills delivered straight to their home, get a prescription for UTI treatment sent to a pharmacy near them, learn about different methods of birth control, and make an appointment at a Planned Parenthood health center. All they need is a smart phone.
“Planned Parenthood is continually looking for new ways to reach people with the care they need, and we’re proud to be a leader in using technology and innovation to expand people’s access to health care and information,” Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a news release.
She continued, “As politicians across the country try to restrict or block access to critical reproductive and sexual health care, the Planned Parenthood Direct app is just one part of the work we do to ensure that more people can get the care they need, no matter where they are.”
In case you were wondering, the Planned Parenthood Direct app is free, and is available to download in the App Store or on Google Play. It's currently available in the following areas:
- The District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
This expansion is crucial for people in the United States who are currently struggling to find access to reproductive health care services.
Kelly Gordon, advanced practice clinician for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands, touched on this sentiment in a a news release, stating: “Planned Parenthood health centers see patients who struggle to overcome barriers to get health care, whether that’s lack of time, the distance they have to travel, difficulty finding child care, or trouble getting an appointment with a provider. Through the Planned Parenthood Direct app, we can often bypass those barriers and provide the same high-quality care that they would receive at a health center visit."
We want every patient — no matter where they are — to be able to stay healthy and reach their life goals.
News of the app's expansion comes at a time during which women's access to birth control and women's reproductive health care was recently dealt a huge blow. Just a couple weeks ago — on Aug. 19 — Planned Parenthood officially withdrew from Title X, a federal family planning program, according to The New York Times.
Planned Parenthood was forced to make the change due to a new Trump administration rule that went into effect. Under this so-called "gag rule," clinics accepting Title X funding can continue discussing abortion with patients, but they're not allowed to refer patients to an abortion provider or to share information about where to obtain an abortion, according to Politico. Instead of conforming to the change, Planned Parenthood is standing its ground to better serve its patients.
Kudos to Planned Parenthood for finding a way to reach more women who need reproductive healthcare and for its continued efforts to ensure women have access to safe and legal abortions, despite losing Title X funding.