For Planned Parenthood patients, supporters, and employees, 2017 was a year of resilience. It was a year of resisting constant attacks on Planned Parenthood’s funding - the most attacks in Planned Parenthood’s 100-year history. From the federal to the state level, lawmakers threatened Planned Parenthood’s ability to provide lifesaving cancer screenings, HIV and STD testing, and birth control. In response, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota lifted up one unwavering message to the 67,000 patients who rely on Planned Parenthood annually for care: Planned Parenthood is here for good.
That is the message that Planned Parenthood decided to ring in 2018 with: that no matter the administration, funding for Planned Parenthood is overwhelmingly popular across party lines. Americans know that Planned Parenthood provides compassionate, stigma-free health care that one in five American women will utilize in their lifetime. They know that regardless of who they are, what they look like, where they are from, or who they love—Planned Parenthood is there for them. With the support of one generous donor, the Planned Parenthood headquarters in St. Paul decided to share this message of reassurance in the form of a new billboard. Now when patients drive into the clinic, often past protesters, they are greeted with the reassuring message that “Planned Parenthood is here for good.”
But, as Planned Parenthood Minnesota President Sarah Stoesz explained, the billboard was more than a reassurance for patients and the Planned Parenthood family—it was also an act of resistance against one of the least talked about barriers to accessing reproductive health care: crisis pregnancy centers, or CPCs. The Planned Parenthood billboard replaces an advertisement for a local CPC.
CPCs are state-funded anti-abortion centers that have misrepresent themselves as legitimate medical providers, provide medically inaccurate or incomplete information, and exist solely to dissuade women from obtaining an abortion.
Stoesz explains, “Anyone seeking health care services should receive comprehensive, unbiased, medically accurate information. Women facing unintended pregnancy deserve no less. A medical provider or counselor should never try to shame someone or pressure them into making a different decision and they certainly shouldn’t use misinformation to shame or scare a person seeking health care. But that’s what these centers do.”
All Minnesotans deserve access to quality care. “We hope this billboard empowers our community to seek out the care they need to be healthy and to follow their dreams,” added Stoesz.