I recently attended an event and heard a Planned Parenthood employee speak about ways to increase female empowerment and the tie between birth control and economic empowerment for women. Below are some birth control statistics that were presented at the event:
- If a woman is able to delay motherhood by 1 year, her earning potential increasese by 10%
- 38 million women need birth control (this is the number of women in the US that are sexually active and don't want children)
- There were 2 million unintended pregnancies in 2014
- The amount of women who became doctors and lawyers skyrocketed after the pill became available, as they were able to delay pregnancy and pursue their careers
- Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed, the percentage of women able to have a co-pay of $0 for the pill was 15%. After the ACA, it was 67%.
- Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed, the percentage of women able to have a co-pay of $0 for injectable birth control was 27%. After the ACA, it was 59%.
- Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed, the percentage of women able to have a co-pay of $0 for the birth control ring was 20%. After the ACA, it was 74%.
These statistics show the effect that access to birth control can have on women and the policy changes that can back that up. After speaking about birth control, the speaker went more into the initiatives and services that Planned Parenthood provides within Michigan. The organization offered 88,163 birth control cycles, 66,787 STI tests, and 23,215 pregnancy tests, with 54% of patients between the ages of 20-29 and 47% of patients below the poverty line. The speaker also noted that only 3% of Planned Parenthood's services were related to abortions, which is the most controversial aspect of the organization. Planned Parenthood is also the largest sex educator in the country and offer a sliding scale mayment method which is similar to a "pay what you can" policy that determines prices based off of one's income.
The speaker then went on to address current issues the organization is facing in today's political climate with the Trump Administration. Advocacy is integral to Planned Parenthood so fighting to end discriminatory Medicaid work requirement laws and advocate for Title X funding without any gag rule and Supreme Court justices who protect all rights is at the core of Planned Parenthood's policy goals. Lastly, the speaker went into ways that males can advocate for women as well. He said men should be thinking about their own behavior in different environments (workplace, classroom, etc...), acknowledge that they're going to mess up and apologize and get better, learn how to listen, and understand how sexual assault affects more than just the victim of the crime.
I'm curious to hear peoples general opinions on this. What are people's perceptions of Planned Parenthood? How is the Trump administration affecting the organization? To women, how can men be advocates of gender equality? To men, what are your opinions on this? How do you advocate for gender equality?