Planned Parenthood has been providing a range of health services to men and women for 100 years.
The clinic offers much more than abortion services, including birth control, general health care, HIV testing, LGBT services, STD testing, and men’s health care. In fact, men make up 11 percent of Planned Parenthood’s patients according its website. In 2015, nearly 650 Planned Parenthood centers served 2.4 million men, women and youth.
This is despite an effort to defund Planned Parenthoodsin the U.S. In 2015, nine states eliminated Planned Parenthood from public health programs, according to its website.
The opposition also hits home. Abigail Lorenzen is the operationsand media director for Allen County Right to Life, which coordinates the 40 Days for Life campaign in Fort Wayne.
The campaign has three pillars: prayer, presence, and community awareness. Lorenzen said the presence aspect requires participants to be present and pray in front of an abortion clinic.
She said there is at least one person praying at an abortion clinic every day during the campaign and that their presence raises awareness about the issues behind abortion.
Lorenzen said they protest in front of the Fort Wayne Planned Parenthood because although the location does not provide on-site abortions, they refer patients to other Planned Parenthoods that do. Yet according to the Planned Parenthood website, only three percent of their services nationally are abortions.
IPFW senior Sylvia Rusk, a communication and political science major from Fort Wayne, has used these other services offered at Fort Wayne’s Planned Parenthood. Rusk said she went to Planned Parenthood to get contraception after her general practitioner refused to provide her birth control based on their religious beliefs.
Rusk said she had a positive experience at Planned Parenthood, as they were informative and explained the process to her.
IPFW senior Nicole Sanders is an English and women’s studies major from Fort Wayne and is the treasurer for IPFW Generation Action, formerly IPFW Voices of Choice. They are a Planned Parenthood affiliated group that is working to educate students about reproductive health.
IPFW Generation Action hosts events such as “condoms and candy,” where they hand out contraceptives and informational pamphlets about services that Planned Parenthood provides.
Nicole said she advocates for Planned Parenthood because she had a negative experience at her family doctor after getting a pap smear when she was only 16.
“I wish I had had information about Planned Parenthood,” Sanders said. “If I was able to go there, they would have been more gentle, more understanding, and they would not have put me through a physical examination that I was not ready for.”