WASHINGTON - August 14 - A new study in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) affirms what Planned Parenthood already knew — public health clinics are providing a broader range of services to more women than ever before. From contraceptive prescriptions to preventive services like pelvic exams and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment, to pregnancy options education and abortion services, public clinics are ensuring that women are able to care for their health at every step of the way. In fact, the study found that Planned Parenthood health centers and other publicly funded providers routinely offer patients a more diverse range of these services than private clinics.
“At Planned Parenthood, we know that being healthy and safe not only means being able to get your birth control pills but also having access to important preventive services like cancer screenings, testing and treatment for STIs, and patient education,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This study clearly demonstrates that when we put public dollars into public health programs, women win.”
Nearly one-third (31 percent) of private doctors’ clients reported preventive health care that did not include important services, such as contraceptive assessment and STI screening. On the other hand, a majority of patients at publicly funded health centers did receive contraceptive, STI/HIV and/or pregnancy-related services. Put simply, clients relying on publicly funded clinics “received a broader mix of services than did clients of private providers,” says the report. The study also found that the number of women using contraception increased nearly six percent (5.7 percent) from 1995 to 2002.
As America’s health care crisis shows no signs of abating, our 47 million uninsured women, men, and teens are more in need of publicly funded health clinics than ever before. It is these health centers that provide them with the care, services, and information they need to stay healthy and to make the health care choices that are right for them.
This study tells a story: Planned Parenthood’s 877 health care centers are an important and integral part of the country’s health care delivery system, providing access to critical health services for women who have no place else to go.