Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood

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Planned Parenthood is a network of health clinics, mostly in the United States focused on providing reproductive and sexual healthcare. Planned Parenthood had been controversial for the entirety of its existence, and recently has become a main focus of the abortion debate.


Planned Parenthood has a complicated history, but the first clinic that would go on to become part of Planned Parenthood was founded in Brownsville, Brooklyn, by an activist named Margaret Sanger.[1] Sanger and a partner, who were providing women with methods of birth control at the clinic, were arrested and convicted for "distributing obscene materials." While the charges were just misdemeanor, the publicity surrounding the trials brought much new attention to the cause of women's healthcare. In 1942, the clinic and others who had formed a league for cooperation, became known as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.[2]

Planned Parenthood currently has 820 affiliated clinics under president Cecile Richards. While they provide full and comprehensive health care to both men and women, they are most well-known for providing abortions, birth control, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.[3]

Online History

Most of the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood stems from their activist stance on women's healthcare, including providing abortions.[5] On several occasions, anti-choice groups like Live Action[6] and The Center for Medical Progress[7] have attempted to perform undercover stings on Planned Parenthood clinics, entering the clinics with secret cameras and filming the doctors and healthcare workers. On several occasions, the videos have become viral, causing controversy.

"Planned Parenthood Sells Parts" Controversy

The Planned Parenthood Sells Parts controversy refers to a viral video and campaign by a pro-life organization called the Center for Medical Progress wherein actors, pretending to be medical professionals, secretly filmed a discussion with a Planned Parenthood employee where the employee appears to be suggesting that Planned Parenthood sells fetal body parts it extracts in partial-birth abortions. The video caused outrage in the pro-life community, however, multiple sources have claimed that the video portrays a false situation by Planned Parenthood and thus is a hoax. Despite this many this claim that Planned Parenthood is guilty of corruption, believing that it is not a hoax and still continue to investigate.

Online Presence

Planned Parenthood has over 150,000 followers on Twitter[8] and 263,000 likes on its official Facebook[9] page. In addition, several consistent hashtags are used by Planned Parenthood supporters and detractors. For supporters, these hashtags including #IStandWithPP[10] and #StandWithPP,[11] while detractors use #DefundPP,[12] and more recently, #PPSellsBabyParts.[13] The graphs below depict the traffic in use of these hashtags from August 24nd through September 23rd, 2015, according to Topsy Analytics.[14][15]

Tweets per day #StandWithPP and #StandWithPP August 24th September 23rd 60K 50K 40K 30K 20K 10K 8/25 8/28 8/31 9/2 9/5 9/8 9/14 9/20 #StandWithPP 60,397 #StandWithPP 68,769 ANALYTICS BYTOPSY
Tweets per day: #DefundPP and #PPSellsBabyParts August 24th September 23rd 15K 12K 10K 7.5K 5K 2.5K 8/25 8/28 8/31 9/2 9/5 9/8 9/14 9/20 #DefundPP 144,680 PPSellsBabyParts 62,086 ANALYTICS BY


Since its foundation, at least nine clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood have been targeted by anti-abortion violence in the United States, including bombing, shooting, arson and chemical attacks.

  • On December 30th, 1994, abortion opponent John Salvi walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Brookline, Massachusetts and opened fire, killing receptionist Shannon Lowney and wounding three others. He then relocated to another Planned Parenthood clinic nearby, killing Leane Nichols and wounding two others. Salvi was eventually captured in Norfolk, Virginia.
  • On March 29th, 1999, Martin Uphoff approached the entrance of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and set the building on fire, causing approximately $100 worth of property damage.
  • On May 9th, 2007, an unidentified individual set fire on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • On January 22nd, 2009, Matthew L. Derosia deliberately drove his sports utility vehicle into the front entrance of a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • On April 1st, 2012: an unidentified individual planted a bomb on the windowsill of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, which resulted in a fire upon detonation and damaged one of the clinic’s examination rooms.
  • On April 11th, 2013, an unidentified individual vandalized the exteriors of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bloomington, Indiana with an axe.
  • On September 4th, 2015: an unidentified individual set a Planned Parenthood clinic in Pullman, Washington on fire; no injuries or damages were inflicted.
  • On September 30th, 2015: an arsonist or a group of arsonists broke into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Thousand Oaks, California and tried to set it on fire.
  • On October 22nd, 2015: a juvenile intruder broke into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Claremont, New Hampshire and caused extensive damages in the facilities.
  • On November 29th, 2015, Robert Lewis Dear allegedly opened fire outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado before entering the premise, where he then began a mass shooting that killed three people, including a police officer, and wounded at least nine people. After five hours of a standoff, Dear surrendered and was taken into custody.

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