Planned Parenthood has been providing affordable reproductive healthcare, sex education, and resources since 1916. It was initially created to offer services to women, but today, Planned Parenthood helps millions of men and women in need of preventative care, primary care, contraception, abortions, STI tests and treatment, and cancer screenings in more than 650 health centers around the country. Planned Parenthood’s mission extends beyond clinic walls; representatives of the organization regularly speak to the U.S. Congress and Supreme Court to argue for policies that protect women’s rights, allow the public to access affordable contraception, and encourage sex education initiatives in schools. Planned Parenthood works with local organizations in Africa and Latin America to nurture programs that will better the lives of individuals through improved healthcare and education.
Amid threats to its livelihood, Planned Parenthood has looked for innovative, tech-savvy ways to give patients access to its services. In 2016, the organization opened a Digital Product Lab with the twin mission of launching new digital products and helping Planned Parenthood itself adapt to the digital age. The lab’s flagship product is a period-tracking app called Spot On that has been downloaded more than 1.2 million times since it launched and won a 2017 Innovation By Design Award. The same year, Planned Parenthood unveiled the results of a partnership with the design firm Ideo. Called the Planned Parenthood Experience, the project is a set of six concepts that rethink everything from how health clinic employees are trained to what it feels like to wait for medical care. In 2017, Planned Parenthood redesigned its website to be more user-friendly and gender-neutral, and to cater resources to different types of users, such as teens, parents, and educators; the organization has also piloted apps that allow people to get care, including birth control and UTI treatment, online and on their phones.
Now, with a new president at its helm—the first doctor to run the organization in nearly 50 years— Planned Parenthood remains committed to its primary mission as a healthcare provider. In 2019, Planned Parenthood debuted an AI chatbot called Roo, which is designed to empower teens with easy access to information on birth control and sexual health issues.