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Repeated attacks on reproductive healthcare funding and rights are taking their toll, but Planned Parenthood is trying to help with a new app.
In the last year, the U.S. has seen dozens of coordinated political efforts by Republicans against abortion and other reproductive healthcare. The most damaging and invasive of these policy moves is the so-called “domestic gag rule” that went into effect on July 11. Under this new policy clinics which provide abortions, or even refer patients to get abortions, are ineligible for Title X funding.
Rather than withhold care or medical information from patients, Planned Parenthood chose to say goodbye to approximately $60 million in federal funding.
The organization already had a lot of people to care for and not a lot of resources, and now the situation is even direr. But this week they announced a new tool in their arsenal to help patients, the Planned Parenthood Direct app. This new app allows patients in 27 states to get birth control prescriptions, as well as medication to treat urinary tract infections. They plan to expand services to all 50 states by 2020.
“As politicians across the country try to restrict or block access to critical reproductive and sexual health care, the Planned Parenthood Direct app is just one part of the work we do to ensure that more people can get the care they need, no matter where they are,” said Planned Parenthood president Alexis McGill Johnson in a statement.
Beyond the very real concerns of political moves against reproductive care, it makes sense for them to explore telemedicine. In several states, a single Planned Parenthood location is the only clinic that offers abortion services.
“Planned Parenthood health centers see patients who struggle to overcome barriers to get healthcare, whether that’s lack of time, the distance they have to travel, difficulty finding childcare, or trouble getting an appointment with a provider,” explained Planned Parenthood clinician Kelly Gordon. “We want every patient—no matter where they are—to be able to stay healthy and reach their life goals.”
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.