What’s in a name?

Dear ______,

For many decades (almost a century in fact), you have been a game changer for women by empowering them to make choices regarding when and if to start a family. You have provided access to cervical cancer screenings as well as offer a plethora of other reproductive health services. What started as a place where women could obtain birth control has grown so that today, you are a vital resource –  – sometimes the only one depending on the community – –  for women and men who need STD and HIV screening/testing and treatment. You provide much-needed sexuality education to teens and young adults through your evidence-based curriculum.

I’m talking about you, Planned Parenthood. You have been in the news a great deal the past month – negative publicity so extreme that it threatens to shut down the federal government in the near future.  This isn’t the first time you have been the subject of negative media attention. Historically, there have been many adversarial groups and individuals who believe that Planned Parenthood is evil.  Such folks tend to share the same views on sex outside of marriage, use of birth control, homosexuality and pregnancy termination.

It’s time for you to consider a new name, Planned Parenthood.  On the one hand, your current appellation is steeped in historical milestones that we shall always remember. The work of Margaret Sanger and her colleagues opened doors for so many women whose opportunities would have otherwise been quite limited. On the other hand, your name reflects only a small percentage of all that you do.  It does not capture the critical access you offer to hundreds of thousands of individuals who might not have a means to obtain health care. You are in communities all over the USA providing affordable health services and health education.

Re-brand.  Don’t change your mission; don’t diminish your accessibility, nor your affordability.  Simply consider a new moniker.  One that reflects more accurately all that you do.  Maybe a fresh name will help announce to the world how critical your role is in the preservation of health for women and men everywhere.