Monday, June 12, 2017

Online Contraception Poses Threat to Planned Parenthood's Other Services

Since Planned Parenthood has issued its most recent Annual Report (2015-2016), it’s been noted that there has been a drop in their “other” services and an increase in abortion services.  One of these other services is contraception.  According to the Medical Services Data, contraception accounts for 30% of PP’s services. Going back a few years, Planned Parenthood’s 2012-2013 Annual Report reported contraception as 34% of their medical services, so the number is indeed decreasing, albeit slowly.

One of the possible reasons for this drop in contraception data may be that Planned Parenthood is now not the only game in town when it comes to “affordable” contraception. Competition is growing in the contraception marketplace.   Planned Parenthood continues to remind the world that their services are needed and that there is nowhere else to go – especially for those living in rural areas where medical facilities are limited. But that is no longer true when it comes to contraception -- there are alternatives.  One of which is Nurx, a San Francisco-based medical company that offers birth control and anti-HIV medication online -- it's easy, affordable, and safe and secure.  Nurx accepts insurance (and Medicaid for shipments to CA and NY), but also works with the uninsured to provide contraception at an affordable price.  The least cost option of a generic contraceptive through Nurx is Sprintec at $15/pack (for those without insurance).   The company currently is authorized to ship directly to the patient in 11 states and Washington DC and is looking to expand.  Another telehealth company which offers contraception via the internet is Lemonaid which ships to pharmacies for customer pick-up in 14 states and plans to add other locations in the future.  Planned Parenthood also offers online services in six states – and charges a $25 video fee for consultation. 

The point of this story is not to promote contraception – it is to highlight the fact that Planned Parenthood will not be able to continue to hide behind its claims that abortion is only a small piece of what it offers and it needs to be part of the landscape to offer these “other” services. Once that conversation is able to change, then perhaps there can be honest discussions as to what Planned Parenthood’s true identity is – that of an abortion provider.

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