We cannot compete with Planned Parenthood.
It's time we admit that.
There are thousands of pro-life groups who are doing great things individually and offering pieces of what PP does, but I've yet to come across one nationwide entity that is offering comparable services, sans abortion.
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are the closest thing we have to that, and let's be honest, they're more like the DMV than PP. So if a woman does not have a strong conviction against going to an abortion provider for her healthcare she is going to pick Planned Parenthood every time. She can schedule an appointment there, get all of her well woman services in one place, and get in and out in a timely manner.
I can hardly blame women for being defensive when we talk about taking that away, without replacing it with something better.
That said, I wonder what would happen if we stopped putting all of our efforts into "defunding" Planned Parenthood and instead started actively working to create an alternative. Pregnancy Centers are great resources for PREGNANT women, but guess what, women still need healthcare even when they're not pregnant. And letting uninsured, low income women go without annual breast exams and cervical screenings is not pro-life.
I say this as an uninsured woman myself. I've been able to experience this lack of options first hand.
However, I'm not one to complain about a problem without offering a solution. And it's worth noting that it took Planned Parenthood 100 years and millions of dollars in blood money to create the monopoly they currently have on women's "healthcare."
Pro-life outreach usually COSTS us money, so we're going to have to get creative. The services already exist, the main thing we're missing is the network that links these resources together.
Five years ago I felt called to start an app that would help uninsured and underinsured women find healthcare.
It would be similar to "Around Me," but instead of showing you nearby bars and coffee shops, it would drop pins for Maternity Homes, Pregnancy Resource Centers, Pro-life Doctors who offer free/low cost services, FQHC, WIC offices, Free Sonograms, etc.
The fact that this type of app doesn't already exist honestly blows my mind, and as a movement we should be ashamed that we haven't created it yet.
THIS is how we take down Planned Parenthood. We offer COMPARABLE alternatives through a vast network of pro-life resources, in turn giving women real options and practical support.
It would not be as easy as "Around Me" since we couldn't simply hook it up to a Google algorithm. The resources would have to be vetted, up-to-date, and entered into the network manually in order to guarantee that they are all life-affirming facilities. But it could be done if different pro-life groups adopted cities or states and committed to do this for the women and unborn children (and born children!) in their communities.
Most sidewalk counselors already have this information gathered. It's usually in a big, bulky box that they haul around when offering alternatives outside of the clinics. But could you imagine being able to offer those same resources to women not just at the clinic, and from the palm of your hand?
For me this is personal because I encountered a young woman 3-years-ago and wasn't able to help. I had already had this idea when I found myself in a Walmart bathroom, washing my daughter's hands over the sink. I looked up into the mirror and noticed an empty pregnancy test box on the floor of the stall behind us.
You aren't in a good place when you're taking a pregnancy test in a Walmart bathroom. I knew I could help her but I didn't know how to without invading her privacy. I knew what the resources in my area were but I didn't know how to get them to this complete stranger locked in the stall behind me, without crossing quite a few boundaries.
Could you imagine if I had a simple business card that read, "Help Assist Her - Women's Healthcare Resources In The Palm Of Your Hand" that I could've slipped under the stall door?
I can, because I imagine it quite frequently. Such a simple act could've saved a life. I don't know whatever happened to that woman or her child, but I want to make this app for her and all of the women like her that we could reach.
I don't know how this is going to happen, but I know there are enough of us here who are sick and tired of being against Planned Parenthood and are ready to be FOR something better.
So if you think you can help, or know someone who could, please contact us. It's high time that Help Assist Her became a reality.