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Happy Birthday, Sexual Health! Planned Parenthood is 100 years old

first-planned-parenthood-clinicx750It’s been 100 years since the first Planned Parenthood clinic was opened by women’s health advocate Margaret Sanger in Brooklyn in 1916, and that’s cause for celebration.

Originally published by ELIZABETH DALEY on The Advocate

In a century, that one clinic has multiplied into approximately 650 health centers across the country providing free or low-cost access to health services to people of all genders and sexual orientations, according to the organization.

When Sanger founded the first clinic, women didn’t even have the right to vote. Her idea was that if women controlled reproductive choices they would be able to control their lives. She asked women if they could afford to have as many children as they were having and offered options. Sanger was arrested repeatedly for distributing contraceptives and sharing public health information that is today easily Googled, but it is thanks to her work thatsexual health is a matter of national concern.

“Over the last 100 years, Planned Parenthood has played a critical role in advancing public health in this country,” said a statement from Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “For a century, their leadership and dedication to increasing access to the full range of reproductive health services has not wavered.”

The organization has been at the forefront of the fight to legalize birth control and keep abortion safe and legal. It offers sexually transmitted infected testing and treatment, condoms, and sexual health exams for all people in 50 states.

While the fight for sexual health and reproductive rights continues, it’s nice to remember how far we’ve come over the past 100 years, so Happy Birthday, Planned Parenthood!

ELIZABETH DALEY is an Advocate contributor covering feminism and other issues. 

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