Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood should be spending 2017 celebrating the organization’s 100th anniversary. Instead, it is focused on fighting for its very survival in a new political climate. While this isn’t the first time it has had to do so, the threat to its existence is very real. Which is why we felt it was an important time to turn the spotlight towards the organization, and remind everyone of the job they do.

Kate Moynihan, the VP of Development at Planned Parenthood Northern California was good enough to answer a few questions for us.

Give us a brief overview of Planned Parenthood Northern California specifically: the services you offer, the region you cover, etc.

At Planned Parenthood Northern California, we are guided by a vision—a world where sexual and reproductive rights are basic human rights, where access to health care doesn’t depend on who you are or where you live, and where everyone can live freely from discrimination in all forms.

It’s been 100 years since the first Planned Parenthood health center opened and we have learned a lot over the past century. We’ve been around since before birth control existed or was legal and widely accessible. We are experts in our field. We know how to provide excellent health care, we know how to teach and tackle sensitive topics with integrity and rigor, and we know how to protect access to our care from dangerous political and legislative attacks.

We have made a difference in the way people of all backgrounds live, love, and learn since the first Planned Parenthood health center opened its doors in Brooklyn, in 1916, the Maternal Health Center was established in San Francisco in 1929, and Marin opened a center in 1930.

We continue to innovate at 23 locations serving people from 20 counties in Northern California. We offer essential services like birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment. We also offer behavioral health services, hormone therapy for gender transition, PrEP and PEP to prevent HIV infection, vasectomy and pre-natal services in some locations. We are proud to offer safe, legal abortion care.

Ppnorcal Services
PP Norcal - Breakdown of services

Paint a picture for us of who you most frequently serve. If they didn’t have PPNorCal, what would be their alternative? 

We see 155,000 clients each year at Planned Parenthood Northern California. Women, men, transgender and gender non-conforming people; young people and older people; insured and uninsured people and patients from all walks of life who come to visit us from urban, suburban and rural communities in the 20 counties we serve from San Francisco to Del Norte County on the Oregon border.

Our doors are open to all people. For many of our patients, we are the only health care provider they will see in a year. An estimated 1 in 5 women rely on Planned Parenthood at some point in their lives; 850,000 people across California come to us every year for health care.

Exam Room
Patient in exam room
For many of our patients, we are the only health care provider they will see in a year.

More than 90% of the clients we see every day live on incomes near or below the federal poverty level. Many others, including those with health insurance, count on us for reproductive health care they cannot find anywhere else. California’s appalling Medi-Cal reimbursement rate for providers – 49th lowest in the nation – means people who rely on public insurance struggle to find providers who can afford to give them the quality reproductive health care they need and deserve.

Before the Affordable Care Act was enacted, so many of our patients were uninsured. Many now are Medi-Cal beneficiaries (California’s version of Medicaid), yet very few providers accept this insurance—leaving many of our patients unable to access sensitive, high-quality services anywhere else. 

We are the only medical provider for many people including those with low incomes, people in rural areas and people who seek out confidential care for whatever reason.

We cannot emphasize this enough: our patients don’t come to us to make a political statement. They come because they need high-quality, affordable health care, and that is what we provide.

Ppnor Cal Map

Planned Parenthood is a large national organization, with hundreds of local chapters. Can you explain the funding model?

A gift to Planned Parenthood Northern California provides local services to people across our 20 counties from San Francisco to the Oregon border. That means that 100% of any donation is directed to health and community services, as well as essential education — right here, in Northern California.

Gifts to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America are split 50/50, meaning that 50% of your gift will support health services, community service and education here in Northern California, and 50% of your gift will also support national advocacy and education efforts.

Ppnorcal  Map

What is your chapter focused on right now?

Real estate and reproductive health may not seem linked at first, but we face pressure to continue to meet the demand for our services and to provide our patients with the dignified and private health care experience they deserve.

Our largest health center on Valencia Street in the Mission District of San Francisco is also the most cramped and it does not have a private entrance. Without a private entrance, we cannot shield our clients and staff from the most visible and threatening protesters at any of our health care sites.

To honor our past and secure our future, we hope to establish a flagship building in San Francisco. We want to create a state-of-the-art headquarters for all Planned Parenthood Northern California, a home for our movement that will better serve the unique health care needs of city residents.

Our new building will give us the space and flexibility to establish a true beacon for sexual and reproductive health, rights, justice, and innovation. We will continue to convene thought partners, community groups, supporters, and researchers from our entire service area—all the participants needed to set a bold agenda for health care, education, and policy for the next century.

Planned Parenthood San Francisco
Planned Parenthood, Valencia St. San Francisco

Photo credit: Carly Nairn, Misson Local

What are the bright spots? What’s keeping everyone motivated?

On March 24, President Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives tried to pass the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. Moments before the House vote was slated to take place, President Trump canceled the vote on the bill to “defund” Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

This terrible bill was slated to gut maternity care, force new moms with Medicaid coverage back to work shortly after giving birth, and block patients from getting preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers.

The incredible support of the Planned Parenthood community made all the difference in stopping this dangerous bill. Our patients and supporters and their families stood up to march, speak out, and make calls.

It was an historic example that proved that when Planned Parenthood supporters take collective action, they simply can’t be stopped. Our voices together were loud enough to drown out anti-woman politicians—and we’ll remember that day for many years to come.

The defeat of “Trumpcare” was a major victory for our patients, supporters and all of us who work to provide expert and compassionate health care to all who need it. We must remain alert and the fight is far from over but for now, we are glad to celebrate each other and our continued commitment to defending and preserving essential health care services.

What should people know about Planned Parenthood that they might not?

Many people are aware of the role Planned Parenthood plays in providing birth control and STD testing and treatment services – but they often don’t know the significant role we play in preventing and detecting cancer. Planned Parenthood Northern California provided 9,785 breast exams in 2016 – 377 of those breast exams were positive for an abnormality. We also carried out 11,969 cervical cancer screenings and advocate every day to ensure that all people in our service area can continue to receive essential care they need even if they face economic barriers.

We also offer infertility services at all of our full-service health centers, including centers in Marin County. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infertility is a common problem in the United States: “About 6% of married women 15–44 years of age in the United States are unable to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sex (infertility).

Also, about 12% of women 15–44 years of age in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, regardless of marital status (impaired fecundity).”

Additionally, within the U.S. and internationally, economic, racial, and geographic disparities exist in access to infertility care. In order to meet this need in our communities, we have refreshed key protocols, hosted a speaker on infertility for clinicians, and prepared referral resources for additional and follow-up care when needed.


Give me the best ways that donors can get involved.

Continue to give generously, to fortify the work we’re already doing to keep our doors open, and to strengthen our impact – giving voice to the women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and all who depend on us for care. Many supporters have been putting Planned Parenthood Northern California in their estate plans, to ensure a lasting legacy. Join our email list, to be the first to learn about breaking news and how you can be more involved. And consider joining the email list of our sister organization, the Planned Parenthood Northern California Action Fund, to deepen your involvement in political action and advocacy.

For more information, contact your MCF philanthropic advisor or Planned Parenthood of Northern California at

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Planned Parenthood Northern California Acts of Courage Event 2017