Op-ed: Planned Parenthood assumes ´expert´ status on birth control, leaves kids in the dark about side effects

Planned Parenthood, the abortion conglomerate notorious for misleading and exploiting women and minors, lures teens into purchasing birth control without informing them of the consequences or side effects associated with use.  The business uses social media to get website hits that sequentially lead teens and adults to a decision about which form of birth control to purchase from Planned Parenthood without being apprised of the risks associated with each method.  Results of a sexual personality quiz conjure birth control recommendations based on a woman’s lifestyle, instead of offering her vital facts about the possibilities of stroke, blood clot, and pulmonary embolism potentially associated with her choice ahead of time.

Last month, Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards bragged about Planned Parenthood being the “Fandango” of birth control.  Fandango users buy movie tickets online based on their preference and convenience factors.  Why is Planned Parenthood treating medical decisions as a flippant decision tantamount to choosing between 3D or conventional, matinee or evening viewings of an action film?  Oddly, Richards bragged years ago– when she was less audacious about revealing Planned Parenthood’s core motive of profit, no matter what – that young people “need information to make responsible decisions about their health care decisions.”

But the façade that Planned Parenthood cares about information died with the introduction of their site’s birth control navigation features.  Here’s how the labyrinth works: First they hook the clients who just want a one-on-one consultation.  Easy enough.

The woman clicks on the link in the tweet, and is taken to a Planned Parenthood landing page replete with the stock image of a smirking health care professional (she’s smirking, so she must know more than you, right?).  Just pop in your zip code, and you’ll have access to your own personal smirking healthcare professional at a friendly neighborhood Planned Parenthood (when you go, try to disregard the putrid smell of blood from the long day of abortions the clinic has seen). 

And then there are the teenagers.  They will want as little human interaction as possible, so give them websites and online quizzes – lots of them.  Tell them what they want without making them get off of the couch.  They’ll be the quick ones who come in, ask for the method the website has already told them is best and be out the door pronto.  More clients, more revenue.  Teens are awesome for business at Planned Parenthood.

When teens access Planned Parenthood’s teen landing page, they’re greeted with: birth control, more birth control, sex, and then – almost as an afterthought – “dating, friends, and family.”  (That’s the sexual hierarchy at Planned Parenthood: sex first, relationship later… maybe.  As long as they buy birth control, who cares?)

Next you’ll take your sexual personality quiz to determine what kind of birth control is best for you.  You’ll answer profiling questions about your sex, race, age, and location.  Then you’ll reveal what’s most important to you in your birth control.  Preventing pregnancy?  Easy to keep private?  Easy to get?  (Can you tell they are marketing to kids?  We can.)

One of the options is, “No or few side effects.”  Not that Planned Parenthood will tell you what those side effects are on the website.  Next, you will be asked how familiar you are with Planned Parenthood’s top-selling contraceptive products (IUDs, vaginal rings, etc.).  Then Planned Parenthood asks whether each method “fits with how you see yourself,” whether your family would approve, and whether your boyfriend would approve of you using that method (because this is female empowerment: to make sure your boyfriend can objectify you in the exact way he wants to).

Remember how we chose “No or few side effects” when filtering our preferences?  The Mirena IUD is presented by Planned Parenthood to teens as a method that is “fairly good” (second only to “very good”) at having no or few side effects.  But the side effects that do (do!) occur with Mirena are severe.  One woman told Newsweek about how her body revolted against the Mirena, but when she told her doctor to remove it, the device was not there.  The Mirena had migrated to another part of her body, leaving a path of recurring scar tissue so severe that successive surgeries and a hysterectomy at the age of 24 have not resolved the extent of her damage.  Thousands of women have sued Bayer pharmaceutical company for lack of information about potential side-effects of the device.  

Lack of information.  Sound familiar?  Lack of information is what leads to contraceptive sales in the absence of side-effect knowledge.  Lack of information is what keeps Planned Parenthood in business.