Giving women — and men, who are Planned Parenthood's fastest growing demographic — access to family planning helps women succeed in the workforce, the organization's president says.
However, Cecile Richards added, as Congress threatens to cut funding to organizations like Planned Parenthood, public benefits including access to birth control will force people to make other choices. The abortion rate will go up under President Donald Trump, she said.
"The single biggest reason why women can participate in our economy is because they can plan their families," Richards said during the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, on Thursday.
Although there's still a long way to go, technology is allowing health-care organizations like Planned Parenthood reach more patients. It currently sees 2.5 million patients in its offices, but treats millions more online through various means, she said.
"Most of our patients are young people," Richards said. "They are digitally native. Everything has changed."
One patient in the Arctic Circle was able to video conference with a doctor, who then had a float plane bring her a birth control device. Drones also can be used for delivering devices, Richards said.
One teen texted with Planned Parenthood employees to address a health concern, Richards said. Although her issue was solved, she asked if someone would be around later that night. Texting would allow medical professionals to stay in touch past office hours.
Technology can also help make teen pregnancy an "issue of the past" if people had access to more education and medical professionals, Richards said. However, there are other factors like geography and race that are also at play. Access to information needs to be improved, she said.
"It's a very slow moving change," she said.
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