5 Planned Parenthood services that aren't the least bit controversial

For some people, when they hear the name Planned Parenthood, the first thing that comes to mind is abortion. But that's not all Planned Parenthood does.

Every few years or so, in their fight against reproductive rights, activists refocus on Planned Parenthood as enemy #1. People who are against abortion hold it up as the representation of all that is wrong with America: "An entire medical practice set up to give women abortions! They must be stopped!" But what most of them don't admit is this really important fact:

Only a measly 3% of their Planned Parenthood services are actually abortion-related.

Do they know that? Did you know that? Well, in an effort to combat the "big bad abortion wolf" narrative, here are five facts you should know about what Planned Parenthood really does:


1. In 2013, Planned Parenthood performed half a million breast exams.

Image via Thinkstock.

Breast exams are crucial for early cancer detection. Not only does Planned Parenthood offer affordable exams, they make sure patients know how to do self-exams between screenings.

2. In 2013, Planned Parenthood performed 400,000 pap tests.

While the pap smear won't tell you if you have cervical cancer, it can detect pre-cancerous cells. Basically, if there's anything sketchy going on in your cervix, the pap smear tells your doctor so you can figure out the best way to handle it. For people who don't have insurance or need more affordable health care options, Planned Parenthood is their first stop for preventive and reproductive health care like pap smears.

3. Planned Parenthood helps prevent over half a million pregnancies every year.

Image via Thinkstock.

If you're not ready for parenthood but abstinence isn't your style, safe sex is your best bet. Luckily, Planned Parenthood offers free and affordable birth-control options like the pill, the patch, IUDs, and condoms — in addition to emergency contraception like Plan B. And while some people have incorrectly dubbed Plan B an "abortion pill," it actually just prevents conception — it doesn't terminate pregnancy. Think of Plan B as as a soccer goalie who goes in and blocks the sperm from ever getting to the egg. Yay sports analogies!

No pregnancy for me, thank you!

4. In 2013, Planned Parenthood provided nearly 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

When we talk about safe sex, pregnancy prevention is often the main focus, as if that's the only consequence of doing the deed. But sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are something we all have to consider. Condoms are a great way to prevent STIs, but sadly they don't always get the job done. That's why it's great that Planned Parenthood offers affordable STI testing and treatment options. More people who are aware of their STI status and get treatment means more happy and healthy sexual partners to go around. That's pretty much a win for everyone.

5. Planned Parenthood encourages patients to explore all their options, not just abortion. That includes adoption and parenthood.

Image via Thinkstock.

While abortion is one way to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, that doesn't mean it's the right choice for everyone. Planned Parenthood is about helping teens and adults make smart and healthy choices, not forcing people into doing things they aren't comfortable with.

When it comes to dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, adoption and parenthood are worth considering too. Whether it's online or in person, Planned Parenthood helps women who are considering all options, including adoption or parenthood.

There are millions of people who rely on Planned Parenthood for all kinds of important health care services.

Whether you're pro-life or pro-choice, I hope we can all agree to be pro-health. Right now, anti-abortion activists are pushing to defund Planned Parenthood, which would keep people from accessing health care like cancer screenings, HIV tests, and more.

If you think it's important that these kinds of free and low-cost services remain available, let Congress know you support Planned Parenthood by signing the "I Stand With Planned Parenthood" petition.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture