When Planned Parenthood makes headlines, it's typically for issues related to women's reproductive health — but it's always important to keep in mind that there's more to the national health organization than just abortion. A look into some of the other important health services offered by the organization — like Planned Parenthood's hormone replacement therapy service for transgender patients — prove Planned Parenthood stands for more than just women's reproductive rights.
Planned Parenthood centers around the country are looking to further boost the healthcare services currently offered to transgender patients, including hormone replacement therapy, a common (and vital) treatment for patients looking to transition.
"Transgender people, like everyone else, have a fundamental need for quality healthcare, and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect," Eric Ferrero, the organization's now-former vice president of communication, told Teen Vogue. "The unfortunate reality is that not all healthcare providers have knowledge and understanding of transgender identities, so transgender and gender nonconforming people can encounter numerous obstacles to obtaining health care."
Planned Parenthood is helping to change that by making sure the underserved trans community has easy access to important health services.
"We offer preventive sexual health care services as well as hormone therapy for transgender women and men," the Planned Parenthood website states. "Patients under our care receive a written prescription for hormones which they fill at a pharmacy." However, Planned Parenthood is careful to state it does not directly provide hormones to patients, who must be 18 years or older, and not all centers currently offer hormone replacement therapy.
However, despite recent claims by Fox News, Planned Parenthood's hormone replacement therapy isn't a new service for transgender patients. According to Planned Parenthood's official Tumblr, about 32 of the organization's health centers have been offering transgender patients hormone replacement therapy for at least a year.
In January, Ferrero confirmed to Slate that at least 26 Planned Parenthood locations were offering the service. According to Ferrero, the number of affiliates providing hormone replacement therapy is expected to increase. Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette near Portland, Oregon, recently began offering the service in March.
In its report, Fox News seemed to imply Planned Parenthood was using hormone replacement therapy as something that might "enable the organization to make up the lost cash" now that it no longer accepted reimbursements for fetal-tissue donation costs. But as Planned Parenthood has been offering hormone therapy at some health centers long before it voluntarily opted to stop taking reimbursements the news organization's claim seems far fetched. Furthermore, Media Matters found Planned Parenthood's annual report showed hormone therapy added up to less than 1 percent of the organization's 9.5 million services.
Are conservatives looking for a new reason to target Planned Parenthood following a grand jury's indictment of the anti-abortion activists responsible for the undercover videos? Defunding Planned Parenthood has certainly been a hot topic for conservatives in Congress in recent years with both the House and Senate voting on seven separate bills aimed at pulling federal funding from the national health organization in 2015 alone. Will vital transgender health services become conservatives' next target in the battle to defund Planned Parenthood?