If you’re pro-choice, are you willing to date someone who isn’t? What about hook up with them? For me, the answer is clear no. I have a hard and fast “no dating people who don’t think I have the right to bodily autonomy” rule. And now people searching for their next date, partner, or hookup on OkCupid will be able to tell who does — and doesn’t — support the right to choose. That’s because the popular online dating site has teamed up with Planned Parenthood Federation of America to create a #IStandWithPP badge that shows up on the profile of anyone who has publicly answered NO to the question “Should the government defund Planned Parenthood?”
The new badge not only shows casual browsers that you’re someone who supports the reproductive rights of American women (and others, too, because Planned Parenthood is for all genders) but will actually be integrated into the matching algorithm. That means the computers will be able to recognize the badge and take it into consideration when matching folks.
“When you answer a question on OkCupid, you have the option to make your answer public or private,” Melissa Hobley, CMO of OkCupid, tells Bustle. “Only if you publicly answered that you support Planned Parenthood, then you receive the badge automatically. If you don't want the badge on your profile, then you can mark your answer as private. We have seen an amazing response from members and they are using this as a way to make more meaningful connections with people that care about the same issues they care about.”
Traditionally, tech companies have tried to stay pretty neutral when it comes to political issues — although that’s been changing a little in recent months — so a strong endorsement of the politically embattled health care service might seem like a bold step for OkCupid to take. However, the site reports that 80 percent of OkCupid users — including 90 percent of millennial women — support Planned Parenthood.
"Like the vast majority of Americans, millennials on OkCupid want their access to health care expanded, not taken away," Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand & Experience Officer, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, tells Bustle. "They understand dating is even tougher to navigate if you don’t have access to contraception, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment. It’s fantastic that users who were already having conversations about health care and politics on social platforms like OkCupid now have an easier way of showing how important these issues are to them."
One day after announcing the badge, more than 40,000 more users answered the Planned Parenthood question, resulting in more than 200,000 users with displaying the badge. To celebrate the great response, OkCupid is matching every dollar raised up to $50,000, to be donated to Planned Parenthood.
The move has gotten some backlash on Twitter and in conservative circles. Despite the fact that it has been attacked time and time again in the political arena, Planned Parenthood actually enjoys fairly widespread support. A Quinnipiac poll found that 80 percent of voters — including 67 percent of Republicans — do not support cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, once it’s explained that federal funding can’t be used for abortions.
That last bit is an important point: Federal funding can’t be used for abortion services. That means that any reimbursements — because that’s how Planned Parenthood gets federal funding, through reimbursements after care has been given — are for other health services. Those health services include cancer screenings, birth control, emergency contraception, general health care, HIV services, men’s health services, LGBT services, STD/STI testing, and women’s services.
"We do know that a bipartisan majority of Americans support Planned Parenthood and oppose moves by politicians to 'defund' Planned Parenthood services," Laguens says. "One poll showed 80 percent of voters, including 67 percent of Republicans, support Planned Parenthood — and that’s because for over 100 years, women and families have counted on Planned Parenthood for education and health care. One in five women have come to a Planned Parenthood health center."
But abortion is still absolutely a legal, safe health care service that Planned Parenthood offers — and standing with Planned Parenthood usually means you stand for a woman's right to choose. Abortion services are, after all, the reason this health care service is constantly under attack. So looking for that that bright pink badge on the OkCupid profile of a potential match is a great way to weed out people who don’t think each person has a right to be the ultimate decision maker about their own body. Sure is easier than an awkward conversation over drinks, isn’t it?