African Americans for Planned Parenthood

In communities across the country, African-American women are joining with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund to advance women’s reproductive health and rights, elect candidates who support reproductive justice at every level and pass laws and policies that protect women's health.

When it comes to health care, including reproductive health care, African-American women are at  great risk. We often lack health coverage, do not have access to health care providers, and face health problems that are tied to the legacy of racism. Reproductive justice is our cause and the cause of the Action Fund. 

  • In 2009, 15 percent of Planned Parenthood patients were African Americans — more than 400,000 people.
  • Between 2000 and 2009, the number of African-American patients increased by 29 percent, with a 225 percent increase in African-American male clients.
  • Every year, Planned Parenthood affiliates provide family planning counseling and contraception to nearly 2.5 million patients, including more than 287,000 African-American women in 2009.

Now it is especially critical that African Americans remain informed and involved in the decisions our federal and state representatives are making. We have seen the election of numerous extremists who share an agenda to outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. Many of these radical opponents of women’s health and rights will not stop there — they also want to completely repeal the historic health care reform law that promises to provide millions of Americans with access to affordable care.  This would result in the elimination of vital affordable health care from many African-American communities.

Right now the U.S. House of Representatives and a number of state legislatures are pushing extreme measures to gut the nation’s family planning program, exclude Planned Parenthood from all federal initiatives, and restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortion – even in cases of rape and incest. Many of these radical opponents of women’s health and rights also want to repeal the historic health care reform law that President Obama signed into law in 2010.

In a recent congressional debate on the effort to restrict women’s health care, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) described what Planned Parenthood has meant to the African American community and urged her colleagues to stand up for affordable care.

Watch her speech:

Sexual and Reproductive Health Disparities  
African Americans experience higher rates of reproductive cancers, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections than most other groups of Americans.


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Find opportunities to get involved both online and locally!




African Americans Support Affordable Birth Control
Birth Control Matters is Planned Parenthood’s effort to make prescription birth control available without co-pays under the new health care law. 

African American News and Views

African-American reproductive health issues in the media. 


Sexual and Reproductive Health Disparities

African Americans face greater obstacles to obtaining sexual and reproductive health services than non-Hispanic white Americans. As a result, they experience higher rates of reproductive cancers, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections. Moreover, African-American patients are often diagnosed later than others with the same health problems, and have less access to high-quality care, resulting in higher death rates from the same diseases.

  • Although African Americans make up only 13.6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 50.3 percent of all diagnosed cases of HIV.
  • African Americans are nearly nine times as likely as whites to be diagnosed with chlamydia, 20 times as likely to be diagnosed with gonorrhea, and nearly eight times as likely to be diagnosed with syphilis.
  • African-American women have almost three times the unintended pregnancy rate of white women, and as a result, also have higher rates of abortion.
  • African-American teens aged 15–19 have higher rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion than non-Hispanic white teens.
  • Among women diagnosed with breast and cervical cancers, African-American women are most likely to die from the disease.

African Americans Support Affordable Birth Control

Taking the cost out of the equation evens the playing field: it’s not going to encourage women who don’t need it to run out and get it, but some woman who couldn’t otherwise afford it maybe now will use it.”  – Young African-American woman, Baltimore

African-American women are more likely to be uninsured or under-insured than white women, and are often forced to delay care because they lack the resources to pay for it. In 2009, 23 percent of African Americans were uninsured, compared to 14 percent of whites, and 26 percent of African-American women were uninsured. 

As part of the health care reform law that Congress passed last spring, new health insurance plans will be required to fully cover women’s preventive health care services. The law explicitly includes mammograms and Pap tests as services that would now be provided to patients without co-pays and other out-of-pocket fees, but prescription birth control was not included. It is now up to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to define the full list of services that will be covered under women’s preventive care. HHS should make a determination this summer.

Out-of-pocket costs for birth control can be very expensive, and can result in women using birth control inconsistently or not at all.  Co-pays for birth control pills typically range between $15 and $50 per month, and for other methods, such as IUDs, co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses can reach into the hundreds of dollars. This new policy would help all women and it would be of special help to African-American women, whose incomes are on average lower and who are disproportionately affected by existing health care disparities.  

Birth Control Matters is Planned Parenthood’s effort to make prescription birth control available without co-pays under the new health care law, so women will be able to choose the method that works best for them, which will help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. This national effort was launched by Planned Parenthood and the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. 

In a recent public opinion survey, 92 percent of African-American women 18–34 said they support fully covering prescription birth control as preventive care, without co-pays or other out-of-pocket expenses.

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African-American News and Views

Detroit Public Television's American Black Journal tackled the question of why the abortion rate is so high in the African-American community. Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan's Communications Director Desiree Cooper was on hand to shed light on the issue.