100 Years Later, Planned Parenthood of New York City is Strong and Getting Stronger

Today, Planned Parenthood turns 100 years strong, and it all started right here in New York City.

Beginning as a small clinic in Brownsville, Brooklyn in 1916, Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) now provides sexual and reproductive health care services and information to more than 64,000 New Yorkers each year in our five health centers – one in each borough, and reaches another 25,000 through our extensive sex education programs.

Since our founding, PPNYC has been part of the fabric of New York City. In 1916, people came to this incredible city to fulfill their dreams and build their lives, and Planned Parenthood helped them to do just that. 100 years later, people from all over the country and the world come to New York and Planned Parenthood for the very same reasons.

New York City has always been one of the nation’s leading hubs of progressive change, and it isn’t a coincidence that we started here. In the early 1900s, New Yorkers led many fights – for voting rights, improved working conditions, fair wages, and the right to form unions. It was only fitting that the movement for reproductive health and rights has its origins in our city as part of a broad effort for social change.

Since then, incredible gains have been made. Planned Parenthood of New York City has been at the forefront of expanding access to birth control, ensuring the availability of safe and legal abortion, and getting coverage for preventive care and birth control under the Affordable Care Act. Today, we continue to be a champion in expanding access to sexual and reproductive health care, improving sexuality education, and advocating for policies that make the lives of New Yorkers better every day.

We’ve grown as the city has grown, and we’ve changed and adapted as the communities we serve have changed. Our services have expanded to serve more New Yorkers, including men, young adults and the LGBTQ community. Our goal is to make every person who comes through our doors feels welcome, comfortable, and cared for while receiving the best possible medical care.

This movement, however, is not only about health care, and it isn’t the result of our work alone. Addressing various social justice issues is an essential component of our work, since many of the communities that we serve experience systemic oppressions dictated by race, gender, ethnicity, income, immigration status, ability, and more. We work in coalition, alongside and in support of social justice organizations to fight these forms of oppression and work towards a world where all people have bodily autonomy.

So much has changed in the last century and the expansion of our services is a testament to our commitment to improving the lives of all people – no matter what. But even after 100 years, one thing remains the same. In 1916, women lined up down the block in our clinic in Brownsville to get information on how to prevent or plan pregnancy — information that was completely illegal at the time. And every day, PPNYC’s dedicated doctors, clinicians and staff continue to provide expert, respectful care.

PPNYC’s vision has always been to work toward a world where people have full control of their bodies and destinies. As we commemorate the extraordinary achievements over Planned Parenthood’s first 100 years, we are proud to launch our second century with as much passion, courage and conviction as our first.

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