2, Blog Post

What is an “affiliate”?

Ok, the questions from members of Congress to Cecile Richards are driving me nuts. It’s not that I’m shocked — Shocked! — that they would sacrifice women’s health care to attack abortion providers. It’s that members of Congress can’t understand how a basic affiliate structure works.

I worked for a Planned Parenthood affiliate for six years before coming to NARAL. Here’s an explainer:

National Level

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is the main national organization. Cecile Richards is the CEO. PPFA is a 501c3 non-profit organization. They do not engage in any political activity. They coordinate health care and business standards for dozens of independent Planned Parenthood affiliates around the world. They do not actually employ anyone to give health care. Any doctor or nurse that works for PPFA does so as a administrator, not a physician.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) is the national political organization. They are a 501c4 non-profit, which means you don’t get a tax deduction for supporting them because money may go to political work. Cecile Richards is also the CEO of PPAF, and only participates in political work through this role. If you are looking for information on political candidates for Congress before you vote on Election Day, you’re looking to PPAF.

State Level (Example: Ohio)

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio (PPAO) is a 501c4 non-profit that does political advocacy at the state and local level. If you are looking for information on political candidates for state government before you vote on Election Day, you’re looking to a state advocacy organization like PPAO.

Local Level (Example: Cincinnati)

Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, Inc. (PPSWO) is a 501c3 non-profit health care provider. This is the first point in this structure where you find actual doctors. Affiliates like PPSWO have their own CEO, their own board of directors, and their own IRS employer ID number. They’re completely separate from every other affiliate. They have their own policies for patient care, their own pricing structures, and their own staff.

You can’t ask Cecile Richards how every Planned Parenthood operates because they’re all different. An abortion in New York might cost more than one in South Dakota. Every state has different rules including different waiting periods, rules for prescription drugs, etc.

Independent Organizations

I’d be remiss to omit all of the other abortion providers that are not associated with Planned Parenthood. Ohio has nine abortion clinics, and only three are Planned Parenthood locations. They others are independently operated, just like a small doctor’s office.

What about a government shutdown?

One important thing to remember is that NONE of these organizations are government organizations. People often hear about tax dollars paying for health care, but that’s different than an organization being a part of the government. If the federal government shuts down, Planned Parenthood stays open. The funding that pays for care comes through a grant process, and these grants aren’t affected by shutdowns. Also, none of these funds pay for abortions.


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

2, Blog Post

We #StandWithPP

stand with abortion providers

This month, an organization calling itself the “Center for Medical Progress” released heavily edited undercover videos with Planned Parenthood staffers. The selectively edited videos were crafted to create the impression that Planned Parenthood sells tissue, profits from tissue donation for medical research, or violates other laws in this area – which is simply not true.  This is the most recent attack in a decade-long pattern of illegal harassment by extremists who seek to ban abortion and leave women without access to services like birth control and life-saving cancer screenings.

As they made clear in their own previously released statement, Planned Parenthood in Ohio does not participate in any fetal tissue donation programs. Their family planning and abortion services meet all medical standards and guidelines. 

Today allies of Planned Parenthood in Ohio offer the following statements:

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland: “The Ohio Department of Health inspects abortion clinics in Ohio annually as part of their license renewal process. During those inspections, they ensure that all biological tissue is appropriately and legally handled. Either Attorney General Mike DeWine was ignorant of that fact when he launched his civil investigation of Planned Parenthood, or he ignored that information seeing an opportunity to discredit, harass and stigmatize Planned Parenthood and their patients. Regardless, DeWine is misusing his authority as Ohio’s attorney general. The Ohio Legislature and the office of the Ohio Attorney General should not be used to play up lies fabricated by shadowy out-of-state organizations dedicated to stripping women of their right to safe and legal abortion.”

Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice Executive Director Rev. Laura Young: “As people of faith, we condemn the deception and lies from The Center for Medical Progress, the radical anti-choice group working to discredit, defund, and dismantle Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides critical health care services to women and families who need our care the very most. The Bible does not ban abortion but it bans lying and demands we care for one another.”

Join us and show your support for Ohio abortion providers by sending them a thank you letter. Tell them how much you appreciate them ensuring access to critical health care services for the people of Ohio!

You can also check out the statement from our partners at Progress Ohio.


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

2, Blog Post

Libby Bruce is cooler than you.

A post by actor Mark Ruffalo is making the round on Tumblr responding to people who reject feminism…except it’s not written by Ruffalo. He never claimed to write it, but Tumblr being Tumblr, with a dirty-handed assist from 9gag, make it look like he wrote the piece. The real author is a woman from Columbus, Ohio named Libby Anne Bruce, and you’ve seen her before.

Who is Libby Bruce?

Libby first public speaking event was a 2012 Planned Parenthood rally in Columbus. Planned Parenthood Action Fund drove a giant pink bus across America to pump up pro-choice voters. The bus stops were high-energy rallies where PPAF President Cecile Richards would speak along with local activists before sending rally attendees out into neighborhoods to knock on doors of likely pro-choice voters.

The Columbus rally was a complete nightmare. A late refusal by officials at Ohio State forced the rally to an alternate venue — a public park. Anti-choice protesters showed up ready to yell, and Columbus police didn’t attempt to separate the groups. As the rally began, protesters started screaming less than 20 feet from the podium.

Libby had been recruited by local Planned Parenthood organizers because of her story of how Planned Parenthood helped diagnose her endometriosis. Libby credits Planned Parenthood with helping her later have a child. On the day of the rally, she had her daughter Ruby swaddled in a wrap on her chest. Libby and Ruby were together on the podium as she gave her speech while protesters screamed away.

538539_10150985519771082_320206894_nPhoto credit: Gabriel Mann for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio

Libby remained calm, cool, and collected. Cleveland columnist Connie Schulz and Cecile Richards followed her on the podium and thanked her afterwards.

217808_10150985526321082_1438569156_n

Two weeks later, Cecile was speaking at the Democratic National Convention. Each speaker representing a national non-profit, labor union, or veteran’s group would be introduced by a citizen sharing their story about the organization and its role in their lives. Cecile asked Libby to introduce her on national television. Her story was also reprinted by Huffington Post.

Two years later, Libby was still speaking up for women’s rights. Her post “My response to the “I am not a feminist” internet phenomenon….” received wide-spread attention, eventually making it’s way to Ruffalo. Coinciding with his promotion of the Avengers, the actor shared her essay. Many fans unfamiliar with teh internets weren’t aware it’s not his words. The feminist actor continues to receive praise for his views, bringing Libby’s essay along in tow.

Her essay:

My response to the “I am not a feminist” internet phenomenon….

First of all, it’s clear you don’t know what feminism is. But I’m not going to explain it to you. You can google it. To quote an old friend, “I’m not the feminist babysitter.”
But here is what I think you should know.

You’re insulting every woman who was forcibly restrained in a jail cell with a feeding tube down her throat for your right to vote, less than 100 years ago.

You’re degrading every woman who has accessed a rape crisis center, which wouldn’t exist without the feminist movement.

You’re undermining every woman who fought to make marital rape a crime (it was legal until 1993).

You’re spitting on the legacy of every woman who fought for women to be allowed to own property (1848). For the abolition of slavery and the rise of the labor union. For the right to divorce. For women to be allowed to have access to birth control (Comstock laws). For middle and upper class women to be allowed to work outside the home (poor women have always worked outside the home). To make domestic violence a crime in the US (It is very much legal in many parts of the world). To make workplace sexual harassment a crime.

In short, you know not what you speak of. You reap the rewards of these women’s sacrifices every day of your life. When you grin with your cutsey sign about how you’re not a feminist, you ignorantly spit on the sacred struggle of the past 200 years. You bite the hand that has fed you freedom, safety, and a voice.
In short, kiss my ass, you ignorant little jerks.


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio