Planned Parenthood says it is expanding its services in Africa and Latin America. The organization made the announcement Tuesday at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in
Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards says the program is called Youth Peer Provider. It’s being provided to six new partners in Africa and three in Latin America.
‘We’ve just announced at Planned Parenthood a new initiative to train young people to provide basic contraceptive counseling and access to their friends and peers and classmates. It’s so important because, of course, because young people around the globe are very vulnerable to unintended pregnancy, and certainly the spread of HIV/AIDS and STDs,” she said.
Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood was mired in controversy when its role was debated during the presidential campaign. The organization offers counseling on abortion. Support and criticism was split along party lines, with Democrats in favor and Republicans against.
Richards said despite the uproar, Planned Parenthood has support at home and abroad.
“I would say in the United States we’re extremely popular. Unfortunately, the Congress has been a place where they’ve tried to make healthcare services controversial. But we’re well-supported in the United States, and particularly when it comes to issues of youth getting sex education to young people. Unfortunately, the U.S. still has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any western industrialized country. So there’s a lot of work to do in the United States to help young people,” she said.
She said parents in Africa and Latin America want their children to be informed about safe sex. She says this allows children to finish school and find a job.
Richards added that Planned Parenthood sees three million patients a year through its health centers. But she said a growing number of people are seeking access online, so that service is also being expanded.
“I think last month alone about four and a half million young people reached us. And a lot of young people from other countries find Planned Parenthood as a good source of factually-based information about preventing unintended pregnancy and the spread of disease,” she said
Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former president Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, took part in the announcement.