Movies

Birth of a Movement: The History of Planned Parenthood

By  · Published on January 19th, 2017

Short of the Day

An animated doc from Lena Dunham and friends traces the rise of the healthcare institution.

It isn’t often this column gets used for political purposes, but every now and again I come across something that just bears supporting, and the following selection for the Short of the Day is one such thing.

First and foremost, it isn’t a narrative short, it’s an animated doc that traces the history of Planned Parenthood, and it comes from producers Lena Dunham and Natalie Berkus, writer Alex Ronan, animator Kirsten Lepore, and a host of female celebrities who lend their voices to the cause, including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Mindy Kaling, Tessa Thompson, Constance Wu, and Gina Rodriguez.

Born out of tragic necessity, nurse Margaret Sanger transformed a single birth control clinic into the largest independent provider of women’s healthcare in the country. Along the way there were more hindrances than helping hands, and Sanger navigated her organization around all of them to help fund research and medical developments like the birth control pill, and provide healthcare for all women including those of color and those from low-income families who other organizations ignored, or worse, shunned. Even today 75% of Planned Parenthood’s clientele is classified as low-income, and in a post-ACA America, the organization is now perhaps more vital and critical than ever.

As there have been in the past, there will be more struggles in the future for Planned Parenthood, especially under the new regime, but as this video eloquently proves, adversity is sewn into the organization’s evolution, it has helped forge the organization and those who support it into social warriors capable of standing up to any who would seek to abolish them. “These doors stay open” is the current motto of Planned Parenthood, but at the end of the day it’s made only of words; this video traces the actions that have made and continue to make such steadfast resolve possible. See it, share it, and spread the word.

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