Planned Parenthood turns 100 this year, and with the Republican Party leading a war against the women’s health organization, it’s a particularly poignant time to look back on the long history of the revolutionary women’s clinic. So Lena Dunham decided to do just that in a video made in collaboration with co-producer Natalie Berkus, writer Alex Ronan, and animator Kirsten Lepore. With help from some famous narrators, including Mindy Kaling, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Tessa Thompson, Constance Wu, and Gina Rodriguez, this seven-minute video traces the long, important history of Planned Parenthood.
The organization’s roots started way back in 1912 when nurse Margaret Sanger watched a patient die following an abortion. Determined to find a safe way to prevent such unwanted pregnancies, Sanger opened a birth control clinic in 1916. Her slogan became “No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her own body.” That organization officially became Planned Parenthood in 1942, and the video goes on to trace its long and complicated history, including both Sanger’s eagerness to provide health care to women of color and her unfortunate association with the eugenics movement.
For the most part, however, Planned Parenthood has been a crucial resource for low-income women. As the video explains, approximately one in five women in the U.S visit Planned Parenthood and three-quarters of them have low income. Sanger herself also helped fund research that would go on to develop the hormonal birth control pill. And contributions from other generations of women, including Estelle Griswold, Faye Wattleton, and current Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, reshaped Planned Parenthood into the critical health care provider it is today. And while, sure, the video leans a little too heavily on internet slang (of abortion providers facing protest: “Those OGs started wearing bullet proof vests”), it’s hard not to be moved by Planned Parenthood’s motto: “These doors stay open.”
You can learn more on the I Stand With Planned Parenthood website.