A Conversation with Carrie Mumah, a resident of Park Slope, and the Director of Digital and Media Relations at Planned Parenthood of New York City.
While Planned Parenthood has increasingly been called to stand at the center of contemporary political debates over the legislation of reproductive health care in recent years, the organization itself has been around for more than a century. It was founded in Brooklyn on October 16th, 1916, by New York native and early feminist Margaret Sanger. 100 years later, Planned Parenthood is still servicing countless individuals and providing reproductive health care not only across the nation, but around the globe as well.
Mumah believes that the long lasting nature of the organization is a testament to the value it holds in numerous communities. “Our mission is to provide information and health care to all who need it, and to promote public policies that make those services available to all,” said Mumah. “For 100 years, we have been a resource for all New Yorkers and have empowered individuals to make independent, informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives.”
For Mumah, her relationship with the company began two years ago, when she moved from Washington D.C. to New York City. She soon started working at the Planned Parenthood at NYC, calling the experience “life-changing.” In her two and a half years with the organization, Mumah has learned boundless information from everyone she has interacted with, whether they be “doctors, social workers, financial counselors, sex educators, activists, [or]patients.”
One of the most important concepts Mumah has learned during her time at Planned Parenthood is how indispensible health care really is. “Reproductive health care access is so critical to people’s overall wellbeing,” said Mumah. “Including everything from their physical health, to their mental health, to their economic security and being able to live the lives they want to live.”
While Planned Parenthood is often associated with women in conversations pertaining to health care access, Mumah asserted that they are truly available to everyone. There is a wealth of options and services open to anyone who needs them, extending beyond birth control measures and including HIV and STD testing and treatment. “In NYC, we also recently started offering PrEP, a daily pill to help reduce the risk of HIV, as well as transgender hormone therapy and vasectomy,” stated Mumah. “Planned Parenthood is not just about women’s health—we are here as a resource for all people, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”
Planned Parenthood is able to look beyond the confines of gender norms because they believe all patients are worthy of the same care. Mumah remarked that is not a matter of defining people but rather about ensuring that “all people can lead healthy lives, we also need to make sure that the full range of reproductive and sexual health care is accessible to everyone, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.”
When it comes to abortion and contraception, thorny topics that often prove difficult to navigate, Planned Parenthood’s main goal is to provide as much information as they have at their disposal and to protect their patients’ reproductive rights. Over time, a misconception has emerged that women seeking abortions are villainous or careless. This concept strips women of their humanity while coloring a delicate decision as one of calculated violence, and Mumah wants to help dispel this myth.
“There is no single type of person who gets an abortion,” Mumah asserted. “The people who come to us include people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, gender identities, and income levels. Some of these people may already have children, and others may not. The important part to know is that these are people who are fully aware of their options and who are making the best decision for them and their families. All people should have the right to decide when and if to have children, and access to safe and legal abortion is a critical part of reproductive freedom.”
Planned Parenthood has long been aware of their role in the national conversation surrounding women’s rights and reproductive health care, but the subject has recently endured more scrutiny and contention due to the transition of political administrations. Mumah assured that regardless of who may reside in the White House, their mission of helping everyone in need never changes. She stressed that “even as we face attacks, we will continue to fight for the communities we serve.”
Mumah ultimately summed up the history and accomplishments of Planned Parenthood in one word: determination. It’s this same sentiment that has propelled the company forward in the last century and will keep it moving on into the next. Mumah acknowledged this notion with pride, stating, “We’re proud to be here for New Yorkers as a trusted provider and anticipate being here for another 100 years.”
How to help Planned Parenthood
• Educate yourself on reproductive health issues
• Spread awareness
• Sign up for email alerts
• Raise money locally by hosting creative benefits
• Speak out against hatred, bigotry, and misogyny
• Go to http://www.ppnycaction.org/takeaction to learn more