As everyone knows, Bridgercare stands with Planned Parenthood! Bridgercare and Planned Parenthood work closely together and fully support one other, so we get a lot of questions as to who does what, where, and why. As family planning and reproductive healthcare are highlighted in the national spotlight, we figured we’d dig in into what makes us alike, what sets us apart, and give you even more reasons to root for both Bridgercare and Planned Parenthood. #StrongerTogether #BestFriends
Let’s start with similarities: How are Bridgercare and Planned Parenthood the same?
- We both receive funding from the federal government through Title X, the national family planning program. Title X was established back in 1970 and distributes funding for health centers to provide contraception, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, and other preventative services to 4 million people in the US every year.
- We provide many of the same services and serve people of all genders and sexualities. These include annual wellness exams, birth control, STI testing and treatment, vaccination, LGBTQ+ services, emergency contraception, education, pregnancy testing and all options counseling, cancer screenings… the list goes on!
- We both see a lot of patients! In 2018, Bridgercare saw 30% of all Title X patients in the state of Montana, and Planned Parenthood across Montana saw 40% of all Title X patients between their locations.
What sets us apart from one another?
- Bridgercare is an independent clinic, and Planned Parenthood is a national organization. As a local, grassroots organization, Bridgercare predates Planned Parenthood in our area so we’ve receive the Title X grant funding to serve south central Montana (for 47 years now!). Planned Parenthood’s first Montanan clinic opened in Billings in the 1970s (they celebrated their 50-year anniversary this year!). Once Planned Parenthood could justify expanding across the state, they didn’t open a clinic in Bozeman because Bridgercare was already providing Title X services for the region.
- Bridgercare is a 501©3 nonprofit status, and Planned Parenthood is both a ©3 and ©4. This means Planned Parenthood can advocate politically, lobby for or against specific legislation, and endorse specific candidates who run on a platform that supports reproductive healthcare and access. Bridgercare can only advocate for our patients and hold public officials accountable once they are elected and serving their term.
- Bridgercare doesn’t perform abortions, and some Planned Parenthood locations do. Everyone can agree that this is a complicated issue, and Bridgercare is committed to providing comprehensive options counselling and referrals to all of our patients. When it comes to abortion services, it is advantageous that Planned Parenthood is a larger organization in that it has established systems for tracking the expenses related to this procedure without interfering with their federal Title X grant. You will notice that Planned Parenthoods often have one clinic for general reproductive health services and a totally separate clinic for (or at least specific days dedicated to) abortion care. This separation helps them stay compliant with Title X rules. Every three years, Bridgercare goes through a strategic planning session with input from board, staff, patients, donors, and community allies. And during every strategic planning session, the issue of abortion care and protecting access to this crucial service is discussed in depth. Bridgercare’s top priority is to listen to our patients’ feedback and honor their directive. We can assure you that our role in access to abortion care is constantly considered, ever evolving, and directly responsive to the needs of our patients first and foremost, and secondly to the desires of our larger community of south central Montana as a collective.
- The last difference is geographical. Bridgercare serves all of south central Montana and Planned Parenthood serves other areas of the state. Bridgercare’s official area includes Gallatin, Park, and Sweet Grass counties, but many patients come from Madison, Broadwater, and Butte. Additionally, many MSU students who utilize Bridgercare’s services come from all over the state and country (& world!). Bridgercare sees 5,000 – 6,000 unique patients a year and provides about 11,000 visits per year. Planned Parenthood operates clinics in Helena, Great Falls, Billings, and Missoula, and they each serve their respective surrounding counties. In FY 2018, Planned Parenthood clinics saw almost 10,000 patients with over 15,800 visits.
Thank you for supporting your local family planning & reproductive healthcare clinics!