By Marybeth Bock

Perhaps you’ve heard of Planned Parenthood but aren’t really sure what they do. Is it a place only for pregnant women who need pre-natal care or are looking to terminate a pregnancy? This month, Tayler Tucker, the Media Specialist for Planned Parenthood of Arizona,offers some insight about the organization.

Q: What kinds of education do you provide that is most helpful for teen girls?

A: We provide comprehensive sex education and information. The misinformation that we most encounter and is relevant for young people, is understanding birth control and learning how protect and prevent sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) – some of which are fabricated myths, like “blue waffle disease.” Healthy relationships and consent are key. Many young people experience relationships and dating dynamics that don’t respect or value them, but they don’t recognize this until later when there is abuse or unhealthy behavior happening. For teen girls, this is especially pertinent. We offer education resources online as well as at workshops throughout the state. For more information on upcoming events you can email:

Q: Do teens need to have a parent or other adult over age 18 come with them for any kind of appointment?

A: It depends on the appointment. For routine, preventive care like birth control, wellness exams, STI testing and treatment, etc. there is no requirement for an adult to accompany a teen. For abortion care, there is currently a law in Arizona that requires parental consent or a judiciary bypass, which means getting approval from a judge for the circumstances of the person under 18, before proceeding with terminating their pregnancy.

Q: What if a teen doesn’t have money to pay for an exam, testing, or some kind of birth control?

A: We work to make sure that teens are able to get the care they need with or without insurance or insufficient finances. We currently still have Title X grant money, which is a federal program that offers preventive care – birth control, wellness exams, STI testing – on a sliding fee scale based on income. This program is currently offered at our Flagstaff, Central Phoenix, Desert Sky, and Mesa health centers. We also have a program at our Southern Arizona Health Center in Tucson that allows teens to come in to get a visit, birth control consultation, and a prescription for 3 months of the birth control pill at no cost. We also have funds at our centers that are used in cases beyond this routine care that can be used on a case by case basis,depending on the needs of the patient.

Q: Could a teen girl’s boyfriend come get services at Planned Parenthood as well?

A: Yes. We serve all people no matter their sex or gender. It is actually extremely important that young men use our services and take an active role in their health and the health of their partner(s).

Q: What do I do if there’s no Planned Parenthood office near to where I live in Arizona? 

A: We luckily have health centers throughout the state, but we know especially for people that may not live near public transportation or in rural areas, it can be hard to access our facilities. We are online so in terms of information or education there are videos and resources available 24/7. We also offer Planned Parenthood Direct which is a way to get birth control pills or Urinary Tract Infection testing/treatment via the Planned Parenthood Direct app where you can video conference with a doctor. In terms of care beyond that, The Arizona Family Health Partnership, which runs the Title X program, has a website that shows all the centers that offer Title X services which can give teens other options if they find themselves in an area with no Planned Parenthood health center nearby.

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