The Young Friends of PPLM have asked to join in on our debriefing! The mission of the Young Friends of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) is to involve and educate a dynamic group of young supporters for reproductive health and rights and to further the PPLM mission of advocacy, education and clinical services in Massachusetts. The goals include:
- Raising awareness of PPLM and its role in education, health services and advocacy
- Building a new generation of supporters and advocates for Planned Parenthood
- Planning and helping to host events that focus on PPLM’s mission and services
I interviewed Chloe Gotsis, a 28-year-old Cambridge resident who works for a small PR firm on Beacon Hill. Chloe chairs the PR and marketing committee for the Big Bash, an upcoming ‘90s-themed dance party that the Young Friends committee is planning.
Why do you volunteer with Young Friends?
Growing up, I was raised by a strong single mother who instilled in me a core of progressive values. She taught me how important it is for not only women, but all people, to be active participants in the choices that define their lives. Planned Parenthood gives people the tools to make choices about their sexual health that help them plan the lives they want for themselves.
I got involved with the Young Friends of Planned Parenthood last summer after hearing Dr. Paula Johnson, women’s health specialist and director of the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology, speak at the Harvard School of Public Health. The Young Friends of Planned Parenthood organized the talk. I mentioned it to my friend, Amy, who is also a member of the Young Friends advisory committee, and she helped me get involved.
Planned Parenthood’s motto of “Care, no matter what” has always resonated with me. Planned Parenthood provides important services and is dedicated to reducing financial barriers to accessing that care. More than 300,000 women in our state depend on publicly funded family planning services like those provided at PPLM’s health centers. Other patients who visit Planned Parenthood may be between insurance coverage or have limited coverage and need help paying for health care. Every woman should be able to access necessary health care no matter what her ability to pay is. Planned Parenthood is able, with the help of its donors, to provide free and reduced-cost care to uninsured women, men and young people based on their income levels.
Tell me more about your experience since you joined Young Friends.
The Young Friends of Planned Parenthood is a local group, originally established in 1990 with the goal of educating and reaching out to 25- to 35-year-old professionals and students. The group had been inactive for a few years and was revived last summer thanks to a core group of dedicated volunteers and staff. I became involved with the Young Friends last summer. Not only have I made great friends, but I have learned a lot.
I think what has surprised me most as a result of my involvement with the Young Friends is learning that more than 90 percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides nationally are preventative care, including life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing, treatment, breast health services, pap tests and sexual health education and information. Although I have always been in support of access to safe, legal abortion, it was eye-opening to learn about PPLM’s wide range of services, particularly because in the media Planned Parenthood is often portrayed as only providing abortion. I also learned that for many patients, Planned Parenthood is their primary source of health care, and that one in five women will go to Planned Parenthood for care. That just showed me how important Planned Parenthood’s work is across the country. I was also really surprised to learn about PPLM’s programs designed to help parents talk to their children about sex and sexuality.
What’s the big deal with the Big Bash?
The Big Bash is going to be a fun ‘90s-themed party aimed at building a new generation of supporters and advocates for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and the services it provides. We will have a ‘90s band and DJ that will be playing songs like Aqua’s “Barbie Girl,” Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” and DeeLite’s “Groove is in the Heart,” and attendees are encouraged to dress in the fashions of the ‘90s. (Scrunchies? Bright colors? Shoulder pads?)
Although much has been made of claims that millennials don’t care about the right to safe, legal abortion, six in 10 young people support abortion rights. In fact, the movement for access to sexual health care and comprehensive sexuality education is being led by young people. And the Young Friends of PPLM is a local example of that!
This is the first time that the Young Friends committee has worked to plan an event of this magnitude to help involve and educate a group of young supporters of reproductive health care rights. This event also provides an opportunity for young adults who otherwise may not be able to afford tickets for pricier fundraisers or galas to show their support for Planned Parenthood.
What advice do you have for other young adults in their 20s and 30s?
I want more young adults to feel comfortable talking about sex openly with their partners. Staff and volunteers for Planned Parenthood talk freely and openly about sex and reproductive health with each other, but I think it’s even harder to feel comfortable talking about sex with a sexual partner. I think it would be cool to use an invitation to the Big Bash event as an opening to that dialogue.