Trailer: A Vital Service





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Published on Feb 1, 2012


A Vital Service is an original documentary produced by Planned Parenthood Federation of America that provides a powerful glance at the clinicians, educators, patients, activists, and supporters in African-American communities. The film includes personal stories from the women and families who have benefited from having access to the critical health services offered at Planned Parenthood health centers.

A Vital Service aims to spur a dialogue on topics that are often seen as taboo or difficult, particularly in the African-American community. The film can be used to build support for important services, such as cancer screenings, Pap tests, affordable birth control, and testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections. And it can help eliminate the stigma associated with talking about sexual and reproductive health.

©2012 Planned Parenthood® Federation of America


Newscast 1: Across the country, the right-winged war on abortion is racing ahead full steam. For the new Republican Congress, Planned Parenthood is a prime target.

Newscast 2: A group whose anti-abortion billboards sparked outrage in New York (NY) is back with more.

Narrator: A lot of people talk about women's health care, but not that many people listen. So we got on a bus, brought a camera, and let people speak for themselves. So we listened to patients...

Courtney: If I had not been able to go to Planned Parenthood, I don't think I could have been able to afford the medication I needed.

Narrator: Listened to health care providers...

Veronica: We provide health care to anyone. We prevent pregnancy, we have STD (sexually transmitted disease) testing, free HIV testing, cervical cancer screenings.

Narrator: Listened to those who have been on the front lines...

Rep. Gwen Moore: I just picked myself up and ran to the floor. "I can tell you I know a lot about having black babies. I've had three (3) of them. And I had my first one when I was eighteen (18) years old."

Narrator: And to those worried about the next generation.

State Rep. Tishaura Jones: We're leaving this world to our children. We have to leave them something they would enjoy or something they would like living in.

Narrator: Millions of Americans have stories. Here are a few.

Courtney: Some guy you never met, who was elected by someone else you've never met, is going to decide when and where your reproductive health is handled.

State Rep. Tishaura Jones: I am personally offended as a black woman and as a mother that I can't decide what's best for my children, that I can't decide how to raise them or make the best decisions for my body.

Reverend Timothy McDonald: It's your body. It's your relationship with your God. It's your decision. If we are going to deal with teenage pregnancy, then we have to deal with prevention. And prevention means getting these teenagers information.

Irwin: To come, to feel safe, to get information about reproductive health, to get information about youth development, to help them decide on their life choices.

State Rep. Tishaura Jones: When I was twenty (20), twenty-one years old (21), Planned Parenthood saved my life. They discovered pre-cancerous cells on my cervix. I could have developed cervical cancer. I wouldn't be standing before you today.

Reverend Timothy McDonald: I want to make sure that people have access. People die because they don't have access. They die because they don't have information. They die because they are poor.

Courtney: It makes me very sad that there are other women who will, going forward in their life, say "If only I had the opportunity. If only I had the knowledge. If only I had someone to tell me what to do." I don't think that's a message we want to pass on to the next generation of girls.

A Vital Service
African American Stories of Reproductive Health Care

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©Planned Parenthood Federation of America


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