West Texas--Planned Parenthood Direct
This article originally appeared in this issue of the WSR: 2019-11-06

Planned Parenthood was driven out of West Texas a number of years ago and it desperately wants to get those customers back. A couple of years ago, Planned Parenthood announced that it received $9 million in donations that it would use to open two new abortion centers in West Texas. It opened one in El Paso in 2018, but the location of the second one has not, yet, been announced.

This year, Planned Parenthood rolled out its Planned Parenthood Direct mobile app to allow individuals to order birth control products through their smart phone—without having to visit a Planned Parenthood location, or any other medical professional, in person. Everything can be handled through the app.

In the last few months, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas has made it clear that it has targeted residents of West Texas and is trying to get them to use the app. First, it purchased billboard space to simply advertise its Planned Parenthood Direct app. The billboards read: “Odessa [or other city name], WE’VE BROUGHT PLANNED PARENTHOOD DIRECT TO YOU. Download the app.”

This week, there are new billboards that read NEXT PLANNED PARENTHOOD 150 MILES.

What Planned Parenthood hoped to gain from these newer billboards was hard to tell. until we saw the following item published by an advertising industry publication. The article read:

Planned Parenthood's New Texas Campaign by Steve McClellan, November 1, 2019 

Austin-based creative agency Hunt, Gather collaborated with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas to place 13 billboards throughout West Texas calling out the distance to the nearest operating Planned Parenthood.

The billboards are a part of a campaign to raise awareness of Planned Parenthood Direct, a mobile app that gives patients access to birth control and UTI treatment without the need to travel hundreds of miles to a Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas health center.

For a woman in Amarillo, the nearest Planned Parenthood is 339 miles away. The billboards will be up in the cities of Abilene, Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland, Odessa and San Angelo until the end of the year. 

Kathy Horn, co-founder of Hunt, Gather stated, “With a lack of access to needed judgement-free reproductive healthcare services and treatment across a wide swath of the state of Texas, the billboards highlight another, more convenient way to access some of Planned Parenthood’s services without having to drive hundreds of miles.”

Planned Parenthood rolled out its new mobile app in September and clearly is trying to find a way to market it. We expect Planned Parenthood will experiment in West Texas and then move to other areas where it does not have many physical clinics. Places like North Dakota and Wyoming will be natural targets since PP has zero clinics in those states.

We ask any of our readers who see Planned Parenthood Direct ads on billboards or in local newspapers to let us know. Just send an e-mail with details to [email protected] and put Planned Parenthood Direct in the subject line. In future issues of the WSR, we’ll bring you information on what people across the country are doing to counter these ads.