Dr. DeShawn Taylor is the medical director of Planned Parenthood Arizona. Dr. Taylor has been part of the Planned Parenthood family for seven years. I caught up with Dr. Taylor to ask her about her role at Planned Parenthood Arizona and her inspiration for becoming a reproductive-health provider.
When did you know you wanted to be a doctor?
In elementary school I knew I wanted to be a doctor or a teacher. By the time I got to junior high, I decided to go into medicine.
The first generation of post-Roe abortion providers “had a sense of urgency, because they knew that women needed safe abortions. They have seen women die as a result of botched abortions.”
What was your motivation for going into reproductive health?
Actually, I wanted to be a neurosurgeon for the longest time. During my sophomore year of college I read a book called “Gifted Hands” that was about an inspiring neurosurgeon. But my character doesn’t fit the role of a neurosurgeon. I don’t have a God complex, and neurosurgeons thrive on saving lives.
When I started to think about what else I would like to do, I knew I wanted to take care of women. I thought about practicing family medicine or becoming an ob/gyn. I decided that I had the ability to be a surgeon, so becoming an ob/gyn was a good fit for me. I also have a strong commitment to social justice, and I feel like it’s my duty to serve women. If a woman is pregnant and wants to keep the pregnancy, I will provide prenatal care and help her with her delivery. If a woman is pregnant and doesn’t want to be, I will give her an abortion. The woman is my patient, and that’s who I am here to serve. Continue reading →
Planned Parenthood Arizona recently bid farewell to one of our most tireless leaders, Patti Caldwell, who served as the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood of Southern Arizona from 2000 – 2007. Patti left PPAZ this past Spring to become the Executive Director of New Beginnings for Women and Children. We honored Patti at this year’s Roe v. Wade Luncheon for her twenty-three years of service.
I took time to speak with Patti about her tenure at Planned Parenthood Arizona. And, I also asked others to speak about Patti’s contributions to the pro-choice movement. The responses were very inspiring.
When did you start working for Planned Parenthood, and what was your motivation for working here?
I started working for Planned Parenthood in August 1987. As a social worker, I was always interested in social justice issues and community involvement. After providing direct counseling and case management services for a number of years, I was ready to focus on a more “macro” level. I had always respected and appreciated the mission of Planned Parenthood. I had the opportunity serve on a community coalition about reducing teen pregnancy with the PP CEO, Ginger Yrun. She impressed me with her brilliance and thoughtfulness, and I thought, “I’d love to work with this woman.” I started as the Director of Education and Training, since attitudes and behaviors are so key to the choices people make. I had the opportunity to serve in many roles, as well as work with amazing people from all over the country. The work was always exciting and interesting, and I learned every day.
What are some of your most memorable experiences working for Planned Parenthood?
Oh, there are so many. Here are just a few:
Standing outside of the federal courthouse downtown as part of a 24-hour vigil prior to the initial hearing on a lawsuit to stop a parental consent for abortion law from going into effect (which we won, that time!). And, so many wonderful people driving by and calling out their support. And even more amazing, Marian Lupu seeing the coverage on the 10:00 p.m. news and getting in her car and driving downtown to give us refreshments! I was so touched by her actions! Continue reading →
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by one of PPAZ’s interns, Cassidy Olson. Cassidy is an Arizona native who was born and raised in Prescott. She is currently studying public relations at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and will be graduating in December. Cassidy has been interned in the communications and marketing department at Planned Parenthood Arizona, December 2010 through May 2011.
My internship in the communication and marketing department at Planned Parenthood Arizona (PPAZ) came about really by happenstance; however, it turned into something greater than I could have expected. As a member of Arizona State University’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), I participated in an event called “Shadow Day.” During Shadow Day, each PRSSA member was matched with a business in Phoenix to visit for a day to learn how the public relations department at each organization functioned. I had always been interested in the nonprofit side of public relations, so when I found out that I had been matched with PPAZ for the day, I was eager to learn more about nonprofit PR for a couple of hours. Never had I expected my short visit would turn into an internship lasting five months.
When I met Cynde Cerf, communication and marketing manager at PPAZ, I was in awe of the fact that she was able to manage the entire PPAZ communication department by herself. Because of this, when Cynde mentioned she was on the look-out for interns, I thought it might be a fun opportunity to learn a few things and help out. In all reality, the internship did much more than that for me. Continue reading →
This video was created by Kristen Manganini and Josh Sandman and is titled, “Protect yourself. Protect the planet.” The video highlights the importance of using birth control to curb unexpected pregnancies throughout the world. This will ultimately create a healthier planet for all by responsibly managing available resources and supporting a planet that can support us. Continue reading →
Are you tired of all the anti-choice legislation that has been passed in the Arizona legislature? Then do something about it! Planned Parenthood’s Community Action Team is in need of pro-choice advocates to help defend reproductive rights in Arizona. We’ve got two volunteer orientation dates coming up in the next few weeks.
To attend either of these new volunteer orientations, please contact Emily, Planned Parenthood Arizona’s Advocacy Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteering for Planned Parenthood Arizona is a great opportunity to raise your pro-choice voice, and meet a few fabulous friends along the way. I started volunteering for PPAZ in 2009, first as a clinic escort in Phoenix, and then as a member of the Community Action Team in Tucson. Blogging is just one way I am using my pro-choice voice. I also do regular data entry shifts and help with phone banking, where we call Planned Parenthood supporters to educate them about pro-choice issues. I would volunteer for PPAZ even if Emily, our volunteer supervisor, didn’t feed us or play rockin’ dance tunes during our shifts, but it certainly helps. Continue reading →
Recently, Planned Parenthood Arizona’s president and CEO, Bryan Howard and Candace Lew, OB/GYN and PPAZ board chair, resigned their respective memberships on the Governor’s Commission on Women’s and Children’s Health. This resignation was a result of numerous decisions Gov. Jan Brewer and her administration made that endanger women’s health and undermine the work of the Commission.
“Planned Parenthood Arizona believes strongly in the importance of the Commission’s mission and work. Indeed, the Commission was created by Governor Jane Hull following our recommendation,” said Howard.
The letter sent to Gov. Brewer cited that for the governor, political priorities outweigh women’s health priorities. The governor’s actions are deliberately contrary to the recommendations made by public health leaders who have donated their time and best thinking to the women and families of Arizona through their participation in the Commission’s deliberations on critical issues including teen pregnancy and inadequate access to basic prevention-oriented health care. Click here to read the full letter.