Planned Parenthood Is Taking Over Hollywood — & She's The Reason Why

Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Refinery29.
Issa Rae and Caren Spruch at the VIP opening night of 29Rooms.
If you're just as passionate about must-see TV as you are women's rights, then Caren Spruch might have your dream job. As the the Director of Arts & Entertainment Engagement for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Spruch works with some of the most talented creative minds in Hollywood — like Lena Dunham, Shonda Rhimes, Rachel Bloom, and Jill Soloway, just to name a few — in order to ensure that what you're watching onscreen reflects the reality of reproductive healthcare in 2017. She's also a big reason why you've seen so many celebrities wearing Planned Parenthood pins and hats on red carpets, at awards shows, and even at New York Fashion Week, in order to show their support for the cause (and hopefully inspire their fanbases to do the same).
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One of the unexpected challenges of Spruch's gig is finding new and innovative ways to spread the word about the 100-year-old organization, which is why Planned Parenthood is teaming up with us on our annual 29Rooms event this year. Even if you can't make it to Brooklyn for the neon lights and limited-edition condoms, below she's given us plenty of inside scoop on Planned Parenthood — and her fascinating role there — that you don't want to miss.
Do you consider this your dream job? And, if someone wanted to be you one day, what would be your advice?
"I've always been passionate about fighting to make sure that everyone has the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves. I'm grateful that I get to do this work to help elevate the importance of sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights. Plus, I have the great privilege and great fun of working every day with many wonderful artists, including actors, content creators, musicians, and fashion designers, who support Planned Parenthood and these issues. I can't think of anything better or more important!
"The majority of people are Planned Parenthood advocates and many have been patients themselves or know that their friends and families have visited our healthcare centers for the care they need. People want to show their support, and most of the artists I approach simply want guidance as to what they can do to demonstrate it. Most of them possess the tools they need to help us raise awareness about Planned Parenthood's healthcare services, education programs, and advocacy efforts. So, I'd tell people not to be afraid to approach everyone and help them use their skills to promote whatever cause is nearest and dearest to you!"
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When it comes to representation of young women in pop culture, where do you see the most forward-thinking moments happening today?
"We’ve seen a lot of progress on portrayals of women’s health in entertainment, especially storylines about abortion on TV. Just in the last year, several TV shows have depicted non-stigmatizing abortions, including Jane the Virgin, Good Girls Revolt, You’re the Worst, Masters of Sex, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Fosters, and GLOW. This signals a real and important cultural shift. These storylines work so well because they mirror the decisions and experiences of women all across America with regard to pregnancy and family. Emotionally authentic portrayals of sexual and reproductive health issues on TV and in film are more important now than ever, as women’s health and rights are under constant attack from politicians."

Sister #2 located in NYC march! #womensmarchnyc

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How does Planned Parenthood work with these content creators on their projects? Do you advise them on how to handle specific topics and situations?
"Planned Parenthood is proud to be a resource for the entertainment industry when it comes to accurate and sensitive portrayals of reproductive and sexual health. The way we collaborate with producers, directors, writers, and actors varies, but we can review scripts for medical and legislative accuracy, share the latest data, research, and messaging on reproductive and sexual health and legislative issues, arrange consultations with healthcare providers or educators, coordinate filming at Planned Parenthood health centers, generate storyline ideas, and provide T-shirts, posters, and other items for set design.
"We have collaborated on numerous TV shows and films over the years on storylines about abortion, birth control, and sex education. For GLOW, we provided input on the language that providers used with patients and on what health centers looked like in the 1980s; for Jane the Virgin, we shared information about the Latino community’s views on abortion and the ways abortion has been depicted on TV, and we spoke with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend about sexual and reproductive health. We’ve also collaborated on numerous other TV shows, such as Girls, Parenthood, and Virgin Territory and on many films, including 20th Century Women, Grandma, Unexpected, and Obvious Child, and short films like Lucia: Before and After."
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When Planned Parenthood gets involved with cultural events like 29Rooms, what is the goal?
"Planned Parenthood is truly thrilled to participate in 29Rooms. Having our own room, called Neon Rights, will allow us to reach even more people to educate and inform them about the sexual and reproductive health care and information we offer and enable them to get involved and take action on their phones. And visitors will receive our limited-edition condoms!"

Details #plannedparenthood 💪

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2017 has been such a bad year for women. What's keeping you up at night lately?
"What’s keeping me up at night is that the fight for access to health care is far from over. While we defeated the worst bill for women’s health in a generation — aka Trumpcare — we know these attacks will continue. This administration is stacked with officials who don’t believe in birth control, and they will come after reproductive health and rights — again and again. But as long as they keep coming, we will keep fighting."
For a young woman who is passionate about protecting her reproductive rights, what are few good first steps to take?
"It’s so important to stay informed and make your voice heard. You can join the many Planned Parenthood patient advocates and supporters who have been a driving force in keeping attacks on healthcare at bay. Go to town hall meetings and rallies. Contact your representatives to let them know that you support Planned Parenthood and access to sexual and reproductive health care. Go to IStandWithPP.org to become a Planned Parenthood Defender and learn about local actions and events. And if you are able, you can consider donating your time or money to Planned Parenthood."
29Rooms is Refinery29's funhouse of style, culture, and technology. Find out more about this year's event here.
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