News & Politics

Stanton Healthcare Seeks to Be Pro-Life Alternative to Planned Parenthood

(AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Joe Jaszewski)


It’s one thing to be opposed to an idea or organization, entirely another to work on a game-changing alternative.

For patients like Brandy — pregnant, uninsured, and without medical care — Stanton Healthcare provides a lifeline for getting health services that they may otherwise be unable to access in the state, and Swindell has an ambitious goal for her network: She hopes it will become the pro-life movement’s replacement for the entire Planned Parenthood organization.

“We will not just COMPETE. We will not simply EXPOSE. We will not only DEFUND. It’s time to REPLACE Planned Parenthood,” reads one set of marketing materials that promotes what Swindell has called the “Stanton Revolution,” while another has the simpler “Replace Planned Parenthood” as its motto.

With a personality that switches between earnest confidante and hard-hitting businesswoman, Swindell, 39, believes she has the political connections, activist background, and business plan to make replacing the Planned Parenthood network a reality, even without providing any basic contraception methods at all. While Stanton clinics intend to offer a full range of women’s reproductive health services that address pregnancy, sexual health screenings and STI testing, and gynecological issues like ovarian cyst diagnostics or annual pelvic exams, not one Stanton affiliate will be offering contraception — either hormonal or IUDs, or even simple barrier methods like condoms. For women’s health advocates, especially those hoping to reduce the nation’s unintended pregnancy rate, the concept leaves them concerned. Increasing women’s options for accessing no or low-cost health care is always a positive, they say, but some worry about the effect of leaving birth control out of the equation.

Surprisingly, this fairly lengthy Cosmopolitan profile of Stanton Healthcare and its founder Brandi Swindell isn’t the hit piece I thought it would be. There is so little real journalism left out there that it is rather surprising when one happens upon it.

Swindell combines a crusader’s passion with long-term vision and political savvy. While many people possess one or two of those traits, it’s rare to find one who has all three these days, especially on the right side of the aisle, which often lacks a long game.

The article does note that Stanton would need sustained phenomenal growth for a long time to truly be an alternative to Planned Parenthood. It also mentions, however, that Stanton has some competition with similar goals. Several alternatives combined with a partial or complete removal of government funds could have an effect. A truly awful federally funded behemoth shouldn’t go unchallenged just because it is a behemoth. Once upon a time in America, there were politicians who believed this.

Swindell certainly isn’t backing down:

It took just 10 years for Brandi Swindell to grow Stanton Healthcare from one small-scale crisis pregnancy center into a flourishing network of centers and affiliates in five states plus Northern Ireland, and her ambitious goal to be the pro-life movement’s Planned Parenthood alternative is well underway. Will she actually replace the nation’s largest reproductive health-care provider? It seems highly unlikely, but even if she doesn’t, she will make it clear that the Stanton “Revolution” cannot be ignored.

“When we say Stanton Revolution, we really believe it,” Swindell said “This model and this approach is working. It just makes sense and the timing’s right. People are hungry for it.”