Planned Parenthood’s New Chatbot ‘Roo’ Teaches 13-17 Year Olds About Sex, Gender, Masturbation

By Emily Ward | February 1, 2019 | 12:50pm EST
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( -- Teens can now get instant sex and relationship advice on their phones from Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

On Thursday, Jan. 24, Planned Parenthood announced the launch of “Roo,” a new chatbot designed to teach teens about “sexual and reproductive health.” Using their cell phones, teens can text Roo to get instant answers to their “burning questions” about health, their body, relationships, and even “getting care at Planned Parenthood.”

The bot is specifically designed for teens ages 13 to 17, but is open to anyone.


A chatbot is a form of artificial intelligence that conducts personalized conversations with users, mimicking real human conversation. According to Planned Parenthood, “As more users interact with Roo, the chatbot will continue to evolve and be able to answer even more questions on more topics.”

The bot will also connect users to “additional resources, including live educators.”

Some of the topics/questions for which Roo provides answers include, “Birth control, sexual orientation and gender … What is the right age to have sex for the first time? … Is it bad to masturbate too much?” Planned Parenthood repeatedly emphasizes there is “no judgment” with Roo.

 “Planned Parenthood knows that young people need developmentally appropriate and accurate information about relationships, their bodies, and sex, without feeling shamed or judged for their curiosity – and research has shown that chatbot technology can lower users’ fears and increase their willingness to disclose personal information,” Planned Parenthood said.

Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen, who took the helm of the organization in November 2018, said Planned Parenthood is “the nation’s largest provider of sex education” and touted Roo as a “credible” resource for sex-ed.

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“We know that many young people are nervous or embarrassed to ask questions about their sexual health,” Wen said.

“It’s important that our youth receive a reliable answer they can trust,” she added.

According to its 2017-2018 annual report, Planned Parenthood did 332,757 abortions during the fiscal year of Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017. Earlier this month, Wen said that “providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion” is the “core mission” of Planned Parenthood.

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