Eleven years ago, I was sitting in the office of a Planned Parenthood, filling out the New Patient information form.
No, I wasn’t pregnant. I was there for 2 reasons: affordability and anonymity.
Unable to tell my mother that I’d already started having sex, I certainly couldn’t tell her that I wanted to make a gynecology appointment. I just wanted to get everything checked out. You know, make sure it was all in working order. I finally had a car, which allowed me to lie about my whereabouts much more easily, and this was the first spot on my list.
Before filling out the form, I scanned it for one specific question: Can we contact you by phone or mail? I exhaled in relief as I checked the box that said “NO”.
Many girls have shared my experience. I couldn’t tell my mom that I’d given it up a year ago at only 17. There would be no heart-to-heart talk, no question and answer session. Only accusing glares, punishment, and the threat of being thrown out if I got pregnant.
Being a freshman in college, I only had a part-time job, so I had no benefits, and not much money to pay for my regular doctor to see me. Besides the anonymity factor, I had also heard that Planned Parenthood charged on a sliding scale, based on my income. I don’t remember how much I ended up paying for my visit, but it wasn’t much.
Since I had this experience, Planned Parenthood has always held a special place in my heart. It was there for me when I needed it, at a time when I knew that I was all alone in taking responsibility for my own reproductive health.
Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood doesn’t evoke that same fuzzy feeling in others. Instead, it’s seen as a place where the devil’s work is taking place. They hear the name, and automatically think: abortion clinic. In reality, abortion is only 3% of the services that Planned Parenthood provides.
State legislators are trying to stop funding for Planned Parenthood, an act that will affect millions of women and families. As of right now, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, and Wisconsin have already blocked funding, with more states on the way.
It’s very upsetting to me when people try to shut down something good, only because of one service that they disagree with. They don’t consider anything else but their own beliefs of what’s right and what’s wrong.
Four words people need to live by: To each his own. People should follow the same advice I give my preschoolers when I’ve had enough of their tattle tailing: Don’t worry about what your friends are doing. Just worry about yourself. As long as you’re doing the right thing, (or in this case, what you believe is right), then that’s all that matters.
If you want to get involved, check out this website: http://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/