I was 19 when I first when to Planned Parenthood. I didn’t have insurance. I was newly married. You can’t really be expected to keep your legs shut when you’re newly married. Let’s be real here. I didn’t make enough money to afford birth control consistently. I knew two things. I couldn’t have a baby at the time. I also couldn’t keep a marriage alive without sex.
When you grow up in a conservative family, it’s easy to cast shame on all the adults that have sex without the intention of having a baby. You don’t really understand it until you’re in the situation yourself. Every time I went to Planned Parenthood, I felt the hot shame of disappointing my family. I was scared that someone would see me go there and label me a slut. I always had anxiety attacks that I would be grouped with those other girls, you know the ones that people didn’t respect at all because they thought that they were “easy” or “asking for it.” It’s ridiculous that I grew up to be conditioned to believe these things were so black and white. I hate that I had this mindset that it was okay to hate on other women for whatever reason.
I can’t remember what I paid at Planned Parenthood for birth control, but it wasn’t a very high amount because it was on a scale. I remember thinking that one day, I’d be on the top end of the scale and have to pay a lot more. I never realized that one day you go from going to Planned Parenthood to having both a primary care physician and an OB/GYN. I can’t remember when the switch happened for me either. What I do remember is how fortunate that I was to have Planned Parenthood for not just helping me not become pregnant, but for a variety of other reasons as well.
If you don’t know much about Planned Parenthood, you should really look into it. They don’t just give out birth control or conduct abortions. They also give women their annual screenings for breast and reproductive health. As I learned today, Planned Parenthood can’t use federal funding for abortions so defunding Planner Parenthood just takes away access for women to reproductive healthcare. One day, I woke up in horrible pain, and I knew I couldn’t afford a visit to the emergency room. I went to Planned Parenthood, and I found out that I had an ovarian cyst that was causing me some trouble. They gave me some medications, and I ended up being completely fine. The cost of this visit didn’t set my life back dramatically. Earlier that year, I had to go to the emergency room without insurance, and the cost was over a thousand dollars out of pocket. Planned Parenthood allowed me to stay healthy and stay focused on going to school and putting my life together.
I honestly can’t say whether or not I would have gotten pregnant without Planned Parenthood. My guess is that I would have, and I wouldn’t have been able to focus on schoolwork and seizing opportunities when they came my way. My life would have been dramatically different. I’m eternally grateful that Planned Parenthood put me in control when I wanted to have a child. By doing that, Planned Parenthood helped me control my destiny and gave me the confidence to focus on getting my life together so I could responsibly have a child. I haven’t had a child yet, but I will when I’m ready. I owe a lot of where I am to the people who donated to Planned Parenthood and made it possible for me to get low-cost birth control and health care.
I think every woman should be able to learn about health in an unbiased way and their take control of their own reproductive health. When I was worried that I was pregnant, I didn’t just get the option that I should get an abortion, I got all of the options go having the baby in a healthy way, adoption, etc. I’m lucky enough to never have to face the choice of whether or not to get an abortion, but I’m glad that women can get information on all of their options without feeling judged. When one birth control method gave me horrible side effects, I didn’t have to suffer through it because I had the option of getting the more expensive option for a price I could afford. When I finally had insurance, the option of getting that birth control was unaffordable for me at at the time, and I still went to Planned Parenthood.
It kills me to hear about people wanting to defund Planned Parenthood. I wish I could tell the people who respect me now for where I am in life that I was one of the people that Planned Parenthood helped. This is a hard post to write because it opens up a part of my life that people don’t talk about in polite company. It’s what you talk about when you trust that the person on the other end won’t slut shame you. I floated the idea around of writing a post like this with a couple of friends, and their main worry was that in the future, I’d regret it because I’d be unhirable under some morality clause or that I’d get hate mail or shamed by family/friends. I mulled on it for a long time, but my silence doesn’t help the next person that needs to take control of their life. I want people to know that the people who are using Planned Parenthood aren’t the scum of of the Earth or whatever. They’re normal people just like you and me that want something better for their life.
I’m a proud supporter of Planned Parenthood. I hope you are, too.