Big in the news right now is the political debate over legislation regarding Planned Parenthood funding. Honestly, I’m frustrated that this is still an issue in so many ways. I’m going to start right off the bat here and get my stance out there. I believe that abortion is murder and that there shouldn’t be a way to “takesies backsies” a mistake and pretend it didn’t happen… that’s how we grow and learn. I also am completely and 100% pro-choice. And YES that is absolutely possible to be both. While I have never before been pregnant, I cannot pretend to fully understand the situation for someone who finds themselves in that predicament unplanned, and cannot make decisions for them that are best for the lives involved. That’s not up to me, and it shouldn’t be up to the government.
But abortion and the pro-life/pro-choice debate is not the point here, and that is the problem with this whole argument and people still continue to confuse the issues.
People Don’t Know What Planned Parenthood Actually Does
I was included in a focus group just over a year ago that was done for Planned Parenthood, and the one thing that really shocked me was that some of the women in the group that were adamantly against Planned Parenthoodwere just as shocked to realize that Planned Parenthood did more than abortions (gasp!).
These women did not know that Planned Parenthood also provided fertility services, women’s & men’s reproductive health screenings, STD and HIV tests, cervical, breast, and even testicular cancer screenings, post-miscarriage care, medical care during pregnancies, and medical assistance to newborns and toddlers. They were not aware that these services could be provided to those without insurance, making sure that families and specifically women of all walks of life could receive adequate health care.
Why Are We Preventing Women’s Medical Health?
With health care costs increasing in a terrifying way, I simply do not understand why the government would be cutting the funding for this incredible service, especially in this day and age! Senator Elizabeth Warren said it well and I applaud her for this speech.
“Did you fall down, hit your head and think you woke up in the 1950s or the 1890s? Should we call for a doctor? Because I simply cannot understand how in the year 2015, the United State Senate would be spending it’s time trying to de-fund woman’s health care centers.”
Why I Went to Planned Parenthood
In my personal story. When I was 14, I was sexually assaulted. I was horrified, embarrassed and ashamed. My parents raised me to protect myself. My mother, herself a victim, always drilled me on what to do in an assault situation. I always told myself that I would fight tooth and nail and would never let someone hurt me like that. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that when you are in that situation, there is often very little you can do to control the outcome.
I couldn’t tell anyone for fear that I would forever be seen as the victim, that everyone at school would know, and the horror of anyone discovering my shame was more than I felt I could take. I felt like I hadn’t fought hard enough, that it was somehow my fault that this person decided to take what he wanted from me. I was terrified that my parents would be ashamed and disappointed in me or that they would blame themselves. I felt it would crush my dad to find out he hadn’t been able to protect me, and destroy my mom to know that I had experienced her worst nightmares. And I realized that although I didn’t have control over whether or not someone did this to me again, the one thing I absolutely could control was protecting myself from an unwanted pregnancy.
I approached my parents about getting on birth control, attempting to use any excuse to avoid telling them why I really wanted it. They were horrified and adamantly refused. I couldn’t go to the doctor on my own… he would be obligated to notify my parents, and I had known my family doctor for years… my ears and stomach burned at the thought.
Where I Received Compassion and Medical Assistance
Then I found out about Planned Parenthood. I went in and made an appointment. Even though I was terrified, they never once judged me or my reasons for why I wanted to be on birth control. I did not tell them what had happened, but asked for an STD test and was provided the birth control at an affordable cost. When everyone else judged and made assumptions, they treated me with compassion and kindness. I was able to make a responsible choice for my own body.
This is where I received birth control and annual exams for cervical and breast cancer every year from age 14 to when I finally graduated from college. Even after I started paying full price for the services, I continued to see Planned Parenthood for my womanly needs for the year following college, simply because that is where I had gone for so many years. This is also where countless other women who were not lucky enough to have medical insurance get the care they needed, and allowed them to have this incredible level of control over their bodies and the gift of creating life, when the time was right for them and their families. Where woman who had unplanned surprises could get the medical care and advice they needed during their pregnancy.
So why we are taking funding away from Planned Parenthood is just beyond me, and I guess it is just not for me to understand.