Announcement: We won an award from Planned Parenthood!
And by “we,” I mean all of us who have contributed stories to this blog. That’s right, Planned Parenthood gave their first-ever social media Maggie Award to us today! I went to the awards luncheon in Washington, DC, and here’s what I said:
First, thank you Planned Parenthood, not only for your health care and advocacy, but for championing women without fail, with what seems like without compromise. That’s rare in our political climate. Planned Parenthood has successfully negotiated that emotional connection we all feel to the work they do, whether that’s through their clinics or their advocacy, and turned it into a relationship. They’ve embraced social media, both their own properties and the wider world’s conversations.
But also, I’m sharing this award with all the women who shared their stories on Planned Parenthood Saved Me. It’s a crying shame that we live in a world where this is an act of bravery, but that’s what it was. The women that said, “I would have bled to death if it weren’t Planned Parenthood,” or “Planned Parenthood’s staff were the only people who understood me after I was assaulted,” or “Planned Parenthood found my cancer.” That’s what you do. That is your work, and we thank you.
Women sharing their stories with one another made the difference her. Our stories matter, more than ever.
I’m not just blowin’ smoke when I say this is our award, either. You all have been incredible, and I got choked up on stage talking about your bravery and excellence. Thank you, deeply, for your commitment and contributions. If I could hug you all, I would.
When I was a child I experienced some fairly brutal and long term abuse. This left me with a level of uterine scarring that cannot be helped, and makes it impossible for me to carry a child to viability. I would be dead long before a child could live.
I am careful, but birth control fails.
Without Planned Parenthood I would have been dead before I was 20.
Planned Parenthood of Missouri saved my bacon TWICE!
Back when I was eighteen, I was “kind of” seeing a guy who had the awful habit of “accidentally” losing the condom halfway thru sex. The first time it happened I took a cab (20 miles one way!) to Planned Parenthood for some emergency contraception. Worked a charm. I really thought the condom incident was a one-off accident and continued seeing the boy.
The second time, I realized he was doing it on purpose. I couldn’t take off from work, but begged the guy to go to the clinic for me, but he would not since he “pulled out” and thus considered it impossible that I be pregnant. Well, he was WRONG, and I was.
That Planned Parenthood location did not offer abortion, but referred to to a clinic that did. That clinic was three hours away and I had no car, but managed to get a female co-worker to drive me.
The ONLY thing I felt afterward was relief.
I am thirty now, married to an awesome man, and we have four kids together. He’s an involved dad, the exact kind of man who deserves to be a father.
I am so glad I do NOT have children by anyone as irresponsible as my old hookup. Abortion is a great tool for family planning and nobody should be ashamed of using it. I see young single women all around me who aren’t ready for motherhood, whose lives are yet chaotic, who are bullied into having babies they aren’t ready for. There is no need for this! Have your children when YOU are ready. Don’t just passively accept whatever your biology blindly hands you.
May Planned Parenthood live long and prosper. I have been donating to them for years now out of gratitude for the wonderful life I have now. It wouldn’t have been possible without their services.
When I was 17 I was felled by severe abdominal pain and was sent to the hospital. They decided that it was probably a dermoid cyst and prescribed antibiotics. Throughout that summer they kept upping the dosage but it didn’t seem to do anything and I just couldn’t afford the costs, so I stopped taking the pills. A couple of months later I passed out at work and was sent home. I decided to go to Planned Parenthood as I had no doctor, no insurance and no money. They found that the cyst had grown to the size of a large grapefruit and could burst at any moment. Two days later I was under the knife and the doctors told me that the cyst HAD burst and that I was in imminent danger of dying of peritonitis. Thanks to the quick action of Planned Parenthood, I am here to tell you about this…we need them for much more than contraception (although that is terribly important too). Please help support them!
When I was 24 I got a urinary tract infection for the first time. I proceeded to get one every two or three months for the next year. Each time it set in faster, and was more painful. If you have had one, you know what I’m talking about! I had no health insurance at this point—the package offered at my job cost so much that I had to choose between insurance and a place to live, and I chose to continue paying rent. I received treatment at Planned Parenthood for free: the visit, the test, and the antibiotics.
If left untreated, a urinary tract infection can spread to the kidneys and cause permanent damage, or the infection can spread to the bloodstream and lead to sepsis. This is fatal. It scares me to think that something so easily treated could have been the death of me.
Every time I have been in a Planned Parenthood office I received nothing but gracious care. And when I look around the waiting room I see so many men and women there for so many different reasons. I don’t know where else most of us would have to go without them.
One month when I was an uninsured 19 year-old college student, my period was a week late. I was too poor to even buy a pregnancy test, and the ob-gyn at the school clinic had been brusque and judgmental the last time I’d been in for a check-up, so I was too scared to go there for a test. I couldn’t afford an abortion and couldn’t face the thought of being shunned for an unwed pregnancy. I seriously considered suicide. One sleepless night I decided to email the local Planned Parenthood. I told them my “friend” thought she might be pregnant and couldn’t afford an abortion. Less than 24 hours later, I got an email from an employee there, saying that my friend could come get a free pregnancy test, and that if she needed an abortion they would help her get one regardless of financial resources. No matter what, they said, they would help. I felt so much safer, knowing that someone was on my side, and wouldn’t judge me. For the first time that week I was calm enough to leave the house and go to class. My period started that afternoon, so I never did need to go in, but I will always be grateful to PP for telling a terrified girl that someone was on her side.
I have to have my second colpo in a year. The first one I had student health insurance to cover. But I’ve graduated and still have no job so Planned Parenthood is my only option. A colpo can cost up to $800 without insurance but my PP only charges $300 and on top of that they have a loan program to cover half the charge. Guess who provides the loan program? Not the government, but a local woman’s roller derby team whose teammate died of stage 4 cervical cancer. She had suffered sexual abuse and avoided getting annual exams. The team raised money for her treatment but it was too late for her. They donated the money to PP and have held fundraisers since. When I found out I cried my eyes out. Incredibly frustrated and sad that women aren’t getting the care they need but also thankful that these women who lost a teammate and friend are turning that grief into something positive that helps women like me.
Once for my best friend in her college days, and once for my darling, dearest little sister who had made the mistake of having drunken, unprotected sex. Both women had to use the 2% of services that PP rarely utilizes but so luckily offers, as both women were in similar situation in their lives (just starting out college, accidentally getting pregnant, not knowing much about sex, having come from strict catholic upbringings where Sex Ed. was not taught, not even at home), and needing to learn about sex, the female body, the reproductive system, and of course, birth control, annual exams, and the like. I use Planned Parenthood even though I have great “regular” health insurance because I believe in them and their mission and that every person should have the basic right to basic health care and choice. Especially where reproduction is concerned. Thank you, Planned Parenthood, for giving my friend and my sister their lives back. One is now a full-time teacher for special needs children and proud mother of two; and my dearest little sister (who I want to protect from everything!) is still in school, and learning to navigate her way in the world, even the hard choices. And she continues to go to PP for her annual well-health care visits … And education about reproduction rights.
I make my donations directly to PP, and will continue to do, and encourage others to do so, so that other women may receive quality care regardless of their status. Shame on you, Komen Foundation, for saying you stand by women. You’ve merely been shamed into reversing your decision regarding PP.
When I was 16 I had to go to Planned Parenthood in order to obtain birth control, I had been having sex with I was 14 and had asked my parents for birth control but was denied. My mother cried. When I could finally drive, I got free birth control. I can’t imagine what my life would be without these tools for safe sex and sexual education. During the exam, they found a lump in my right breast. I was only 16 and was very scared, thanks to Planned Parenthood I became much more aware of breast cancer and must thank them for finding this growth and investigating it for me. I was lucky it was not serious, but it could have been. I stand with Planned Parenthood.
Cyst-prevention, or "Insurance doesn't cover BIRTH CONTROL" (you slut).
It was freshman year in college, and just after winter break I started to have awful stomach pains. I couldn’t keep food down, yet my pants were a little tight. I thought maybe the freshman 15, but I played a sport and didn’t drink, so what was the deal?
I finally felt so sick and weak that a friend brought me to the ER. I had a pelvic scan and they found a huge cyst in my uterus. “The size of a grapefruit” the doctor told me, as if it were a thing to behold. They removed the cyst, and prescribed birth control pills to help keep a new cyst from forming. There’s where the trouble started.
I went to the local Walgreens to fill the prescription. I was on my parent’s insurance, and didn’t know the ins and outs of what was and wasn’t covered. When I went to pick up the prescription, it rang up at $80. For a one month supply. “What about insurance?” I asked. The heinous woman behind the counter said, as loudly and as self-righteously has she could, “insurance doesn’t cover BIRTH CONTROL!!!!” She didn’t say “you SLUT” but I know that she was thinking it.
There was no way I could afford to spend over $800 a year on this prescription. I was horrified by the way the woman spoke to me. I was going to just have to take my chances that the cysts didn’t return. Thankfully, someone, I don’t know who, told me that there was a Planned Parenthood on campus.
I went there, and the people were so kind that I cried with relief. The pills to help keep me from getting cysts— which also happen to keep me from getting pregnant if I were sexually active— were free.
I will never forget that experience. It taught me a lot about the importance of having access to women’s health care, for my whole body. It taught me first hand about the stupidity of self-righteousness.
When I was in college, and without insurance, I began to have extremely heavy periods. I was bleeding for 10 days straight, such heavy bleeding that even the heaviest pads would last only a couple of hours, and the cramps I had for the first two days were debilitating. I began to have dizzy spells, and had trouble concentrating during those times. Then I started to pass out occasionally. When I passed out walking across the quad between classes, one of my classmates carried me to the university clinic (which at that time consisted of a nurse who gave out aspirin and band-aids), and waited with me until I gained consciousness. He was a gem! I related to the nurse the trouble I was having, and she called the Planned Parenthood chapter in the nearest larger town. Those wonderful people came and got me and took me to their clinic. They had tests run on me and discovered I was severely anemic, and that if I didn’t control my periods, I could die. So they put me on the Pill. My periods never became normal, but the time was cut in HALF, and my flow lessened quite a bit. I still had bad cramps, and they were the ONLY people who listened to me about the cramps. Every other male gynecologist I talked to told me that I “just needed to take a couple of Midol and get used to it because I was a woman.” 25 years later, when I had my tubes tied, the surgeon told me that I had the worst case of endometriosis that she had ever seen.
Thank you Planned Parenthood! You have my lifetime support.
In 1974, I had just graduated from college and was using PP for my gyn needs. It was inexpensive, convenient and they were really nice. It was during one of these visits that a PAP smear was done and found to be positive. And on the repeat it was also positive. They referred me to a great local OB/GYN practice and it was taken care of. I was so thankful that I volunteered for over a year at their clinic.
I always knew college was my life priority. I am 21 and have been sexually active since i was 16 and have received all of my birth control needs from Planned parenthood. I have never had health insurance and the take charge program has covered everything. Before I got on the pill i was strictly using condoms which used to break on me regularly. Then I tried oral contraceptives and would often miss days, the program provided free plan B for just this kind of incidence. Then PP suggested to me something more long term, so they put in an IUD for me. I am now in college and able to live my life with my boyfriend without fear of pregnancy, or the financial (or environmental) burden of latex condoms
I was 21 years old when I got married to a woman who hated children. She had been deprived of her childhood after her father died, her mother went to work, and she was made responsible for taking care of her younger sister and brother at the age of 10 years old. Her goal was to be an only child. An understandable emotion, but this was extreme. She swore she would commit suicide if she ever got pregnant.
Unable to use the pill, and ot satisfied with the protection of others, she resorted to the diaphragm, plus foam, plus a condom. But even still, every month she would be petrified as the days apprached and often went by her red-star day of 28 since her last period. It got so bad that it became impossible to enjoy sex together because of her fear.
So we decided that I would have a vasectomy. We were poor and couldn’t afford the operation, so we went to Planned Parenthood. Because I was only 23 years old, they counseled us to make sure we knew of the severity of our decision. We did. So one Friday afternoon, I went in to the Planned Parenthood office, had my vasectomy, and took the elevated train home to rest for the weekend. Back to work on Monday.
The vasectomy worked and we could enjoy each other without fear. Not only did Planned Parenthood save my wife’s life literally, but it also save mine metaphorically.
Planned Parenthood Education Group Made Me Who I am
I grew up in a relatively small town in Upstate New York. When I was 14 and entered high school, a friend asked if I’d like to join a peer education group called “Teen View”, which was sponsored by the local Planned Parenthood affiliate. The group was composed of 20-30 teens ages 14-18 from three counties and diverse backgrounds, who performed educational theatrical skits for middle schoolers, high school peers, adults, parents, and teachers. We educated on a wide variety of teen-centered topics ranging from birth control, contraception, sexual orientation, and sexual violence to bullying, healthy relationships, respect, and drug and alcohol abuse. After our skits, we led discussions and engaged with our audiences to help teach and promote sexual and personal health.
It was a life-changing experience to learn about these important topics, relay the information to my peers, and be able to have open, candid discussion about topics that many viewed as taboo. When a topic such as teen sexual health is swept under the rug, all potential for safety is lost. If we cannot discuss these things, and get accurate information from experts (such as the community educators at Planned Parenthood, who advised the group), how are we to know how to protect ourselves from disease, unwanted pregnancy, and unhealthy relationships?
My four year involvement in this group taught me everything I needed to know about sexual health, healthy relationships and friendships, and the importance of equality. It has been six years since I graduated high school and moved on in my life, but the lessons learned stay with me. I came to understand and accept my own sexual orientation, and make healthy choices whether I was involved with a man or a woman. The knowledge I gained from being trained to educate others has helped to keep me and my sexual partners healthy and safe. I understand the importance of getting tested before engaging with new sexual partners, I was able to weigh birth control options and decide which was best for me. When a condom broke, I knew how soon and where I needed to go to get Plan B. When a friend had unsafe sex and came to me unsure and worried, I knew what questions to ask to help her decide what her next step should be.
I continue to work every day to promote frank and open discussion of sexual health questions, and to educate my friends and acquaintances about the importance of healthy sexuality. Many of my Teen View peers have gone on to serve as nurses, advocates, and some even continue to work as Planned Parenthood educators. Sure, Planned Parenthood provides abortions - they have provided life-saving care to a number of my close friends and family. But they do so much more. The best way to prevent anyone from ever reaching that point is to educate them, and promote prevention and safety, and Planned Parenthood does that.
Thank you Planned Parenthood for saving lives through EDUCATION!
About 11 years ago, when my kids were around 8 and 10 years old, I had an abnormal result on a Pap test that was done as part of my annual exam at Planned Parenthood. The test showed that there were pre-cancerous cells on my cervix. This was about 8 years after my aunt had passed away from ovarian cancer. I was a single mom at the time and, even though I had insurance to help cover all of this, it was one of the few times in my life that I did have it. Even if I didn’t, they would have helped me anyway which is more than I can say for a private doctor’s office. And I went to Planned Parenthood because I had gone to them so many times before, for exams and birth control, when I didn’t have insurance. Not only did PP discover these pre-cancerous cells from my exam, they also treated/destroyed them with the use of cryotherapy, a procedure that was done at another PP location, and then followed up with me every 6 months to make sure the cells had not returned.
Why Planned Parenthood is Important to this Cancer Patient
Part of this was posted on my blog earlier this week, but I’d like to share it here as well — this is a great site.
At 19, I was stupid. I smoked, drank heavily, avoided sleep, and refused to waste time or money going to a doctor for something as unnecessary as a check-up. Then I decided I wanted birth control. Lo and behold, when one wants birth control, one must undergo an exam. Lucky for me, Planned Parenthood was right down the street, and they sold birth control pills for $5 a pack if you bought in bulk—the only catch was a yearly exam. Thus, the nurses and gynecologists of Planned Parenthood became my only doctors, and those annual exams my only check-ups, during my college years. The same was true for many other women I saw in the waiting room, many of whom were not college students, and weren’t lucky enough to have health insurance under their step-father’s plan.
During a routine annual exam in 2005, a nurse practitioner pressed her thumb to my neck and said, “What’s that?” “What’s what?” I said. “That.” She rolled her thumb around on a hard little knot just beneath my Adam’s apple. “You need to get that checked out. I think it’s a thyroid nodule.”
I totally ignored her (What lump? Bodies are lumpy, so what?), and when I returned the following year for another exam to keep the cheap birth control coming, a different nurse practitioner noticed the same lump. Okay, I thought, I guess I should get it checked out.
By 2008, after being diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, I’d had two surgeries to remove my thyroid gland and some lymph nodes in my neck (the cancer had metastasized), as well as radioactive iodine treatment. While I have a slow-growing and non-aggressive type of cancer that rarely spreads beyond the surrounding lymph nodes, I don’t like to think about the parts of my body it could have reached if gone unchecked—that is, if those two nurse practitioners at Planned Parenthood hadn’t been so observant, hadn’t been insistent, hadn’t been there at all.
Planned Parenthood not only saved my life, but that of my girlfriend. We were each 20 year old college students and sexually active, but one day we made a poor decision and had unprotected sex. A little over a month later we found out she was pregnant. I’ll never forget where I was when she called me sobbing. She was devastated and I felt the pit of my stomach fall out when she told me the news. I had no idea what to do next, but we both knew we weren’t mature enough or financially capable of raising a child at that point in our lives. It just wasn’t the right time. Fortunately for us the professionals at Planned Parenthood were there to help us through the difficult decision of having an abortion. We didn’t end up staying together, but because we had a choice we both were able to graduate from college and have gone on to be successful individuals. She pursued a graduate degree in physical therapy and is engaged to a great guy. I was able to finish my biology degree and am an Army Officer married to the woman of my dreams. Thanks.
I am now a successful Masters prepared nurse, but I have been a struggling student. I received counseling, contraceptives and exams from PP during those years. It helped me to be responsible and educated and I remain grateful.
A high-ranking official resigned Tuesday from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast-cancer charity after a dispute over whether the group should give funding to Planned Parenthood, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press.
Karen Handel, the charity’s vice president for public policy, told Komen officials that she supported the move to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. She said the discussion started before she arrived at the organization and was approved at the highest levels of the charity.
"I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it," Handel said in her letter. "I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve."
A young woman, struggling with “high-functioning” alcoholism and a panic disorder, unable to seek treatment for either disease because of her inferior health care package covers neither mental health nor women’s health care, finds herself pregnant by her boyfriend of six months. Her boyfriend makes the right pledge, to stand by whatever decision she makes, and to support the child, if need be, or to help pay for an abortion procedure. He is unemployed and living with his parents in rural Georgia. She gets an offer to go to graduate school with a fellowship designed to support a young single person with very modest needs. She can keep the kid, move the guy across the country, and attempt to begin graduate school with a child and a yearly income far below the poverty level, relying heavily on expensive state and federal programs, and running her parents into debt. She can keep the kid, stay in Georgia with no prospects beyond managing a small restaurant, and force the guy to remain immobile, too, again drawing on expensive programs and her not-wealthy parents. In either scenario, what would that child’s life be like? The pregnancy was caught early—six weeks—but substance abuse problems take years, even a lifetime, to get under control. Even if she was able to quit cold turkey for the sake of the child, there would be no guarantee that the child would turn out healthy, or even go to term. If, by some miracle, the child was healthy, her mental illness and the financial straits of both parents would hardly give the child a stable home life. She wasn’t even that young. At 23, she had already surpassed that milestone her mother had set for her since childhood: just wait until you graduate college. So, here she was, with a Magna cum Laude to boot. Should she woman up, grip her ovaries and pull herself into parenthood by her fallopian-tube-bootstraps?
I think the adversaries of PPH and women’s health initiatives would probably argue that she should. And maybe she should have. But she didn’t, and she is, of course, me. Call me weak, call me selfish, call me irresponsible. If you’ve ever been in the throes of an addiction, you can probably understand how hard it is to get out of it, especially when you’re being hit with the hormonal bludgeon of pregnancy. If my anxiety, panic, and depression was controlled before, with the pregnancy hormones flowing through my veins it became almost unbearable to leave my house. Thankfully, I had incredibly supportive friends, including a next-door neighbor who didn’t let me fall to pieces. My aunt, a 30+-year supporter of PPH and now a staff member, also supported me from across the country. My boyfriend at the time did what he could, from two hours away and between his odd jobs. I wasn’t ready to be a parent. I was still drinking heavily, too, mainly out of “OH F***” anxiety. People will say “No one is ever ready to be a parent!” but I don’t think they mean this level of unfitness.
You know, a part of me wonders something: I have always been pretty sexual, but I have been made to feel fraught about that sexuality thanks to growing up in small, conservative towns. I had a supportive, open-minded mother and aunt (the one mentioned above) who both taught me that my body and my urges were neither shameful nor something to remain ignorant of. Imagine the cognitive dissonance created by being surrounded by friends wearing pro-life shirts in the halls, praying in school, and regularly being “saved” at sleepovers (because we sometimes went to a Catholic church). Maybe if basic human feelings and needs hadn’t been so morally pathologized in my formative years, I could have escaped some of the issues that made me anxious as a teen, and eventually drove me to self-medicate through drinking. Anxiety issues run in my family, so it may have found another manifestation, but here’s one topic it should never have had to become caught up in.
I didn’t end up going to PPH, but instead went to a local version of that organization that was much closer (Feminist Women’s Health Center in ATL, for anyone in the region who can’t get to the PPH locations). So, maybe in this situation it wasn’t exactly PPH that saved my life, but it’s like saying I got my cat from the Humane Society when it was really an almost-identical animal rescue that only exists in my town. PPH helped me out on a number of other occasions, and in my new town I have been using their services. I just submitted a volunteer application!
My mom and my aunt were pioneers in middle America, the heart of Santorum-esque anti-woman attitudes, but in their quiet, behind-the-scenes way. Sites like this, and the HUGE reaction to the recent Komen Foundation action are proof that times are changing.
When I quietly turned to my older girlfriends for advice when I found myself pregnant, I was surprised to find out that several of them had had abortions, including one who had been a lesbian most of her adult life, and one who counts herself as a conservative. We have to stop letting political groups step on our voices. Pregnancy is dangerous, parenthood is a huge responsibility, not to be taken lightly, and sex is an instinct hundreds of millions of years old. Suggesting sexual abstinence as a solution is like saying anorexia is the solution obesity: accessible, responsible, low-cost management of normal human needs is the answer, and that’s what PPH offers.
This was very rambling, but I hope some people find some gems in there. I love PPH and like-minded associations. We, as women (and men, too, surely my ex-boyfriend is happy to not be a dad!) who have used their services, need to be more vocal about it. The more normal it becomes, the better. I long for a day when anti-PPH and anti-women’s health advocates are regarded with the same kind of cult status as religious sects that refuse all kinds of medical treatment: wackos (with religious freedom protection for the adults).
I was so happy to see the outpouring of support for PPH in light of the Komen thing. More people need to speak up. Health issues should be kept private, but it doesn’t hurt my professional career to say that I’ve personally benefited from several of the many of their 97% of non-abortion services.
From 15 to 52--still the most complete and respectful health care I ever received was at PP
Some people seem to have this idea that PP is some speakeasy where you walk in and the staff pushes a handful of birth control (BC) pills into your mouth while encouraging you to have an abortion. My experiences as a client and a counselor have led me to view it as the most capable, compassionate, and respectful visit to an MD available.
In the 70s I became a client at PP at 15, and worked at age 16-17, as a peer counselor (cuz the teens were scared to talk to old chicks) at a PP in Philadelphia. Everyone came in nervously, automatically asking for ‘the pill’ back then. But girls and women were encouraged during the counseling/intake interview to open up and talk about why they thought they needed it—so many of us were not sexually active enough for full-time birth control like that and had no idea there were other methods and devices; others were feeling pressured to have sex but didn’t know how to say no. PP offered support to get to what YOU really wanted and needed instead of blindly handing out pills.
After the intake, to get any BC or procedure you had to do a session on what all the BC methods (including ‘rhythm’) were, and the (at the time shocking) “how to do a breast exam” demo on Sally-the-lifelike-silicone-torso, and then have a breast as well as pelvic exam from the doctor. That was often the only time girls and women had seen a doctor since they got their immunizations in grade school. As a middle-class girl I had received care from the family doctor, but a visit there only happened if you had a fever and, then, if your throat was sore that must be the culprit, medicines were prescribed (and you could not ask questions about them without the doctor acting angry or insulted), and the ‘exam’ was over. At PP I was asked about my whole body and any symptoms or concerns, not just boobs and vagina, and encouraged to ask questions about any and everything.
PP taught me that I was a consumer of health care, not a passive patient, and I had rights. People were told every visit to read the notes counselors and doctors made in their chart to make sure it was accurate—that mistakes can happen even by the best; and you could come back and read your chart any time —it was about you so it was yours. What a gift! Good freakin’ luck trying to explain that to most health care practitioners. But I have insisted on that level of access to my medical records ever since. and, had I not, the errors and misinterpretations would have led to treatments (or the withholding of treatments), negatively impacting my health and life.
Thank you, Planned Parenthood, for teaching me by body is mine, to care for my whole body, and stand up for what I know to be true from inside of it.
I’m almost 22 now. Last summer, I started birth control to regulate my cycle and get my hormones under control. I honestly started the pill simply to find a way to manage the ridiculous amounts of pain I experienced during my periods. I was in for a surprise. My family has a history of anxiety issues that had spiraled out of control and turned into depression for a short period of time. I went to therapy for the depression, but the anxiety never truly went away…
…Until I started birth control. It turned out my anxiety and depression were strongly connected to my cycle. The difference between who I was and who I am today is like night and day. Friends who came back to my college after the summer break even commented that I was much happier and wanted to know what had happened.
I took control of my health, is what happened. It all started with the simple goal of eliminating my extreme monthly pains - and since my family had no idea where any gynecologists are in my area, I never would have been able to start taking birth control if it wasn’t for Planned Parenthood. They are the reason I am able to smile every day, and they are the reason this last year of my life has been free of physical pain and the pain caused by major anxiety. Thank you, thank you, thank you Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood Helped Me Take Control of My Sexual Health
Planned Parenthood allowed me to take control of my emotional and sexual health without shame. Like many women, the women at PP gave me my first annual exam, my first pack of birth control, my first pack of emergency contraceptive, my first cervical biopsy, and the first fully-informed, compassionate care-giver who I felt I could talk to without judgment. Armed with all of this, I was able to go to my loving but conservative parents and say “See, I’m making decisions for myself and I’m going about it in a responsible manner.” Now the young women in my family (my sister, cousins, niece) come to me for advice and with their questions. Not surprisingly, we go to Planned Parenthood together, so they can take control of their sexual health, too.
Planned Parenthood Didn't Save My Life but it Does Save Lives
I’m 21 and I support planned parenthood with all of my heart. I have had two very close friends with breast cancer. Both were uninsured, both had breast cancer in there genes and both are now survivors. If it hadn’t been for the help that Planned Parenthood provided they wouldn’t have known where to find the affordable care and counseling that saved their lives. So thank you Planned Parenthood for being there for women who need help.
I am far too sensitive a person to ever gotten an abortion. Fortunately, because I had access to Planned Parenthood’s services so I never had to make that tough decision. When I became sexually active at 16 (because I fell in love) there was a PP across the street from my high school. I was able to use their services discreetly and was treated with respect. They gave me exams, explained all the risks involved with being sexually active and offered me all the options they had to prevent pregnancy and STD’s.
Because of PP, I was able to chart my own destiny, without the burden of motherhood before I was mature enough to be a good mother. At 22 I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree and met the man I married.
At 25 I was diagnosed with ovarian cysts and the treatment was simple: the birth control pill. Sadly, even though I had medical insurance this medically necessary treatment was not covered because it was considered “Birth Control.” I returned to PP to get the care I needed at a price I could afford. This treatment preserved my fertility for the day I wanted it.
At 30 I had my first child.
At 45 I have two healthy teenagers— both planned at a time when my husband and I were both ready to be good parents, financially and psychologically. Because of planned parenting we brought two very much wanted children into this world.
I am glad that Planned Parenthood will be there for my daughter when she needs them. She deserves the right to learn and explore her relationships and sexuality in her own time, and access to do that responsibly. She has the right to the freedom to pursue her education and life goals before she has children.
No one else has the right to tell her what to do with her body. I have taught her this since a young age.
When I was pregnant with my son, there was still a lot of paranoia around about AIDS. I wasn’t in a high-risk category, but I had dated several different guys in college, before meeting my husband, so I wanted to be tested.
I was afraid to go to my gynecologist for fear that would somehow alert my health insurance company. I didn’t know what they might do with that information. I simply didn’t want there to be a record of my asking for the test. But for the sake of my baby, I knew I should have it.
So, I went to the local Planned Parenthood. They were wonderfully sympathetic. I had the test. It was negative. And I now have a wonderful, healthy grownup boy.
Planned Parenthood is about health care for women and for babies.
PP, thank you for giving me a quiet, confidential place to get birth control before I had sex for the first time. I wasn’t even sure about losing my virginity but I sure as hell wasn’t ready for a baby and you knew that. You held my nervous hand and gave me much-needed education as well as birth control. Thank you.
I was 24, working at a low-paying job and barely getting by. I hadn’t had a gynecological exam since I was in college. My friend T. told me to go to Planned Parenthood because they didn’t cost much, and would work with me on what I could afford. I went in, got my exam, and thought that was the end of it.
I got a call a few days later to come back into the office for an appointment. The results of my PAP were back, and it was abnormal. Subsequent tests confirmed that I had cervical cancer, and I was panicked. The people at Planned Parenthood got me into a treatment program and referred to an oncologist, they had counselors who talked to me and helped me, and ultimately, saved my life.
Now that I have a career, I give generously, so that other women who are in the same place I was - not enough money, no insurance, no doctor - can get the health care that might save THEIR lives.
Planned Parenthood didn’t save my life…but they did save me from a world of pain. Thanks to their referral I was able to get treatment for a very painful condition at a cost I, an unemployed student with no healthcare, could afford. They also provided me with affordable birth control and reliable, objective, information about my health and my reproductive rights. I can never repay them for the help they gave me, and continue to give me (and millions of other women).
When I was first living on my own in a new city, far from family, I was brutally poor. The only way I could continue to get regular gynecological exams, cancer screening, and birth control pills was through Planned Parenthood, on their sliding fee scale. Thank God! I desperately needed the Pill, not just for birth control, but to help control debilitating dysmenorrhea. If I hadn’t been able to get my prescription, I would have missed a lot of work and I’m sure I probably would have been fired and ended up even poorer.
I remember the so-called Christians who stood outside PP, holding signs and harassing everyone who went inside, even though they had NO IDEA what any of us was there for. But I also remember the brave people who volunteered as escorts, and helped all of us feel safe and protected as we made our way into the clinic.
Thank you, Planned Parenthood. I will ALWAYS support you.
When I was 27, I discovered that I had something where there should not be anything. I was living with my dad, my parents had just split up, I was unemployed and there was something wrong in probably the scariest place for a woman to have something wrong. My mother sent me to Planned Parenthood where their gynecologist examined me and confirmed that there was indeed something there that shouldn’t be there. The clinic made an appointment for me the same day at a private OB/GYN’s office where they removed the offending article. A few days later, they let me know that everything was fine.
I was scared and broke and convinced that I was going to die a horrible, cancerous death, but Planned Parenthood was there. They made sure I was taken care of when I didn’t have the slightest idea what to do beyond go to the clinic. I’ve thought of that time a lot over the last year as the attacks on PP have escalated. Planned Parenthood had my back then and from now on I’ll have theirs.
I've never set foot in a Planned Parenthood, but I wouldn't be here without them.
My mother was a young newlywed in the mid-1970s. She was in graduate school, and my father was just starting his career. Planned Parenthood was the only place she could go when she needed an abortion. (I would go into the reasons why, but ultimately, they don’t matter. She needed one; PP gave her one.)
I was born a few years later to a mother who was physically healthy and professionally capable. She defended her dissertation while 8 months pregnant with me. When my father left her for another woman 7 years later, she had the education and skills to pursue a financially and emotionally gratifying career and give me a stable home in the midst of family upheaval. None of this would have been possible had she not been able to get an abortion when she needed one. She is the most loving, amazing, supportive mother I could ever hope for.
Every year on Mother’s Day, I make a donation to Planned Parenthood in her honor. It’s a tradition that makes us both happy.
PP is why I've had healthcare during the recession.
Mine is not an exceptional story. Due to struggles finding gainful employment, I have been on and off private health insurance since 2009. Planned Parenthood has been my lifeline for accessing critical basics like annual pap smears, birth control, and other healthcare needs. Thank you Planned Parenthood!
I was 48 years old when I started perimenopause, the main symptom of which was constant heavy bleeding, up to baseball sized clots. I have no insurance. L.A. County gyno clininc refused to answer their phone after instructing me to call them for e.r. follow up. Planned Parenthood provided me with check-ups and birth control pills to control the bleeding. I lived to happily remarry, and am now a grandmother.
Planned Parenthood was there when I didn't have anyone to talk to
Even though I have never stepped foot in a Planned Parenthood, they have helped me. As a scared, sexually active teenager, I was able to find just about everything I wanted and needed to know about sex on their website. I learned about proper condom use and what birth control option would work best for me. I thank PP for being a sexual education resource for me when no one else (not my parents and not my school) would.
There is a huge misconception out there by the pro lifers. When I was young and making and hourly wage, without any insurance. I could not afford proper medical care, but I knew I needed a pap smear and screening. The precancerous spots on my cervix were found by the Dr. @ Planned Parenthood. I believe if I did not have access to low cost medical care, the cancer would have spread, and I could have died.
I remember Planned Parenthood as being a good place for information concerning all options if faced with difficult, life changing situations. It seemed as though abortion was the last resort, with all the adoption pamphlets they handed out.
While I was in the waiting room, I recall being afraid that people would think that I was there to get an abortion. I was afraid that there would be protesters yelling at me, but I was in a financial pinch, and was strong enough to go. T
What I found to be true over the years was that the Planned Parenthood doctors and staff were by far the most knowledgeable, and the nicest people. They have compassion and empathy.
Cancer touches everyone, people who are pro choice,and pro life. It was wise for the Komen foundation to reconsider their funding.
A year and a half ago, I went to planned parenthood for my pap smear. Being just out of college, I had no health insurance and extremely low income. While there, the nurse was feeling my lymph nodes when she felt something out of the ordinary. We spent a solid ten minutes feeling around my neck, and she nearly dismissed it. At the last minute, she asked me if I wanted to take a blood test to check my thyroid levels. I had no idea PP even offered to do that! I said yes, and was delighted to learn that the test would be less than $20.
Later that week, they called and said that my levels were extremely abnormal and I needed to get to a primary physician. Turns out I had a tumor the size of a tangerine in my throat. I had it (and my entire thyroid) removed. Thankfully, it was benign, but what if it hadn’t been? The only reason I was in a doctor’s office of any kind was that I knew that PP was available/affordable for me and my health needs. It’s entirely possible that I would have gone years without getting this checked out. My quality of life would have been extremely diminished due to my thyroid levels being out of whack. I don’t even want to think about the fact that I could have been carrying cancer inside of me without knowing it.
Thank you Planned Parenthood. Thank you for caring. Thank you for taking the extra ten minutes. Thank you for being affordable. Thank you for being such an institution that I knew to go to you in first place. I will do my personal best to make sure that never changes.
When I was heading off to college, my mother scheduled me an appointment with her insurance-approved/covered doctor for an annual exam and birth control prescription. I was, of course, anxious, but optimistic and went in feeling somewhat empowered - being put in charge of my choices. The experience was extremely degrading. He joked about my sexuality, he made me feel small. He never explained what was going on. He told me to close my eyes and it would be over soon. I felt violated.
After that experience, I avoided my next exam as long as possible. I used the college health clinic, which primarily used Nurse Practitioners (a good thing) and was reliable, but was not able to go above and beyond in their care. When I found Planned Parenthood, I felt human, I felt empowered. The NPs, Nurses, Doctors, and Staff at each clinic I’ve been to have always had my best interests in mind, asked honest questions, provided honest answers, and helped guide me through my choices on a personal level. They have found abnormal cells (nothing, thankfully) on pap smears, they have found early signs of infection, they have re-tested abnormal STI tests (again, nothing), and their attention to detail and clear explanations are something I have never experienced with any other regular care.
I CHOOSE to go to Planned Parenthood, where I am cared for as a person, not just a human-shaped body. They have set a high standard for what I accept as care, and I have come to learn that I do not have to stand for inferior services when it comes to MY body. Planned Parenthood rocks.
When I was a broke-ass married college student with no insurance, I used Planned Parenthood to make sure we graduated on time. Family planning, as in I planned to have kids after I graduated. I worked full-time, went to school full-time and did what I had to do. When my parents got separated, the first thing my dad did was drop my mom from his medical, since at the time the law did not force him to maintain her coverages. When Mami asked me what she was going to do, I pointed her to the PP in her area. It was so nice for her to see the staff there, who were friendly and sympathetic to a divorcing mom whose life was changing in a big way. At least she had one less thing to worry for.
I have so much to thank Planned Parenthood for. 10 years ago I got pregnant while using the birth control patch at 19 years old. I’d done everything I thought was supposed to do to prevent this from happening, yet there I was finishing my first year of college pregnant. I went to PP for guidance and counseling and they were so amazing! I was touched by their empathy and professional manner of care.
Then, during my initial exam, I had a pap smear that came up abnormal. They found cancer cells in my cervix. I was lucky enough to have an extrememly supportive mother, and we made the difficult decision together to end the pregnancy and start treatment for the cancer. PP refered me to the best treatment possible and because it was caught early on, I survived.
As an adult, even though I have great insurance, I still go to PP for all of my yearly checkups beause of their professionalism and their commitment to women’s health. Thank you, PP, for saving my life.
I decided to be sexually active when I was 16. There was no way that I was going to talk to my step-mother or my dad about it. Planned Parenthood got my on birth control pills and then to an IUD. They were helpful, informative, and never judgmental. If nothing else this Komen mess has reminded me how much I owe my current life to their help and I’ll be sending them money annually now.
The stories of lives saved here make my story seem trivial. I have adequate health care coverage and a wonderful doctor, but one day when I had was so uncomfortable I couldn’t sit (no ordinary yeast infection, this), my doctor’s assistant said there were no office appointments open for days, and then said “Why don’t you try Planned Parenthood right in town?” So I went, and they were wonderful. They ruled out scary stuff, and helped me deal with the discomfort until my doctor could see me. I’m glad to know that PP is there for those of my neighbors who are underinsured or uninsured.
I have always had trouble with independent health insurance do to a birth defect that has led me to major hip surgery and other difficulties (I can no longer be denied, but they can still jack up the rates). I work successfully as an artist, but earlier this spring, my studio still wasn’t providing insurance (they do now!). So, I relied on Planned Parenthood for my birth control and sexual health. In March, I went in for my annual exam, only to find that I had some abnormal results. I was scared, but Planned Parenthood took care of me and explained every step - for very low cost they performed an HPV test, biopsy, and a colposcopy - which they did to remove cancer cells from my cervix. Without PP, I would have cervical cancer and not even know - without them, I could not have afforded to get an annual exam. They saved my life and I could not be more grateful.
though, of course, it’s not “pro-life” (i.e., pro-forced gestation and pro-women’s death and suffering). At age 15, I had an abortion, though at a private doctor’s office, a privilege afforded me by the connections of my registered nurse single mom (whose husband abandoned her and his children and who could not be bothered to pay the court-ordered pittance that was supposed to help support his children). My embryo’s sperm donor had absconded, too. Don’t really blame him; after all, if I could have run away from the situation maybe I would have, though I’d like to think that I’m not such a piece of shit.
Planned Parenthood has only ever helped me to avoid pregnancy, as well as disease. When I had no insurance, they provided me with annual pap smears, education on safer sex, STD testing between partners, breast exams, and birth control that worked for me. When I was laid off and underemployed as a temp worker in my early 30s, I knew I could again rely on Planned Parenthood and they came through for me in spades. I was able to get an IUD, which I still have and which has been the best contraceptive I have ever used. I am 41 and for the last 7 years I have been giving back to Planned Parenthood on a monthly basis, even though I have excellent health insurance (which, like most USians, I will lose should I contract a devastating illness that renders me unable to work).
Thanks to Planned Parenthood, I have never had an STD nor any more unwanted pregnancies. Nor have I had a lapse in preventative care check-ups at those various times I had no health insurance. Planned Parenthood has never wavered in its commitment to quality, comprehensive health care for women in all walks of life and I will never waver in my support for this wonderful, life-affirming, non-judgmental organization. I will fight tooth and nail for Planned Parenthood to continue as a resource for low income women, men, and children who otherwise would have no access to quality healthcare.