Planned Parenthood Saved Me

Planned Parenthood is dedicated to women's health. We're posting stories from women whose lives were saved or changed because they had access to affordable healthcare like cancer screenings through Planned Parenthood.

A quick note, too-- we'd really love pictures of you holding up your stories, or just pictures of you that you'd like to include.

(Not affiliated with PP, by the way. We're just big fans. Questions? Get in touch with @deanna on Twitter.)

Pinkwash *this.*

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.

Thank you PP!

Planned Parenthood Saved Me

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.

Planned Parenthood found my cancer

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. 

college VS parenthood

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

Even a Male’s Life

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.

David Kimball

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!

My kids could have lost their mother

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 Saved Us

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.