For too many people, all they think when they hear Planned Parenthood is “abortions.” But I’ve been to Planned Parenthood many times since my 18th birthday to utilize their gynecological services, especially when I was uninsured and I could count on their sliding scale or free services. The first time I went, I was 18 and uninsured and even though I hadn’t had sex yet, my Seventeen magazine said every young woman at that age should get checked out. In fact, one friend went to Planned Parenthood, also a virgin at about the same age, and discovered she had a pretty bad yeast infection.
My first experience at Planned Parenthood was so hilarious, I ended up writing a short story about it for my Comedy Writing class at Fordham University. It was one of those uncomfortably funny but not as graphic as Judd Apatow films kinda story. The girls were shocked. The guys said it was eye-opening since they were never going to be in the position to end up at the doctor and “spread ’em into those cold stirrup things.” I still have the story somewhere but if I posted it here, my husband would probably kill me so I’ll just say that the doctors and nurses were very sweet and kind to a girl whose own sisters hadn’t ever seen her naked and who had ignored all those Sex Ed. classes in high school because “I was never going to have sex.” My mother and friends had, after all, voted me most likely to become a nun.
One recent summer, even when I DID have healthcare, but was far from home, I called every doctor in the Pico-Robertson/Beverly Hills area and found out that every single one was on vacation and couldn’t see me for another two months. That’s how I found myself at the only place that would see me right away: Planned Parenthoood to get a check-up, find out why my period was missing-in-action and why I was experiencing pelvic pain. I hadn’t been to Planned Parenthood since my late teens and early 20s and I think I was older than every young woman in the waiting room but I was crying my eyes out, scared I was pregnant and that my baby would have two or three heads because of all the medications I was on for my chronic pain. I was also scared something was really wrong with my plumbing and every worst-case scenario played out in my mind.
It turned out everything was fine. My period was MIA because of one of those medications I was taking. The nurse held my hand while I cried from relief. And as they had been years before and in New York, the doctors and nurses were really kind. When I asked what I needed to pay, they said I could pay whatever I could afford. At the time, it wasn’t much. There was very little in my bank account that day but I was ever so grateful that they could see me right away and for their kindness that I paid the full price and later gave them an online donation.
Planned Parenthood offers affordable medical care to men, women and teens. It isn’t this “abortion clinic” that people try to make it out to be. And even though my bank account was low again, I made a donation to them again recently when I started reading about how some idiots in Washington, who have probably never been to a Planned Parenthood or poor and uninsured with nowhere else to turn, were planning to put legislation in place to target Planned Parenthood and women’s (sexual health).
So that’s my two cents but otherwise “my uterus is none of your business.” 🙂
UPDATED-PLEASE NOTE: Thanks to the reader who warned me that Google had attached an advertisement asking to “”support Michele Bachman in her plan to defund Planned Parenthood.” All advertisements on my blog are controlled by Google and I have no control over them and obviously do not support defunding Planned Parenthood.