I wanted to write to share my personal experience with Planned Parenthood and what their care has meant to me and what they do for our communities. And first wanted to address a few things about Planned Parenthood, and things I’ve learned.
There is an idea that if Planned Parenthood were defunded, other centers and offices could absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients. This idea has been dismissed time and time again by experts and health center administrators.
A lot of Planned Parenthood centers are in rural or medically underserved areas. In a lot of cases, patients have no other places to get healthcare services. In other cases, other centers and offices cannot take on the amount of patients or accept as many walk-ins as Planned Parenthood can. Current OBGYNs in my area are booked out and I go to Planned Parenthood as they can accommodate my schedule and necessary walk-ins.
In regards to abortion -> federal funds do not pay for abortions. What federal money for Planned Parenthood does support is cancer screenings (such as pap smear tests and breast exams), birth control services, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and other critical healthcare services and information.
Planned Parenthood’s advocacy and information on birth control services and providing access to birth control has undoubtedly helped reduce the number of abortions. We do not want to see the number of abortions increase and access to information and birth control options reduce the number of abortions. Blocking healthcare funding does not work and 7/10 Americans support Planned Parenthood.
Did you know increasing access to birth control could reduce the unintended pregnancy & abortion rates by nearly two-thirds?
Part of my own story:
I’m so thankful I had Planned Parenthood to turn to about reproductive health questions and they encouraged me to do my regular screenings. I did not have that kind of encouragement or open dialogue growing up. It just wasn’t a topic of conversation besides “DO NOT HAVE SEX” and “NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE.” Nothing else was really discussed.
Until I went to college, I was not even aware of what I needed to do as a woman to take care of myself and my needs and what risks I could be facing.
A few years ago after college through a regular visit and screening, Planned Parenthood identified abnormal cells on my cervix. I had a colposcopy done and then needed to have the abnormal cells and area removed from my cervix through the LEEP procedure where a thin, low-voltage electrified wire loop cut out abnormal tissue in my cervix.
If Planned Parenthood had not told me I needed to continually come in for screenings and pap smears, I'm not sure I would have gone as often as I needed. Now I am aware that I need to do more regular screenings than most women as I am more at risk. This was the first discovery.
I have Planned Parenthood to thank for so many reasons, but I'm always thankful for the open and honest dialogue and support I get from the doctors there. I always get the information and help I need and even the possibly life saving help I didn't even know I needed.
I believe sharing this information is important as some may not know what Planned Parenthood offers, how many lives they’ve helped and help saved or how I have personally been affected and helped.