You may not be familiar with her name. When she was nineteen she stood over the body of her dead mother, worn from eleven pregnancies, and vowed to make a change. She kept her promise and we know her work as Planned Parenthood.
I am particularly grateful for Planned Parenthood this year. I began visiting them over two years ago because I found myself a single, older woman (40’s), temporarily without insurance and needed reliable birth control. It turns out that my age group is a growing demographic to Planned Parenthood, for the very reasons I myself wandered into their care. In my experience, their care has been superb and I wanted to share my gratitude.
One of the first things I observed at my local office is the organization’s obvious commitment toward educating its clients. In the lobby, in the clinical rooms, in the restrooms, posters and flyers inform me of my ability to get free s.t.d. and AIDS testing along with plenty of condom captions informing me to make a choice for safe sex. Other wall coverings include abuse posters and numbers for me to tear off should I need local, anonymous support. In the patient rooms I have my choice of dozens of educational pamphlets concerning the same, as well as some informing me of my choice of birth control options. I would hope that such openness would allow women, especially younger ones, the comfort to start a conversation.
I found that as patients, we didn’t need to start the conversation, my nurse always does. Every time I visit, I am asked if I’ve had a change of partners in the recent past, if so would I like to be tested? I am always asked if I am in a healthy relationship, am I being abused in any way. Do I think my boyfriend or partner might sabotage my birth control so as to trap me with an unplanned pregnancy? Would I like a yard’s worth of condoms to take home for safe sex? Do you wish to take a ‘morning after’ pill home with you for emergencies? I can only say that I feel safe knowing that they are committed to allowing opportunities for discussion and education on such a personal, intimate level. While I have not needed to engage my nurse concerning these issues, I am immensely thankful that my sisters have the ability to do so.
They also hold me hostage. For a good reason. At my yearly check-up I am only given three months worth of pills along with a breast exam and my mammogram marching orders. No mammogram within three months, no more pills. They make sure I am current on my pap smear as well. I am thankful to Planned Parenthood for the concern and attention they show, I owe my health, in part to them.
Planned Parenthood is exactly what it says it is: a place where women are empowered by education to make smart choices and have access to plenty of birth control so they can plan their pregnancies. Were it not for them, my husband and I could very well be burdening the system with a medi-cal bill for maternity and infant care. Thankfully, Planned Parenthood allows us the opportunity to get to a better financial place so that we can afford insurance. This thanksgiving, I am eternally grateful to my local office for their tireless devotion, and to Margaret Sanger who followed through on her promise to make sure women’s health was given the attention it deserves and ensuring we have the ability to choose when to bring a new soul into this world. Women have been practicing birth control since we began having babies, thanks to Planned Parenthood we are able to do so within a caring, holistic, and affordable environment.
Happy Thanksgiving, and Be Well,