Edited to add: I wrote this on February 24, 2011. It makes me super sad that this is still relevant.
Recently House Republicans voted to stop federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Presumably because Planned Parenthood performs approximately 1/4 of the abortions in the United States. It is important now more than ever to speak up about what Planned Parenthood really does.
There are not a lot of things I get up in arms about. But my reproductive rights and how I feel about being a mother are two of them. The mother I am today is in some small way directly related to the woman that Planned Parenthood helped me to become. And to the mother they helped me to not become so very long ago.
Dear Planned Parenthood,
Thank you. Thank you for more than a dozen gynecological exams in times when I was without adequate health insurance. Thank you for the many condoms you gave me when I was too chicken shit to purchase them. Thank you for the birth control prescription, and for filling it for free on a few occasions when I was dangerously close to letting it lapse. Thank you for not making me think I was stupid or that I had been careless for getting my first HIV test in 1996. Thank you for having a rapid test available. That was the longest hour of my life and the very worst cup of coffee I have ever had. Thank you for making me feel like I was strong and smart and brave to not have a child when I was 21 years old and for believing me when I said that I had been on birth control and it had failed me. Thank you for making me feel like an individual even though you perform abortions in groups of eight to minimize the time that the physician needs to be there and to keep the costs down. Thank you for all of the negative results you called to give me for sexually transmitted diseases. And for the very reasonable waiting period to receive them. And for making it seem like a perfectly good idea to go ahead and get tested before making sex a part of a new relationship. Thank you for making me feel like the kind of strong and sensible woman that would ask a partner to do the same for her. Special thanks to the Planned Parenthood in Hampton Roads for being next door to a Party City and across the street from a Mattress Discounters. This provided me endless laughs. Planned Parenthood, in allowing me to not become a mother when I was twenty one years old you empowered me. And I became a woman that was strong. And brave. And proud. And cautious. All things that made me a great mother ten years later. I don’t know about you, but those are all family values in my book.
I don’t use this space as a soapbox often. I write a lot about being a mother, and my journey to becoming the woman that I am. Please take a minute and voice your thoughts to Planned Parenthood and our Congress. Planned Parenthood hands out health care. And confidence. And safety. Every day.
My 21st birthday. I was still a baby….
Day 74: Express Your Views Today! The book asks you to go to their website and log on and express an idea, but I abstain from jumping through their hoops designed to drive traffic to their website. I will take this opportunity instead to speak up about something that matters to me.