Defending Planned Parenthood

Like most women, I lost my virginity in my teens and stayed on the pill until I moved on my own. In those days I routinely skipped a day... or five... and finally, just stopped taking BC altogether, depending instead on condoms, which I carried around with me in my wallet. Sex was something I felt I needed to control and I slept my way into what I thought, at the time, was empowerment. If I could get HIM to come home with me, there was no fear of someone taking ME home.

One morning after a boozy night with someone I didn't know very well, I realized that the condom had broken the night before. 

I panicked and quickly called a friend. 

"Swing by Planned Parenthood on your way home," she said." Get the morning after pill. Make an appointment for an STD test. I love you."

And that is what I did. I went to the nearest clinic, sat down in a sea of young women just like me/not like me at all, and waited. I was struck by how afraid everyone in the room looked. None of us wanted to be there. We were there because we needed something -- a test or a pill or a place to feel safe -- to ensure we were healthy...

When they finally called my name, I explained what had happened the night before.

"The condom broke. I didn't know him very well. I'm sorry."

The woman looked up at me.

"Why are you apologizing? Take this..." she said, handing me the Plan B.

That wasn't the first time I had to go in for a morning after pill, nor was it the first time I got an HIV/STD test. I became vigilant about being tested every few months after that...

I found myself recommending the same plan when friends would come to me for similar predicaments. Planned Parenthood was where we went with an emergency. Their doors were always open. I didn't feel shamed for having a sex life. I felt like a human who owned her body and her choices and had a place to go to keep myself safe and healthy.
In the summer of 2004, when I was newly 23, I found myself pregnant with my boyfriend of three months -- a man I did not intend on marrying, a pregnancy I did not expect to want to keep.

The thing is, we don't know until we know. We don't know what we will choose until we're there. Until we're on the floor in our bathrooms, pregnancy test(s) in hand. 

...Having the choice to choose Motherhood was, for me, the most empowering part of becoming one. I chose THIS life. And every day I wake up knowing that THIS crazy beautiful sometimes fucked 'hood that is mother, was my choice. And then I choose it again. And again. And again. 

Planned Parenthood is big. It estimates that one in five women have visited its clinics for health care. But the implications of the video sting, and the congressional scrutiny Planned Parenthood now faces, are even bigger. They’re about whether Americans will let anti-abortion extremists control the discourse and dictate the agenda around reproductive rights, medicine and scientific research. Silence, fear, shame, stigma. That’s what they’re counting on. Will enough of us come forward to win back the ground we’ve been losing?

I also urge you to read the powerful piece by Rebecca Traister regarding women's recognition of their bodies and what it means to have an abortion. In Traister's words, "Planned Parenthood didn't invent abortions, and David Daleiden isn't going to explain them in terms so grisly as to reverse thousands of years' of women's needs, desires and lived experiences."

Planned Parenthood isn't a particularly popular topic on most parenting blogs but shouldn't it be? One in three women have had an abortion. And FAR more than that will have had to CHOOSE. And for many of these women, PLANNED PARENTHOOD is the ONLY place they can go for healthcare, guidance and support.

Last week, I tweeted my piece and walked away, realizing later that if I didn't say MORE in a more permanent place, I wasn't defending anyone but myself. If I didn't stand up to those who so boastfully threaten to take a woman's access to SAFE and LEGAL healthcare away, I might as well join the other team.
And so, today, I wanted to make it clear that I stand with Planned Parenthood, then, now and always. No girl deserves to grow up in a world where HER CHOICES are not hers to make. No female in this country or elsewhere deserves to be turned away -- rejected -- refused -- victimized and criminalized -- for her femaleness. 
Which is why I am coming to you, today, with the hope that those of you who have taken advantage of PP for services, might come forward and share your stories, either in the comments below or on your own websites and social channels. We need your voices, ladies. Especially in the parenting space. 

An attack on Planned Parenthood is an attack on women's health. PERIOD. We cannot afford to sit quietly in the audience as those who fight against us stand publicly and cheer the abolition of a woman's access to healthcare and choice. We must join hands and choose each other -- for our daughters, our sisters and ourselves.

You can read my post in its entirety, here.  In the meantime, #DefundPP  #DefendPP