On Ranting, as usual

oh there’s some hardcore liberal bias here, so don’t think I’m trying to represent any position but my own and don’t be too upset if we disagree – it’s bound to happen:

I’m getting myself super worked up about this whole Komen-defunding-Planned-Parenthood deal. It’s not a big deal. It doesn’t directly affect me. But seriously? I’m never going to participate in, donate to, or eat another Komen-labeled anything. Not that I actively chose their products in the past (I am not the best eater of yogurt nor the biggest fan of pink), but now I’m consciously going to avoid. And perhaps I can flex my nasty letter writing muscles and do some direct complaining. They also spend a ridiculously low amount of their actual funds on research. 20%-ish?

I’m probably going to get breast cancer some day (from what I know about my medical history – which isn’t much – my birth mom, biological grandmother, and several of her sisters have all had it/died of it/have it right now). Of course I want a cure, but we’re silly to think that cures come from organizations.
The backlash against the Komen foundation has been insane. Donations to Planned Parenthood are way up. If I wasn’t broke as shit, I’d be all over that. I decided many years ago that when I finally get enough money to be generous with it, it’s not going to my alma maters, it’s going to Planned Parenthood, because they are absolute rock stars at what they do. I’m so sick of hearing about how horrible they are.

I hope that young women everywhere are able to continue to access care that their primary care providers may have denied them; I hope that young women of all colors and religions and income levels can continue to access healthcare including cancer screenings, STI-testing and treatment, and birth control, especially when they don’t have access to a primary care provider like I do.

Why? Because it’s important. The work that Planned Parenthood does isn’t just abortions (do I actually need to repeat myself again? Only 3% of their services go to abortions. That’s roughly 300,000 abortions per year. But guess what? That’s only about a third of the total number of abortions provided in the US. Where is everyone else having those?).

The reason I bring this up is because I was reading a Catholic website (trying to get all sides’ opinions) and they had huge charts about how 96.3% of services provided to pregnant women were abortion-related. Okay, I’ll take that. Yes, there is a disparity between abortion numbers and adoption numbers. I’d argue that that’s pretty consistent with the rest of the US as well. But does this Catholic website take into account the other forms of adoption such as from government agencies (41% of adoptions in 2008), kinship adoptions, foreign adoptions, etc? Probably not.

And how many un-pregnant women and men and people are using Planned Parenthood to access other resources? 3 million people go to Planned Parenthood every year. 3 million is a lot more than 300,000. By providing resources to the community including contraception, Planned Parenthood is helping to ensure that there will be fewer unintended pregnancies and thus fewer abortions as a result.

Here’s why I support Planned Parenthood 100% – and this has absolutely nothing to do with the Komen debacle. It’ll all blow over. Komen will continue to be the shining pink face of breast cancer walks everywhere and Planned Parenthood will continue to be the source of so much distress for  conservatives the uninformed everywhere:

[I’m sort of uncomfortable about posting this story online – to be honest, I think I’ve posted this before but can’t find it in the archives, and at the same time, I’m even more uncomfortable knowing that people perceive Planned Parenthood to be this horrible, evil organization that exists solely to kill babies. So this is why I’m putting this out there.]

I wasn’t quite 18 yet, which means I was somewhere between 16 and 17. I wanted birth control. When I asked my pediatrician’s nurse practitioner for a prescription (without telling her why I wanted it – Was it heavy periods? Was it hormonal reasons? Did I just want to take hormonal birth control because everyone else was doing it? Was I having sex?), she told me that doing so would put her “between a rock and a hard place.”

What she was referring to was my father, who has always been overbearing and inappropriate at the most inconvenient times. As soon as I started high school, he became convinced that I was having all sorts of sex (I wasn’t. I didn’t kiss a boy until I was almost fifteen) and consequently, had been squawking about it to anyone who would listen and making it nearly impossible for me to date (this, of course, backfired horribly and led to me putting myself in dangerous-ish situations on more than one occasion: sneaking out, hanging out with undesirables, etc).

I was well aware that Colorado law allows minors to consent to a prescription for birth control without obtaining parental consent or having to even notify a parent or guardian about it. When she told me that no matter what I said, she wouldn’t write me a prescription for birth control, I was furious. I still am. I never went back to that doctor’s office, even though I’d been going since birth.

That’s why, even to this day, I do not stand for doctors of any sort denying women information or care based on their own personal beliefs or fears. I also do not believe that doctors and providers (including nurses, etc) should be anything but professional. I had a friend go to her gynecologist and ask for routine STI testing only to be asked, “Why? Have you been exposed?” I told her to immediately find a new doctor. Call it overreacting but I call it ridiculous that you should have to answer any sort of seemingly-accusatory questions. I have doctors who I absolutely adore. They respect me; they don’t question me when I say, “Hey, throw an HIV test onto my blood work!” They respect that I’m active about my own health – regardless of whether it’s ADHD, STI-testing, the sniffles, the cut on my finger that should have had stitches 16 hours ago….(the last one was a joke…that was me not being proactive and facing the consequences).

I went to Planned Parenthood. I did it after school one day when Mike had practice so I knew I had some time. I was terrified. I was not getting the prescription so that I could have reckless, unprotected sex. I was not pregnant. I was just looking for something that my own doctor was unwilling to give me, but something that I knew I had a legal right to obtain and use.

My experience there was absolutely amazing. The staff was so nice to me. I think they absolutely understood how scared I was (I’ve never been good at hiding my emotions) and I think they went the extra mile to make sure that I had the most positive experience possible. I got my prescription. I got birth control. And it was in a no-stress, no-judgement, no-pressure situation.

My mom eventually found out that I was on birth control. She was furious. But she wasn’t mad that I was on it; she was mad that I had gone alone. She was mad that I was paying for it all by myself. She was just as mad at my doctor’s office as I was and she helped me to become a part of the practice that I currently attend (do you attend a doctor’s office? visit? reluctantly stop by sometimes?). I think that a lot about that experience helped solidify our relationship. It was a little bit rocky during high school – think ages 15-17. She was open and willing to talk about issues that I’d never realized I could talk to her about. She never judged me or criticized my opinions or decisions. She supported me so much then and continues to do so today. I honestly think that without those frank discussions, we wouldn’t have the relationship we do now. It’s stronger than it’s ever been and I’m so grateful to know that I can call her and tell her anything. She may not agree with it (she’ll definitely tell me when she doesn’t) but she’ll listen. And knowing that she respected me enough back then to know that I was making informed decisions about my own health is something that still makes me incredibly happy.

That’s why I love Planned Parenthood. I have only been there maybe twice in my life, but those two times were the most positive experiences I could have had. I’m grateful that they were there for me, and even though I hope my children will never have to go behind my back to get access to care, I hope they’re still there, just in case.

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One thought on “On Ranting, as usual

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