My hubby and I haven’t had health insurance for a few years now. Only our son is covered. I needed a check-up and pap exam (which is a norm for preventive care, testing for possible cervical cancer), so I called up the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic and made an appointment.
We live in a small town. I found myself concerned of the possibility that someone who knows us would witness us entering or leaving the building and make the assumption we were there for an abortion. I could imagine the gossip, the trail of “alternative facts” going from ear to ear like the childhood game of Telephone.
Person A: “I saw Liz and Terry walking into Planned Parenthood. Do you think they got an abortion?”
Person B to Person C: “Person A saw Liz and Terry leaving Planned Parenthood. She said they probably got an abortion.”
Person C to Person D: “I heard Liz and Terry got an abortion recently. That’s awful. Why wouldn’t they want to give little Remy a brother or sister?”
Then I thought I could pre-empt all that nonsense by posting on my Facebook “In case anyone sees me and Terry at Planned Parenthood: No, we are not pregnant or getting an abortion. I will be there for some routine preventive care.” I scratched that when I realized who cares what people think? It’s none of their business!
So we arrived a half hour early to my appointment and sat in the lobby completing the necessary paperwork. It was tiny and cozy. When the nurse called me back I asked “I’d like my husband to join me, is that okay?” She replied “Sure, it’s up to you.”
The nurse was friendly and easily laughed at Terry’s jokes. She took my blood pressure and all the usual tests and everything was normal. She instructed me to undress and don the scrubs that tie in the back and told me the doctor would be in soon.
The doctor was in soon and greeted us warmly with a smile. She never made us feel rushed. She took her time listening to me and discussing everything before beginning the pap exam. And because I had complained of feeling extremely fatigued a few times a month, she took a drop of blood from my finger to test my iron levels in case I was anemic. It only took a few minutes to test it, and she returned to the room to say my iron levels are normal so it’s not anemia causing me to lie around all day useless to the world. (Side note, as a longtime vegetarian my iron levels have always been normal.) I figured it was hormonal, since it usually occurs right around my period.
The doctor also gave me a breast exam and didn’t find any lumps, but she said the fact that my paternal grandmother had two sisters die from breast cancer was good enough reason to get my first mammogram (but she did say it would be more concerning if it was closer relatives that had cancer). So plans were made for that.
When we got to the front desk to pay up, Terry was shocked our bill was so inexpensive. He was used to paying hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket even when we had insurance.
Planned Parenthood is necessary in a country with astronomically high medical costs, corrupt insurance companies, and an economic recession.
Believe it or not, I am sympathetic to the anti-abortion crusaders. I understand why they feel and think the way they do about abortion. What I don’t understand is why so many of them are also against the very practices and services that can PREVENT unwanted pregnancies and abortion in the first place, like free or low-cost birth control (or any birth control, Catholics!), easier access to higher education for all, welfare and food stamp programs, proper sex education for teenagers (instead of abstinence only–which has been proven to be ineffective in preventing teen pregnancy), and the Affordable Care Act. It makes ZERO SENSE. If you want to stop abortion, you don’t focus only on outlawing the procedure and pay no attention to how to prevent the need in the first place!
Needless to say, I think defunding Planned Parenthood is a huge mistake because they do more to help prevent the rate of the very procedure the Republicans in congress use as an excuse to defund them. Did you know only 3% of all PP services are abortion-related? The rest of their services are for things like cancer screening, testing for sexually-transmitted infections, and contraception. Plus, federal funding doesn’t go toward abortions.
Recently, some ridiculous video (by an anti-abortion group called Live Action) surfaced claiming to show that PP doesn’t offer prenatal care to women who want to keep their babies. The implication being “See! PP doesn’t care about women! They’re an evil organization that just wants you to kill your babies!”
It’s so absurd I don’t even know where to start. How about with the title of organization? They call themselves Planned Parenthood because their focus is in helping people plan parenthood by preventing unwanted pregnancies with education and contraception, and plan for healthy pregnancies by providing STI testing and cervical cancer screenings. Their reason for existing has never been about providing care once you decide to start a family. So this video is as ridiculous as a video that claims “Ob/Gyns Exposed For Not Providing Pediatric Care! Once the babies are born, they don’t care about your baby!”
PP’s CEO Cecile Richards said on video that one of the services people depend on them to provide is “prenatal care”. Apparently, only a few of their clinics provide prenatal services. So it’s not that this is an outright lie, it’s not as if she said prenatal care is one of the services people “depend on the most”. In other words, her statement is still factually correct.
This video was made to emotionally manipulate, it is propaganda in an attempt to discredit PP. Live Action is clearly expecting people to be too stupid to stop and think about it. So stop and think about it.