This post is my contribution to a united action, a “blog carnival” sponsored by Fair and Femini
st.com to support Planned Parenthood and womens’s reproductive rights. Planned Parenthood is about more than just birth control. They provide std screenings, annual exams and I have found their staff to be a great resource for information on women’s health in general.
I first utilized PP’s services in 1976, I was 17 and had just become sexually active and I knew I did not want to become pregnant at 17. A friend and I took the city bus to what at that time was the “free clinic”. I remember it was located in a refurbished home in the heart of the Inner city, a little different world for a white girl who had been raised on College of near campuses all her life.
There was a group of about 10 girls, around my age, who were given a group information session with question and answer time at the end. The two women who facilitated the session were warm and friendly; they took time to listen to our concerns and addressed our teenage Urban Legend based questions with respect and decorum.
Looking back, the physical facility although warm and inviting (it was after all once a home) would never pass inspection by today’s standards. There was no air conditioning and I remember as I lay on the table enduring my first ever pelvic exam, the curtains fluttered over the partially open window and I could hear the sounds of children playing outside. It was comforting to me, in this room that was once someone’s bedroom; and hearing the laughter of children reminded me I was doing this to preserve what was left of my own “childhood” by preventing pregnancy.
I continued to utilize the services of PP throughout my 20’s, much of that time I did not have access to insurance. When I was able I’d leave a few dollars in the donation box. In my late 20’s during a routine exam, the test revealed abnormal cells on my cervix. Turns out it was HPV now known to often be associated with Cervical Cancer. The case manager at PP helped me apply for assistance and find a clinic that would treat me. If I had not had access to that initial exam, at no cost to me, who knows how things would have turned out.
Now I have two grown daughters, both who use PP for their family planning services. I have 2 beautiful granddaughters, age 8 and 9 (both planned!) and I hope that when the time comes, they will have access to the same affordable, accessible services the rest of us have had.
And that is one of many reasons, and for all the daughters and granddaughters that I stand with Planned Parenthood.
Image courtesy of http://fairandfeminist.com/
© 2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard