Hi. I've used Planned Parenthood. In fact, for at least 4 years (not sure I fully remember how long) Planned Parenthood was my sole health care source.
I used the student health center when in college, but then I moved to NYC, and like any of us who don't go right from college (or high school) to full-time employment with a company big or progressive enough to provide employees with health care, I was out of luck.
I was doing part-time temp work while pursuing my dream, and even when I transitioned to full-time work, there was no health care. And no I didn't buy heath insurance. I'm not sure at the ripe old age of 21 I had a good concept of why I would need it or how to get it.
What I did know, what had been sort of burned into my consciousness, was that I need to get an annual exam. (In fact, if you use the birth control pill they don't give you refills past a year in order to require you to get that annual exam.)
So, each year, when I came home for Christmas, I went to the Planned Parenthood in Sunnyvale, CA. I got my exam; I got my pill prescription renewed. And given I lived in NYC during the early days of the AIDS crisis, and during the time where the message that every person should get tested was so pervasive, Planned Parenthood is also where I got my AIDS test.
I don't remember what I paid. I paid something, but it was a sliding scale based on my nearly non-existent income.
I should add that even when I moved back to California and worked full-time, for about 7 years I worked for very small companies who did not provide health care. I didn't have my first company-provided health care plan until 1997.
At some point I started making enough money that I did go out and get myself an individual health plan.
But Planned Parenthood was a place that women like me could go, be treated with respect, and have our basic health care needs addressed.
I have never been pregnant. Which, obviously, means I have never had an abortion. And most of my fellow pursuing-a-dream friends who used Planned Parenthood were the same.
Not that it should matter, given abortion is legal in this country.
You may have seen lots of folks tweeting this week and weekend about using Planned Parenthood.
This is just my story. One story. One I think many many American women could tell.
What is your Planned Parenthood story?