This post is part of a blog carnival organized by Fair and Feminist.
I stand with Planned Parenthood because there was a time in my life when it was one of my only options for health care.
My first job after college was in a community of about 55,000 people. When I started look around for a gynecologist to perform an annual exam, I had no luck. The doctors were so overburdened that they were accepting only patients with obstetric needs. I didn’t have a primary care doctor at the time. The first one I went to retired, the next one moved out of town, the one she referred me to I wasn’t comfortable with… I usually went to an urgent care center when I was sick.
When I couldn’t find a gynecologist in my community, I quit looking. There was no local Planned Parenthood. The nearest one was 45 minutes to an hour away in a larger city in a different state. I had access to a car, but I decided the trip wasn’t worth it. I gambled there was nothing wrong with me that needed immediate treatment.
After three years in my first job, I moved to a larger area that has a Planned Parenthood as well as doctors accepting new patients. And I was lucky. All of my tests came back normal. But if I couldn’t find a doctor in a smaller community, I think it’s pretty safe to assume other women were in the same position. And I don’t encourage other women to make the same decision I did.
I have never been to a Planned Parenthood, but I feel safer and more welcome living in communities with Planned Parenthood clinics that take women’s health seriously. Few other health organizations are willing to treat people from all walks of life regardless of their ability to pay. I am in awe of the professionals who work there and their dedication to serving women despite demonization from the radical right.
I regret that I hadn’t heard of Dr. George Tiller until his murder in 2009. He had a very simple motto that resonates with me and I believe should be the slogan of all of those fighting for reproductive justice: Trust women. Trust them to know their bodies and what is best for them and their families.
Because I believe sex is not a crime but a healthy, natural part of the human experience.
Because I don’t think women should be punished for having sex.
Because Republicans and conservative Democrats have declared a war on women.
Because defunding Planned Parenthood won’t do anything but drive up cancer rates, STIs and deaths from botched abortions.
Because I believe access to quality health care is a right, not a privilege.
For all of these reasons and more, I stand with Planned Parenthood. For these reasons and more, I will be marching tomorrow with Walk for Choice and urge you to do the same.