Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How Planned Parenthood Saved Me


I do not dwell in the past, but the battles over the reproductive rights of women compell me to reveal a few pertinent facts. Planned Parenthood was the only resource when I was a young woman--a young, upper-middle class woman with a good education and family background--that helped women of every class and nationality, in confidence.

Today Planned Parenthood is so often presented (not always transparently) as a program that is targeted at minorities and encourages promiscuity.




What, in God's name, is so hard to understand about that? Oh, pardonnez moi, 95% of the politicians voting to cut funding are male. It's not going to have an impact on their day to day lives. ONLY ALL OF THE WOMEN IN THEIR CONSTITUENCY!!!

As the Reverend Debra Haffner writes: "Access to maternal health care, contraception and family planning services can and should be available to all women, regardless of nationality, geography, economic status or other factors. "

I am not used to being outraged, dear readers, but this is simply too much to bear.

My story, in brief. When I was a young woman, I was extremely attractive to the opposite sex. (Thank goodness some things never change.) As my dear darling Mama had taught me, I was religious about birth control. I never, ever had unprotected sex.

At 21, I missed several periods. I was panicked. I couldn't tell anyone. I was afraid to tell my ob/gyn. Partly because I was 21 and things like this were not supposed to happen to me. Pregnancy happened to careless, low-class women. Never to me.

The only option was to go to the Planned Parenthood clinic in New York City, although I lived just outside the city at the time. I was examined, and the doctor told me the most beautiful words in the world:

"You;re not pregnant."

The burden fell off my shoulders, and I resumed my life, both practical and romantic. Again, I was religious about birth control. Perhaps my taste in partners was occasionally lacking, but not my protection of myself.

It happened again. This time with all of the symptoms that went along with being enciente. I was still young, unmarried, with absolutely no desire for children. What could have gone wrong? I was so careful!

Again, I sought out Planned Parenthood. Again, it was a false alarm.

Faithful readers, if an abortion had been called for either time, I would have had one in a heartbeat.

I was far too young, far too inexperienced, with no interest in having a child. I would have been a terrible mother. Je ne regrette rien.

It happened once again, in the weeks before my marriage. We knew we couldn't afford to have a baby. My fiance was in school. Abortion was our only option. We were devastated, but it would have been the only feasible choice. Again, Planned Parenthood. Again, a false alarm.

Years later I researched a novel (yes, your faithful correspondent has some skeletons in her past, including some unpublished novels) about a young woman whose father is an abortionist, circa 1916. The lack of women's choices in those days, both in love and in work, fascinated me. (Also I adored the clothes, a major component in writing an historical novel. At least for moi.)

For research, I went to the Planned Parenthood main office and archives. These were in the days before the loonies started destroying the material--although it had just started. Over the weeks I read dozens of articles, personal stories, medical journals, etc.

All described the horror of life before accessible birth control. Back alley abortions, suicide, women chained in unhappy marriages, women literally unable to STOP having children whether they wanted to or not. Millions of unwanted children raised by miserable or cold, uncaring mothers. Fathers trapped in jobs because they had so many mouths to feed.

"Down With The Abortion Clause"
Kathe Kollwitz,1924


Or join a convent, but that seems a tad extreme, don't you think?

Some members of the government dream of going back to that happy time.


There is more to say upon the topic, but I shall save it for another entry. Dear readers, do not let the government slash Planned Parenthood funding. They help prevent more unwanted children coming into the world and women without the money or too frightened to get the help they need.

Elisa & Fletcher

P.S. I still use birth control religiously. And recommend that my readers do the same. Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource.


An Authentic Life said...

You are not alone my dear blogger friend. And for reasons I cannot mention herein, I am a life long supporter of PP. Thanks for sharing.

Caitlin said...

Big ups to PP and down with those who try and force their morality on others.

Anonymous said...

Planned Parenthood kills babies. Thank God you didn't get pregnant, but if you did and have gotten an abortion, you basically would have been a murderer. There is no lighter way to describe it. Tell me, would you have killed your child if they were, let's say, two or five, because they brought you pain, embarassment or were a burden? No! Why would you do this to a baby snuggled in you womb. Sure you may be scared, but that's not your responsiblity to kill that child. As a woman, I can understand the fear of birthing children, but since all people have equal value, a mother's fear or even pain do not override the life of a child. I don't mean to make anybody mad, but that's the absolute truth. Sorry ladies, Planned Parenthood, which was made by a eugenisist who wanted to eradicate the black population by the way, is cheap and has proven to treat victims of sexual abuse like trash.

Mad Fashionista said...

I have received several comments of this nature. Due to the combination of ignorance, misinformation and sheer hypocrisy, I have not posted them but I decided to let this one stand because the opposing viewpoint looks even worse when you lay it out than when you refute it.

I do not have to defend what I write, so I refuse to respond other than to say: you are an idiot who is beneath contempt.