At a young age, I realized most people in very conservative circles think of feminists and women’s rights advocates as baby-killing, loud, destined-for-hell type of people. I was taught abortions are murder and anyone who believes in a woman’s right to choose might as well be a murderer too. To many, grey areas do not exist in regards to these sort of things. There is only black and white. Or, so I thought.
I haven’t had health insurance for awhile now. It’s a slow, tedious work-in-progress, and I’m not entirely sure when to expect reliability on that front. I had begun to apply for Obamacare, but with our current government promising to completely gut the ACA, I realized I couldn’t afford to spend so much time investing in something that may be repealed entirely within the next year or two. My husband and I are learning to budget and take care of medical needs, despite the lack of insurance, but there is one thing I simply cannot let fall through the cracks of financial compromise, and that is birth control.
Evan and I are, in no way, fiscally capable of having children for years. Taking chances on ineffective methods of birth control is just not something we can do. Have I emphasized that enough? No kids yet. Let us live.
So, I went to Planned Parenthood.
In high school, I was pretty much ready to personally protest against PP and the genocide I believed they existed to commit at any given moment. I can only imagine the person I used to be is rolling in her metaphorical grave at the idea of me even stepping foot in a Planned Parenthood, let alone becoming a patient there. But I am not that girl anymore and I don’t have health insurance. As far as options go, this was it.
I was there on a pretty simple mission: get a prescription for the pill and ask questions about IUDs. I didn’t want to actually get one yet, mainly because they’re incredibly expensive. Throwing down $1,000 on a contraceptive, no matter how effective and long-lasting it may be, was not a possibility.
But, after two hours at what was supposed to be a routine appointment, I left Planned Parenthood with one anyways.
The Family Planning Program, Title X of the Public Health Service Act (which I had never heard of before my appointment), essentially means the federal government provides grants for family planning services. I now know this as my saving grace.
Because of Title X and their partnership with Planned Parenthood, my essential healthcare as a woman was not a financial burden upon me. Below is a picture of my receipt, so you can see exactly what I mean.
I owed over $1,600 in medical fees and did not have to pay a cent. I will not have to make payments every month in order to pay Planned Parenthood back, nor will I have to ever think about this receipt again. Title X completely covered every aspect of the tests and procedures I received because I do not currently have health insurance. Not only did I leave my appointment with a contraceptive that lasts for the next three years, but I also received STD testing, a pregnancy test, and a pap smear. For free. I am still just so blown away.
About an hour after my appointment, I received a text from PP’s text alert system, saying the House of Representatives is voting this week to overturn Obama’s Title X Rule, one of the final things he did as president to protect Planned Parenthood and the millions of women it provides care for, myself included.
I believe strongly in women’s reproductive rights. I believe in fighting to protect these rights. Though I do not believe a woman choosing to have an abortion makes her a murderer who doesn’t care for anyone but herself, I would like to address those that do:
If you are serious about seeing abortion eventually eradicated completely, attempting to shut down Planned Parenthood, an organization dedicated to providing affordable healthcare, will have the opposite affect. If you have done your research, you will see that poverty and abortions are directly related to one another. “Some 75% of abortion patients in 2014 were poor or low-income. Twenty-six percent of patients had incomes of 100–199% of the federal poverty level, and 49% had incomes of less than 100% of the federal poverty level ($15,730 for a family of two)” (Guttmacher Institute, 2014, bullet point 12). It is not news that in order to see the rate of abortions decrease in the United States, poverty must be fought against as well.
Planned Parenthood? They exist to do this.
Not to “murder babies.” Not to enable “genocide.” Not to say, “The defenseless do not matter.” But to open their doors to those who cannot otherwise afford effective birth control and make a way. Not only do they fight for women’s right to choose what is best for themselves and their current situations, but they also make it fiscally possible for a choice to exist in the first place. Without access to affordable contraceptives, without Planned Parenthood, we will always see abortions increase in occurrence.
According to ACLU, “More than 4 million people received services in 2015 through more than 3,900 health centers funded under Title X of the Public Health Service Act.” And now, the House will attempt to do away with federal grants for women’s healthcare. This is not okay.
If you also see why this is dangerous and outraging, you can find out who your representatives are right here and take two minutes of your day to call and tell them why you do not support overturning Title X. You can explain to them why Planned Parenthood is so important and must stop being a target of the government. You can tell them the story of millions of women around America, those who do not have the financial means to typically afford birth control without organizations fighting for them like PP.
We have a voice. Let’s use it.