It’s embarrassing to admit this, but for years I thought that Planned Parenthood was a “second rate” healthcare institution. It’s where you went if you were a teen sneaking around your parents, hiding the fact that you were sexually active. It’s where adult women went who didn’t have insurance and therefore couldn’t afford a “real” doctor. I’d like to mention that in spite of these less than favorable (and highly incorrect) misconceptions I never thought that Planned Parenthood was bad, or that there was anything wrong with going there. I simply thought it wasn’t “for me” as an abstaining teen, and later as an insurance-holding adult.
This is a very simple chart I made based off their website statistics.
It’s safe to say that I held those opinions because of the media’s representation of Planned Parenthood. To the best of my recollection it has often been thrown under the bus by religious and conservative groups, and targeted by “pro-life” protestors. They (Planned Parenthood) are consistently the scapegoat for those that oppose comprehensive sexual health education, and I see them on social media fighting near daily for the funding to stay open and serve their communities. I was glad to never need them, but remained thankful that their “meager services” were available for those in different positions than myself.
Their services are definitely not meager – source
Well, this summer I found myself in need of Planned Parenthood. I won’t get too in depth here, but I needed a visit to the gynecologist. I called my regular office and was told it would be at least two weeks before I could be seen, and I was denied the ability to be seen by any other doctors in the office (no explanation given, just a flat “no.”). Feeling extremely frustrated, desperate, and flat-out uncared for, my mom suggested I make an appointment with Planned Parenthood.
I was able to get in within just a few days – a huge relief – but I had anxiety, too. The doctor isn’t fun. The crotch doctor is even less fun. A doctor you don’t know, in an unfamiliar place, under an institution that you never held in high regard? Just a wee bit nerve inducing.
You know, I don’t mind being wrong. I’m not bothered to admit that I was wrong, misinformed, or ignorant. I appreciate an opportunity to learn, grow, and become a more responsible and intelligent person.
Planned Parenthood is wonderful. They aren’t second rate, impersonal, or a poor alternative to my original gynecologist’s office. Below is a list I wrote up after my appointment that demonstrates how misinformed I was, and highlights their dedication to healthcare.
A newly opened Planned Parenthood in Florida – source
Things I learned today about Planned Parenthood:
- Their windows and front door are tinted so you cannot see who is inside, creating protection and privacy from potential protestors.
- The people that check you in are extremely friendly – far friendlier than most other medical offices I’ve been to.
- The nurse who gets you set up before the doctor comes in is very comfortable, easy-going, talkative, and personable. I felt like I could tell her anything.
- The doctor provides the most gentle exam I have ever received (I have had them for the past 13 years).
- A yearly pelvic exam is not required in order to get a birth control prescription refilled.* This was absolutely new information for me.
- They normalize all aspects of human anatomy and functions, and create an environment where it feels safe to speak extremely candidly.
- The walls have photos of couples – interracial, same sex, and more, demonstrating complete inclusivity and safety.
Planned Parenthood gets a bad reputation from those who, in my opinion, do not truly value life, health, and autonomy. I’m grateful for any organization who is willing to fight the hard fight, the good fight, and every person who works in their clinics is at the forefront of saving lives and educating our communities.
Remember to take care of yourselves. Get your annual checks, and remember to check yourself regularly. Prevention is possible, but it requires our attention and responsibility. I hope that if anyone else has had hesitations about Planned Parenthood that these words can make a difference, and if you’ve been putting off making a wellness appointment I encourage you to finally make the call!
Be healthy, everyone.
x – happy beast
*regulations regarding birth control prescriptions may vary from state to state, I didn’t investigate this beyond the information provided by the nurse. I am located in Washington.