By Arturo R. García
By Andrea Plaid
I knew I was “pro-choice” since about the age of ten. I remember watching the nightly news at my aunt’s house (this was in the late 70s), and there was a segment on about the abortion debates. I don’t remember the images, just the words, “a woman has the right to bring a child into the world.” I thought no truer words were spoken and, thus–with some permutations, like understanding the nuances of “pro-choice/pro-reproductive rights” and “reproductive justice” and moving my thinking toward the latter–I’ve stayed in that stance ever since.
And–yowza!–I remember conversations my mom and I would have about it throughout my ‘tween and teen years. I told my mom–she was the only grown person I could talk to about this–that I wasn’t going to have kids, full stop, and would seek an abortion if necessary in order to remain childless. (I thought my love life at that time would consist of a series of lovers, none of whom I knew I wouldn’t want to be attached to via a child. A husband? Yeah, perhaps, but I thought the lovers thing sounded infinitely sexier in my head.) Mom wasn’t hearing any of this. And her trump card in this argument? “Only white women kill their children. We”–meaning Black women–“don’t do those things.” I didn’t know how to argue against respectability politics then. I just knew that it wasn’t going to by my life, dammit.
And I knew not every Black woman believed what my mom believed about abortion and its role in our lives.
So, imagine my joy when I saw Faye Wattleton.
by Latoya Peterson
The first time I walked into a Planned Parenthood Center, I was seventeen, afraid, and in a lot of pain.
I had just started having sex for the first time, and every single time I had intercourse a persistent, stinging sensation lingered long after the act was over.
I remember panicking – did I have an STD? Am I allergic to latex? Am I allergic to sperm? (My views on contraception back then were fairly loose and really depended on mood. Later on, more life experience would cure that stupidity.)
I came into my local center alone and scared. Luckily for me, the clinicians were kind, figured out what was the problem (a really aggressive yeast infection, the first I had ever had) and put me on a plan for oral birth control, since my relationship with condoms was a little distant.
I am 27 now, and Planned Parenthood has been my health care provider of choice for the last decade. Every year, I trek over to the center, and sit in the waiting room, surrounded by other women. Some have children, some do not. Some have partners with them, some do not. Some are seeking pre-natal care, some looking for honest advice about sex that they can’t get at home, some are seeking abortion services,* others need STD testing – there is always an array of women streaming through the doors because so many of us need care.
Planned Parenthood has always been there for me. Insurance or no insurance, back when I was making $8 to now, I could always receive high quality care, that accommodated my budget, and respected me as a person. (One year, with insurance, I went to their recommended provider for my annual – one glove snapping, five minute spread ’em, finger in and out, no-you-can’t-talk-to-the-doctor exam later sent me flying back to Planned Parenthood.)
However, Planned Parenthood is in trouble.
Learnvest, a financial planning site geared toward women, recently published a discussion on what is at risk if Planned Parenthood goes under.
How defunding Planned Parenthood could affect you:
- 4.7 million Americans may lose access to reproductive and family planning care, particularly middle- and low-income women.
- If you don’t have insurance, you may have to pay for a doctor’s visit to receive a prescription for birth control and pay full price at the pharmacy for it.
- Be careful! Without easily available screenings, counseling and treatment, the transmission of STDs and HIV may rise.
- Your daughter, niece, or younger cousin (and her boyfriend) may lose their safe, confidential, and free place to receive counseling, birth control, and testing.
- If you are low income and/or without insurance, you may have to pay the full price of STD screenings, which can cost $85 to $220 for each type. That doesn’t include the cost of the doctor’s visit, which can be another $200.
- You will have to visit a private practice for prenatal health care and, if you don’t have insurance, pay full price.
- Depending on the location, you may lose access to free or reduced cost general services like anemia testing, cholesterol screening, diabetes screening, physical exams, flu vaccines, help with quitting smoking, high blood pressure screening, tetanus vaccines, and thyroid screening.
- If you are an OB/GYN, your number of patients may increase.
Here are three reasons to stand with them in their time of need. Continue reading
“African-American women tend to have more chronic illness and disease. So in terms of having just basic health maintenance and well-woman care, when women get a general health assessment and exam, many things get discovered, like undiagnosed hypertension and diabetes and all of those basic primary health care needs. Usually, Planned Parenthood helps get that patient to someone who manages chronic illness. So 15 percent of our patients are African-American women. Many are often uninsured, and programs like Medicaid and Title X allow those women to have access to basic health screenings.
“If they didn’t have Planned Parenthood, where they could come to be seen on a sliding scale, or where we might be the only agency in their region that takes Medicaid, or where many African-American women have their medical home, you are destabilizing the safety net that many people of color rely on. A hit on Planned Parenthood really becomes a hit for African-American women.”
~~Dr Willie Parker, Medical Director of Metropolitan Washington DC’s Planned Parenthood. Read the rest of the interview here.
Image credit: essence.com