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