I’ve been thinking a lot about my twenties, lack of adequate healthcare and pre-existing condition clauses that many times kept me from getting decent insurance. It occurred to me that one of my saviors from that time in my life was Planned Parenthood. Yes, it’s known for providing abortions but offers so many other services that are constantly overlooked. As a matter of fact, most Planned Parenthood clinics don’t provide abortions at all.
Often folks don’t know it is a full service clinic that sees both men and women. They provide gynecological exams, treatment for urinary infections, STD counseling, free or discounted medicine and so many other services.
There was a time I had a serious financial situation in my twenties that I wasn’t handling well. I was overwhelmed with stress and knew I needed to talk to someone. I called Planned Parenthood and told then, “I am not pregnant, don’t need birth control but could I speak to a counselor?” At the time I didn’t have extra money and the counselor squeezed me in that day regardless. I was told to pay five dollars when I could.
What other counselor would see me right away; without insurance or the ability to pay? Planned Parenthood did that. I had one counseling appointment that lasted about 45 minutes and I felt better, got a bit of life advice and was able to deal with my situation more confidently. To this day I know it was some of the best advice I’ve ever received.
The Affordable Care Act helped people who didn’t earn a lot or worked freelance as I once did. Now it’s being challenged in so many states, in part, because of the abortion issue. I’ve never been pregnant in my life but I still had desperate times when Planned Parenthood treated my Urinary Tract Infections and found a huge lump in my breast.
There are all sorts of reasons people who have never depended on the services to not like Planned Parenthood. But I want people to know that there is much good being done and I am someone who is thankful to have had healthcare available to me. With the new Trump administration beginning in January I worry for the organization and their ability to help those in need.