LGBTQ Support

I’m Pro-Choice and I Support Planned Parenthood…Can We Still Be Friends?

A good friend of mine posted this on Facebook today:

I do think it is important we let folks know our position on an issue. That doesn’t have to include efforts to bring them around to our way of thinking or countering every point they try to make to support theirs. Sometimes the best thing is to let them, and more importantly, others, know that we differ and we believe, and will act differently. Breaking one’s silence is sometimes hard but very powerful.

And while I discuss a lot of political views openly around these parts, I’ve never really discussed my support of reproductive rights. I usually jokingly add “baby killer”on my Lefty McLiberal list after “tree hugger” and “gay lover” so I make it known, but I’ve never really discussed it. I know some will just blatantly disagree and hate me no matter what follows in this entry, but if you’d like to know more about why I hold these stances, please read on. I think 95% of my friends and family disagree with me so I’ve never really wanted to throw this in anyone’s face, but I need to own my stance so I thought I’d share the “Why” in case you were wondering.

Let’s start with the more generally palatable side of my support.

Why I Prefer The Term “Reproductive Rights”

During the years where I was struggling with Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids, and Ovarian Cysts, I had several miscarriages. Some were very early and were just heavy periods. One, however, was later and was very painful and had me basically delivering a fetus on the floor of my bathroom. This experience still haunts my nightmares so that when they discovered a lack of a heartbeat during after my last miscarriage I could not say: “PLEASE GIVE ME A D&C!” fast enough. I had no desire to take a pill to suffer through that again.

BUT…for their own reasons, some women opt to get what many call the “abortion pill” to have the process occur at home, without surgery. And because of this term “abortion pill” – some Pharmacists refuse to fill the prescription and women dealing with the trauma of having a dead fetus inside of them have to suffer even more by trying to find a Pharmacist who will trust her doctor who gave her the prescription enough to just give her the pills.

During that same time we also found ourselves looking into IVF as a way to have babies. That brought us to information about embryos and how we might end up with some frozen embryos we wouldn’t use. The question always arises, “What do we do with them?” Well…we would have destroyed them and we would have struggled to do that if the Pro Life contingent who thought life begins at fertilization had their way. So, that shed some light on the issue for me. I would want to choose what to do with those few cells in a freezer somewhere, and it would upset me if I would be unable to do with them as I chose.

Finally, I also made many friends online who were also infertile during that time of my life. Some with various other issues to fight against. One who had preeclampsia and one who had fetal distress and both ended up needing abortions after 20 weeks. One was able to have it down by her own doctor in her own city/state, and the other had to travel out of state because it was illegal where she lived. Seeing both of those women come to this tough decision to terminate their pregnancies, that really cemented my stance if I wasn’t there already. It was none of my business, it was between them, their spouses, and their doctors – and if they had not had a choice, I’m not sure what would have happened.

So, these experiences are what shaped my view regarding Reproductive Rights because that’s what it is in those cases, the right to make a decision with a doctor regarding your own reproductive situation and have that decision be legal everywhere in this country.

Why I Support Planned Parenthood

I got pregnant unexpectedly at 18, had the baby at 19, eventually graduated college and became a contributing member of society where my son is now a Junior in college and the single person responsible for me not becoming a drug addict living in poverty god knows where doing god knows what.

THAT SAID…

My story took several turns before and after that decision and those turns led me need the types of services Planned Parenthood provides. Now, only 3% of their services are related to abortion, the other 97% are things like cancer screenings and birth control. But, here’s the thing, there was no Planned Parenthood near me when I was young, sexually active, and often under the influence of some sort of drugs. I didn’t get to enjoy their free birth control or gynecological exams with the ease that I needed them.

However, I did need their various services at different times in my young life. ALL of their services. And while I won’t go into the details of when or how I needed what services, just know that all of their services allowed me to eventually become a contributing member of society. I was only a single Mom to one kid, and my Dad helped with rent while I was in college, so I didn’t need government assistance for long. But if places like Planned Parenthood didn’t exist? I might not have ever graduated college, or become someone who could pay taxes back to the system that helped her when she was down. I might have stayed a “burden” on society, someone living in government housing and on welfare indefinitely.

I have absolutely no regrets for the decisions I made, my only wish is that Planned Parenthood had been more easily accessible to me when I needed it most. So that I could have maybe taken advantage of the health care and birth control they offered instead of needing any of the more controversial services they provided.

6a0133f5d4f71b970b01bb08598515970d-800wi

And while I’m fairly certain the only people who read this far don’t need this link, here is a story of why/home a woman decides to donate fetal tissue after an abortion, since that’s the hot topic that prompted this entry from me.

Fallout

I come from a long line of Catholics. I married into an even longer line of Catholics. I live in conservative Alabama where most of my near and dear friends are Pro Life. Even my friends who are pro Marriage Equality, are Pro Life. And the reason I’ve never completely audibly supported Planned Parenthood is because I’m scared of losing all of those people.

But, my daughter has been asking about sex lately. Questions that come up based on things big kids say at school. Part of the blame of my unprotected sex in my youth falls on my inability to talk to anyone openly about sex or birth control. I was raised Catholic by a single Dad who I loved dearly, but was not good at uncomfortable dialog. I want to openly talk about these things with my daughter, so she can come to me with any and all questions and needs that arise. But I also want to know that someone is there for her if she can’t come to me. If she needs birth control from Planned Parenthood, I want them to be there for her and I don’t want her to be so ashamed of walking through the doors, that she just opts to risk her health and chance of pregnancy instead.

So I’m speaking out. I’m adding my voice to the millions so that you’ll know where I stand.

I stand with Planned Parenthood.

11 thoughts on “I’m Pro-Choice and I Support Planned Parenthood…Can We Still Be Friends?”

  1. I am fortunate to have never needed Planned Parenthood’s services. I too, support the services they offer.

    It makes me sad ( obviously an understatement) that people think they have the right to pick and choose what medical services another human being is allowed to choose.

  2. Good for you for putting this out there in spite of your fears of pushback. I stand with you, and I stand with Planned Parenthood. Every time there’s another wave of outrage about them, I make another small donation. It’s distressing how often I have to pull out my credit card. I’ve always been enormously comforted that they’re out there, supporting women’s bodily autonomy, and I want that to remain true for the next generation.

  3. I appreciate your stance and the way you laid out your reasons without making it seem like your view the only acceptable view at all. I’m pro – life but see the positives that PP offers.

    I’m also pro – gay (is that a thing? ) and pro – vaccine choice.

  4. Me too. Thanks for saying this so eloquently and honestly! <3

  5. I am one of the 5% of your friends. Then again, I am an old Hippy. I used planned parenthood for gyn exams after going to the ob/gyn practice in my small town and feeling like a number. That is where I bought (for $1) birth control pills. It is also where I took my pregnancy test and found out we were going to have a child. I do think what has come to light is awful and someone should be fired, but that does not negate the positive things that PP does

  6. Bless you for being brave enough to talk about this. Putting a face to issues makes a difference. I hope you change some hearts.

  7. Can I stand and applaud? Loudly? Because I want to.

    I got married in graduate school and went on birth control shortly before. I had limited health insurance as a student. My prefered method of birth control was doled out a month at a time and once they changed their policy, became rather spendy–it was no longer covered so I had to pay out of pocket $100+ for a month’s supply. (While living on student loans….) One month, I wasn’t able to get to the precription filled in time–some set of circumstances I no longer remember. I went into Planned Parenthood, they gave me a three month supply and, since I had no real income, pro-rated it down to free. I will never forget that.

    I’ve always supported safe and available abortions, but I was rather wishy washy about it–you know the type, legal but rare? I didn’t see the big deal about limiting abortions to less than X weeks etc. Then I read The Story of Jane:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Story-Jane-Legendary-Underground/dp/0226424219

    It’s the story of women who came together in Chicago before Roe vs Wade to offer cheap or free abortions to women who needed them. It opened my eyes to the reality of abortions, of who was getting them and why, of the rarity of late term abortions, and more. I am now staunchly in support of abortions, with legal rights all the way up to birth. Which sounds radical, it sounds insane, until you realize: NO ONE is going to spend 40 weeks carrying a child just to abort it. So if someone is 40 weeks pregnant and needing an abortion, you can bet there is some damn good reason. I say this as a person who is currently pregnant with some desperately hoped for children. Who underwent multiple fertility treatments to be able to write that last sentence. I absolutely believe that parenthood should be something joyously entered into and that terminating a pregnancy should be something between a woman and her (unbiased) doctor.

  8. After I graduated from college, I was still on my parents’ health insurance, but living cross country and not able to go to any of the approved providers. So for about 5 years, including the first year of my marriage, I went to Planned Parenthood for my lady check-ups, and also birth control. But honestly I remember the breast exams being the most focused on, and the pap smears. I’m so glad to have had that resource and think they are totally a blessing.

  9. I don’t financially support Planned Parenthood because I have other causes I choose to give my money to, but I do support the work they do. I also was raised Catholic, and I consider myself pretty undecided about abortion. I know that it would never be the right choice for me, and since I am a NICU nurse who has seen babies born at 24 weeks go home with their families and also KNOW that pain is felt by babies born at 22, 23, 24, 25 weeks (which is contrary to what used to be believed about extremely premature babies), I struggle with late term abortion. However, I also don’t think it is my right to tell someone what to do in such an instance. I would prefer that abortion after 20 weeks gestation be reserved for only the most extreme situations. However, I don’t usually base my vote on these issues either. Kind of wishy-washy, I guess, but it’s the best I can do for now.

  10. I support planned parenthood through donations every year. I’ve never needed their services but I want to help those women who need them. I’m also pro-choice because I don’t think I have the right to make such a very difficult decision for any other woman.

Leave a Reply