Sunday, March 06, 2005

Planned Parenthood

Good posts about the side of Planned Parenthood you usually won't hear about here and here. Good to read--especially if you have an immediate, viscerally negative reaction to the words "Planned Parenthood." From the first link:

The doc asked if this was my first ever pelvic [exam], I said yes. She told me everything she was doing before she did it, was very gentle, asked me if things were ok, did this hurt, talked me through the process. I felt treated with dignity and concern. She made quite a point of asking me more than once if I had questions, making sure that I understood my b.c. [birth control] options, telling me what side effects I might expect and what to do if I had them, talked to me about STDs and condom use, asked if I'd had sex yet, commended me for coming in for birth control and bringing my boyfriend ("good for you! And good for him!"), and sent me on my way.... Perhaps because my first visit to PP was so good, I've always had a very high expectation of my health care providers, and I've always felt entitled to ask questions and take up their time if I don't understand something.

My other revelation about PP came many years later, in a casual conversation with my sister-in-law. She mentioned going to PP and I was a bit surprised, because in my mind PP was something I'd used as a teenager, not an adult. SIL pointed out that she didn't have health insurance and that, because of that PP was the only health care she received, period. When she went in for her bcp, they also asked her about her general health, gave her physicals, and provided prescriptions she needed for other issues. Suddenly I realized that those who attack PP, who picket it, who make it difficult for women to go there, are not only hindering women receiving gynecological care; they're also standing in the way of many, many women for whom PP is the only affordable, respectful, thorough health care they get. At all.

....This, of course, is the real point: abortion is only a small (but necessary) part of what women's health clinics provide. The attack on women's health clinics is, effectively, an attack on women's health; when and if anti-abortion crusaders shut down clinics, all they do is promote more, not fewer, unwanted pregnancies--by removing access to birth control, by removing respectful, affordable health care, by removing the education and support women need to learn how to take care of themselves, including planning pregnancies when and if they want them.