I was at Planned Parenthood today.
That’s right. Planned Parenthood.
Well, not because I am not terminating a pregnancy, looking for prophylactics, treating an STI or anything else like that. (All those “dirty whore” things that people love to hate on.) Actually, I am sick and I can’t get well. Down there. Not that it really matters why. (TMI?)
You know they do that at Planned Parenthood, right? They help women who are sick. Who need help down there.
And sometimes “down there help” does include terminating a pregnancy, getting prophylactics, or treating an STI. Sometimes it’s cancer screening, diagnosing ovarian cysts, treating irregular periods, investigating pain that won’t go away. Down there gets complicated.
I don’t have medical insurance. Not because I am reckless, stupid, “dependent on the state” or anything even close to that. And not because I like to gamble.
I am a freelancer with no “employer provided plan.” I am member of 3 unions who can barely afford to cover their members, so they just keep putting more and more restrictions on that coverage. I cannot afford “independent insurance” as the New York state premiums are so high that it would cripple my household to pay the monthly rate. Oh, and Healthy New York? Well, I’m too rich to qualify. Too freakin’ rich. (Come over and hang out on my yacht sometime.)
I am white, middle class, educated, married, and employed. Double income, no kids. (I have all the safety nets, right?) I pay my bills and taxes. I have held up every end of the bargain that is the American dream and I am nobody’s charity case. I am paying for my visit. Because I can and because, if I can, I should. And because my money will help the next woman who can’t.
I am sick and I can’t get well. Sick enough that I can’t wait for another program to approve me for a doctors visit. I can’t wait until I can afford insured healthcare. I can’t even wait for the “promised land” of “Obamacare.”
I’m sick right now.
And I’m lucky to be sitting here in a safe facility, surrounded by a compassionate and professional staff that is insuring that I will get help today. They are so funny, helpful, and positive.
I am also surrounded by a multitude of diverse women, old and young, well-heeled and Payless, black, Latina, Asian, Arab and yes, white-as-bleached-towels like me. Some of them are chatty, some of them are pensive, some of them are downright terrified. But, whatever the reason they are here, none of them are “dirty whores.” They are just women who need help with a medical problem. Right now. And this might be their only resource.
And (thank the good lord above) that Planned Parenthood is here to provide help to them. And help to me. Your friend, Jenny Wren [waving at the camera].
When I arrived today, I had to go through a full security screening like what you see at an airport and I thought, “Seriously? why would someone bring a gun to the gynecologist?”
And then, “Oh… Oh my god. I forgot.”
I actually forgot for a moment that there are people who hate Planned Parenthood. Who want to stop Planned Parenthood. And that there are people who would not simply use legislation or bullying to accomplish that.
Once I enter this building I am not safe. Because there are people who WANT TO KILL the doctors for providing care “down there.” There are people who WANT TO KILL me for coming here. That think I’m a “whore.”” A not just a woman who needs to see a doctor for a reason that is nobody’s business.
I stand with Planned Parenthood. I stand for a women’s choice, privacy, and access to medical care.
I stand with Julia who treated me, LaVinna who ran my lab tests and Stan the guard who told me to have nice day. (You too, Stan.)
I stand with all the other women I encountered in the clinic: alone, with friends, wearing hospital gowns, reading magazines, getting tests.
This November, stand with me.
ETA Permalink: http://standwithpp.blogspot.com/
Last week, a Michigan state legislator was barred from speaking on the House floorbecause she used the word vagina in a statement about proposed abortion regulations in what is arguably the most restrictive bill yet proposed to curb reproductive freedom. State Republicans who rescinded her speaking privileges for a day variously expressed offense at Rep. Lisa Brown’s use of the word vagina or the context in which she used the word vagina or her use of the phrase no means no in describing a 50-page proposed bill that contains the wordvagina three times.