Also, like most 17-year-old girls, I wanted birth control but didn’t want to tell my parents. The obvious choice was Planned Parenthood. I didn’t have ultra-conservative parents—by then I had for about a year been seeing my own mother’s midwife/nurse practitioner for gynecological exams. My mother had even subtly given her permission to give me Plan B should I need it (then one needed parental permission). But, like any 17-year-old girl, I did not want to have an awkward conversation.
So I drove myself to Planned Parenthood. During my appointment, they took my blood pressure and weight and gave me a prescription. No discussion, no exam, just, “Here, this is the best kind for your age.” Eventually, I realized that the specific birth control I was prescribed gave me awful mood swings and what I can only describe as rage. I finally manned up and talked to my mom, who didn’t want me on birth control, but understood. She was horrified at Planned Parenthood. At the time, I didn’t understand why. I went birth-control-free until college, when I went to a real OB/GYN at the student health center, who actually walked me through an entire process of selecting a pill. Eight years later, I’m still on it.
This was my first key indicator that there was no “care” involved in women’s healthcare at Planned Parenthood. I had felt herded like a cow. I didn’t realize the stark difference until I was in the student health center with a doctor who asked questions about my body to decide what would be the best option for me. We looked not for just a baby prevention method, but something that would overall benefit me as a woman.
My Second Visit to Planned Parenthood
Two years into college, I found myself late—yes, that kind of late. Now, I knew it was probably nothing, but I wasn’t sure, and I wanted to be. Like a lot of college students, I drank on weekends and if I were pregnant I didn’t want to harm the child. Again, due to embarrassment, I didn’t go to the doctor I knew. I was afraid, even at 20 years old, that a pregnancy test would somehow show up on a bill that went to my parents. If I wasn’t pregnant I didn’t want the test to ever come to light. So, again I trekked to Planned Parenthood, this one located right off campus.
I had to fill out a form. On it you check the boxes of things you are willing to consider. The options essentially broke down to a) abortion b) adoption c) parenting. I chalked it up to alphabetical order that abortion came first. At this point in life, I still solidly fell on the “I would never have an abortion, but other people should be able to” side of the fence. I checked options B and C, took the test, and was taken into a room to hear my results. Before getting those results, I was interrogated.
“Why won’t you consider abortion?” the representative asked. “You realize what a strain on your life parenting would be, don’t you?” I explained that abortion just wasn’t something I personally believed in. She scoffed at me before finally telling me I wasn’t pregnant.
I left the office and cried. Maybe it was relief, but I mostly felt hurt and manipulated. What if I had been pregnant—would she have been able to sway me? How many others have passed through those doors and were swayed to terminate, who felt the strain—financial, physical, or mental—that parenting might cause so decided it would be easier to just “fix the problem”?
Story is here.