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So. Let's talk about Planned Parenthood. It makes me a touch sad… 
28th-Feb-2011 02:29 pm
So. Let's talk about Planned Parenthood.

It makes me a touch sad that much of the conversation about the possible de-funding of Planned Parenthood is centering around abortion and choice. I'm not saying that it's not a conversation that we need to have, but in general, federal funds don't go to abortions. When we make the conversation about Planned Parenthood one about abortion, we're side-stepping the issue of everything else that Planned Parenthood does. And this is a side-stepping that both sides of this issue are doing.

I did not have health insurance, nor access to student health services, in the second half of 1999, the first half of 2000, the last half of 2001, after I got laid off from the crazy clinic (sometime in 2002, I don't feel like looking right now) until I was back at State full time at the beginning of 2005, and from when I graduated in August of 2008 with my masters until this past August of 2010. That's a lot of years without access to health services.

In the meantime, the folks that I saw each year to make sure I wasn't dying of cervical cancer or breast cancer, to get my (medically necessary) birth control pills subscribed1, to get my thyroid meds prescribed, were Planned Parenthood. It still wasn't cheap, but I could budget for it and afford it.

Planned Parenthood does a lot more than abortions. They serve low income and/or uninsured men, women, and children with general health services, people who might not otherwise see a doctor at all for years.

I have health insurance now2, and I was appalled at what my insurance company was billed for my annual and my TSH for my thyroid (never mind all the other stuff that got run that I wouldn't have gotten run if I were self-paying.)

So, yea. Appalled and sad and tired, and I should probably clean this up and email my senators.

1. Not that I'm saying that only medical necessity matters, but sometimes, they are medically necessary. Also, birth control pills are a hell of a lot cheaper to fund than children.

2. As long as the state budget holds.
28th-Feb-2011 08:28 pm (UTC)

I went to Planned Parenthood for years. Sometimes I was uninsured, sometimes I was underinsured. At one point, my health insurance would pay for my annual physical but wouldn't pay for any form of birth control unless it was medically necessary (of course, it goes without saying that they would still pay for Viagra), so I went to PP because they were less expensive than my co-pay. Planned Parenthood isn't an abortion factory. They're usually serving women who are underserved.

They were certainly the only medical care that I had for quite some time. One time I was in their office, I had a miserable head cold. In addition to my annual exam, they did a strep test (which I had no idea that they could do), and gave me some cough syrup to help alleviate my symptoms. When the results came back that I did have strep, so they gave me antibiotics too. Since I didn't have insurance at the time, I wouldn't have dreamed of seeking medical care for it, and would have just been living on NyQuil and orange juice until it sorted itself out.
1st-Mar-2011 03:10 am (UTC)
One of the first times I was being seen there, I was trying to figure out just WTF I was going to get my thyroid checked without breaking the bank, and yup, "Oh, we can do that." The test is still bloody expensive, but I wasn't forking over another office visit fee too.
1st-Mar-2011 04:00 am (UTC)
Woooooord. My local PP doesn't even do abortion services (there are clinics that do, mind you, just not our local PP), so it's a completely moot point. Like you, I availed myself of their services for totally normal, routine medical things when I was a starving grad student, and I always, always had awesome NPs and doctors who listened and were there for me. I didn't feel like a number, even when I couldn't get in to see the same nurse or doctor I had seen before. Affordable and helpful and available. Apparently that's not something we're allowed to have anymore as women in America. *grrrr*

I've been pretty angry about political things lately as they pertain to removing women's access to things that support their autonomy.

Edited to add that I realize when I said "normal" above, I was implying that abortion is not normal. Even as someone who's pro-choice, I'm feeling like that came off weird, but I'm going to let it stand to show that sometimes this discussion gets weighted to the conservative side even for people who don't identify that way. It's the nature of the rhetoric out there today. I find myself self-censoring ALL THE TIME, and I don't understand why. :(

Edited at 2011-03-01 04:02 am (UTC)
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