I Stand with Planned Parenthood
(This post is my contribution to the Fair and Feminist “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” Blog Carnival. It’s a bit more personal than what I normally post to The Riot, but hey, the personal is political.)
When I was a teenager, my aunt was hired to do media and educational outreach for our local Planned Parenthood.
This aunt is a long-married mother of one, a Roman Catholic who teaches catechism classes at her church and is generally active in the community. And yet, all of these things about her were, to some, trumped by the fact that she worked at a Planned Parenthood.
It didn’t matter that what she was teaching as an educator was safe sex and how to prevent getting pregnant in order to reduce the need for abortions. It didn’t matter that her work called attention to the numerous health services offered by Planned Parenthood. People in our community would still attack her. At least once she was screamed at during my cousin’s martial arts class by a woman who apparently kept a Bible in her purse for just such occasions.
If these people hadn’t know about that one thing, the Planned Parenthood connection, they likely would have thought my aunt was exactly their sort of upstanding citizen. But that ONE THING invalidated all the good she did.
But isn’t that how conservatives and the GOP are treating Planned Parenthood as of right now? By yanking funding that’s not even USED for abortions because Planned Parenthood offers abortion services? If they didn’t know Planned Parenthood offered that sort of service, would the GOP still be attacking them this way? Would they give a damn about the funding they receive, which is comparatively a rather small amount?
Because of my aunt, I did some volunteer work for PP in high school. I even ended up appearing in a local commercial for them. Unfortunately, this led to a number of my classmates coming up to me that fall and asking, in a whispered voice “Are you pregnant?” While you could tell what they were really asking was “Did you have…you know…one of THOSE things…the A-word?”
Later, when I participated in a local scholarship pageant (I know, I know) during my interview I was being asked about my community service and one of the judges looked at me, sternly, and asked “Are you some kind of SPOKESWOMAN for Planned Parenthood?”
Stunned, I just replied “No, I volunteer there and appeared in a commercial for them. That’s all.”
Looking back, I really wish my response had been more along the lines of “Not yet, but gimme time.” Or “Are you implying that would be a problem?” But at the time I was a teenage girl in an uncomfortable suit being grilled by judges in a suite at the Days Inn.
This has gotten kind of ramble-y and is not the sort of post I normally put up here and I apologize for that. But the fact is, I’ve seen and experienced the attitudes people have towards Planned Parenthood, mostly because of misinformation and because of what we’re seeing now: reducing them to THAT PLACE FOR ABORTIONS.
Leaving out THAT PLACE FOR SEXUAL EDUCATION. Or THAT PLACE FOR WOMEN’S HEALTH SERVICES. Or THAT PLACE FOR BIRTH CONTROL. Or THAT PLACE FOR A NUMBER OF THINGS THAT AREN’T ABORTIONS.
Or THAT PLACE I STAND WITH.