Sunday, March 4, 2012

Planned Parenthood

Even though I'm a huge fan of Planned Parenthood, and would love to work for them or a similar organization some day, I had never actually been inside one till yesterday. One of my friends was getting a IUD, which most other doctors did not want to give her since she's never been pregnant-- she knows she does not want children in the next five years, though. I came along with her so she wouldn't have to go alone... in part because it's a new experience, but also largely in case there was anyone outside yelling that we'd go to hell for aborting the babies we aren't pregnant with. There's strength in numbers, and if holding her hand made it easier to go into the clinic, and then easier to walk out after a painful procedure, well, I'm always more than willing to help anyone in that situation.

The local Planned Parenthood looks like a fortress. It always makes me sad that it does, because, well, it's a place where people go to get their genital jabbed at, and get birth control, to get abortions, or to get prenatal care for wanted pregnancies. It offers so many services that are used when someone is at a vulnerable point, and I wish it could look more welcoming... and the fact that it isn't safe to look welcoming makes me incredibly sad. I'll never understand people who use violence, and I'll never understand protesters, especially considering that some of them get abortions after protesting, then go back to protesting.

We were in luck, though-- rain tends to decrease protesters, and it was so grey and gross that there weren't any there at all!

The inside of the Planned Parenthood is so different from the imposing outside! The waiting room is all warm and bright, with awesome colors on the walls and comfy couches. The employees were kind and efficient. Pop music was playing in the background, and a large TV screen was playing on the wall, cycling facts about sexual health and the services that Planned Parenthood offers. Interestingly, the waiting room was not all women. There were 4-5 guys there over the span of time I was there, which is awesome, really.

In contrast to most doctor's offices I've been to, my friend got called into her appointment right on time. She said it went very well-- they were all very respectful of her choice to get an IUD at age 24, and didn't try to talk down to her by telling her that she'd change her mind about kids, or that she was too young to be making this decision-- which is the reason she had to come to Planned Parenthood in the first place, she couldn't find anyone else willing to give an IUD to a woman without children. But she's a young single woman who is going to start her career as an attorney in a few months-- the chances of her wanting a child anytime soon are slim as slim. So now, after a quick and painful, but not too painful, procedure, she's protected against pregnancy for the next 12 years! And the best part? an IUD only cost her around 20 bucks (which is important, because, well, like me, she doesn't have a job and is interested in the ones that are more service oriented.)

I'm very glad that Planned Parenthood exists. It, and places like it, are doing so much to advance sexual knowledge and prevent unwanted pregnancies, and to help people at difficult times.

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