I was young and not very experienced. And I knew that something was wrong, down there. I’d never had a pap smear. Never been to a ob/gyn and was absolutely petrified.
And to make matters worse, I hadn’t been practicing safe sex. I’d been with the same guy for a while, and we/I was using the sponge (remember the sponge?). I was never really comfortable with that decision. But he’d made such a fuss about condoms. And I was young and inexperienced and, quite frankly, it wasn’t that hard for him to talk me into doing what he wanted.
So I was scared and feeling like I must have caught some horrible STD. And also feeling that whatever it was it was all my fault. Because I knew better.
Oh, and broke.
And petrified. Did I mention petrified?
Finally, after freaking out about it for a few days/weeks, I confided in a friend. And she talked me into going to Planned Parenthood. Which I did. And after I got past the humiliation of having to walk past of bunch of screaming protesters, I was treated with patience and respect. For almost no money. And it turns out that all I had was a little infection. Nothing serious, at all.
My story is hardly unique. One in four American women has received care from Planned Parenthood. I’m actually shocked that the number is so low. But then, there are parts of the country where Planned Parenthood isn’t welcome, I guess.
Anyway, I watched in horror as The U.S. House of Representatives voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from all federal funding for birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other lifesaving care. I’d been on the fence about writing about it. But then I got an email from a reader, asking me to write about it. And so here I am, sharing my embarrassing story, of the first time I went to Planned Parenthood.
I can’t imagine what this country would be like if there were no Planned Parenthood. And I don’t want to imagine it. Please take a few seconds to sign this Open Letter to Congress.
Tags: condoms, OB/GYN, safe sex