Planned Parenthood & Crossing the picket line
There are some topics I’ve avoided since day 1. Not many…but a few particular ones. Ones that I held close to my heart as scary and personal. Ones that would really rock the boat that my childhood built outta bible stories. Ones that I knew would polarize peeps. Talking about these topics meant I couldn’t stay chillin’ on the fence pretending like it had nothing to do with me ever again. And that’s scary AF.
But finally I feel like I’ve processed enough layers of my own pain, disassociation, and fear of being disliked, disowned, misaligned, attacked…blah blah blah; that I’m ready to “go there”. I’m ready to share my experience, because I can no longer continue to be an agent of freedom and change for women’s sexuality without talking about female reproductive rights. Oh, god.
She. Went. There.
Ya, I did. And here’s why. I have a long history with Planned Parenthood. My mother, was an avid picketer of Planned Parenthood. And my upbringing preached abstinence until marriage. But underneath all this bible parade of fear and silence I was a frequent user of Planned Parenthood’s services.
Pap smears, birth control, and yes, abortions. See, my younger self did not have access to proper sex education, choices, knowledge of what consent looks like and my own body, after years of childhood abuse, left it feeling like a foreign object to me.
So, In a very real way planned parenthood became the parent I needed when I needed one most.
I was 17. I sat in the exam room in a paper gown, afraid and chewing my finger nails. When the doctor came in he told me in a low voice I was pregnant.
I asked the doctor not to tell my mother. When I came out of the exam room I had wiped away my tears and had pasted on a happy face as was protocol with my mother. I told her, it was just a stomach ache after all.
And that was that pretty much. For awhile. Until my unsavory boyfriend of the moment called my parents to tell them I was pregnant in an attempt to get me to marry him and have the baby. At this point everything changed. I went from whore of the household to the Virgin Mary. I noticed right away the radical shift in my parents behavior…because even though I f*cked up and got pregnant, they could now see purpose and value for my life as an expectant mother. Yay me.
But still my mother never spoke a word to me about it. She sent my father out to speak to me while I was smoking a cigarette on their back porch. And after all these years what stands out the most was his tone. Instead of being harsh it had suddenly become gentle. Looking back I now know it was because my pregnancy gave them hope, Hope I would chill out with my wild ways and become a mother. And that opened up a whole new way to see me. To them I suddenly had purpose and value.
But it wasn’t to be. I could not see myself as a mother and had no desire to pattern after my own upbringing. Even at that young age I knew having a child would be a grave undertaking, and one I was not ready for.
With the help of a friend I made an appointment at Planned Parenthood. And I’m still grateful to them for their care to this day. Even though, I’ve never told this story out of fear of reprisal, I’ve decided enough is enough. I will no longer allow someone else to dictate what I am “supposed” to be ashamed of.
I made a choice for my body. And I believe all women deserve to be able to choose as well.
My mother may have picketed on the other side of this political fence but I no longer consider my female body to be “political”. It’s mine. I finally feel it’s mine.
(I want every woman to know their body belongs to them alone. You are beautiful. You are loved and worthy no matter what you choose for your body. You are a divine sovereign being who deserves honor for just being alive…and I love you.)