Tomorrow (September 29) it’s Pink Out Day in support of Planned Parenthood.
First, let me tell you why I stand with Planned Parenthood, using two excerpts from my journal, just over three years ago when I had no health insurance and was unemployed and flat broke. The people I described were the ones I saw and spoke to, not conceptual entities.
June 18, 2012
Thank you, Planned Parenthood. You were there for me many years ago when I was a penniless student, and you’re here for me again when I am unemployed and have no insurance. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m glad a regularly donated when I was employed, and I will again when I am employed anew.
Right-wingnuts: fuck off and die. You’re not doing a damn thing to help me, or anyone else who was in that waiting room: the mother with two infants, the menopausal lady worried about her surging cholesterol, the happy, giggling expectant young couple, the two young women there to get their first birth control prescriptions, etc.
June 25, 2012
I went back to Planned Parenthood for my follow-up today. I don’t know if I’m just lucky, but everyone is always incredibly nice and helpful to me in PP clinics (well, the two I’ve ever visited.)
I tend to think that it’s not luck, that it takes a special kind of people to work there with the crazies picketing every day and probably paid less than in private clinics. Many of the people I speak to have worked there forever and a half, so it’s not like they just jump on the first chance to work at a safer, more posh place.
And it nags me, bugs me, burns me to think that these incredibly nice people who help me are placing themselves at risk, that there is a very real possibility of a nutcase harming them for helping me. That’s fucked up.
That’s right: Planned Parenthood charged me nothing for the health services it provided. And yes, as soon as I had a regular income again, I resumed donations so others could benefit.
Now for some tips on showing support (besides the obvious, donating to Planned Parenthood):
5 Ways You Can #PinkOut
- WEAR PINK on September 29th. Get a #StandwithPP pink t-shirt from the store.
- Pink Out your Facebook and/or Twitter profile image
- Attend a Pink Out Event near you. Can’t attend or not near a rally city? RSVP to the Facebook event for updates.
- Join the #PinkOut Thunderclap
- Share a #PinkOut selfie to #StandwithPP on social media
While the vast majority of services provided at Planned Parenthood are not related to abortion, I don’t want to dodge the issue. I’ve seen a lot of outrage about right-wingers who refuse to compromise on abortion even for special cases. You know what? When they say that they’re against abortion in all cases, even rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother — that works for me, in a weird way. Abortion is legal, there are very good reasons to keep it legal, and I don’t want to see it chipped away by downgrading it to only special cases deserving the protection of the law.
Let’s recognize right now that we need not make apologies: no one is is suggesting that abortion is a fun thing, something every woman should try at least once, or something we should have punch-cards for (“Buy ten, get one free!”) Having to have an abortion sucks enough as it is — heck, having to consider whether to have an abortion sucks enough, that we need not make apologies for having a legal procedure when we, the persons who are having to make the individual decision, find it necessary.
Downgrading abortion from a right to a conditional procedure you have to get special dispensation for only opens the way to have access to contraception restricted in the same way. We’ve had plenty of evidence recently, from right-wingers’ opposition to sex education in schools, to framing their attempts at restricting contraception through health insurance plans as a religious freedom issue.
I mentioned in my old journal posts that the people helping me were putting themselves at risk. Although I did not see any sign of violence, every time I have been to that clinic I have seen a fanatical picketer, a man bringing his entire collection of signs, religious paraphernalia, threats disguised as predictions, and so forth (and there have been more visits, both before and after the ones that prompted my journal entries). Imagine being intimidated every day, every time you go in and out of your place of work!
- RH Reality Check: “Threats Against Abortion Providers Have Doubled Since 2010, Report Finds”
- The report itself, Feminist Majority Foundation’s 2014 National Clinic Violence Survey (PDF)
- U.S. Department of Justice: National Task Force On Violence Against Health Care Providers
- United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA): Addressing Violence Against Women And. Girls In Sexual And Reproductive Health. Services: A Review Of Knowledge Assets (PDF)