Hoping to add perspective to the Planned Parenthood fiasco I wrote this article. Then, the fourth Planned Parenthood video was released. Aghast, I pulled my submission. Tears from the deepest part of my heart poured out of my eyes as I watched the interviews. Oh, what I would do to protect any of those precious lives God is knitting together in mother’s wombs. I now present this article not to balance or defend Planned Parenthood, but to present the overwhelming need the average American woman has for health care and suggest alternatives.
Hiding the fact we were financially unraveling was something I felt I had become good at. Then we became pregnant.
I remember deliberately driving to the Planned Parenthood Clinic. Shame surged through my deep conservative roots as I parked the car in the most inconspicuous spot. Normally I like to look around, give a hearty “hello” to people I pass, but today, my head was down and my eyes focused on the door with precision. I prayed I’d be another unrecognizable woman in a big city.
Our waste bin was lined with positive pregnancy tests, so my purpose in walking through those doors was definite, and different than you might imagine. Nausea filled my belly as I walked through the doors of the clinic, far more overwhelming than the early symptoms of pregnancy.
Embarrassed as I sat in the lobby I innocently assumed the only reason most women would be at Planned Parenthood would be to have an abortion, after all, that’s what I had been told my entire life. Avoiding eye contact and casual conversation I sat alone like a foreigner. Naïvely I cloaked myself in shame; these women must believe I don’t want the life growing inside me. This myopic moment precluded the reality I discovered by being there: Those women may not have been there to end a pregnancy either.
Head down, shoulders slumped, she called my name and I entered a room. The thought of precious babies being killed plagued my mind. Was that happening right now? Are the cries of the innocent in this very place?
Defensiveness swept over me. I don’t want to be here! My legs wanted to run, but my heart steadied and reassured me into staying. After all, it was the only way for this baby to survive.
Typically my faith in times like this would lead me to hang my heart on the “peace that transcends understanding”, but in this moment, though hope was palatable, peace was absent. Perhaps a morsel of what Christ endured on the cross, hope for his creation but denied the peace his father provides.
Though I had a robust eighteen-month-old son at home, two miscarriages had wrecked me. Fortunately after the second death my incredible doctor was able to learn why, a simple factor problem with my blood caused lethal blood clots in my babies early on. She was confident that if I became pregnant again it was imperative for me to ingest copious amounts of folic acid and a smidge of aspirin to protect the fragile life. It was also clear I would need to be carefully monitored and the growing life specifically cared for throughout the term.
Our family was self-employed on the heels of the “Great Economic Collapse” and financially hanging on by the final thread, so we couldn’t afford medical premiums. More so, there was no way to absorb the thirty thousand dollar price tag of another necessary c-section, let alone the many doctor’s visits and ultrasounds this pregnancy would require.
In my mind, being financially solvent was a pillar of being an adult, and in our frayed condition, searching for public medical assistance made me feel more like a teenager hiding contraband from her parents. Swallowing my pride was part or the life lesson God had in store for me, and in doing so, I happened across a state program designed for pregnant women and very young children. But there are always conditions and requirements to meet.
No doctor and no medical insurance meant I couldn’t have an average piece of paper proclaiming I was verifiably pregnant and should be considered for the program. Then there was Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood, usually villainized by conservative groups, provides free pregnancy tests. Passing by Planned Parenthood clinics I always, again naïvely, assumed the only reason anyone would walk through the doors would be to terminate a pregnancy. And then there was me.
I’ve learned through life that I’m not the exception in a group; I’m an average woman. That means there are many other women, afraid to share their financial struggles, fearful of having another miscarriage, and many more women who need an annual check-up or a breast exam.
While it grieves me that Planned Parenthood is the face of the abortion atrocity, because of the free services they provided me, I was able to receive the medical care my baby needed to survive my disorder. I was able to get that average piece of paper to submit with my application to the state and can now enjoy the healthy daughter God has blessed my family with.
Just as we have come to call tissue Kleenex, or soda pop Coke, I believed the Planned Parenthood franchise was the only name for affordable “women’s care”. Gaining grassroots efforts have recently opened my eyes to the many Planned Parenthood alternatives. Though the frenzy I’ve learned community clinics outnumber Planned Parenthood ten to one!
Regardless of what happens to Planned Parenthood, efforts are being made so finding women’s care is simple. If you or someone you know is seeking medical care, this preliminary interactive map allows you to find care in your area. http://getyourcare.org/