Constituents are coming to Capitol Hill to tell their leaders in Congress that they won’t stand for attacks on Planned Parenthood, and that cutting access to care at Planned Parenthood will put lives at risk.

Members of Congress return to Washington this week and will soon decide on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — and whether to cut patients off from basic health care at Planned Parenthood health centers. That’s why 150 Planned Parenthood patients and providers from across the country are traveling to Washington, DC on March 1 to share their personal stories with members of Congress.

It’s all part of the “We Are Planned Parenthood” Capitol Takeover Day, when Planned Parenthood supporters will show their elected officials the devastating consequences that “defunding” Planned Parenthood would create for their communities. Supporters will tell their senators and representatives why they should oppose any attempt to rip health care away from Planned Parenthood patients.

 

SEE THE CAPITOL TAKEOVER IN ACTION

 

The Stories

Planned Parenthood patients don’t make appointments as a political statement. They go to Planned Parenthood health centers for compassionate, affordable, high-quality health care. Here are just a few of their stories.

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Without a resource like Planned Parenthood, I probably wouldn’t be alive.  I wouldn’t have known about my cancer, until it was too late.  They caught it early.  And the way it advanced after we knew about it, proves to me, that I was so very lucky. 

When people talk about Planned Parenthood, they seem to only mention abortion.  I was not there to get an abortion.  I have never been pregnant.  I was a patient because that is what I could afford for such things as birth control, and yearly health checkups.  I can’t imagine what will happen to the state of women’s health in this country if the defunded goes through.  How many will we unnecessarily lose because people can’t see the big picture?

I am not a mother, but I am a daughter, sister, friend, business owner, and one hell of an aunt. 

One other thing I am…. I am alive, because of Planned Parenthood. 

Read Christy's Full Story

When I was 10 years old, I named my future children.  I would have two girls; Juniper Dawn and Rowen Kate. Loosely named after my sisters.  Throughout the years I would think of these future children and smile for I couldn’t wait to meet them.  Fast forward to college.  I was uninsured, working and going to school.  I was supporting myself and was taking measures against a surprise pregnancy.  I wasn’t dating anyone too serious, and although I wanted my children, I also wanted the timing to be right.  I was a patient of Planned Parenthood for the sole purpose originally of obtaining birth control.  To get birth control through Planned Parenthood, they ensure you are healthy enough to be on it, and that involves getting a pap smear every year.  

I was 24 years old when my first pap smear came back irregular. An irregular pap is not that uncommon.  Many things can cause this, as they kindly explained on the phone when they notified me.  Planned Parenthood staff in West Bend, WI then scheduled me for another one. That one also came back irregular. 

What were you doing at 24 years old?  For me, I was staring at my cervix on a tv screen while a doctor applied different colored dyes to see what kind of reaction my cervix would make. Each different color showed a different problem.  Abnormal cells, pre-cancerous cells, and cancerous cells.  I watched as my cervix became a mottled mess, and everything in my world changed. 

I was facing some medical procedures now, that if I had gone to a regular hospital, would have bankrupted me for sure.  Planned Parenthood has a network of doctors though, that will work with their patients on a sliding pay scale.  What would have been hundreds of thousands of dollars, was around ten thousand after it was all said and done.  This is still a ton of money, but it could have been so much worse.

I had a colposcopy performed which included biopsies of the cervix.  I underwent three LEEP procedures, where the cancerous cells are cut out of your body using an electrified wire, I went through cryosurgery in an effort to freeze the cancerous cells with liquid nitrogen to kill it, in the hope that healthy cells emerge.  I was monitored every step of the way by my providers at Planned Parenthood. 

It took time, but eventually, they could no longer detect any cancerous cells.  I went back every six months for years for pap smears to ensure it didn’t return, and so far, I am very lucky, it hasn’t 

My cervix is nothing but scarred tissue, but I am alive.  I lost the ability to carry the children I named so long ago, but I am alive.

Without a resource like Planned Parenthood, I probably wouldn’t be alive.  I wouldn’t have known about my cancer, until it was too late.  They caught it early.  And the way it advanced after we knew about it, proves to me, that I was so very lucky. 

When people talk about Planned Parenthood, they seem to only mention abortion.  I was not there to get an abortion.  I have never been pregnant.  I was a patient because that is what I could afford for such things as birth control, and yearly health checkups.  I can’t imagine what will happen to the state of women’s health in this country if the defunded goes through.  How many will we unnecessarily lose because people can’t see the big picture?

I am not a mother, but I am a daughter, sister, friend, business owner, and one hell of an aunt.  One other thing I am…. I am alive, because of Planned Parenthood. 

 

About Defunding

The “We Are Planned Parenthood” Capitol Takeover comes days after Planned Parenthood supporters stormed town halls, showed up at district offices, and convened their own town halls during recess to tell politicians that they will not stand for attacks on access to care at Planned Parenthood. It also comes days after a leaked draft of House Republicans’ bill to repeal the ACA included a provision to “defund” Planned Parenthood — the only provision not directly related to the ACA.

The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. There is no blank check that Planned Parenthood gets from the federal government, and it’s not a line item in the federal budget. Instead, federal “defund” legislation would prevent millions of women who rely on Medicaid from accessing the health care provider that’s been there for them for decades. This policy comes from anti-abortion politicians, but federal insurance (like Medicaid) already is prohibited from covering abortion. Instead, “defunding” cuts women off from cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and other preventive care.

The bill being considered would only serve to deny Medicaid patients, a low­ income population that already struggles to afford and access care, to see their provider at Planned Parenthood health centers. This is cruel, discriminatory, and defies decades of medical and public health expertise. “Defunding” and shutting down Planned Parenthood would result in 2.5 million women and men losing access to essential and preventive health care, and that would have a devastating impact on health care in America.

 

About Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood health centers are an irreplaceable resource for women, men, and young people:

  • More than six in 10 women who obtained care at a publicly funded center providing contraceptive services between 2006–2010 considered Planned Parenthood their usual source of medical care. Many of them would have nowhere else to go if Planned Parenthood was “defunded.”

  • If Planned Parenthood shut down, other health care providers could not absorb its patients — in part because over half of Planned Parenthood providers are in underserved areas.

  • Polling shows that voters overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood: 62% are opposed to “defunding.” When voters who support “defunding” learn what it actually means, only 12% continue to support it.

Every person, no matter who they are or how much money they make, deserves access to reproductive health care.

 


 

Related:

Tags: Congress, Medicaid, Abortion, Title X, Planned Parenthood, Obamacare

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