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I grew up in a small town where it’s common for girls to become pregnant in high school. It’s not something that I wanted for myself. Before I found Planned Parenthood, I felt a little hopeless, worried that I would get pregnant and stay in a cycle of poverty.

I’m a community organizer working with the Latinx community and helping people run for elected offices. I am half-Anglo and half-Mexican, and I grew up in an Iowa town where I wasn’t able to really express my culture. Being able to do that here in this job is really amazing.

Being a Planned Parenthood  patient with access to free birth control since I was 15 has meant that I was able to feel comfortable with my sexual health, go to college, have a great career and have a life that I chose for myself. I have been in situations where I felt like I wasn’t always in control, but Planned Parenthood helped empower me. Both birth control and the support to get out of a bad relationship helped me create economic sustainability so that I could provide for myself, and eventually, provide for my family. 
 

I’ve been a Planned Parenthood patient for 11 years

Planned Parenthood has made a huge difference in my life. I am very grateful for them because they are always there for me.

I grew up in a small town where it’s very common for teenagers to become pregnant. I have several family members who had their first kid in high school. It’s life-changing — and not something that I wanted for myself. Before I found Planned Parenthood, I felt a little hopeless, worried that I would get pregnant and stay in a cycle of poverty.  

In ninth grade, Planned Parenthood came to speak at my school. The speakers explained, “This is health care, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.” 

I really needed to hear that. We were church-going and very Catholic, so sex and reproductive health weren’t things that we ever talked about in my household. It was just not possible to bring it up with my parents. That bit of education in school led me to a Planned Parenthood clinic with safe, confidential, high-quality health care.

From my first appointment on, Planned Parenthood gave me comprehensive care that included wellness checkups. They made me feel really comfortable and told me about different types of birth control so that I could choose one that was right for me.
 

A special question

But that wasn’t all. At the clinic, they asked me a really important question. They asked me about my relationship.

When I was about 19, my boyfriend was consistently trying to sabotage my use of birth control — which was one reason I chose Nexplanon, because that was something he couldn't mess with. He really wanted me to get pregnant. I didn’t want to, and I couldn’t believe that he was pressuring me to have a kid. I was very afraid to go without birth control while I was with him. 

I knew it wasn’t right for him to try to control and push me like that, but it didn’t occur to me that it was something to tell my doctor about.  

When I went to my next appointment at Planned Parenthood, one of the first things they asked me was, “Is anybody trying to sabotage your birth control?” And that just blew me away. That abusive relationship was going to put my future in jeopardy.
 

Removing barriers

Growing up, my family was very economically unstable. We had so little money for Christmas presents that my mom got a can of Folger’s coffee for a gift because it was expensive.

Planned Parenthood is health care but it's also economic opportunities. Providing these services for people like me, at low cost or no cost at all, it takes away barriers. It provides people with a path out of poverty with opportunities to advance in their career and have a family when they’re ready. 

I’m the only Latina in my family to get a high school diploma and I’m the first person in my family to receive a college degree. My health care, Planned Parenthood, helped me achieve that success.

I’m so thankful for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has benefited thousands of Iowans and will help thousands more. Get to know Planned Parenthood and share your own story too.

Read more from Planned Parenthood storytellers A right arrow in a circle

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