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I told a friend of my grandparents that I worked at Planned Parenthood. She got this look on her face and she started to cry, saying, “Thank God for Planned Parenthood and thank God for you.”

If you told me then what would be going on now, over 20 years after I started working with Planned Parenthood, I never would’ve believed it. 

Right now, there are efforts in Iowa and across the country to limit our ability to make our own health care decisions. And we’re still fighting to make sure that birth control is available under insurance! I helped lobby for a bill to cover that twenty years ago! It’s crazy to see how quickly we’ve gone backward.

That was then

Twenty-two years ago, the first year I worked with Planned Parenthood, I told a friend of my grandparents where I worked. I hesitated because I didn’t know how she might respond. She got this look on her face and she started to cry, saying, “Thank God for Planned Parenthood and thank God for you. Thank God you work there.” And she grabbed me and she hugged me and she sobbed. But I never got a chance to ask her why she reacted like that or what her story was. 

That conversation is always with me, giving me the courage and determination to stand up for others. 

Now it’s time to act

Since then, I’ve always believed that people should be able to get safe and confidential reproductive health care, and to be able to make decisions for themselves without interference from others. I believe that people should be able to go to Planned Parenthood and have insurance cover it, without worrying about their health care coverage or surprise bills.  

Now I’m putting my beliefs into action. I got more involved with Planned Parenthood’s education and advocacy. I’ve helped organize a Planned Parenthood lobby day to go to the Capitol and speak with legislators, I’ve helped run phone banks and mailings, and I volunteered at our book sale — the best book sale in the world! 

I hope we’ll get to a point where reproductive health care isn’t something that divides us. It’s personal and private. It shouldn’t be a political issue, kicked around like a football every two years.

Planned Parenthood helps me, my family, all families

Working for Planned Parenthood and being active with them has made me a better person. It has even made me appreciate my family more and brought us closer.

When I was lobbying at the Capitol and my mom texted me, it reminded me of why I was there, why I’m doing what I do. I was there because of that friend of my grandparents. I was there because I was planned: my parents waited until they were ready, settled with a home, stable finances, and the emotional readiness to have a kid. 

And that helps me to be there for someone else who is planning their family.

I wish people knew

The anti-Planned Parenthood people have never walked through the doors of a clinic, they’ve never been in a situation of feeling like there’s nowhere to turn. I wish they knew how much Planned Parenthood supports everyone, no matter what. They will really listen to you. That’s what we all need — someone to be caring and kind when you need it most.  

Every person needs to have control over their own destiny, and be able to make the decisions that are best for them. I don’t think anyone’s cheering for someone to get an abortion, but everyone should be able to go to a doctor they trust and have a frank and open discussion about all options. 

When my mom had cancer, she had treatment options and she got to choose. It should be like that for all health care, especially reproductive care. No one should be dictating to doctors what they can say to their patients. Medical professionals should be able to provide care without having politicians involved. My legislator shouldn’t interfere with my conversations and care with my doctor!

Here in Iowa, because of what has happened on the federal level and in the state legislature, health care has been thrown into chaos. Planned Parenthood is fighting to protect and restore access to reproductive health care, and I love being a part of that.

I’m so thankful for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood welcomes all Iowans, respects all genders, and provides compassionate care to each individual.

Get to know Planned Parenthood. We’re more than you think.

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