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“Hello my name is Novelyn. I am honored to speak on behalf of Planned Parenthood as a patient advocate. I have used the services of Planned Parenthood for 28 years. My first experience going to a Planned Parenthood was at sixteen and like some of the young women that come to for the services they provide, their home life may not lend to open conversations with their parents or guardians. I was raised by very loving parents that also had very strong catholic beliefs. Abstinence was the only method discussed which made women’s health care a very limited topic of discussion.

As a young adult I suffered from debilitating menstrual cycles. I had heard from a friend that Planned Parenthood was a safe place to openly discuss my health concerns and questions. How empowering as a young woman to talk openly with an adult, get validation, a solution and additionally be affordable. I continued to use their services through college, my twenties and my early thirties for women’s wellness care with pap smears, breast exams, cancer screenings, family planning with education and birth control. When my husband and I were ready to start a family and we had health insurance, I felt confident and proactive in our health care questions and decisions because of the foundation I had cultivated with Planned Parenthood doctors and nurse practitioners.

Waiting for my health insurance to activate, last February I found a lump in my right armpit. Planned Parenthood was the first call I made. I showed up at the Vermont location and learned I had arrived on the wrong day. The receptionist felt my anxiety and called the downtown location. I was able to get an appointment that same day, an hour later. 62% of Planned Parenthood patients can get same day or next day appointment and that is important when your life depends on how quickly you can get care. The nurse practitioner that detected the lump in my right breast, true to form, she confirmed my concern in the most compassionate and understanding tone. She immediately got me a mammogram and ultrasound appointment within two days. A week later I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

I am so very thankful for the care I received. Just like my very first experience and those that followed, she confirmed my intuition and once again I felt empowered because I got compassionate, thoughtful and action oriented care. I proudly marched at the LA Women’s March with a sign that read, “Planned Parenthood found my Breast Cancer.”  That day I made the commitment to openly share my story and how Planned Parenthood played a role in saving my life. They perform 360,000 breast exams and 10% of their services are cancer screenings. One in eight women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime. Close to 350,000 women a year will be diagnosed and 40,000 women a year will die from Breast Cancer. Early detection with self breast exams, cancer screenings, awareness and preventative education are all crucial in saving lives.

One out of five women in the US have gone to Planned Parenthood to receive health care. Last week’s Quinnipiac poll stated 80% of voters opposed defunding Planned Parenthood. Those in Washington are you listening to your constituents? Women need affordable health care. When you have a healthcare provider like Planned Parenthood that has been servicing communities for a 100 years, with 650 affiliate health centers and serves 2.5 million women and men why would you defund the services they provide? We need to continue funding and we should be replicating the clinics and programs they provide. Quality affordable healthcare should not only be for those that can afford it. Taking it away from millions of people will effect so many families and communities. It will also overload other providers and lower the quality of care they provide.

I will continue to shine light on Planned Parenthood and the work they do. I will advocate for protecting the services they provide especially for communities that are underserved. I stand with Planned Parenthood because they saved my life. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my story. I hope you too will stand with Planned Parenthood.”

-Novelyn, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles patient

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