"I was in an abusive relationship in a state where medical insurance was expensive and patchy at best. Planned Parenthood enabled me to get birth control for free and gave me resources to help me leave my partner for good."
"I learned when I was 12 that I have a hormonal disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome, as well as a birth defect: a heart-shaped uterus. My periods were painful because I was flushing out cysts. I remained on birth control until I got married. If it weren't for Planned Parenthood, my high school, college, and post-college years would have been too expensive to get ahead in life. I relied heavily on the specialized care Planned Parenthood provides for women like me. I would have been buried in medical debt had they not given me a sliding scale fee of zero dollars through school and $15 after college. The birth control pills, which regulate my hormones and help me function, cost me a whopping $140 per year.
"After getting married, I went off birth control, hoping to get pregnant. My periods were awful. I felt like that little girl all over again, curled up on the bathroom floor, missing work, and feeling defeated. When I did get pregnant, I had miscarriages. Four in a row, in fact. I cannot explain how grateful I am for Planned Parenthood during those years. They provided me with so much information, so much comfort, and so much treatment. What stood out to me the most is that they listened and took me seriously; each note was documented and researched, and they didn't blow my problems off as just 'period troubles.'
"After struggling for too many years, we decided going back on birth control was the best option for me. On a happier note, my husband and I have decided to adopt our children."
"I had my tubes tied at the Boston branch of Planned Parenthood about 25 years ago. How grateful I was to be in the care of such wonderful professionals. They took great care of me, made sure I understood the ramifications, and all in all, it couldn't have gone better. And I have never regretted my decision for a moment."
"In 1998, I was just out of college, just starting my career, and without a job that had benefits such as health care. I was able to go to Planned Parenthood for a routine yearly pap smear because they charged patients on a sliding scale based on income, and that's where I could afford to go.
"They found precancerous cells, and because of Planned Parenthood, I was able to get treatment and get a checkup every four months for the next year to catch any precancerous cells that might have been missed or might have grown. This was a diagnosis, treatment, and care I would not have had without Planned Parenthood because it would have been financially out of reach for me.
"Now I'm about to turn 39, successful in my career, married to a wonderful man, and about to have our first child, but I might not have been here at all without Planned Parenthood. I'm immensely grateful. Planned Parenthood saves lives, mine being one of them. I can't wait to meet my daughter, who might not have existed without Planned Parenthood providing me with care some 19 years ago."
"Before Obamacare, I was without insurance for several years after I was booted off my parents' plan. My only option for my annual checkup and pap was Planned Parenthood. Thanks to them, I was able to keep receiving the care and prescriptions I needed at a price I could afford. My strongest memories of visiting them were how kind and nonjudgmental the staff was. It can be embarrassing, especially when you're younger, to talk about your body and sex life. I never felt awkward or ashamed when I was with the staff. That security of feeling heard and understood, without fear... I can't adequately express how valuable that was/is to me."
"Planned Parenthood was the first medical staff I saw outside of my family doctor growing up, who had been really religious and scary. Working with PP was the first time I learned it was OK not to be skinny, understood birth control and sex, was walked through a cancer scare, and had access to mental health resources. They have been there for me when I was scared after my rape — and understood and offered resources. I have taken two friends there for abortion care. I have really just seen them for every part of growing up."
"I spent the summer after my senior year of high school working at a pizza place and going to the beach in a seaside town in Maryland. One night, I dragged my friends to a house party one town over thrown by my manager at the pizza place. Earlier that summer, my manager had introduced me to his friend Sean, a guy who was eight years my senior, and we'd hung out a few times (we even kissed at the beach once). I remember being impressed that he could grow a beard.
"So Sean was at this party, and he served me drink after drink, acting like my boyfriend. The last thing I remember from that night was sitting on his lap on a porch. The next time I would wake up, I would be on a futon, naked in a place I had never seen before. I knew someone had had sex with me, unprotected, from the way my body felt.
"It wasn’t until the next day a friend helped me realize I had in fact been raped. I tried calling Sean, but he never spoke to me ever again. I didn’t have any money, so I went to Planned Parenthood and got an exam and Plan B. I also got birth control so I could better protect myself. It was a lifesaver for me. We need places like Planned Parenthood when the world lets us down. Let’s not make teenage girlhood any more vulnerable than it already is."
"A young friend of mine, a 24-year-old woman, became pregnant by a new boyfriend and had nowhere to turn. Because of PP's quick response to her request for help, she was able to have a termination. She was treated with the utmost care and respect, and thank god they were there for her! It was not taken lightly, nor should it have been, but it was as painless as it could be...and now she can go on with her plans to go back to school."
"I was 19 when I had an abortion. It was sophomore year in college, and I had just returned home for winter break. My period was late — and my period was never late. I knew something was off, and I also knew I had made the drunken mistake of having unprotected sex on the last night of finals week. I was too panicked to take a pregnancy test on my own, so thankfully some friends accompanied me to a local Planned Parenthood where they gave me a pregnancy test for free. I found out later that day I was indeed six weeks pregnant.
"I knew immediately that terminating the pregnancy was the best choice for me — I wasn't ready to be a parent yet and definitely not while I was still in college — and I felt that giving up a baby for adoption would be entirely too painful. For me the choice was clear, so I made an appointment at Planned Parenthood to have an abortion. My experience having an abortion at a PP could not have been smoother — the staff was understanding and kind, and I felt no shame. After the procedure, which took all of maybe two minutes, I was counseled about my options for birth control and told I had to follow up at my college health center when I got back to campus. While I wouldn't want to go through that experience again, I know without a doubt I made the best choice I could have.
"At 19, the only place I knew that even performed abortions was Planned Parenthood, and were it not for a PP conveniently located near my hometown, I don't know what I would have done."
"Shortly after I graduated from college I moved to Boston. I managed to have ill-advised and unprotected sex with my ex-boyfriend. Being a very recent transplant to the city, I had no doctor, wasn't on the pill, and had no means of taking care of my women's health needs. Said ex-boyfriend had agreed to drive me to Planned Parenthood and help pay for Plan B but was ultimately unreliable — so first thing in the morning I took the train to PP, braved a horde of protestors, and was able to purchase Plan B. It was a morning filled with fear and anxiety, and had I not known about Planned Parenthood, things may have turned out differently for me. I thank Planned Parenthood for being there for scared 22-year-olds and women of all ages."
"If Planned Parenthood weren't around when I was in college, I honestly don't know what I would have done. It was there for me when I lost my virginity and needed birth control at a low cost. It was there for me when I panicked about possibly being pregnant and needed Plan B. Affordable health care for women is so deeply necessary in this country. I am so eternally grateful to everyone who has worked for Planned Parenthood and for everything they represent."