What’s been so frustrating to me about the House’s move to defund Planned Parenthood yesterday (never fear: the bill will likely die in the Senate) is that House Republicans, especially the bill’s sponsor, Mike Pence, are counting on most Americans not knowing anything about the nonprofit.
The vast majority of its services are for routine gynecological care, which it provides to women without insurance with fees on a sliding scale according to income. (Only 3 percent of its procedures are abortions.) Planned Parenthood has always been a safety net for poor women and women in between jobs, and no woman in America should have to interrupt her birth control because she can’t afford it or skip an annual physical because some dude in Indiana wants to play to his base.
I’ve gone to Planned Parenthood clinics even when I’ve had insurance, because I’m certain of the standard of care and because PP clinics are always among the most welcoming, least judgmental atmospheres in which a woman can find herself. I’ve had to switch doctors often because I change jobs or move, and with one exception every non-PP gynecologist has found some opportunity to take the conversation into uncomfortable territory, whether it’s “why do you need birth control if you’re not in a relationship?’ or “well, when do you plan to have children?” More than that, Planned Parenthood works extra hard to make you comfortable: When I came alone once to get a slightly invasive test, an extra nurse came in just to hold my hand. When I was worried about what the results would be, they set up an extra appointment just to talk me through the possibilities. Try to find an ob-gyn with time to do that.
So, it’s time to stand up for the millions of Americans who don’t want their tax dollars to pay Mike Pence’s salary.