Every time I walk into a Planned Parenthood clinic, I feel a little on edge. I could blame it on the location, and how it’s hidden away out of the public eye. Or on the protesters, who are often standing outside with signs. Or even on the high level of security, which makes me go through multiple locked doors before entering the waiting room.
If I’m honest, though, I think it’s because of the feeling that I’m under a spotlight — like everyone inside is staring at me as I walk in. This isn’t true, of course. Planned Parenthood generally has a very open, non-judgmental vibe to it. But my upbringing led me to be ashamed of caring for my own reproductive and sexual health, and even if I’ve conquered some of those feelings, the awkwardness is still there. But there are many reasons why I still go to Planned Parenthood.
I usually go when I need a prescription for birth control pills (or the actual pills, if I am unable to afford them, since the cost is extremely high if paying out-of-pocket.) In case you didn’t know, though, Planned Parenthood provides countless other services as well.
They provide STI testing and treatment, pregnancy testing and prenatal care, cancer screenings, and much more. I like being able to talk to the healthcare providers there about any questions and concerns that I have. Also, it’s a great place to go if you can’t go to the gynecologist for some reason, or if your OB/GYN doesn’t have an opening soon and you need to see someone.
They are also very discreet, and if they need to call you to give you any test results or discuss something, they give you the option of having them call themselves by another name, or saying that they’re a friend calling.
I’ve recommended Planned Parenthood to several friends, and each time, (unsurprisingly) they either didn’t know about it before, or never thought about going. Sadly, I’ve only recommended it to these young women because they’re uncomfortable talking to their parents about their health issues or needs, and don’t want to go to the family doctor or use the shared health insurance. Fortunately, Planned Parenthood makes access to healthcare discreet and affordable.
But let’s be honest, ladies — it wouldn’t be needed as often as it is if there wasn’t a communication barrier between parents and their children. So moms out there, if you hate the thought of your daughter going outside the house for information regarding her body and health, start the conversations early, get ready to be slightly uncomfortable, and be a part of her growing and learning experience.
As far as abortions go, yes, Planned Parenthood provides abortion services, but this is nowhere near the most popular service used, and is definitely not the only function, as many people make it seem. However, if abortion is sought, this is the place to go to have your needs met, or questions answered. May we just remember that there are many reasons why a woman may need to get an abortion, and some of these are Islamically acceptable or even sometimes required due to unfortunate circumstances.
Planned Parenthood is an excellent and much-needed resource for many individuals around the country (and not just for women). Having personally benefited from it, I support it and encourage others to take advantage of the services they offer. I actually wish I had gone much earlier, since I needed birth control pills way before I got married (due to issues with my menstrual cycle), and wasn’t allowed to take them for some reason.
There are many cultural taboos around issues of women’s health, as well as a lot of misinformation. Planned Parenthood gives everyone who is prevented from accessing the resources and information they need, a chance to live healthy and informed lives.