I grew up in Minnesota in a very traditional, conservative and religious family that happened to be very anti-choice. While growing up, I had lots of misinformation filling my head—some of which was information about Planned Parenthood. The organization was either not talked about or demonized. However, like every young person, I had questions about sexual health. I was directed to the Planned Parenthood information website with a question about birth control, and I started to learn all this new information about not only my body and how it functions, but also the choices and options I have available to me. I remember learning about abortion on the Planned Parenthood website and finally understanding the procedure. I was raised to demonize the procedure when I really had no idea how it worked, nor had I ever read any medically accurate information about the topic. Having this information really transformed me. The empowerment that comes from information and accurate information is almost unquantifiable.
An ideological shift followed, and soon after, an understanding of the importance of body autonomy. I grew up in a family that expected virginity until marriage, and that entire decision-making process had been taken away from me. It was in someone else’s hands, making me feel as though my existence had been dictated to me. However, after having that ideological shift, everything that was mine came back to me, and I was in control of it again. It’s been incredible. Because of that, I’m able to communicate more accurately in my life, both in interpersonal relationships and within my work life. Having the confidence and knowing the vocabulary to describe what is okay has really given me a base of empowerment from which to work.
Now, I don’t want there to be even one less voice on the Planned Parenthood side supporting the people that are there, supporting the organization. When it comes to developing a sense of empowerment in someone like me, who is female identified, Planned Parenthood is an amazing resource and so necessary. People should discover what and who Planned Parenthood is from the people associated with the organization rather than believing what they hear elsewhere. With the election coming up, I think this is especially true for politicians. I would like to tell them that their next term is not worth my life or my health. They may want to stay in office, but their job is not worth the health of one human being they serve. That person’s health is worth so much more. I would really want them to know the absolute necessity of this when it comes to someone’s health, wellbeing and happiness. We want to protect our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, well, Planned Parenthood does that.
- BethAnne (St. Louis Park, MN)