Each year, 2.7 million women, men and young people rely on Planned Parenthood for essential health care services like birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment and well-woman exams.
Additionally, each year Planned Parenthood provides sexual health and education programs and outreach to 1.5 million people. As the nation’s largest provider of sexual education, Planned Parenthood prides itself on teaching young people how to make good decisions and engage in healthy behaviors.
With more than half of our health centers located in rural or medically underserved areas, it should also come as no surprise that for many women, Planned Parenthood is the only health care provider they will see in a given year.
These are the stories of eight patients who stand by Planned Parenthood because of the compassionate care they received at one of our 18 health centers in San Diego, Riverside or Imperial counties.
“Since health care is so expensive it has been difficult to provide it for my husband and myself. Planned Parenthood helped answer questions I had about my health after my pregnancy. The staff is wonderful. They never made me feel insecure about my body and answered every question without hesitation.
When I needed to have my annual checkup it was Planned Parenthood who was affordable and able to schedule me in. When my husband and I took the step to decide we didn’t want any more children permanently, Planned Parenthood was affordable. I’ve trusted Planned Parenthood for 15 years, and I will continue to trust these wonderful people and establishment.”
“I am a 23-year-old, college-educated woman of color. I have been using services at Planned Parenthood for over 8 years. I grew up without sexual education and unaware of the risks of being a sexually active youth.
Planned Parenthood provided me with the education and services I needed, especially when I did not have health insurance. I am incredibly grateful to have had access to the services that kept me safe and healthy. Planned Parenthood has been, at times, the only access to health care I’ve had. Thank you, Planned Parenthood.”
“When I didn’t have insurance and had reoccurring yeast infections, I came to Planned Parenthood for care. They helped me through that difficult time with patience and kindness.
Later when I had insurance and needed an abortion, they were the only place that could help me. I called countless OBGYNs only to be denied. I’m not sure what I would have done without Planned Parenthood. They are an incredible health care provider and an important resource for sexual and reproductive health care for the entire community.”
“I have been going to Planned Parenthood since I was 14 years old. I am now 45 with no job and afraid to ask for medical help due to shame. I came here because I feel safe and not one person here has even tried talking me into anything I didn’t want to do or worried about.
I have always had choices at Planned Parenthood. Even when I had a job and good pay, I would always go and support Planned Parenthood. We are women and our bodies are ours to tend to. I know what I want thanks to the education I received at Planned Parenthood.”
“Over two years ago, I went to Planned Parenthood to receive STD and HIV testing. My parents did not have medical insurance at the time, and the Affordable Healthcare Act had not yet been approved by the Supreme Court.
I always had anxiety toward health issues, and my parents never emphasized the importance of knowing your status. Planned Parenthood took care of me when no one else would. Their staff was kind, sincere and informative.”
“I was sixteen years old, and I had a very cute boyfriend. I, along with most of my peers, had become sexually active. I tried to be safe and always used condoms, but I wasn’t completely sure I was doing it right – nobody had ever bothered to show me how.
I was afraid I might soon die of one of those awful diseases I’d seen in my sex ed teacher’s slides. Nervous and more than a little ashamed, I took the bus to my local Planned Parenthood. My doctor was friendly, non-judgmental and reassuring.
She tested me for STIs and pregnancy, and she gave me very useful information about different birth control options. She even showed me the correct way to use a condom and told me that it wasn’t shameful for me to be there – it was actually quite brave. I realize now more than ever that she was right.”
“I had a feeling I might be pregnant, but no one I spoke with believed me. I felt very alone and like I had no one to talk to, and I felt very emotional. Finally, I went to Planned Parenthood and got a pregnancy test. I was told that I was eight weeks pregnant. I told them the truth: I have no money, I live on my own, I am a student, and I have no one to support me.
With my job and with the help of my boyfriend, I can barely support myself. I asked for an abortion, and they asked me about ten times if I was sure. I did not want to bring my child into poverty. I told them I was sure, and I wanted to have the abortion done.
They helped me and were very understanding. They offered me so much support throughout the emotional process. I felt safe and no longer felt alone. I support Planned Parenthood for giving me a second chance and saving me from the usual story of a young girl who doesn’t have a choice.”
“I decided that I was ready to have sex and wanted to be ready for when I found the right person. Even though my parents had good health insurance, there was absolutely no way that I could ever risk having them see birth control on their insurance, so I timidly went to the Sarah Weddington Center next to my university.
Instead of the evil place that I had imagined my whole life, I walked into a caring and supportive medical center that was truly there to help me. My doctor was genuinely one of the most caring people I have ever met.
She answered all of my questions, educated me about different types of birth control and we discussed which one would work best for me. She truly acted like the parent that I wish I could have talked to.”
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. This content is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or an endorsement by Planned Parenthood. Check with your health care provider to discuss what is best for you.