Guest Column

Planned Parenthood lied to me when they told me to abort. I’m so glad I didn’t listen.

abortion access, Planned Parenthood

My daughter mended my broken life. It may sound silly to some, but as a young girl all I every truly desired was to be a wife and mother. There are some modern feminists who have something to say about this dream, but I don’t care to listen anymore. Listening to women tell me that there was something more fulfilling sold me a carton of lies. I have traveled from New York to Hawaii and out of the country; I’ve been married, divorced, have focused on education and career, but nothing has compared to the love shared between myself and my child.

I grew up in a small rural town but spent two weeks each summer with my grandparents in a metropolitan area. This is where I learned of Planned Parenthood. It was a place that would sell me “cheap” ($30ish per pack) birth control to help my unruly skin problems and then “at least I’d be covered if I wanted to explore sex.” So, at the age of 16, I began taking the pill without parental consent.  

I took the pill throughout the rest of my teens and into my early 20s. I married young to a man in the military. We waited two years and decided it was time to have children. Unfortunately, unknown to me, the years I had been on birth control messed up my natural production of hormones. I had four miscarriages. Our marriage dissolved. I was devastated.  

After my marriage broke apart, I became quite worldly in the ways of dating and going after all the things that I had been told “women wanted.” I wasn’t aware of any resources to help locate the problems I had carrying a child to term, and of course Planned Parenthood wasn’t really interested in actually helping me plan a family. So I continued to purchase birth control and live my life without addressing any true reproductive issues. I turned to drinking heavily to numb my pain. 

READ: Former Planned Parenthood workers: We coerced women into getting abortions

The more I became a “Cosmopolitan woman,” the unhappier I became. Eventually I found a man who was as interested in living selfishly as I was.  

He had his own issues — substance abuse and just plain abuse. I became pregnant. He wanted an abortion. He had paid for two previous abortions with two ex-girlfriends. He was living with pain as well.

I visited Planned Parenthood. I was 28 at this time and well aware that I was without much personal support. I was desperate to find help that would allow me to prepare for motherhood. However, I was quickly ushered into a room where a woman (without a medical background) counseled me to have an abortion. They heard me string together two barely formed sentences and that was it… ABORTION. It would solve all my problems. I was told that because of my relationship status I would never have anything but hardships ahead of me. My boyfriend would try to seize custody of this “potential” child from me, would never pay child-support, and I would never finish school or continue in my career alone. Once I made it very clear that I wanted to keep my baby, suddenly it was, “We can’t help you.” 

I asked about ultrasounds, prenatal care, and support groups for single mothers. I wasn’t even counseled on WIC services. I was told I would need to find and OBGYN. They didn’t even offer to point me in the direction of filing for Medicaid, since I wouldn’t be offered maternity leave from my current occupation.  

 

READ: Former managers speak out: Planned Parenthood is not real health care

When I proceeded to ask about how to protect myself from an abusive boyfriend, the counselor practically threw her hands in the air, exclaiming, “I’m not a lawyer, but I know ALL fathers have rights,” and “You’ve brought this on yourself.” Mind you, I got pregnant while taking the low dose birth control Planned Parenthood sold me. They gave me no direction to the police or women’s shelters.  

She also had no advice about my miscarriages, once again telling me I would have to locate an OBGYN. She never offered the names of any other clinics or medical facilities — not even the address or phone number of the local health clinic.  

Unless I wanted to pay for an $800 abortion, I would have to seek out further “help” elsewhere.

Instead, I went through nine months of pregnancy in an abusive relationship, struggling to find out about help for single mothers on my own, while working 60 plus hours a week. I was scared. It took almost three months for me to apply and get approved for insurance aid, and that was after finding out that the birth control I had taken on and off for over five years had prevented my body from regulating its own hormones. I had to take progesterone for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy so that I wouldn’t miscarry like I had done previously in my marriage, meaning my pregnancy and all others after would be “high risk.”

I found out about WIC and other pregnancy help not from Planned Parenthood, but from my OBGYN. All the while, I was fearful that I would have to stay in my abusive relationship because “I had brought this on myself” and “he could take custody from me due to my lack of money.”  

When my daughter was born, she gave me strength. I became a parent to a joyful little girl whose existence has educated, liberated, and mended my selfish fear. She is the reason I was able to find my self-worth again. She was the reason I found God. The love she awakened inside my heart was one of courage and determination. I left the abusive relationship, and I am now a wife and mother to three beautiful children. I finished my degree. No custody battles were fought.

Sometimes you just need to be educated and hear about all your options to lessen the hardships, or at least have informed positive choices instead of being given one negative command. 

Planned Parenthood lied to me.  I’m sure they are lying to you, too.

Editor’s Note: This article was a guest submission.

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