Feb 11, 2017 | Blogs by Betsy

Earlier today, I joined supporters in Saint Paul to defend Planned Parenthood’s vital role in our society. We showed up by the thousands in support of the millions of men and women who will use Planned Parenthood for basic healthcare this year. We came to stand up against continued attempts to de-fund Planned Parenthood. And many came to show gratitude for the basic healthcare services they received from Planned Parenthood providers.

I’m proud to be one of the millions of people that was able to go to a clinic to receive basic and affordable health care. Planned Parenthood’s services and support has been a significant part of my health, research, and developing my career and passions.

When I graduated from college, I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where I began one of the best adventures of my life. I was early in my sobriety, working multiple low-paying jobs when and wherever I could get them, and living in a cheap apartment near the University.

Planned Parenthood was a crucial partner to me in those tough times in two key ways. First, women from the local Planned Parenthood came on board as coalition partners when I, as a volunteer who didn’t know it couldn’t be done by an inexperienced newcomer, brought people together to start the Women’s Health Project for New Mexico AIDS Services, a program that continues to support women who are at a high risk of transmitting or contracting HIV.

Second, and very personally, they provided health care for me at a time when I couldn’t afford much. Every person I met with the organization was kind, respectful, helpful, and non-judgmental at a time I needed it the most. I have been grateful for their support ever since.

And today, in spite of continued attacks, and in part because of our persistence, Planned Parenthood continues to provide preventative care for 4,970,000 men and women each year. And it’s not just about reproductive related services, which make up only 3% of all Planned Parenthood health services.

I’m proud to be pro-choice and support Planned Parenthood’s work to provide basic healthcare to millions of families each year, and I’m proud to object to measures to restrict access to preventative care for people who need it.