I sent a variation on this (slightly shorter, less detailed) to my Senators. I’m not terribly concerned that the defunding of Planned parenthood will pass the Senate, and I’m really not concerned that John Kerry will vote for it. Scott Brown is a wildcard, though. I don’t know what he will do, but then, neither does anyone else. So I wrote.
I moved to Boston eight years ago, straight out of college and with no job, and no real prospects. I wanted to be in Boston because I felt I should be, and I had money to last for a bit. But no job means no health insurance. For almost a year and a half, my only form of health insurance was “Today, I will not get hit by a bus.”
(now, to be fair, at the moment my insurance sucks ass, so I am still doing my best to not be hit by a bus.)
However, a year or so before I moved, I’d had an abnormal pap smear.
To those of you reading who are not women, and don’t suffer this procedure on a yearly basis, allow me to explain a bit. I won’t explain the procedure itself because you are all capable of googling if you really want to know, but it’s designed to screen for early signs of cervical cancer. There are constants in life- one of them is you get this thing done, and a few weeks alter you get a card in the mail (or a letter, or whatever) that everything is fine and you forget about it for a year.
Unless you get a call from your doctor saying that they need to talk about the results. Cue panic. Panic on my part, and panic on the part of my parents. This is not what is supposed to happen. I had to go in for a colposcopy, where they take many cells from the cervix and examine them. That was painful and was painful for a couple of days.
Now, the results of that test were just some random abnormalities, but they wanted me in for a pap smear every THREE MONTHS until I had three normal ones in a row. So I did that for a year and change. Eventually, I hit my hat trick, and tried to forget about it. But I have been pretty religious in making sure I got a pap smear every year.
However, in my year and a half of no insurance, today-I-will-not-get-hit-by-a-bus health plan, the only option was Planned Parenthood. I was lucky that the main Boston clinic was literally down Commonwealth Avenue from me. The sliding scale meant that I could get checked out, and also get birth control, which helped curb my truly off the hook PMS (seriously, I would go from psychopathic rage to psychopathic, I want to listen to My Chemical Romance and dye my hair black depression in about 73 seconds. Hormonal birth control evened all of that out and everyone liked me better).
Without access to pap smears and pelvic exams, women die. It’s that simple. If an uninsured woman gets cervical cancer, the cost to the tax payers for her (probably substandard) care will be a lot higher than funding a place that could have caught it early and made the treatment a lot easier and less intense.
I admit that I’m not touching on the other important things Planned Parenthood does, like birth control and sex education for low income women. This is about what they have done for me, personally.
I am livid that the 240 Representatives (including 10 Democrats, wtf, assholes?) voted to gut Planned Parenthood’s federal funding. I am LIVID that the House is wasting time on this shit that does nothing but demonstrate that they hate women so much they are willing for them to DIE (House 358, anyone?) and claim that they protect life.
I am angry that some many people elected think my life and the lives of every other woman in this country, especially the poor ones, is less important than their political posturing. Shame on you.