Last night, I was lucky enough to break bread at a roundtable set for twelve women whose ages ranged from 35 to 75. As you already know, anytime you put a dozen women around a table for any period of time, there is no light or fruitless conversation. The younger women relish their time away from work or family responsibilities, and the older women are wise enough to realize any time spent with other smart women is invaluable.
Our conversation began with news of the day and quickly transitioned to politics with obvious questions like “Who are you supporting?” and “Isn’t it scary that Trump has actually gotten this far?” paving the way to other campaign issues.
This led to the subject of Planned Parenthood and one of our tribe took the lead by asking all of us to express our individual opinions on the issue of government funding for the organizations.
Every woman present expressed concern and fear that an organization that for many years has offered inexpensive gynecological exams and free consultations to women who have been diagnosed with life threatening illnesses has now become known almost solely for abortion services.
The fact is Planned Parenthood does offer women who present themselves at their offices for counseling a variety of information and options regarding possible termination of their pregnancies.
But what else does Planned Parenthood do? For one thing, they offer women comprehensive education about sex and sexuality. Planed Parenthood also offers women a wealth of factual information and practical advice regarding prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. As part of that service, they also provide birth control education and services to women who have chosen to be sexually active. But that’s just the beginning.
It’s important to note that Planned Parenthood offers all of this information and all of these services to women who very often have nowhere else to go for insight, advice or help. In doing so, they help prevent more than just pregnancies; they help prevent a variety of life-threatening illnesses and decisions.
Older women at our table shared some painful stories of friends who found themselves pregnant and petrified back in the 1940s and ‘50s. They reminded us of back alley abortions and self-administered metal hanger procedures that produced horrific outcomes. The women of these times didn’t just become ill and receive a shot of penicillin from some wise old physician (as portrayed in movies like Dirty Dancing). These women often died. They bled to death or – even worse – picked up infections from unsterilized surgical equipment that burned through their bodies like wildfire.
So, do I support Planned Parenthood? Yes. Do I believe every woman has the right to make decisions about her own body? Absolutely. Do I believe women should use abortion as form of birth control? No.
Nor do I believe these issues should be part of the presidential debate or the political conversations in the United States.
As stated very clearly on the About 360Women page of our site, I believe women are inherently brilliant and have the right to seek their own counsel, follow their own instincts, trust their own hearts and make their own decisions. Everyone gets one life and once you’ve got that one all perfect, then you can move on to telling others how to live theirs.
So, for all the good they do – for all women – I choose to support Planned Parenthood and their commitment to Care, No Matter Where. I’ve also linked their name to their site in case you choose to do the same.