Reading Political Notes yesterday (September 18, 2015) in the Frederick News Post, there was a part that caught my attention.
Chmelik, who has been vocal at council meetings about his frustration in not being able to get information or meet with staff, gave one specific example. He wanted to meet with Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, the county’s health officer, to talk about Planned Parenthood, according to emails he shared with The Frederick News-Post. That meeting was denied.
First of all–I know I was wondering so much after I saw this that I contacted the Health Department–Frederick County does not provide funding to Planned Parenthood. It may come as a surprise as well, particularly since there were a bunch of people out in front of the local office showing everybody and their dog (and children) grotesque posters the other weekend, that the Planned Parenthood in Frederick does not perform abortions, either. Attention people with gruesome posters: my elder child would be terrorized by a photo of a paper cut, which is still upsetting and has nothing to do with anyone’s moral opinions. Please take that mess somewhere else. Thanks.
And this leads me to a very personal tale, and one that I don’t generally go around telling. I think it is important to share, though, because we hear endlessly about the evils of Planned Parenthood (3% of their services include providing abortions). Family planning is a very private matter, and we don’t always want to come out and explain our private choices in public. Our private sexual history is also usually in the TMI category, and not always easy to reveal for the sake of rational discourse. But, here goes nothing. When I was 19 years old, back when birth control was not covered by anyone’s insurance (no matter where they worked) I went into a Planned Parenthood and got a year’s worth of birth control pills for $17. I have never had an unintended pregnancy. I owe this in part to the assistance Planned Parenthood provided me.
I realize that this confessional is coming from the perspective of my days as a young fornicator, so some will find it appropriate to judge me. Consider this, though. The young gentleman who drove me to that appointment, where I also received my first pelvic exam and a bag of condoms, is on this very day my spouse of 17 years (there’s a joke in here somewhere about $17/years of marriage…but I’m too serious today to flesh that out). I want to interrupt this testimonial to say happy anniversary to my best friend, because I think that’s relevant. I love him. We have two beautiful children and a wonderful life. We have packed 17 years full of adventures together, and I look forward to many more of those. I do thank Planned Parenthood for their hand in this, on a regular basis, and with a check in the mail. If we had been unable to plan our families and our lives just so, the stress of being parents when we were psychologically or financially ill-prepared may have jeopardized our marriage. We may not even have the beautiful children and amazing family that we have today. Although we were young and not yet married at the time, many married women have also been able to plan families and have a healthy sexual relationship with their spouse without fear of having a baby they were unready to welcome.
Plus, since I like to be silly more than serious here, did y’all see that the whiz-banging engineers at NASA had some significant troubles calculating how many tampons Sally Ride might need to have available? Maybe the men-folk should stay out of the lady parts regulation.
Whew. I am relieved we haven’t decided to put by-lines on this thing yet.