Today in Frederick there was a rally in support of Planned Parenthood–an organization that has helped one in five American women. Your local ladies have been grateful supporters for their role in our own family planning. Some amazing first-hand stories were shared today, and we would like to ensure they are given some daylight.

Women on the street were talking about the difference Planned Parenthood had made in our own lives in helping literally plan our parenthood prior to the ACA mandate that birth control be covered by health insurance. If the ACA disappears, this will become critical again. Another woman used their services because she needed to escape life-threating abuse. Access to reproductive choice is an essential part of being free from abusive partners (as is access to health insurance regardless of preexisting conditions–the last thing we need is women staying in abusive marriages so they don’t lose their health care).

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97% of the services provided by Planned Parenthood have nothing to do with abortion.
50% of Americans call themselves pro-choice to 44% pro-life. This is what America looks like!
50% of Americans call themselves pro-choice to 44% pro-life. This is what America looks like!

The first speaker shared that in 2006 she had just started a business when she was in a committed and loving relationship and became pregnant. She was devastated when she suffered a miscarriage. Not being able to afford health insurance, she went to Planned Parenthood for her care. It was at this point she learned she had an ovarian tumor and was diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. Planned Parenthood saved her life eleven years ago.

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A minister from the community also spoke in support of the organization, explaining that she went to Planned Parenthood to get a pregnancy test when she was working as a social services coordinator and did not have insurance. When she told her family she learned that she was expecting at a Planned Parenthood clinic, they asked, “Did they try to get you to abort?” This underscores that we have work to do so the reality of Planned Parenthood is understood. She now has insurance, but the healthcare for women’s health needs is so expensive that she plans to return to Planned Parenthood for some services. The icing on the cake was that the person who spoke before her in the capacity of Community Outreach Coordinator for PP is the daughter she was pregnant with at the beginning of her story.

Planned Parenthood is not the gruesome villain painted by opponents. They provide essential life-saving services. These are services that will become more critical if the ACA is repealed. Delegate Karen Lewis Young spoke about her membership on the Health and Government Operations Committee. Delegate Lewis Young also spoke eloquently about the very real difference between being pro-birth and pro-life. You go, girl! Real pro-life is pro-choice, too!

Stand with Planned Parenthood. They matter.