As a teenager, my mother did her best to be accessible when it came to questions about sex. But even with her openness, I was nervous. That’s why, when I was 16, I went to a clinic in my town to get birth control. They let me pay out of pocket and I was able to meet with doctors and nurses, who answered my questions without any hassle.
When I contracted HPV, that same clinic performed my colposcopy. They thoroughly explained the procedure and were kind, even though I was pretty scared. I was 17 and embarrassed, but they made me feel comforted. They treated me with dignity, and that made such a difference.
Years later, when my birth control failed, I went to Planned Parenthood to access emergency contraception. Without access to that, I do not know where I would be now. I knew I wasn’t ready at that stage in my life to have a child, and I was, and still am, so thankful I had options.
There have been many times in my life where I needed and used the freedom afforded to me by having access to these services. And I know so, so many women who have used them as well. I am lucky to have always had access to the reproductive health care—whether through the clinic or Planned Parenthood or other agencies. But it shouldn’t be because I’m lucky—we all should have access to quality, affordable care, no matter what.