Story No. 540: Cammie from Oklahoma

I was a newly divorced mom in 1994 with two daughters ages four and nine. I lost the health insurance I’d had through my husband, and I needed exams every six months because of the abnormal Pap smears I had for years. Had it not been for Planned Parenthood, I would have run the risk of not knowing if I was closer to the danger of cancer or not.

I did not know at the time that I had a genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos that I had already passed down to my two daughters. At age 56, it has caused me to have one shoulder replaced because it had damage that my doctor had only seen in an “85-year-old,” and I still need to have the other shoulder and both knees replaced as soon as my new shoulder completely heals. My daughters show every sign of having as many issues because of Ehlers-Danlos as I have. I was not planning on having any more children, in hindsight that was an even more critical decision. Birth control was only possible because of Planned Parenthood giving me Depo-Provera shots, since birth control pills caused me too many dangerous side effects with my condition.

Having access to reproductive health care is critical for every woman, regardless of her reproductive decisions. The key words are “her reproductive decisions.” Everyone should have the right to make decisions about their own body.