Today I went to get a standard annual check up at a Planned Parenthood near my neighborhood in D.C. I’ve always supported Planned Parenthood and donated, but had never actually been to a clinic. Finding quality, accessible in-network care is always a challenge, so I figured this was a good opportunity.
The clinic was one of the best health care experiences I’ve had. The waiting room was full of a diverse group of people of all different genders and ages. Every staff person (security, receptionists, technician, nurse practitioner) I met was kind, calm, respectful, engaged, professional, and considerate. I feel as though my appointment was thorough and I felt supported and relaxed. Going to the gynecologist is different for all women for all types of reasons. Could be painful, stressful, emotional, anxiety inducing, uncomfortable, shameful, or just annoying. Regardless, I’ve rarely had this quality of experience no matter what type of doctor I’m seeing. Anyone who thinks this type of clinic isn’t “real care” or thinks this environment is miserable and cold should probably go see for themselves.
The clinic has security outside of the building and in the lobby. When I pulled up I saw several women outside wearing orange “Clinic Escort” vests. I’d heard this was the case at several locations but had never seen the situation in person. The second I got out of the car a man ran up to me telling me not to get an abortion and shoved flyers in my face about the mistake I was about to make and my inevitable regret. Before he got his first word, out an escort put herself between me and this man. In classic Dana-fashion I said the first thing that came to my mine which was “LOL get a hobby” and then the escort walked me in and wished me well.
I’m sharing this story for a few reasons. 1. The affordable, accessible medical care I received today at this Planned Parenthood was great. 2. Positive experiences at the doctor can be rare so when I have one, I want to talk about it. 3. It was cool to see all this for myself and I encourage others to do it. 4. I don’t know the circumstances of all the other patients but I do know they were treated with respect even if they didn’t have insurance and I’m so grateful for that.