I didn’t “de-virginize” at 16. I waited a while and explored the world. I got a degree, worked in my chosen field and traveled solo. I had my own apartment that I paid for. I bought my own car and I paid for my own health insurance. I went out after work almost every night. I had a roaring good time throughout my twenties but I was responsible.
I dated my now husband for five years or so before we got married. Today we’ve been together for the better part of thirty years and oh yeah we had our wanted kids a respectable two years after we were married. I’ve had no unwanted pregnancies. I’ve had no abortions. I had health care and have always gone to the doctor and respected my body. I am, in short, “a woman of merit” in the eyes of the freaks who seek to control women’s bodily functions through propaganda and politics.
And I– wait for it– went to–hold your fire, PLANNED PARENTHOOD willingly and on more than one occasion. I went to get information on contraceptives because I didn’t want to be forced by circumstances into a marriage I didn’t want or wasn’t ready for. I went because going out and having fun, and growing up was a lot more important than being someone’s mother at the time. I went because I wanted to control my reproductive health. I went because it was a welcoming, educational and supportive environment to get information about my own body. MY BODY. Not yours and equally not that of some old grey-haired jerk of a congressman who thought he knew more about my vagina than me.
I remember trying to learn how to use a diaphragm and how the nurse and I cracked up when it flew across the room. I wasn’t embarrassed. She was more like a big sister who put me at ease and waited patiently for me to master the skill. I remember seeing a short film and then watching as another bona fide nurse showed me and a group of young women how the then-available barrier methods worked on a plastic medical model of the female reproductive organs. It was a much better lesson than what I learned in the mandated public school sex ed class and certainly more informative than anything my mother could have taught me. At the time, I didn’t want to take birth control pills so I was happy to get more knowledge about my chosen method. I couldn’t get that in school. There was no internet at the time. A book wasn’t quite as helpful as a nurse and a plastic model. And the HMO wouldn’t have given me the time or the personal attention I needed to make that decision.
I didn’t feel judged. No one cared if I was married yet and no one asked. No one queried me as to if I had considered abstention. I was a perfectly normal young woman in a perfectly normal relationship that wanted some perfectly normal information about my own body.
WHY WAS THAT ANYONE’S BUSINESS BUT MY OWN?
Today I have two lovely daughters. One is working hard on her career, having graduated from UCLA over a year ago. The other is a sophomore in another great college. We have maintained open communication about this facet of their lives. I know more about them than my mother knew about me. (Sometimes it’s too much to be truthful). I told them about Planned Parenthood and how helpful I found it. They use the HMO but they at least know that there’s another option out there if they want or need other services. They take responsibility for their lives, all aspects of it, and they don’t need some grey-haired geezer of a congressman to make decisions about their vaginas either.
Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization, provides education and services including birth control, STD testing, well-woman exams, cancer screening and prevention, abortion, hormone therapy, infertility services, and general health care. In short, it’s a clinic for women who need medical attention.
It is 2019 and it seems like it is 1719 when it comes to the patriarchy still trying to control women. Give it up boys. Frankly they can take their misplaced anti-female religious conservatism, their homophobia, their male–dominating power lust and their all-encompassing misogyny and …….
I wish the rest of us had a barrier method against them.