walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

I Stand With Planned Parenthood

I was raised a Jehovah's Witness. My mother was born into a Holdeman Mennonite community. Trust me when I say, my immediate familial heritage is more anti-abortion than you would readily believe. These are groups which do NOT recognize an exemption for the life of the mother, rape, incest or anything else.

When I was 25, for a variety of reasons which are out of scope of this blog post, I gave up on being a JW, and with it, I gave up having parents or my two older sisters (and I got _back_ my younger sister, and I liked her better anyway). I have been slowly rebuilding a family out of close friends, extended family, and of course my husband and children in the ensuing two decades. Part of rebuilding a family has involved researching my family through public records. A year or so ago, I got death records for many of my extended family who died in Washington State over the last hundred years, give or take.

I've blogged before how I cried, how I had to take breaks, as I learned more about the tragedies that shaped my family through reading public records than I ever managed to extract from the people who were more directly affected by them than me. But there is one that stands out every time Planned Parenthood, reproductive rights, etc. are in the news. It is this one:

Washington state death certificates

There was a substantial age difference between Mr. Smith and Mrs. Smith (he was, obvs, much older). And they already had a child together who, when this happened, was 3 years old. She grew up to be, by all accounts, a strong and wonderful person who married a man she loved and they had three children and many grandchildren and while I only barely know the family from a great distance bridged only weakly by facebook, growing up without her mother and being bounced from one home to another before finally settling into a good place with people who loved and supported her, made her very reluctant to talk about any of this.

What a different life that child would have had, if her mother had had better choices available to her than this one. Let's not go back to that horrifying world, which seems to my eyes so recent (1926!). It's tough enough for a woman to have a 3 year old child at age 19, but to then have so few choices about whether she had to have a second at age 19, that this seemed like the best of them is distant from the minds of every centrist who thinks that they would never have an abortion, so really, why do we need Planned Parenthood when everyone can just use birth control? And yet there are still young women (girls!) who find themselves in similar situations. Today, they can order cytotec or whatever over the internet, but they still die of infection and septicemia, if they don't have access to doctors or are afraid to tell them what they've done.

Planned Parenthood provides important health services to poor woman around the country, sure, and we should keep them around just for that. But we _really_ should keep them around because they save girls and women from deaths like this one. If you want to get rid of Planned Parenthood, you're a heartless asshole, and no friend of mine.
Tags: parenting, politics
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