Adrienne’s Planned Parenthood story is one that spans from California to Minnesota, from years past until now. It began when Adrienne was in college in California, while she was starting a feminist club on her campus. When a local Planned Parenthood clinic opened, staff from the new clinic reached out to Adrienne to invite her feminist club to take part in the opening celebrations. “That was one of the first situations where people treated me like an adult and were thankful for my contributions,” she remembered. “When the president of the local affiliate approached me and thanked me for my work at my school, it was one of the first times that I felt like I was doing something important.”
Shortly thereafter, Adrienne used Planned Parenthood for its patient services. “I wasn't taking a hormonal birth control at the time. Through an unfortunate, but far from unique, series of events I ended up having unprotected sex. Having already been familiar with the local PP facility, it was my immediate conclusion the next day that I needed to access their service to obtain the Morning After Pill,” she recalled. Like feeling supported by the clinic during her advocacy work, Adrienne also felt supported while receiving care. “There was no shaming. There was no blaming. The practitioner reaffirmed the things that were important and didn’t focus on the things that weren’t. I felt very supported. I got the right service at the right time—the right everything.” Although this might seem like a small interaction, Adrienne described how it impacted her more fundamentally. “The fact that I didn’t become pregnant my senior year of college has made a huge impact on what I’ve been able to do with my life.”
Now in Minnesota, Adrienne engages with Planned Parenthood in a number of ways. While she has the option to visit other clinics for her healthcare services, she chooses to visit Planned Parenthood because she believes in the quality healthcare it provides. She also believes in the work done outside the clinic, and has become an advocate for the larger movement for choice. Part of this advocacy is in the form of monthly donations to Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. “There were a lot of attacks on the rights of women and women’s bodies,” Adrienne told us. “I spoke out about how much these things frustrated me, but I realized I wasn’t putting my money where my mouth was. I needed to financially contribute to ensure that the advocacy members acting on behalf of women continue to get the funds they need.”
It is this advocacy work, Adrienne believes, that is crucial in our communities. It is this advocacy work that is necessary for providing quality, nonjudgmental healthcare for everyone. “The work of Planned Parenthood is healthy bodies, men and women. It is STI screening, it’s education. It is an organization that makes us healthier and happier,” she said. “And to a certain degree, it’s immeasurable—what Planned Parenthood has done, so it has to be told through stories like mine.”
Special thanks to guest blogger Cora Neisen for authoring the 100 Years of Care series!