Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Planned Parenthood

I've never used Planned Parenthood--I've been incredibly fortunate that my healthcare has been covered through my family for my whole life, and that my privilege to be a full-time at this point in my life has allowed me to keep that coverage into adulthood.

But that coverage has been dependent on a lot of things which were never certain--on my father keeping his job, on my maintaining a relationship with my father, on my ability to attend college and graduate school.  Without violating anyone else's privacy too much, I'll just say that I have both friends and family who currently or in the past have lacked health insurance to cover even the most basic care.  I have both friends and family whose health care is currently uncertain because it's being threatened by both state and federal budget cuts and government shutdowns, and being used as a bargaining chip by the so-called progressive left in this country.

I've been to Planned Parenthoods, various ones, several times, with friends who didn't have health insurance, who couldn't access health insurance for fear their parents would find out about their use of birth control, whose health insurance didn't cover the care they needed, who used to have health insurance, but who lost it due to unemployment, who had to leave college due to health issues and could no longer be covered by their parents' insurance, who left marriages and therefore lost health insurance.  Their lack of insurance has made me very aware of the temporariness, the contingency, of health insurance, and therefore care, in this country.

Emergency care is available to the uninsured in this country only to the extent that it stabilizes the emergency--care providers are under no obligation to treat the underlying problem which caused the emergency, or even to provide follow up care.  Government-assisted or -provided care is available on a contingent basis as well--contingent on what legislators believe to be moral, contingent on politically motivated budget cuts, contingent on the government staying open, which, as we're seeing on both a state and federal level, is not a guarantee.

I support Planned Parenthood because health care ought not be contingent.  It ought not depend on staying with an employer, in a relationship, on being born to the right parent, on maintaining a relationship with a parent, on student status, or on the moral, religious, political decisions of others, be they relatives or legislators.  Lacking either universal care or the political will to institute universal care in this country, I support Planned Parenthood because it offers care that is contingent on nothing more than individual need.