I am writing in defense of Planned Parenthood. It has been a great service to women, men and families, and I venture that it may have saved many lives, mine among them.

I am in my 70s. I remember when poor women – those who could not afford to leave the country for a more enlightened country to obtain a safe abortion – opted for illegal abortions. I remember my friends getting illegal abortions; luckily, none of them died or ended up in the hospital.

I remember my own mother being taken from our home in the middle of the night by ambulance because of a botched illegal abortion. It wasn’t until 1972 that a unmarried woman could obtain birth control legally – how silly that was. How many women sought the back alleys because of this archaic and unjust view of women’s ability to make decisions involving their own bodies?

I myself used Planned Parenthood services for breast exams, Pap smears and birth control. And when I was faced with an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy, I turned to them for help, and they referred me to a doctor who was reasonably priced and I myself had an abortion. I had no regrets; it was a decision I would liked not to have made, but accidents happen.

My husband and I had two children already. I had just rejoined the workforce, a job I liked. We had insurance through my work, but it did not cover maternity care.

Planned Parenthood educates and provides services not only to women, but also to men, including sexually transmitted disease screenings and condoms as well as education. It does not use federal funds to pay for abortion services.

Don’t let this right-wing Republican Congress drive us back to a time when women had no say and were often forced to endure what no man ever can.

Diana Lovejoy

Buckfield