My mother, born in 1929, had been an unwanted “oops” baby, and suffered as a result. It was very important to her that her kids knew they were wanted and loved. I learned that I had choices, and that I should not choose to have a baby until I was ready.

As a young woman, I met a guy. I liked him. He liked me. I’m a nerd so this was not a frequent event. Planned Parenthood offered me competent, non-judgmental care, support for my choices, and the confidence that I could be protected against an unwanted pregnancy.

Later, my husband and I had decided we did not want children. We were using condoms for birth control and one slipped off. I was horrified! Planned Parenthood provided me with Plan B, plus caring and non-judgmental advice.

These are the experiences of an ordinary middle-class white woman. I’m very privileged – but reproductive freedom should be a right, not a privilege. I want everyone to have the same autonomy and access I have. In particular, I value Planned Parenthood’s work on behalf of marginalized people – people with disabilities (like me), people of color, people in poverty.

When my friend Kelly was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer and needed help, the big cancer organizations were not the ones who helped her. Planned Parenthood was. Even if I had no interest in any of the rest of PP’s agenda, I would support them forever because they were there for her.

My mom taught me that all children should be wanted. She’s been gone for many years now, but when I donate to or volunteer for Planned Parenthood, I feel like I’m sustaining her presence. I encourage men and women of good conscience to join me in upholding reproductive rights and the organizations that defend them.

Patricia Washburn


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