Why We All Need Planned Parenthoodriese lyn bernard2/14/11 5:40pmFiled to: The PP & MePlanned ParenthoodBirth ControlSexAutostraddleRiese lyn bernardRepublishedGettypictweetFb71EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkI was 16 the first time I visited Planned Parenthood. I'd had sex, you see. Actual sex! Three whole times! My gay best friend Hayden and I had decided, despite his homosexuality, that we were so "emotionally close" that it was only natural for us to lose our "straight virginities" to each other. It happened at boarding school, though, so my Mom had no idea. Also, I didn't want to tell her. But I knew that my newfound sexuality required a speculum and various tests and evaluations, pronto, and so I covertly made my first Planned Parenthood appointment while home for the summer, and I went.AdvertisementSince that first visit to the Planned Parenthood in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I've been to Planned Parenthoods in Traverse City MI, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Downtown Manhattan and Oakland, California. My most recent visit to Planned Parenthood was about a month ago. I've been visiting Planned Parenthood for 13 years, which makes it my longest relationship with any health care provider. Or really, with anything.Planned Parenthood serves more than three million women, men and teens nationwide every year and right now its ongoing existence is again in jeopardy. From XXFactor's "Going After Planned Parenthood," published yesterday:AdvertisementThere are 154 co-sponsors in the House for a bill denying government funding to any organization that provides abortion services. Congress already prohibits any government money being directed toward abortions except in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, and has since 1976. The $300 million-plus in government funding and contracts Planned Parenthood currently receives goes toward providing family planning and medical assistance to 1.85 million low-income women. As Gail Collins points out in "The Siege of Planned Parenthood," there's no comparable organization in this country offering those services. If Planned Parenthood closes its doors (the clear hope of Indiana Rep. Mike Pence and the 154 colleagues who've jumped on his bandwagon), then those women will go without-when for every dollar in public funding spend on family planning services, Medicaid saves $4.02 the next year.Right-wing pro-life action groups have been attempting to discredit PP's benefits for years, and they've lately been resorting to one of their favorite tactics - sending fake pimps and prostitutes to clinics with cameras in some kind of To Catch An Abortion Provider style propaganda campaign.