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Growing up in a conservative Hispanic and Catholic home, reproductive health wasn’t a topic that was openly discussed; in fact it was considered quite taboo. I had questions and I couldn’t realistically ask them at home. Thankfully, when I was a teenager, Planned Parenthood was there to provide the education I needed to make health care decisions that were right for me back then, but also helped shape a healthy future.

I remember my first visit: being nervous walking into the clinic — but that feeling and all the taboos quickly disappeared. To my relief, I didn’t have to worry about my privacy in seeking reproductive health care without my parent’s involvement. They answered all my questions, giving me a new sense of self-awareness. Planned Parenthood provided me with easily accessible and affordable health care that I wouldn’t have been able to receive otherwise.

I discovered that the stigma that unfortunately still exists around woman’s reproductive health is nonexistent at Planned Parenthood, and I’m one of the millions who have benefited from their non-judgmental approach. In my 20’s after graduating from college, I had an increased number of choices in health care but I always knew Planned Parenthood would be there for me if I needed them for any of the women’s services they provide, such as: current education, birth control, STI testing and treatment, safe abortions, pelvic exams, and cancer screenings.

I initially became a volunteer to help ensure others are able to access the same education and care that was available to me. Today, more than ever, it’s become even more important to give back to my community by focusing on educating people about the critical role Planned Parenthood plays in our collective health. And to remind people that Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health education and services not only to women, but also to men; does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or age; and is affordable to anyone who needs or wants the care. I encourage you to learn more here about how you too may be able to help.

-Jacqueline @ Planned Parenthood

Watch Jacqueline tell her story:

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