Everyone deserves the high quality, compassionate, nonjudgmental health care that Planned Parenthood provides each and every day for women, men, and young people across the country.

I grew up in Miami, FL but my parents immigrated from China. Mom and dad didn't speak or read English, so I had to rely on myself for many things other folks take for granted. I became a bridge for my parents to the American world often explaining telephone bills and field trip forms to my parents. This made me fiercely independent and turned me into a 'mini adult,' if you will.

Being low-income growing up, my family did not have health insurance. This meant my younger sister and I had to be cautious, never climbing oak trees or swinging from monkey bars for fear that we would end up in the hospital and force our family into debt. I often felt like I had to push my emotions aside to be that responsible bridge between two worlds for my parents - and I felt trapped.

When I finally had health insurance and I took it as an opportune time to finally go to the OB-GYN. I felt like there was something wrong with my body, and I wanted to get on birth control. The experience was less than pleasant and after they took a culture swab, I was told I had a yeast infection which the doctor blamed on sexual activity. I hadn't started being sexually active but the assumption was made nonetheless. I still had questions about what a yeast infection was and about the medications I had been prescribed but I felt like I had no one to turn to.

The following year, I told my story to a staff member from Planned Parenthood who had been working with my chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action. She told me, "You should go to Planned Parenthood." I hadn't even thought about it! I had volunteered with Planned Parenthood for over two years but it didn't occur to me to access their expert health care services. So I went.

I walked in and was greeted with smiles and warmth. The doctor at Planned Parenthood asked me the standard questions but when she asked which medications I was on, I froze.

I'm a very private person and I had been dealing with the burden of depression and anxiety for a while; I was nervous about telling someone about my mental health journey. I murmured the name of my medication and the doctor told me to speak up, I blurted it out. I felt embarrassed but my doctor received these words with nothing but understanding. She walked me through the potential drug interactions of my birth control and of my medication. I was relieved. My entire perspective changed.

Planned Parenthood is where I turn to for information about reproductive health and for high-quality health care. Planned Parenthood makes me feel like I am part of an extended family, not just a volunteer or a patient. Planned Parenthood informed me of options about my health care that I didn't know I even had. My whole life I had gone through things on my own, and with Planned Parenthood I no longer felt alone.

Without Planned Parenthood, vulnerable low income individuals like myself wouldn't have access to the preventive and often life saving care. Florida has one of the highest ACA enrollments in the U.S. and a large population that depends on Medicaid. Regardless of what politicians think, all Floridians deserve to have access to health care and no one has the right to take that away.

Tags: volunteer, story, Patient

Birds. Bees. Bodies.

a Sexual Health Education and Reproductive Health Blog

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