As a political junkie and passionate feminist, I’ve always enthusiastically supported Planned Parenthood. I made financial donations when I could and did everything in my power to spread the word about the incredibly important services provided by the organization.
But I never thought that I’d need to rely on Planned Parenthood myself. When it comes to medical insurance and services, I’ve been incredibly privileged throughout my life.
Post-college, I made a smooth transition from my parents’ top-notch insurance to equally strong coverage provided by my corporate job. I took my insurance for granted and I always just assumed that, as amazing as Planned Parenthood is, I wasn’t someone who would need their services.
No one was more surprised than me when, in July 2016, I went to a clinic after being sexually assaulted, hoping and praying they could help me.
I was in a new phase of my life — I had recently moved across the country to begin a freelance career and, although I had signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act, I hadn’t bothered to find a primary care doctor. I wasn’t sexually active at the time of my assault, so I wasn’t on any form of birth control.
My actions in the 48 hours following my assault defied all logic. I knew I needed Plan B and STD testing, but I’d just kicked off a new career and I was terrified about the potential hit to my bank account. I’m blessed to have parents who would have helped me in a heartbeat, but I wasn’t ready to call my mom and tell her that a stranger had raped me at a concert after-party.
So, for 48 full hours, I simply hoped for the best and tried to convince myself that my chances of getting pregnant or contracting an STD were slim.
When I finally acknowledged the reality that I, in fact, had a very strong chance of becoming pregnant as a result of the rape, I needed to take immediate action — I’d already wasted 48 hours and, according to my Google searches, Plan B would cease to be effective if I didn’t take the pill as soon as possible. Panic quickly set in and, with nowhere else to turn, I called Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands.
I had no idea what a visit to Planned Parenthood entailed, and I expected to spend a whole lot of time on hold before I got any answers about next steps. Instead, a rep quickly got on the line with me, gathered my information, and provided me with the address of the nearest clinic that accepted walk-ins.
It was first thing on a Monday morning when I walked in a daze to Planned Parenthood. I was still in shock and physical pain, and I hadn’t slept all night. I was crawling out of my skin as the reality of my assault slowly continued to sink in — I wanted nothing more than to escape my body. Since that wasn’t possible, I planned on taking my sleep med so I could escape reality for as long as I could. I felt a surge of anger that, in my exhausted state, I now had to deal with the medical aftermath of a rape while my attacker was presumably headed off to work like it was just another typical day.
When I arrived at the clinic, I tried to stay as calm as possible as I quietly told the receptionist that I needed Plan B and I’d been told this particular clinic accepted walk-ins. I began to panic when I saw how many other people were already in the waiting room — would they be able to squeeze me in?
I hadn’t cried since the assault, but I heard my own voice tremble and crack as I made the request for Plan B. “Are you comfortable telling me your circumstances?” the receptionist gently asked. As quietly as possible, I told her the truth. I felt an intense wave of relief and gratitude when she told me that, although they were booked solid for the day, they’d make sure I was taken care of as quickly as possible.
Despite the receptionist’s warning that I may have a long wait, the clinic went out of their way to make sure a doctor saw me as soon as possible — within an hour, I was in an examination room.