A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!
Like a lot of women my age (that would be 60), I can remember a time when it was a lot easier to get pregnant than not.
Now things are different. But I wonder if young women like Lila Rose, avowed enemy of Planned Parenthood, have any idea what life would be like if you didn't have ready access to contraception.
I was about 20, maybe 21, when I made my first visit to Planned Parenthood. It seemed like having sex was inevitable, given the way the relationship was going, so my boyfriend and I made the trek from Madison on the Badger Bus. We were pretty sensible and responsible people.
Most people I knew were pretty cautious about sex. Our mothers had convinced us if a boy just waved "it" over us, we'd get pregnant. Nice girls didn't do it. Nice boys didn't even ask. Except when they did.
Still, a high school friend or two had disappeared to visit distant "aunts" and come back months later, a little quieter, a lot more subdued.
An affluent college friend had left the country to have an abortion. A less affluent friend went to Chicago.
And I went to Planned Parenthood in Milwaukee.
After filling out the paperwork we met with a counselor who asked when we were getting married.
"Married?" I asked, puzzled. "We don't have any plans like that." The woman frowned and left the room.
A few minutes later, an elegant older woman in a wool sheath dress called me into her office. "You can't get the Pill unless you are going to get married in the next few months," she said. "We can only give it to married or engaged women. So I suggest you get engaged fast."
I got the message. "We're getting married this summer." The nurse nodded, the stirrups were pulled out and the exam given, and I walked out the door with a pink plastic disk full of tiny pills.
Can it really have been like that? Yes, it was. This was a couple years before Roe v. Wade.
The boyfriend lasted through about four pink plastic disks. Then there wasn't any boyfriend or disks for awhile. The next time, I went to the kindly old Madison doctor everyone else went to. He didn't even bother with the exam. There was just a friendly chat and the writing of the prescription.
To have health care depend on telling a lie or finding a doctor whose mission of kindness made him forgo the requisite medical steps seems awfully odd these days. But not to those who are straining to turn back the clock.
Now it's my kids and their friends who turn to Planned Parenthood when they have nowhere else to go. I'm glad the organization is still there, and glad they aren't making kids tell lies to get care.
As to those who are dramatizing lies to entrap Planned Parenthood workers, let's hope those lies don't harm their souls, and let's hope they help the organization become more thoughtful, careful, and honest about the good work they do.