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By Kayla Ryan

Feminists, a lot of young people, and liberals in general are always “standing” with Planned Parenthood. It seems like a lot of those who #standwithPP have decent health insurance and would likely not even go to PP to receive reproductive health services.

Because of the way people talk about PP and make it seem vital to the lives of women everywhere, a naive seventeen year old me assumed there really were no other options. I thought people who weren’t making like tens of thousands of dollars a year would never be able to afford private reproductive health services. I didn’t realize that private facilities, such as OBGYNs (gynecologists), could also offer similar services at similar costs, given some form of insurance is present. And according to the Gallup Poll, only 11% of Americans are uninsured today.

Over a year ago, I needed reproductive health services, and I thought the only feasible option was Planned Parenthood.  I thought there was PP, really expensive private health centers for rich women, and christian missionary centers disguised as family planning centers where they IRL spammed you with religious propaganda about why you shouldn’t get abortions or take the pill or whatever.

So, I drove thirty minutes from my house to the local Planned Parenthood. As I was walking in, protesters on the street harassed me, threw adoption pamphlets in my face, and tried to hand me various religious propaganda, wrongly assuming that I was pregnant and planning to have an abortion. Once I finally passed all those lame-os, I was met by a line to check in and a bustling waiting room. When I finally made it to the receptionist, she was bitter, not receptive, and hella rude. I waited FOREVER. I finally got into an office, where I then spent almost an hour filling out stacks of paperwork. As soon as I completed the paperwork, the nurse or whoever she was suddenly realized I didn’t need to fill out any of that paperwork. Oops! She proceeds to tell me that they couldn’t help me with what I needed that day or any day in the near future. Like, thanks for wasting almost an hour of both of our time! Ugh.

I was astonished that I spent over an hour at this place going through all these employees and sheets of questions only to find out they were unable to provide me with the services I needed… AND NO Y’ALL IT WASN’T BECAUSE PLANNED PARENTHOOD DOESN’T HAVE ENOUGH FUNDING. DON’T EVEN GO THERE. They CLEARLY had a large enough budget to be overstaffed, while simultaneously underutilizing workers/ wasting their time with unnecessary paperwork.

Seeing as how I still needed the ~unnamed reproductive health services~, I had to turn to other options. I returned to Binghamton, where we don’t have a local Planned Parenthood, but rather a private organization, Family Planning. Family Planning does a lot of the same stuff as Planned Parenthood; the main difference between the two is that Family Planning refers patients to private gynecologists rather than providing all services in-house.

Family Planning is way better than Planned Parenthood. Not only does Family Planning not rely on government funding, Family Planning efficiently and effectively connects those in need of reproductive health services with private healthcare providers that meet their budget and insurance needs, and supports local practitioners in the process.

What’s the moral of the story here? Planned Parenthood = not great. There are other, just as affordable and accessible, options for women in need of reproductive health services. Defunding Planned Parenthood would allow these smaller, private organizations and clinics to truly shine and provide women with the safe and effective health care they need at reasonable prices, especially for those covered by insurance. Planned Parenthood is positioned to seem absolutely necessary and vital for women everywhere, but the reality is that it’s inefficient as all hell. Random ass legislations and funding requirements totally doom Planned Parenthood’s operation. The main reason I had to waste time with all that paperwork is because regulations require all this nonsense to be done just for any service of any type to be administered!

So much of their budget appears to be wasted on over staffing, inefficiencies in the workplace, stupid paperwork, actual paper, space to store all this unnecessary paperwork… to name a few. Private health providers are made out to be unapproachable, and Planned Parenthood is positioned as the ideal means for women to receive treatments of varied kinds. I was mislead to believe that I couldn’t afford to go anywhere else. In the end, it was a private clinic that assisted me and made receiving unnamed reproductive services possible.

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