Dear Congress: I’m on Twitter and I’ve Used Planned Parenthood

People tweet about how Planned Parenthood changed their lives.

Friday night, one of the remaining issues on the table before an uneasy truce prevented a government shutdown was Planned Parenthood funding.  Ultimately, to avoid halting government services, Planned Parenthood funding – which accounts for less than 1 percent of the total budget – survives to be debated another day.

This weekend, people on Twitter are voicing many opinions on both sides of the issue, ranging from staunch support for the organization to outright hatred for its very existence. Many have had the misguided belief that government funds for Planned Parenthood pay for abortion services (they don’t), and others seem to believe Senate Minority Jon Kyl’s assertion that abortions are 90% of what Planned Parenthood does. He has since retracted that statement, and the facts show that abortions account for about 3% of their total services. (The Washington Post has an infographic that accurately depicts what Planned Parenthood actually does.)

However, through all the #plannedparenthood argument clutter emerged many comments from both women and men whose lives were impacted by Planned Parenthood (and not due to abortions). Here are their stories:

NicoleBell @queenofspain I had a pre-cancerous tumor caught and treated, thanks to #PlannedParenthood. My life and my kids owe them everything.

Mahmeme @cecilyk My name is Amy & I used #PlannedParenthood to get the pill when I worked at a Catholic health system who’s insurance wouldn’t cover.

tarastantrums My name is Tara and #PlannedParenthood diagnosed my PCOS when #mayo doctors couldn’t figure it out. @QueenofSpain

alectoincarnate I am a woman who has gone to #plannedparenthood since I was 16 for my annual check-ups & birth control…

chelseatalks Me 2! “@sharonburton: My name is Sharon and I used #PlannedParenthood in my 20s and 30s for basic health care @speakerboehner. #keepitgoing”

tubaville I’ve used #plannedparenthood to monitor my health because no insurance company will cover me after uterine cancer @SpeakerBoehner #passiton

Colo_kea #raiseyourhand First gyn exam (21) was #PlannedParenthood. No insurance/money -never thought could go to “doctor”

sitarmdas I’m Sitaram Das, I’m male, and I’ve used #PlannedParenthood services.

improvperson My Name is Katie and I’ve used #plannedparenthood #duh #happymomofthree

WhetherWhatever My name is Avery and I have used services at #PlannedParenthood. Don’t cut federal funding for those with no health care.

wingwit @speakerboehner I am Carolyn and I am one of the 1 in 5 US women who has been helped by #PlannedParenthood #keepitgoing #PPNYCAction

cvharquail RT @jonniker: #plannedparenthood was there for me in 1 of darkest times of my life, & has earned my respect. Unlike many of you, congress.

lauradstead My name is Laura and I used #plannedparenthood for oral contraception & reproductive health as a teen. W/O #PP I may have been a teen mom.

sammidoll #plannedparenthood is safe for now. for all you conservative idiots, i’ve personally used it for health care and preventatives #notabortion

AshleySieb #PlannedParenthood saves lives. I’m proof and I will always fight for the the education and services the org. provides young woman and men.

NonaNelson @Cecilyk I’m Nona & I went to Planned Parenthood for birth control because I didn’t have insurance or it wasn’t covered.

thatkristen The best (and cheapest) women’s health care I ever got was at #plannedparenthood.

andreagrimes I’m Andrea and #PlannedParenthood gave me support, care and resources when I was scared to talk to my parents about sex. @speakerBoehner

purplecrazies @Cecilyk I’m Laura and I went to Planned Parenthood for annual check ups in college because I couldn’t trust Student Health.

andrewpatner My name is Andrew and I’ve used #PlannedParenthood @speakerboehner, RT if you have too #keepitgoing @PPNYCAction

BeingMama @Cecilyk For years, the only way I afforded pelvic exams was through Planned Parenthood. Poor women’s health care is at stake.

awkwardlysocial @cecilyk and @queenofspain #plannedparenthood was my only doctor’s office while I had no insurance. UTIs are pretty painful if untreated…

noluckalaskan @Cecilyk: My name is melissa, and I’ve used #PlannedParenthood services. Consequently, my parenthood’s been planned.

starshollowgzt @CasualWednesday @QueenofSpain PP saved my life in ’71, found a pre-cancerous ovarian tumor on a routine check up

KAIZENcoach As a young woman I received the BEST care from #PlannedParenthood in contrast to private suburban M.D.’S that did not @queenofspain

karenebayne @QueenofSpain My husband and I got married very young & broke. We used #plannedparenthood to get our blood tests and birth control pills.

Cecilyk Again, with hashtag: My name is Cecily, and I have used services at #PlannedParenthood. Will again, thanks to no health insurance.

Along with these personal stories was a wave of tweets for Speaker Boehner with this message: My name is [insert name here], and I’ve used #PlannedParenthood @speakerboehner, RT if you have too.

image: clockworknate

Andrea Newell

Andrea Newell is a Michigan-based writer specializing in corporate social responsibility, women’s issues, and the environment.