My name is Rebecca. I’m a 21 year old Latina college student. I was raised in a religiously conservative household and never thought birth control or reproductive healthcare would be a concern for me until I met someone and had my first pregnancy scare. At that time, I felt very confused and ashamed. I was covered by OHP but was too anxious to wait a month to see my primary care physician. Fortunately there’s a Planned Parenthood health center across the street from where I live, despite the intimidation I felt I knew this was only place I could turn to. I had just graduated high school and was working as a cashier at a grocery store; the costs of the tests was a major concern for me. Thankfully, at the time they had a program that helped cover the costs for low-income households. They also provided me with a year’s worth of oral contraceptives after I explained to them how severe my PMS symptoms were.
Since that experience I have felt empowered to really know my body and to take good care of it. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act I was able to get an IUD this January and I can’t truly explain with words how grateful I am and what a relief it is to know that for the next 3 years both me and those I love won’t have to worry about an unplanned pregnancy or cramps so painful I pass out and wake up in the ER. Access to reproducitve health care services has increased my well being and self worth. When a person is denied health care we’re sending that person two messages: 1. that they have to figure it out on their own somehow with no resources or knowledge of how to do that 2. that they’re not important enough to be taken care of even in the most minimal and fundamental ways.