Beyond the Abortion Narrative: How Planned Parenthood Saves Lives

This is the fifth post in Care2′s new interview series, “What Planned Parenthood Means to Me.

At age 24, Christy Miceli discovered that she had cervical cancer.

Miceli could’ve died without early detection – and the resulting treatments would’ve bankrupted her. But thankfully, Planned Parenthood was there for her, offering affordable health care on a sliding pay scale.

She’s since advocated for the organization in Washington and beyond.

I spoke with Miceli about how Planned Parenthood can expand beyond an abortion narrative.

Christy Miceli at Women's March on Washington

Photo Credit: Christy Miceli

How do you think the public view of Planned Parenthood compares to your own?

I’m sure it’s a lot different. If you’ve never lived it, you’ve never been there.

You know, the media focuses on abortions. So, I’m really proud that I said, “Oh, there are other things that Planned Parenthood does. I’m just going to keep talking about my cervix, I guess.”

Cervical cancer sounds like a huge burden to handle as a young person.

It was extremely hard. I don’t like to worry people, so I didn’t tell my family right away, which probably made it worse for me.

I wanted to deal with it, have it taken care of, and later be like, “Oh, by the way, I went through this.” I didn’t get that [chance] because it got bad.

You wanted to have children someday.

Sometimes you meet women who just know they don’t want to be mothers. Then, you meet other people like me who never had a doubt they would be mothers.

I just love babies. I’m one of those weird people who says, “Ah, can I hold your baby? I don’t even know you.” That’s how I am. You know, even as a little kid, I loved children.

So, yeah, it was a hard realization. I gave up on that.

Have you seen an attitude shift in the last 13 years?

I really have. My whole peer group growing up, that’s where they went for their birth control, for condoms, and to talk about STDs. If you didn’t want to talk to your mother, you went to Planned Parenthood and talked to someone there. And it was just really common.

And I think, you know, with so much focus on abortion, I think the girls these days don’t really feel they can just do that. Because there’s so much stigma around it. That bothers me. They should all have a safe place to go.

What does that stigma say about how our society views women’s health? 

I wrote an article for the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, and I got an unsolicited piece of mail the other day.

It was all about, you know, how horrible I am for supporting abortions. Well, I never said I support abortions. I support Planned Parenthood.

It’s insane that these people think that my story and my body – and what women in general choose to do with their bodies — is any of their business at all.

You know, I’ve come out in my story, and made it public. And I’m not ashamed of it at all.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Know someone with a good story about Planned Parenthood? Let me know at emilyerinzak@gmail.com.

Disclosure: Emily Zak is a patient at Planned Parenthood.

Photo Credit: Christy Miceli

81 comments

Telica R
Telica R24 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 months ago

If Planned Parenthood cared about women's health, they would have mammogram machines~

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Carl R
Carl R5 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Misss D
Misss D6 months ago

Maybe they should change their name. Cervical cancer screening and the other services they offer, are not directly about planning to be a parent, necessarily. It might help.

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Carl R
Carl R6 months ago

thanks!!!

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Carl R
Carl R6 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Patrice Z
Patrice Z6 months ago

This is why we need Planned Parenthood funded appropriately

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william M
william Miller6 months ago

thanks

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Karen H
Karen H6 months ago

People do parrot what their "authority figures" tell them. A little education--on all sides--would help. And Gibbs' rule 51 may come into play at some point: "Sometimes, you're wrong." Be brave enough to admit it.

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