Rural America Depends on Planned Parenthood

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

Upstate New York native Jaime Benner took custody of her 12-year-old sister after their mother died in 2009. And four years later, Benner was a single mother with a toddler of her own.

As she changed jobs, scraping by without insurance, Benner found a lump in her breast.

I spoke with Benner, now 31, about what Planned Parenthood means to her and rural America.

How did Planned Parenthood help you deal with aggressive breast cancer?

I have to say any experience in my life I’ve had with Planned Parenthood has been amazing. When it came to breast cancer, I found the lump and called the local doctor, but they couldn’t see me for three to four weeks. Then I called Planned Parenthood.

They got me in that day. They did the exam. They sent me out. They had the mammogram done. It came back inconclusive.

The nurse at Planned Parenthood sent me for a second opinion. I went and got the second opinion, and I literally found out that day that I had cancer. And you know, I had a breast removed.

Had I waited for the local physician or had Planned Parenthood not had been the absolutely, incredible provider that they are, I would have had stage four cancer, and I may have not survived.

How have you held up so far?

Right now, I have a cold. (laughs)

I have been great. I’ve had quite a few surgeries in recent years, but all in all, I’m cancer free. I’m three-and-a-half years with no evidence. I’m almost completely in the clear.

 Why is it important to share your story?

I feel like people have a negative image of Planned Parenthood, and they don’t realize that Planned Parenthood offers so many other services.

An area like mine, you know, doesn’t have many medical practices around. Planned Parenthood is one of our better and more important providers, and I feel like my story really shows how crucial they can be. It almost gives people a better perspective.

I did go there to get birth control when I wasn’t ready for a family to help me plan for when it would be right for me to have a family. But I also went there for life-saving care.

Planned Parenthood does it all. And I think that people just skip over the important stuff because they want to focus on the negative.

What does Planned Parenthood mean to you?

I mean, it saved my life. They mean everything to me.

They were so compassionate, thorough, they made sure things were going correctly. They’re there for women who don’t have health insurance, which I needed when I came off my mom’s plan in college.

I mean, they’re extremely important, especially in areas like my own. And I’m sure there are more regions like mine in the United States than there are bigger cities.

Planned Parenthood is a structural part of our health care system up here. Planned Parenthood is one of the only options for you.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Disclosure: Emily Zak is a patient at Planned Parenthood.

Photo Credit: Jaime Benner


Sue H
Sue H10 days ago

Women across the states depend on Planned Parenthood services.

Telica R
Telica Rabout a year ago


Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill1 years ago

I live in rural America, we do NOT depend on Planned Parenthood! There isn't one here! I don't want one here! We have several clinics who have sliding scales so you only pay what you can afford. And they actually have a Mammogram machine to do cancer screenings! Planned Parenthood doesn't even own 1 of them!

Philippa P
Philippa Powers1 years ago


Carl R
Carl R1 years ago


Carl R
Carl R1 years ago


Jane R
Jane R1 years ago

This must be available to all women.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Nicole Heindryckx

Quite obvious that Planned Parenthood is a NECESSITY !! So many women's life depend on it. And if we do not take care of the women in our society, we do not have a future. It is the woman who is the the most necessary in a community or country. If we leave women in their misery, what about the children then. And children are the future, everywhere !!