I sat there in front of Texas House Representative Dan Flynn, and told him my story, right there in his office, which is decorated with model airplanes and packets of elect-Dan-Flynn gum. I told him about how I was at risk for cervical cancer. About how I had lost my health insurance when I lost my job last month. About how I didn’t know how I was going to pay to continue going to my private doctor to keep up with follow-up screenings to the cone biopsy I’d underwent last year. About how I was here to tell him that Planned Parenthood could provide affordable cancer screenings for me to keep me healthy, even though I had no insurance.
He told me he heard me. He told me he understood. Then, the staunchly anti-choice conservative representing Van Zandt County waved a spreadsheet and a little map around, and told me there were so many alternatives to Planned Parenthood! That the wealth needed to be spread around a little bit, because there were so many places I could go besides Planned Parenthood, which provides so much health care for women, we need to give others the chance to do so.
I asked Flynn to tell me about some alternative providers in the Dallas area. He glanced at the list, rattled off some names that I barely caught–something about Dallas County Hospital District and Dallas Emergency Services–and then went on to tell me and the group of women who’d traveled to the Capitol to speak to him that he believed Planned Parenthood auditors were crooked liars who fudged the numbers so that the non-profit could use public funds for their abortion industry, and that he knew this because he was a former bank examiner and had heard some things from some people.
Please remember: Dan Flynn and conservatives like him believe that Planned Parenthood absolutely must be entirely defunded in order to preserve a culture of “life” in this country.
That was on Tuesday, March 8. The next morning, I called and e-mailed Dan Flynn’s office, asking to be given a copy of the spreadsheet or map he’d had of alternatives to Planned Parenthood where I could go to get an affordable cervical cancer screening. After calling and e-mailing back a couple times, his office told me, on March 10, to e-mail the Texas Alliance For Life, who could provide me with such a list.
So, on March 10, I e-mailed the Texas Alliance for Life. I asked them–well, I’ll just post it here. This is the e-mail I sent:
Hi, TX Alliance for Life -
I was referred to you by the office of Rep. Dan Flynn. I’m looking for a comprehensive list of alternatives to Planned Parenthood–when I visited with Rep. Flynn this week he referenced a document that appeared to be just such a thing. Karah Carr, a legislative aide for Rep. Flynn, tells me the Alliance for Life provided it. I was wondering if I could get a copy of the same list?
I haven’t heard back from them. I’ve also tweeted at both Flynn and the Alliance asking for the list of alternative health care providers who can give me the same or better care as Planned Parenthood. No response.
I need a follow-up pap smear in the next month or so to confirm that my cervix is clear of abnormal lesions after my cone biopsy last fall. I called my private doctor–without insurance, I’ll pay $155 for the office visit, not including lab tests, which will certainly have to be conducted. I called Planned Parenthood–there, I’ll pay between $93 and $109 for the total cervical cancer screening, plus get a breast exam, full pelvic and potentially low-cost birth control, too. Which I also need.
So that’s probably three or four hundred dollars to my private doctor, for the office visit and labs. Or $109 to Planned Parenthood.
Or who-knows-how-much to who-knows-who, because those who want me to go somewhere other than Planned Parenthood apparently don’t want that to happen badly enough that they’ll, you know, tell me the alternatives they approve of.