Planned Parenthood plans more than parenthood

Mars Svec-Burdick and Carmen Vescia

A short two miles away from campus, Planned Parenthood is larger than the Teen Wellness Center (TWC), and so is the scale of its resources. Planned Parenthood might be the TWC’s go-to reference for a patient who wants to terminate a pregnancy, but contrary to recent rumors, abortions are only 3 percent of what they do.

Planned Parenthood offers a vast range of health care services for nsured, including physicals, vaccines and every genre of birth control.

At the Redwood City location, which used to be a Chevy’s Mexican restaurant, Assistant Center Manager Leslie MacConnell sees anywhere from 10 to 30 young adults come in per week.

In the rare case a teenager does come in for an abortion, clinicians recommend at least one session with their on-site Behavioral Health Clinician Felicia Felock before the procedure.

“We ask a lot of questions, like ‘are you really confident in your decision?’ and ‘do you feel like you’ve had enough time to think about this?’ We inform them how much time they have to make a decision, so that they don’t feel pressured to do it right that day,” MacConnell said.

Especially during an election year when reproductive choice is a hot-button issue, slanderous political discourse can be an obstacle for young people reaching out for help. MacConnell encourages both sides to agree to disagree.

“It really doesn’t get us anywhere to keep fighting,” MacConnell said. “I think we need to remember that everybody’s own body is their own choice, and that a lot people don’t know what they would do in a situation until they’re in it.”

For MacConnell, who has worked in the field for a decade, the mission of her job is supporting reproductive rights for everyone, everywhere.

“Sometimes, working with patients, you’re seeing them on one of the hardest days of their lives, hearing about something that they’ve never told anybody else,” MacConnell said. “I think it takes a certain type of person to work here.”

Her biggest moment of understanding why reproductive health was so crucial was in 2004, when she was a senior in high school and went to the March for Women’s Lives, with five million other activists.

“It was one of the most empowering moments of my whole life walking in a crowd that big. And even though the streets were lined with protesters, the amount of energy and passion that we had as a group was really life changing. You could feel your impact.”