At the end of 2017 stories were collected from patients at the Planned Parenthood in Tucson. A goal of this project was to give patients a chance to explain in their words why reproductive health care is so important. One of the questions asked was what services the respondents had received at the clinic. Responses reflected all the services that Planned Parenthood provides including birth control, STD testing and treatment, pregnancy testing and education, and well-women exams.
Patients were also asked why they decided to come to come to Planned Parenthood. Common answers from the narratives included cost, accessibility, and acceptance. Multiple respondents said cost was the key factor since they either had health insurance that was accepted, or they did not have insurance but could pay out of pocket for a reasonable price or obtain services for free. One participant, D.J., said, “I don’t have insurance. It’s cheaper for me to come here, I can’t really afford to go to a different doctor because I’m 18 and 100% financially independent plus a student so money is tight.”
Another common response for why patients visited Planned Parenthood was the limited time patients had to wait to be seen. Many reported it took too long to get in to see their primary care doctor, whereas Planned Parenthood accepts walk-ins or can schedule appointments as early as the next day. Timing was especially important for one respondent, identified as S.M: “I came to this clinic to receive birth control. I have recently moved states and am due to need birth control within 2 weeks. If it weren’t for this clinic I would not receive birth control for a month and a half.”
Acceptance and a non-judgmental atmosphere were also mentioned as being main reasons why people chose to come to the clinic. One individual summed it up by saying, “This specific clinic is well-run, inviting, friendly, clean, and a safe place to receive all services especially when I do not have health care”.
We truly appreciate all our participants who were willing to volunteer their stories to help demonstrate the great need within our communities for quality, affordable, and accessible reproductive health care.