I'm sure I should direct this to someone who can use it to help others, but for now, I'll start here.
When I was 16, I had a steady boyfriend. I was educated about sex. AIDS and HIV were not yet publicized as a threat. Herpes and genital warts were whispered but not really discussed. Most of the other STDs were well known and if you had access to a magazine like Cosmo, you could quickly find out anything you needed to know about birth control and detecting STD symptoms.
My mind was made up - I was going to have sex with my boyfriend. I wanted it, asked for it and he was willing (imagine that). We tried it with a condom and I was completely unimpressed. I decided to try it again (and again) because it was touted as the end-all be-all of love and I was in love and damit, I was mature and sophisticated. Eventually, i discovered what the big deal was (sans condom) but not until sweating out a couple of late periods. The stress of waiting for a period, seeing my life as a pregnant teenager flash before my eyes, was more than I could take. I called Planned Parenthood to find out what my options were. My main concern was privacy. I did not want my parents to know I was having sex. I knew getting knocked up would pretty much give that secret away so I was looking for birth control options. Not an abortion. I wanted to prevent the pregnancy from happening in the first place. I was 16 and I understood that concept. There are people with decades of wisdom and experience that still don't understand that concept. They think Planned Parenthood means abortion. It doesn't. For me, it meant private access to medically supervised and prescribed birth control. At that time, they refilled the monthly prescription in the clinic - you had to come in, get your weight and blood pressure checked and then they would sell you another pack of pills. Every 12 months, they required a pelvic exam and pap smear. They provided that care in the clinic at a really low cost.
I am extremely thankful that this resource was available to me. I don't think there was any other legitimate way to obtain birth control at that time. And again, I want to stress that it was my decision to have sex at that age. I thought about it, studied it, researched it, and with all of the logic and reason my 16 year old brain could muster, I chose to have sex. Because PP was available to me, I was able to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. This is something every girl should have access to. No argument, no debate. There is more than one way to prevent an abortion. Sure, there is abstinance. And there is protected sex. And there is birth control. There is even emergency birth control. I am so tired of everyone assuming PP is only about abortions. It is so much more. I support PP's mission and offer my thanks for being there for me 24 years ago. Thanks to PP, I didn't need an abortion.