People marched on 1/21. These are their stories: Chantal Collins

I used Planned Parenthood’s services for 6 years until I was working and able to afford to see a gynecologist through my insurance.

I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s in a family with a strong moral compass. We boycotted grapes, wore black armbands to school when Nixon bombed Cambodia, collected signatures to pass the ERA, and were taught to treat others equally and with compassion.

When I was 16, I fell in love with a boy who I knew I would sleep with (I did) and eventually marry (I didn’t). We did have a health class which included sex education and that was the only exposure I had to types of birth control. My Irish born mother was a fervent supporter of equal rights for women. But she wasn’t the kind of mom who was open to discussing sexuality or birth control with her teenage daughter. And speaking with my pediatrician was out of the question. Luckily, there was a place to go to for information, counseling and birth control and that was Planned Parenthood.

I can still remember looking up their number in the phone book and making the call to get an appointment. They asked me a few questions and I was scheduled for that Saturday. I recall being so embarrassed walking around Mt. Kisco looking for the address; fearful that I would be spotted by someone or that there might be protesters outside. Neither occurred.

The appointment itself was eye opening. I was spoken to with dignity and respect. The nurses were kind, the doctor kinder. She took the time to explain everything and never once made me feel ashamed. I was able to afford the appointments and a prescription for the pill, which they provided so I didn’t have to go to a pharmacy. I used Planned Parenthood’s services for 6 years until I was working and able to afford to see a gynecologist through my insurance. I have made donations sporadically through the years. It is now, at the age of 53, that I can so clearly see the contribution they make to so many women’s lives. Planned Parenthood does not judge and does not preach, they provide.

The Women’s March on Washington solidified all of what I was taught by my mother and other strong women. Listening to the men and women speak that day and watching the faces of the people around me gave me back my strength and a sense of defiance. I watched my stepdaughter and other young women feel the groundswell of unity with others for women’s rights.

We will not go backward, we will not back down, we will fight what is wrong. We will resist.

©2017 Nadine Robbins. Unauthorized use of the images and copy from these stories is prohibited.