Planned Parenthood

After I came back from
socialized medicine in France
the PCP assigned to me
by the Medicaid program
could not see me for six weeks.

I cried at Planned Parenthood.
I told the doctor that I missed France. 

I don't remember her reaction, only
how I laughed with relief when
she wrote me a script
for Macrobid. In France I paid $9
to go the ER, can you imagine?
In France I never once asked
a doctor or called a pharmacy
needing to know, "Are you in network?"
In France I never laughed with relief
in a doctor's office, I never needed to.

When I was driving to Planned Parenthood,
I was stuck in Worcester traffic
behind a car with a "Choose Life"
license plate and a bumper sticker
that read, "It's a child, not a choice.”

Pro-lifers will give out pamphlets
about Jesus, but are hard-pressed
to find the part in the Bible
where it says I can pray away
chronic infections. No pro-lifer
ever told me about how they wanted
to overhaul the for-profit system
that kills people every day
in America, that kills people
because they can't afford it,
no pro-lifer ever told me where else
I could go, not when I was sixteen,
or eighteen or nineteen or twenty-three. 

In Worcester I turned the other cheek.
I did not honk. If God was listening
to my thoughts, he would have heard — 

 I hope you never feel so cornered
by the American healthcare system
that you cry in a doctor's office,

 I hope you never need to.

-Cecile Afable

Julia NusbaumComment