My First Visit to Planned Parenthood


Photography by D. Plasman

Today, I made a solitary march to the local Planned Parenthood clinic. It was a short hike of only three blocks from our house in Grand Rapids. I felt a strong obligation to do something. Knowing how I felt, I wasn’t sure what was going to come out of my mouth. I’m disgusted. I find it all quite unbelievable. Like many people I know, I feel our country has untethered itself from what was once sensible, sane, and civil moorings. Frankly, I’m fast reaching the “fed up” point over the stir surrounding this organization.

Not knowing what else to do, I walked to my Planned Parenthood neighbors and introduced myself. I assured them I didn’t have an appointment and wasn’t there to receive any of their array of services (a long, long list which includes safe and legal abortions). Instead, I simply said, “I’d like to make an overdue donation. Please accept this $100 check from my wife and me.”

Saying no more, I left. On the walk back home, I recalled the signs in the Planned Parenthood office informing all patients that this organization accepts Medicaid and is willing to bill on a sliding scale of need. I wonder how many other medical facilities in our country do the same?

Many scriptural snippets came to mind before I reached home. The Hebrew poet lingered with me the longest: “God lifts the poor from the dirt, and takes the helpless from the ashes” (Ps. 113:7). Though Planned Parenthood doesn’t say it quite like that, they exist for the same purpose.

A shout out to candidate Carly and her colleagues: “You pretty much got it wrong, and it appears you lied about the video, to boot.”

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  1. Marilyn Zack September 21, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    Good for you Dan – Garry and I share your sentiments.

  2. Patricia September 21, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    Thank you!

  3. Melissa September 21, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    What an awesome post. I am always struck by your quiet protest. You are ramped up and angry on your blog but walk around with a cool head and do such lovely things (by living your faith). I still tell the story about how emotional I was when you and Jodi apologized to the Trans community on behalf of clergy who abandoned them or made them feel less than perfect. Keep up the great work. It inspires us all.

  4. Willa September 21, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    Dan, you have said so well what I have been feeling. And as Melissa said you usually respond in very positive ways to injustice.

  5. Elijah September 21, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

    Thank you, friend.
    Thank you from someone who once used their services, and from someone who couldn’t figure out how to be involved himself.

  6. Ellen Ives September 21, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

    Thanks for your post and for your donation! My last three Facebook posts have been about PP. What is wrong with people?

  7. Rosanne September 21, 2015 at 9:06 pm #

    Thank you, Dan.


  8. Beth Cafagna September 22, 2015 at 12:40 am #

    We also joined as members of Planned Parenthood recently, although I’ve donated several times in past years. It’s not easy for many women to find services that they need for reproductive health. Example: a family member (after having 4 children) wanted her tubes tied because she and her husband didn’t want any more babies. This mom was unable to have the operation done after the birth of their 4th child because it was a Catholic hospital (where her doctor practiced). She had to find another place and time to have the surgery that allowed her and her husband to PLAN their family size. For many women, the cost is the main obstacle. We are grateful that Planned Parenthood offers all women the medical care that they need.

  9. Judy Atwater September 22, 2015 at 6:29 am #

    Thank God for “The Planned Parenthoods” of the world and those who take the short march of support. Thank you Dan and Jody.

  10. Gary Bakker September 22, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    Dan, I don’t really care where you stand politically and I am sure PP provides some services that are needed. But suggesting that our Lord and Savior would support killing unborn children is wrong. It is a shame to see how far you have strayed.

  11. Dave Havilsnd September 23, 2015 at 10:05 am #

    Dan, I finally subscribed to your blog, and I am looking forward to reading more of your thoughts, no matter the topic. Sue and I heartily agree with you concerning Planned Parent, and feel it has become a political football for the far right. If they truly cared about life, they would be involved more with the living. No where in their mantra do they profess to help the children after they are born.
    We hope things are going well with you.

  12. Russell G. Donaldson September 29, 2015 at 6:24 am #

    Bless you, Dan, for your courage and perspicacity in posting the truth about Planned Parenthood, especially in a right-wing fortress like Grand Rapids!