Gaming for a Cause: Play for Planned Parenthood

Gaming for a Cause: Play for Planned Parenthood

Women’s health and reproductive rights have been under attack for years. A segment of the population has turned against Planned Parenthood, unjustly treating them as a demagogue just because they offer safe and sound abortion services. Critics also conveniently ignore that Planned Parenthood gives women access to affordable health care, sex education, promotes health and wellness, emergency contraception, and screening for cancers. As mentioned on their website, “one in five American women has chosen Planned Parenthood for health care at least once in their life.” And guess what, guys? They also extend services to men! Despite this, certain people and groups are keen to tear it all down.

The Trump Administration hasn’t been particularly kind to Planned Parenthood, intensifying the assault on the organization with a “Gag Rule” that would make it extremely difficult for women to get the assistance and reproductive care they need. People around the country stood up for women’s rights and protested against old, white men trying to dictate how women should live their lives. I used to think Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was a cautionary tale but these days, all I can do is chuckle nervously.

Seeing the women I’ve encountered through my life - my wife, my mother, my friends, my sister-in-law - put in the position to be denied essential health services and education Planned Parenthood specializes in made me feel helpless and upset. And I don’t like feeling helpless. As I searched for ways to help, I stumbled upon an event called Play for Planned Parenthood. Organized by Megan Embree, a project manager in the gaming industry, she launched Play4PP “to raise money and awareness for Planned Parenthood Federation of America and create a community of gamers who want to drive change through doing what they love.” Last year’s event, held on International Women’s Day, raised $50,000 and with your help, they will do it again on September 8, 2018.

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I’ll be doing my part for Play4PP beginning September 6, 2018 at 9:00am PST, where I invite you to join me as I spend 24 hours playing video games to spread awareness of Planned Parenthood! You can follow along by visiting my Twitch page at www.twitch.tv/librariangmr.

Here’s the tentative schedule of games I’ll be playing:

9:00am to 12:00pm - Rise of the Tomb Raider

12:00pm to 2:00pm - Overwatch

2:00pm to 5:00pm - Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

5:00pm to 9:00pm - Rockstar Games Retro Block

9:00pm to 1:00am - Marvel’s Spider-Man*

1:00am to 3:00am - Vampyre

3:00am to 5:00am - Rebel Galaxy

5:00am 9:00am - Horizon: Zero Dawn

*if pre-loading is available

If you’d like to help Play4PP reach its $50,000 goal, please consider donating through my Crowdrise page! Anything you can offer towards my $500 goal goes a long way to ensure Planned Parenthood can continue to provide health care services and advocate for women’s reproductive rights, both of which are so important. How do I know this? Because I solicited stories from women who have benefited from Planned Parenthood and learned how they served as a positive force in their lives.

You can read their stories below, presented here with their permission, and it is my hope that after doing so, their words will help inspire others to ensure that Planned Parenthood can keep doing what they do for years to come.  

Anonymous:

So when I went to college, my parents weren't able to help much financially. I was on scholarship and this was back when you couldn't stay on your parents' insurance after you turned 18. I got sick and couldn't afford a doctor. I had no health plan through my college, so I went to the free clinic. It turned out I probably had a UTI but the clinic said they couldn't treat "women's issues" and sent me to the PP clinic.

I was a bit nervous about it because I came from a conservative family and heard about how evil they were. That was totally wrong. They treated my UTI, but they also made sure that I was in a healthy situation, that I was practicing safe sex and that I knew that antibiotics lessen the effectiveness of the pill. They tested my iron every time I went in (which no other doctor has done) to make sure my levels were good.

They were nothing but caring and wanting to prevent me from being in a position where I would have to make a tough life changing decision. I'm forever grateful for their services when I was in a time of need.

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Caitlin Albee:

So to be very honest... I was so lost about birth control and anything sex related.  My parents weren’t very helpful on this manner. So by the time I was 17 and with “my first love” .... I had no idea what the heck I was doing. About anything. Lol. No condoms. No birth control. STDS, STI’s. I had no idea. And I thought the pull out method was sufficient back in 2010 and thankfully I’ve only had one pregnancy scare in the last decade. By the end of high school I knew all my girlfriends were going to Planned Parenthood. And as a teen with no insurance, no parental advisory, and no guidance I really had nothing to lose. I go in and got the basics. Without being drilled. Which is very relieving. And helped me to a great start. I didn’t know a lot about birth control but one thing I did know was that I didn’t want to get pregnant. The pills are nice and all but I needed something more reliant. Being caught up in sports... I didn’t want to have to think twice. And the pill quickly turned into the [Depo-Provera] shot. Also provided by Planned Parenthood and I think this is when I really became to adore them. They are so giving and caring and helpful.

After my first trip going so smoothly, all the fears and anxiety really just disappeared. It’s like going to see old friends really. I don’t even know how else to explain it other than that. Pills progressed I got on the depo very quickly. And I loved that because it was a shot done every three months. Which at 17, three months seemed to go by so quickly, I found myself asking them all these questions I never had anyone else around to ask. What other birth control is there? What’s an STI? What’s Plan B? I found myself returning to planned parenthood to find these answers cause let’s be honest i wasn’t getting the birds and bees y’all from my parents. Or my girlfriends. Or my teachers. I relied on Planned Parenthood. Heavily. And not just for my own questions but the girls who came to me asking for help and had questions of their own. I needed PP. and so did they.

Fast forward a couple years. Got off depo.  Not really seeing anyone. Nothing serious. Use condoms for a long while but since I got off depo my period and my cramps were out of control. Literally keeping me in bed some days for 2-3 Days at a time. Keeping me from work. Keeping me from school. And this went on for a couple years before I even thought about taking action on it. Didn’t think twice about it. Got into a toxic relationship. Ended horribly. I moved out of town. Into my dad’s place. One night in midst of heartbreak and confusion I slept with someone I previous relations with ... only to have him call me from the ER saying he had chlamydia and I should get tested. In tears, I called planned parenthood immediately. They scheduled me an appointment. Completely mortified and embarrassed I told them I needed help. And I needed it fast. So swamped at work, the closest PP to me was nearly an hour away. I couldn’t ask my dad to take me. I was 22 at the time. No close friends to call on. These angels literally sent someone to my house with prescription in hand [Author’s note: Planned Parenthood Direct offers limited at-home services. Visit https://www.plannedparenthooddirect.org for more information]. I’ll never forget that day. I’m sure the guy could tell I was really upset and had been crying for hours. He was unbelievably kind. We sat in his car about a block from my house as he gave me the prescription. Told me we had to wait 15 min. to make sure I had no side effects. In the time passing we talked about my partner and how this came about. Talked about my family, my schooling, my job. His job. His family. Etc. And that if I ever needed anything to call him and gave me his card. The relief is unexplainable. I’m so grateful. So so so grateful for planned parenthood. I’ll never forget that day. He had this calming effect that made my anxiety just disappear.

Fast forward to about 4 years ago. And my cramps were really bogging me down. Had a close girlfriend recommend an [intrauterine device (IUD)]. More so for the hormones. Less for the active lifestyle lol obviously having no idea what it was I asked her a lot of questions and she stated she had one in. And she loves it. She had two kids. She was on the ten year IUD. And she told me it’s the best thing she’s ever done and to check it out. So I skipped to Planned Parenthood. So confident. Also kinda nervous. Never had anything like this done. So I get there. And they are warm and welcoming like always. And I sit with the nurse and she explained everything step by step, she had a IUD she showed me, also explained where it went and what it does. and walked me through everything even as I got it put in. Very communicative. Very sweet. Obviously everyone has their horror stories about IUD going wrong. And a couple girlfriends told me how bad it was for them. Even had a family member give me some nasty remarks about even considering getting an IUD. None of that stopped me from doing this. The nurse highly recommended it and said it’s the most effective birth control there is right now. And I said let’s do it. It was the best experience I think anyone could ever have not knowing what to expect. Honestly I was expecting a lot worse. Minor cramps afterwards. Whole procedure took less than half an hour. I will admit being spread eagle was probably the most open I’ve been.... but after that...you just get use to the breeze and the prongs haha. It was over so quickly.. before I knew it the nurse had it in and was telling me to get dressed. The nurse was just like “here’s some ibuprofen and a water. You’ll feel some pinching and cramping. But please call us if you need anything” and I was on my way. No one asked me for money. No one asked me for insurance. No one asked any questions.  They just supported me. Supported my choice. And I love them for that. And that day was the best day of my life honestly because Since then the IUD has relieved so much pain and stopped so much blood. I’m 4 years into it and I wouldn’t do it any other way. And I wouldn’t go to anyone else. Love love love love planned parenthood. I tell everyone to go there. Want an IUD? Go to PP. need a pregnancy test? Go to PP. got any questions about birth control? Condoms? Go to PP. I love them. And I love everything they stand for. And they have helped me in ways I’m forever grateful for. Even at 27, it’s like a security blanket.

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Sirius Noire Winchester (@siriusnoire):

I stand with Planned Parenthood for a multitude of reasons. Since I was 14 years old I have relied on the various services they offer, such as pelvic exams, birth control, pregnancy and STD/STI testing, and general wellness exams. These services are so important for women and men to have access to, especially for low income persons. Planned Parenthood is that resource for many of us. The fact that so many people are living without insurance and still desperately need access to reliable and affordable healthcare is heartbreaking. Thankfully Planned Parenthood now offers primary care for women via Melody Women’s Health. I have received so many beneficial services from them over the years, one of the most important being the diagnosis and removal of a breast tumor in 2013. They covered my ultrasound, biopsy, surgery, and post-op follow ups. There is no way I would have been able to afford that on my own, and I am eternally grateful that they were there for me. I truly hope that more people can see all the good that Planned Parenthood offers, instead of demonizing an organization that strives to do as much good as they genuinely can.

Thank you all so much for your time and attention.

What: Play4PP

Where: www.twitch.tv/librariangmr & My Crowdrise Page

When: September 6, 2018 9:00am to September 7, 2018 9:00am

Feature image sourced from www.gosugamers.net

Teen Services Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.