My commitment to Planned Parenthood grew out of a tragic event in my past. My childhood was spent in Spain, during Franco's brutal dictatorship. This was a society that did not support choice, where a woman's access to birth control was strictly forbidden, and abortion providers were punished with death. My childhood home included a beloved household staff member, Eulogia, a warm woman with a contagious smile. One day, Eulogia did not show up for work. Several days later, my devastated parents explained mysteriously that Eulogia had suddenly died. Over the years, I still remember how heartbroken I was and how difficult it was not to know why she died.
Many years later, I learned Eulogia's full story. At the age of 31, Eulogia had already five children and was married to a brutish drunk who would not hear of abstinence. When she found herself pregnant again, she resorted to an illegal abortion and, within a few days, she had died from a blood infection. Unlike wealthy Spanish women, Eulogia could not afford to pay a doctor to perform an abortion or travel to another European country where the procedure was more easily obtained.
After I moved to the United States, and as soon as I could scrape a few dollars together, I became a supporter of Planned Parenthood. I have continued that support for the last 30 years, so others will have access to safe and affordable reproductive health care, care that Eulogia was denied. With my support, I hope to keep Eulogia's memory alive. — M.R.
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