Commentary Media

Dear Mr. Beck: We Are All Hookers

Jodi Jacobson

Dear Mr. Beck: I understand it is your contention that "only hookers go to Planned Parenthood." There must be a lot of hookers out here.  I am one of them.

Dear Mr. Beck,

I understand it is your contention that “only hookers go to Planned Parenthood.”

There must be a lot of hookers out here. 

I am one of them.

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When I was in college, I went to a Planned Parenthood for a pelvic exam, and for my first contraceptive method.  I didn’t know then I was a hooker since I was in a serious relationship and it didn’t involve an exchange of money for sex, but I guess I must have been.  Young adults ages 18 to 24 years old make up more than 50 percent of the clientele of some Planned Parenthood clinics, such as those run by Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania.  You may be surprised to know that even the members and leadership of College Republicans at Pitt’s college use the services provided and felt that cutting funding for Planned Parenthood was and is “counterintuitive.”  But I guess by your definition, all of the hundreds of thousands of college students who receive affordable gynecological and reproductive health care, contraceptive supplies and expert medical advice every year at Planned Parenthood clinics are hookers.  Including those young Republicans.

Those college students, and millions of other men and women get access to affordable contraception every year through Planned Parenthood, without which there would be countless numbers of additional unintended pregnancies and abortions. I guess denying them those services by ridiculing both the providers and the clients would give you more to laugh about when talking on air about people’s very real need to manage their reproductive lives.  But then, they don’t deserve your respect, do they….because they are all “hookers.”

My aunt, who worked for years as a waitress to support three children after becoming a  widow at a young age, sought gynecological and related health services at a Planned Parenthood clinic.  I didn’t realize she was a hooker either.  If she were, she’d probably have made a lot more money than waiting tables for people, kinda like you, who thought they were better than struggling waitresses.  She never had the chance to make (a reported) $25 million per year using broadcast media acting like an undisciplined child, spreading lies and innuendo, and making fun of people who struggle for a living.  Then again, she had too much integrity to do the kinds of things you do.

In 2007, Planned Parenthood clinics provided 30,000 clients with the HPV vaccines proven effective against a virus known to cause cervical cancer.  Those clients probably didn’t know they were hookers, but I am pretty sure they are glad they are, so they could be protected from developing cervical cancer.  More than 12,000 women in the United States were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2007 according to the Centers for Disease Control, and more than 4,000 of them died, leaving behind loving husbands, same-sex partners, their own mothers and fathers, children, nieces, nephews, friends and community.

These are women like Deb Zupke of Minnesota, a former Planned Parenthood patient.  She and her older sisters started going to Planned Parenthood in high school and college. As the daughters of a dairy farmer, she states: “We were not the richest people in town,” but the low-cost annual exams and contraception fit their budgets, she says. An exam at Planned Parenthood discovered one of her sisters had cervical cancer and, because it was caught in the early stages, her sister was treated successfully. Zupke stopped going to Planned Parenthood after she got a job with health insurance, but one older sister liked the clinic so much that she continued to use Planned Parenthood as her primary health care provider for years-until she was pregnant with her first (and planned) child.  

Lots of farmers are also hookers, it appears.

The accessibility of the pap smear–made widely available and accessible to low-income women by Planned Parenthood–has completely changed the landscape with regard to cervical cancer, which used to be one of the leading causes of death in women in the United States.  Planned Parenthood has greatly increased access to pap smears for African American women, who still die from cervical cancer at higher rates than women of other races.  But for the constant attacks on the organization such as you make, Planned Parenthood could further expand access to populations in need.  But since you so clearly deride all these hookers–whose welfare you otherwise lament when talking about the choices some might make to terminate a pregnancy and manage their lives–I am quite sure you don’t care about how they might access tests that might save their lives.

Then there are the 102,000-plus hookers who are men seeking reversible contraception who visited Planned Parenthood clinics in 2007.  A lot o’ male hookers gettin’ in the doors over there.

There are the older women who visit Planned Parenthood because on fixed incomes they can not possibly afford the health care they need, and so seek out Planned Parenthood clinics for help with concerns about breast health, menopause, blood pressure checks, diabetes testing and referrals they need to see a specialist.  We have no idea how many of these older “hookers” would be dead for lack of early detection of, say, breast cancer.  I am sure that their children and grandchildren are happy they are hookers, so they can access Planned Parenthood services and stay around to enjoy the next generation.  You might not agree.  To you, they are expendable, I guess, once they are no longer valuable to Koch Industries or other titans of commerce.

And finally, there are the “hooker’s hookers.” The women and men who are in fact sex workers.  They are, you might be surprised to know, human beings with health needs just like everyone else.  And they too seek out Planned Parenthood services for contraceptive supplies, HPV vaccines, breast exams and related needs. 

All of us make up those millions of hookers visiting Planned Parenthood every day.

Speaking for them, I’d venture to say that we are all glad to be hookers, by your definition.

At least we know which one of us is the real whore.

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