In this week’s Lenny (Lena Dunham’s new weekly newsletter that brings Gloria Steinem interviews and stories of Jenny Slate’s vajacials into your inbox), Dunham tells the story of how she’s always failed at Halloween. It’s lengthy, funny, and includes this picture of a horrifying Louis CK costume.
If you’re not subscribed (which I recommend doing— no matter your feelings on Dunham yourself, this is a pretty great weekly read), you can read it at Lenny tomorrow, but here’s what’s stuck in my craw today: Dunham ended the piece by saying she has a foolproof costume this year to “be accepted and to WIN BIG!”
I think I may have finally nailed it. I’m going as something newsy, sexy, and cool: a Planned Parenthood doctor!
Now, you might expect that this choice of costume would be widespread headline fodder. And you might expect super right-leaning websites (like, for example rightwingnews.com) to produce headlines like this:
Of course, that’s to be expected. But what surprised me, and has continued to surprise me with every new headline that pops up today, is how mainstream, ostensibly politically neutral and even liberal outlets have described Dunham’s costume choice:
(That last one is my favorite because it seems to question the validity of the word doctor.)
Again, Dunham’s ENTIRE quote regarding this costume is “I’m going as something newsy, sexy, and cool: a Planned Parenthood doctor!” So let’s get one thing straight, world. Planned Parenthood does a LOT more than just abortions. Sure, they do provide that much-needed service to women all over the country, but as we’ve already talked about today, that only represents a teeny, tiny fraction of what they do. One in five women will visit a Planned Parenthood in their life and the vast majority of them are not receiving abortions. Here are just a couple of statistics from Planned Parenthood’s own website:
Planned Parenthood health centers focus on prevention: 80 percent of our clients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood services help prevent approximately 516,000 unintended pregnancies each year.
Planned Parenthood provides nearly 400,000 Pap tests and nearly 500,000 breast exams each year, critical services in detecting cancer.
Planned Parenthood provides nearly 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including 700,00 HIV tests.
Three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.
Planned Parenthood affiliates provide educational programs and outreach to 1.5 million young people and adults each year.
As someone who has spent most of her life without insurance, and using Planned Parenthood as her go-to health care provider, I can also tell you firsthand that Planned Parenthood doctors are the coolest, nicest, most caring people on the planet. Compared to the treatment I’ve gotten elsewhere during the times I have had insurance, PP’s doctors (and nurses and entire staff) have been infinitely more attentive and kind. They provide quality healthcare to women (and men!) who need it, they do it with kindness, and no one there is selling aborted fetuses for profit. So, yes, those doctors are more than worthy of being your Halloween costume, and not because abortion is a funny joke. Because they’re goddamned superheroes.