Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Abdul Pridgen will lead the district’s community-based safety program
Li Khan, Editor in Chief • June 21, 2024
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Rym-Maya Kherbache, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
Archives
A cap at the Laney College commencement ceremony on May 24 reads in Spanish, This is for my mom who gave me everything. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
Graduations, resignations and more: PCCD Trustees wrap up school year at 5/28 meeting
Romi Bales, Staff Writer • June 17, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024
Archives

    ‘Planned Parenthood saved my life’

    An abused Laney student’s dark and dangerous journey

    (Editor’s note: This article, which began as Laney class assignment, appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 30. In keeping with the newspaper’s decision not to include the Laney student’s byline, The Tower has done the same. We believe (as does the writer) it was a sound decision to protect the identity of the writer from future harm. Family names have been changed.)

    When I was 5, my brother and I were adopted by a family with a great mother, an older brother and a good father — or so it seemed. My older brother, Michael, was amazing and caring. My adoptive mother, Meredith, was strong and encouraging. We both loved gardening and cooking, and she motivated me in school. It all seemed great, and I was lucky enough to not be separated from my biological brother. That all changed when we moved to Oakland in December 1999.
    Tom, my adoptive father, began to to molest me. I couldn’t tell anyone. If I did, I knew there were consequences, and I wasn’t willing to take the chance that I might lose my brother to the foster-care system again.
    Tom molested me countless times. I was 16 when he finally raped me, and I got pregnant. There, inside me, was evidence of his abuse. If I kept the pregnancy quiet, then I would just look like a troubled teen who couldn’t keep her pants up. I couldn’t tell Tom. Who knows what this crazy man could have done to my family. Kidnap? Murder? What would he do to my unborn fetuses (I was pregnant with twins) if I had them? I was trapped, alone and scared.
    Planned Parenthood saved my life. At Planned Parenthood, I had a $550 abortion free of cost and without my abusive adoptive father finding out. I was almost 15 weeks pregnant at the time, and while I was sitting in the office with one of the nurses, she handed me a paper that I had the option to sign. The paper gave me the option to donate the fetuses to research efforts.
    I signed the paper and cried, finally. I had never really allowed myself to feel the pain of the situation. I knew I was 16 and couldn’t give my babies the safety or the life they deserved. I believe I made the best choice I could have as a mother: I protected them.
    The short lives that the fetuses had saved some people’s lives and helped further research. Planned Parenthood also did not sell the fetuses for profit. I donated them. Planned Parenthood is not — in any way — making a financial gain from the mothers who donate fetuses.
    I find it ridiculously offensive that Republicans, mostly men, are constantly telling women what they need to do with their bodies. This week, Congress will decide whether Planned Parenthood will lose funding. Some Republicans have threatened to shut down the government if federal funding for Planned Parenthood doesn’t end.
    I believe that women should have control over their own bodies, and in my case, I didn’t have control over getting pregnant. Telling me what to do with my body is a violation of my basic human rights and that is just as much of a violation as what Tom did to me. In 2013, Tom was sentenced to prison for life because of those violations.
    Others say Planned Parenthood is against God. Well, I don’t want to believe in a God that tells me I have to keep two fetuses, risking their lives and mine. I choose to believe that my God made the situation right and changed the course of my life for the better. If you have not lived my life, then hush.
    If you want to help lower the abortion rate, that is a noble service. Politicians should continue to fund Planned Parenthood because it helps teens not get pregnant — it provides free condoms and birth control.
    You cannot control women spiritually, physically, sexually or mentally.
    Think of your sisters, wives, girlfriends, aunts, nieces, daughters, grandmothers, teachers.
    Think of your mother.
    Think of me, and my story.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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