Friday, October 12, 2007

Better care

I get my coffee in the mornings from a Starbucks that's across the street from our health center. This was my view today:

When I drove in, the woman who always stands at the gate tried to hand me a pamphlet and said, “You should check out this pregnancy center. They’ll take better care of you.”

I know the type of “pregnancy center” she’s talking about. They are fake clinics set up to lure in pregnant women. Then they use scare tactics to pressure them out of having an abortion. Right, better care.

I’ll tell you about better care. When I walk into our health center this morning, one of our doctors is on the phone with a patient asking her if she has picked up her UTI medicine at the pharmacy. “Promise me you’ll do that today, sweetie. And listen, if you don’t have the money for it, bring in your receipt, and we’ll reimburse you. The most important thing is that you start taking those pills and feeling better.”

Protesters: 6

I am Emily X.

I am Planned Parenthood.


MyBodyMyChoice said...

Like one in four girls, I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I know that being sexually abused as a child affected my sense of boundaries and my sense of how I saw my own worth.

One statistic I don't think a lot of people know is that 60% of first teen pregnancies happen to girls who have a sexual abuse history. For the source of this statistic, see

If these protestors really want to do something to reduce teen pregnancy, they should do something about the epidemic of childhood sexual abuse in our country--and I do not use the term "epidemic" lightly.

Thanks, Emily X, and everyone else who supports Planned Parenthood. The issue of abortion is not a simple one.

tellthetruth said...

I just want you to know that my daughter's 16 year old friend went to one of your clinics. I took her because her mother has died. I think what you do is an important service and I commend you. The people at Planned Parenthood were wonderful to this little girl and I am so grateful for all of you. Although my personal belief is that abortion is not right for me, I would never begrudge another to make that choice. If that child had the baby the state would be paying for it for years. She knew she could not raise a baby and she was very scared. I am so grateful for people like you who provide an important service to woman. I was accosted by these people on my way in from getting coffee. This women told me I was going to hell and God would never forgive me. Well I told her the God I know was kind and loving and understood why there was a ten year old child in that clinic that morning having an abortion. I had a copy of the book by Joyce Meyer, the Battle Belongs to the Lord and I showed it to her. I am a christian and I love people and accept their faults as part of the whole. Thank you Emily X. Thank you!!!

Cheryl said...

You are amazing, and this blog is fascinating. Don't ever let them get you down. A truly spiritual person would see that life is about choices, and that no one has the right to impose their ideas about right or wrong on another's life choices.

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for the work you do and for posting this blog. Planned Parenthood has provided me with the services, care, and counseling that I need. As a 23 year old college graduate wanting to go on birth control for the first time, I had questions and concerns that I certainly could not ask my conservative parents and also, no medical insurance to pay for expensive doctor's visits. I am sure this scenario is common. Thanks to Planned Parenthood, I have the freedom to pursue my career without fear of unwanted pregnancies.
I see more compassion amongst the staff at Planned Parenthood than amongst the angry, judgemental protestors. I am a religious person- but these people dont represent anything close to the God I believe in. Religious people shouldnt tell lies such as, "contraception is abortion." Following that logic, I would argue that the timing method that many of these people defend, would also be a form of contraception.
The truth is that our world has changed. People can't afford to get married at the age of 18 when they have education and careers to pursue first. Even when couples do marry, most do not plan to have children right away. Unlike the protesters would have you believe, I have found that Planned Parenthood encourages monogammy and responsible planning. This way, people can be healthy, happy, and perhaps someday, have children at a time when they are ready to love, care, and provide for them.

TGordon said...

Thank-you Emily and those like you that brave this every day. I volunteered this summer to man a booth at our local county fair. Planned Parenthood had not made an appearence here for many years, and it is basically a rural environment, at least everyone turns country at fair-time; so I was concerned. I was suprised by the amount of local support, and encouraged by people manning other booths that signed our petition and said, "we're glad you're here" One of my favorite moments was when a mother shouted at me, "I don't want my daughter to have an abortion!" I said, "I don't either, I want her to have an education and options", then the church booth next to us cheered. It seems they don't want her daughter to have an aborition either; now' we may disagree on some strong points, but we all did agree, for one minute, that education and options are a good thing. And that one minute made me feel pretty good.

Candace said...

Please keep continue with what you are doing. I appreciate that you are educating us on what you deal with on a daily basis, along with your patients.

Please know that there are people out there that support you.

Tara said...

You rock, my partner works for PP, and I am so glad that so many women benefit from her and your kindness and willingness to put themselves in the line of fire. Keep it up, we need more people like you out there :)

Mary Ellen said...

I walked through Planned Parenthood's doors as a terrified, unintentionally pregnant 17 year old a couple of decades ago. You all held my hand, gave me the information I needed to make a decision, and made it clear that I would be supported no matter what my choice. I remember asking what I should do, and the counselor's firm but kind words: "only you can make that choice." For those who advocate parental involvement, or feel that parents should provide support and guidance at these times, know that that was not a safe choice for me.

Thank you Emily - and your colleagues and coworkers, from the bottom of my heart, for providing accurate information, support and care for women who so desperately need it.

Eliza said...

Something that has always bothered me: The staff at Planned Parenthood with all of their birth control and educational services have done more to prevent abortions than any group of protesters could ever hope to! Contraception is key and what PP is really about anyway.

Keep up the good work Emily X and all the other wonderful PP employees!!

-T. said...

Thank you, Emily X for your commitment to choice. While I was in high school, Planned Parenthood provided me with counseling and birth control in a safe and warm atmosphere. I will always be grateful that Planned Parenthood was there for me when I needed it; its why I now support Planned Parenthood and every they stand for, including choice, education and medical care for those who need it most, when they need, without judgment. While I have never been faced with the personal choice that is abortion, I have walked through a group of picketers with a friend...and I too, felt stronger and more committed to choice after braving the ignorance and lies that these people screamed at us. Thank you Emily X - and all the "Emily X"s in the Planned Parenthood family, for your personal commitment to the health of women.

Starchasm said...

Good for you Emily! You and your fellow PP workers provide an invaluable service to women all over this country. Hold your head up high and continue to ignore those picketers.

Alice said...

Thirty five years ago I saw Planned Parenthood as the only option for a 18 year old who was ready to have an intimate relationship with her boyfriend.I used your services and I hope you can remain and offering services for every young woman who needs you for whatever reason. I needed bcp only, thank God. I may have needed more if you had not been there!

mksand said...


Thank you for the commitment.

Karuna said...

Thanks for your work, and I hope the day will come when I'm not worried about your safety on the job. In the meantime, please keep it up and let us know how it's all going.

rcknrbn7 said...

I think this whole idea is awesome! In my very little experience with the grown up world I have noticed that those who yell the loudest get the most publicity, and are usually the minority who are at an extreme end of the spectrum. Its about time that someone in your position raise your voice but not to bitch and moan but just to educate. People all too often underestimate the power of education and fact (PS my favorite quote is the one about breast cancer :)) As a fellow health care worker, self proclaimed woman's advocate, and pro-choice person I really admire your work here.

Patricia said...

PP is great and your awesome for what you do. There are so many girls out there that don't know, I was one of them.

The Redhead said...

What a great idea! I'm sponsoring a quarter for every protester. I love the fact that the anti-choicers are raising money for PP by protesting. Emily, you rock!

Ealasaid said...

Emily X, you rock. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with the world.

I deeply admire everyone who works for and supports PP in areas with protesters and unsympathetic communities. The services PP provides are vital and make their communities a better place. I wish more folks understood that. The pro-forced-birth contingent just don't seem to be thinking things through at all.

The pledge-a-protester is awesome, and I am pledging right now!

Nick said...

Hi Emily!

I want you to know that i think that what you are doing is awesome and noble.

I volunteer for Planned Parenthood and have always believed in defending reproductive rights.

It saddens me to see these people outside the clinics harrasing and intimidating patients and staff walking in for reasons that are completely none of their business.

Keep fighting the good fight, and remember that you have supporters!


Aimeepalooza said...

Emily X, you rock. I've set up a link at my blog. You sent me from your office with the morning after pill a while back. Years later, I have two young children who were 100% planned and wanted. Thanks for giving me the right to decide when I would become a Mother.

Kleio Lune said...

Thank you for all of the work that you do. I could not imagine my life without the simple peace of mind that my birth control pills give me, or the knowledge that should I - or any of my friends - have to make a hard decision, PP is there.

Thank you. A thousand times thank you.

cinnamon said...

You work for a most admirable organization Emily X. The term "pro life" is a misnomer for those protesters. They are "pro birth", not pro life. Life occurs from Day 1 until death, tens of thousands of days later. Planned Parenthood does more than any other entity to PREVENT unwanted births by distributing birth control and engaging women of all ages is real, educational, NON-biased and NON-pressured dialogue. Keep the compassion. It will prevail.

Now pardon me while I pledge to anti-support the protesters - outstanding idea. I hope this one catches on.

Ashley said...

I don't say this lightly, but God bless you for what you're doing for women in this country.

I know that not everyone wants to see these services offered, and not everyone cares what happens to the women who need them. But others do. I care, and people I know care. We're here and we're grateful.

Thank you.

zaphraud said...

Its worse than just "luring" to places that will pressure people to not have an abortion. Another tactic I have heard about, while it seems it ought to be illegal, is that anti-abortionists will simply stall the matter past the point where it is either legal or accessible for that person to get an abortion in their particular area of the world, due to trimester limiting laws and/or doctors or organizations who feel uncomfortable working beyond a particular time period.

No matter how much evidence I am shown of what a fetus is capable of, I will always view this issue as the simple issue it really is - a civil rights issue.

Put simply, nobody has the right to live literally inside someone else without their permission, regardless of their age!

Why can't these people see the harm they are doing, and instead focus their tremendous energies into actually solving the problem, for example by funding research intended to help premies and/or research into developing an artificial womb. While doubtless decades off, it is the ONLY answer I can think of that respects a human beings fundamental rights of ownership of their own body.

-Jason Kennerly

Snp44 said...

Thank you for being a strong and determined woman. You provide us with a much needed service.Thank you for providing health care to so many! :)

Alison said...

The protestors don't like birth control either, so that wouldn't impress them. They don't want you to know that for many of them a woman's health and sanity are less important than her fertility -- her subjugation to her fertility really

Alison said...

Emily X,

Thank you.

The protestors wouldn't be impressed by the fact that a woman is just there for birth control. Most of them won't tell you that, but they also object to birth control. Basically, they oppose amy means by which a woman controls her own body and her fertility.

Bernie said...

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences. I`m a 73 year old male who`s been patient excorting for 17+ years at Planned Parenthood here in Ann Arbor. The 40Days thing is at our main office only, and, although annoying, quite lame in my opinion. No loss of patronage and a spike in "drive-by donations".. people see them camped on the nearby sidewalk and stop to donate.
Stay strong and vigilant everyone.



Thank you for standing up for our constitutional right to privacy. The government has no business in our bedrooms or doctor's offices.

I wish more people would see this for what it is, a narrow minority using government power to cram their hateful idealogy down all of our throats.

Bernie said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. I`ve been patient escorting at our Planned Parenthood clinic here in Ann Arbor for 17+ years. This 40 Days thing is at our main office and, although annoying, has not slowed down or affected our business. Has caused a spike in "drive-by donations" though. I make sure the protestors know how much they`re helping us in our fund raising. lol

Karina said...

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for doing what you do. I feel so strongly about women's health. As a Christian, I am very, very embarassed that these people say that God hates them and that they are going to hell. God does not hate. God is love and understanding and forgiveness.

I didn't mean to get preachy...I just don't understand how they think. I wish I could do what you do. Thank-you. Thank-you, and thank-you. You rock, everyday of your life.

Karina said...

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for doing what you do. I feel so strongly about women's health. As a Christian, I am very, very embarassed that these people say that God hates them and that they are going to hell. God does not hate. God is love and understanding and forgiveness.

I didn't mean to get preachy...I just don't understand how they think. I wish I could do what you do. Thank-you. Thank-you, and thank-you. You rock, everyday of your life.

Alison said...

I am a cancer survivor who chose Planned Parenthood as one of my health care providers during what was a very stressful time financially and otherwise.

I was always treated like a whole human being, with respect and dignity, and without any coercive intrusion. I was always presented with ALL my options, not just ones that those who make tons of money off adoptions prefer women to see.

My hope is that those who don't agree with abortion will find time to address all the things that precede the need for it: poverty, abuse, discrimination, rape, unavailability of birth control, etc.

Planned parenthood addresses ALL those issues while anti-choice protesters have relegated themselves to causing more pain too late in the game. They are as addicted to their dogma as any alcoholic is to alcohol, and I honestly hope that these religious and other extremists are classified as the mentally ill people they are within my lifetime, and can receive the appropriate help for their very disturbing need to inject themselves into people's lives uninvited.

Thanks for all that you do, you have my support absolutely.

SpayYourPetsDammit!! said...

To all Planned Parenthood workers... THANK YOU!! Your commitment to women's health is totally admirable, and I hope and pray that your message reaches all women. I've used PP's services many times, and have reccomended them to friends. I totally believe in your message and stand behind you 110%. I'm totally convinced that the pro-life movement only cares about kids until they're born, and then they no longer give a crap wether they're fed and treated well. I, for one, care. And that's why I admire all of you so much.

Brandy said...

I agree with cinnamon, PP is the REAL Pro-Life organization!

How many womens' lives have been saved by the actions of your clinics? How many children have also had improved lives because their parents were healthier and had more information and knowledge to save themselves?

I admire you and your co-workers, and am daily thankful that you are there to help. Thank you for this site, too. You are shining a light for us to see the quieter side of the coin, how you diligently continue in your mission despite daily threats!

Our thanks can barely repay you. My husband was glad when I told him about the donations per protester, he says that is the best way to take the teeth out of the protest!

We are on your side. Thank you.

Courtney said...

Yay! A huge thanks to you and all of your coworkers around the nation for the work you do every day!

Keep i up. You bravery is amazing and I've got your back! :)

RNTeacher said...

Why don't the people who want to "save" so many babies read the news? Women and children are dying all over the world because of lack of professional care available.
The Planned Parenthood Movement was started by a Nurse who saw the underprivileged having less than adequate reproductive care. Should we go backwards?

The following is an excerpt from an article I found on MSN:

One women dies every minute
"It is unacceptable that one woman dies every minute during pregnancy and childbirth when proven interventions exist ... to save women from dying," she said in a statement.
Obaid said "three simple interventions" are needed — skilled birth attendants, emergency obstetric care, and family planning.

In Africa, the report said, less than 50 percent of births are attended by a skilled health worker. That is far below the global target which aims to ensure that at least 90 percent of births worldwide are attended by skilled health personnel by 2015, it said.
Article: As many women dying in childbirth as in 1990.
(from MSN October 12, 2007)

I personally have seen the affects of the underserved in the area of reproductive care.
Thanks for sharing your stories!

Suzanne said...

This blog is wonderful!

I work at a PP affiliate in another state and am dealing with the same types of protesters. I also come from a por-life family. I always ask pro-lifers why they don't adopt. It seems to me that they should take one of these "babies" they are so fired up about "saving" into their homes and put their money where their mouths are.

Favorite sign at the March for Women's Lives in 2004: "And just how many children have you adopted, Mister?"

Keep up the great work Emily!

NorthWolf said...

New research recently published suggests that illegal (quack) abortions are as common as legal abortions in locations where abortion is outlawed. This research estimates that 70,000 women die every year from quack abortions, and another 5 million women are injured. Undoubtedly the vast majority of these quack abortions are performed in places where abortion is illegal- clearly the fact that abortion has been outlawed does not stop abortion, it just forces women to put themselves at risk for serious injury or death.

Planned Parenthood saves women from quack abortions- from injury and death. End of story. PP workers and volunteers, stay strong! Be proud of the work you do and the positive impact you have because a woman in need can trust you to take care of her and provide her with factual information to help her make the right decision.


Space Samurai said...

Thank you so much for what you and the many others like you do.

Meghan said...

Thank you so much - for doing the work that you do, for spreading the word about all the benefits Planned Parenthood has to offer, and for bravely and maturely facing such protesters when I am sure it is easy to just get angry. I am a proud supporter of Planned Parenthood, and I am so glad it exists. There are so many people that are just ignorant, and it is difficult to know that you may never be able to change or affect their thoughts; but it is so important to be there for those that do need these services. I pass by the Planned Parenthood in my area very often, and almost always there is at least one person standing outside the clinic. Yes, they have the right to be there, but it just completely unnerves me some days. Thank you for being such a strong and courageous woman. You are to be admired Emily X. Keep fightin' the good fight. :O)

gwen said...

I applaud you for everything you do. Thank you and thanks for people like you.
I do have one comment to make though. A few years ago as a broke college student I went to Planned Parenthood in NYC with a UTI. I spent a good hour waiting to speak to ANYONE and when I did was told to go to a city run clinic or hospital. I could not be seen or helped at Planned Parenthood.
Fortunately for me I found out later, I HAD insurance that covered such things. If not, being turned away from the ONLY place I know I can get free care would have really been awful.
Keep up the great work at YOUR clinic.

Lizw said...

Thanks for standing up to those unenlightened people who darken your entries. The women who cannot afford a private doctor are more entitled than those who can with no indignities. Please know we stand with you. Every woman has a right to control her own body!

Karen said...

This is a great idea. The more protestors show up, the more money PP gets! I saw some protestors last weekend out in front of churches and I didn't know what it was all about, so thanks for letting me know.

One of these churches is right around the corner from my daughter's elementary school. The church had a big sign out front that said "Pray for America" and listed the biggest "evils," they thought our country was facing, with abortion and pornography topping the list.

Aside from the bizarrely skewed priorities of that list (where were war, poverty, environmental degradation, racism, senseless gun violence, among others?) I was angry that this was posted in front of a school where little kids would see it. I didn't want my 8-year-old asking me what pornography was, and I didn't think she had to know yet. But she does now, and her life is now a little sadder and scarier, courtesy of these "pro-lifers."

Joseph said...

When I was in college, I was in a serious relationship with my boyfriend. At the time, we were using condoms until I could renew my birth control prescription. Well, the condom broke once and so I went to Planned Parenthood and got emergency contraception, which I used as directed. I still ended up getting pregnant and needing an abortion. I was 19. It's been two years now, and I can't imagine my life if I hadn't been able to receive the services I needed at such a vulnerable time. Thank you Planned Parenthood.

Additionally, it bothers me that women who get abortions are painted in the media as irresponsible whores, or people who didn't think about the consequences of their actions. Some of us used every means available to us to prevent a pregnancy we didn't want, and still ended up being pregnant. I'm not trying to condemn those who need abortions and didn't take precautions against a pregnancy initially, but I think that the media has got to stop portraying women who have had abortions as women who don't think about their actions. I've never thought harder about a decision in my life than when I chose to have an abortion, and that's probably true for most women who chose one.

Amanda said...


I hope you know how important your job is. Tell everyone you work with today the same thing. They are making an important difference in the world, not only to women, but to their partners, friends, and family.

The thought of these protestors makes me sick. I don't understand how they can't realize the detrimental effect they are having on women that are only trying to make the best decisions they can.


Julia said...

This "protest-a-thon" is a great idea! Are the protestors aware that they are basically raising money for you by showing up? Ha!
This idea is simply genius!!! Keep up the good work!

LarryCarterCenter said...

Hello to all, here in Charleston the fake clinic is just 2 miles East on the same road. The screaming meanies who deny decent care to women in front of the real clinic which is privately owned only alienate people when they shout "murderer" OR SHOW dishonestly labeled "third trimester baby" photos when it is obviously 2nd trimester.
We fought an "ultrasound bill" S84 last spring in Columbia which was passed in the House with only a tiny # of votes against.
Since the zealot theocrats did not wish to admit that ultrasounds before 7 weeks would show nothing, the bill was ruled "invasive" & thus violative of Webster if the law forced doctors to "show fetal development" by inserting the ultrasound device internally, causing pain & needless stress upon women under 7 weeks seeking abortions.
Planned Parenthood was there along with many other caring intelligent human beings to testify countering the ignorant religious claimants against women for the bill.
SC has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation & spends the least on birth control services.
That's "worst" not better.
I hope that people can contribute to the PP Building fund here so that more people can visit a clinic for affordable real care instead of religious incompetent care funded by Bush et al.

Erin said...

As a law student, I just finished studying a set of laws in several states that, on the grounds of "religious freedom," allow parents to deny their children medical care and then be acquitted of negligent homicide when said children die from treatable illnesses. The same groups that proclaim the law should allow their religion to kill already-born children say that the law shouldn't allow us to terminate pregnancies that haven't even resulted in a baby yet.

Who's killing babies now, religious right?