Monday, October 22, 2007

I want to protect our patients

The protesters at our clinic have gone to great lengths to put up hurdles for our patients. A while ago, they bought the building right behind ours, set up a fake clinic with a huge sign that reads "FREE PREGNANCY TESTS." They don't offer any health care services -- and they certainly don't tell women about all of their options (parenting, adoption, and abortion) like we do at Planned Parenthood. Instead, these fake clinics try to lure in unsuspecting pregnant women and pressure them not to have an abortion.

Sometimes it bothers me that these signs are the first things our patients see when they walk out of our parking lot. But I've realized that the women and families in our community really know and trust Planned Parenthood. And we do everything we can to make sure that they feel safe and welcome from the moment they turn the corner and walk toward our building. The windows of our clinic are lined with pink ribbons, each symbolizing support from a member of our community. And we have volunteer escorts (smiling, friendly people, who walk patients to our doors and make sure that none of the protesters bother them) at both of our entrances. And I happen to be one of them.


FEMily! said...

That's the big difference between Planned Parenthood and so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Planned Parenthood treats women like people with brains who can make their own decisions. Crisis Pregnancy Centers believe women are naive and impressionable.

The fact that CPCs advertise free pregnancy tests is proof of their hypocrisy. The women who are more likely to walk into an establishment providing free pregnancy tests are young, poor, and/or unmarried. Essentially, they're the women who contradict the Evangelical mission of the CPCs. Secondly, their main goal is to end abortion, but at the same time, they only advertise a service that they know women everywhere need. If they believe their message of ending abortion is so strong and their argument so convincing, why don't they advertise it? Why do they hide it in a guise of helping women the same way Planned Parenthood does? Why don't they put bloody pictures of stillbirths that they pretend are abortions with the words "Come Here! It's God's Will! We Won't Let You Make the Wrong Decision!" at the entrance of their facilities? If they hold those signs and messages in front of Planned Parenthoods to convince women to turn around and go to a CPC instead, why don't they simply put those signs and messages outside their own establishments and watch the women run in? It's because they know they're not a service to the community like Planned Parenthood is. They know that they're on the wrong side of the issue. They know that women want comprehensive healthcare and medical advice. Therefore, CPCs have to pretend that they offer these things before telling women what their mission really is.

Katrin said...

I am so grateful for this blog.

Through these posts I get to see a perspective that I wouldn't otherwise. It is so reassuring, as a woman especially, to see what Planned Parenthood is doing.

Thank you, Emily X.

Marla Randolph Stevens said...

I used to escort before becoming too disabled to walk. It was a very rewarding experience, knowing that I both helped to keep the peace -- and keep clients' companions focused on caring for the person they came with in the process -- and relieve the stress of getting from car to clinic. We used umbrellas and boom boxes to shield the clients from the screaming wackos but it was really just our being there, a smiling human who was there just to make life easier for people seeking healthcare, someone unflappable and good natured who engaged the client in small talk completely unrelated to the circus around them, treating this as just a walk with a good-humored, nice person from a car to a door as if this was the most ordinary thing in the world that made the real difference.

Besides that, and completely outside the awareness of the clinic's clients, we also knew who were the really crazy and potentially dangerous protesters and did our best to keep them distracted and as far from the clients coming and going as possible -- even engaging them in active debate to do so, despite that our usual position was to ignore the protesters as much as possible.

Of course, we did help one of the clinics put in a sprinkler system on the property's perimeter which we turned on -- especially on really cold winter days -- whenever the protesters encroached too near the property line.

I've seen protesters with kids bring them into the most volatile of protests, leaving them in harm's way in the road when there was real danger of gravel flying if someone spun tires trying to avoid protesters or out for hours in truly dangerous winter weather.

I've called Child Protective Services to report such unlawfully neglectful abandonment of safe parenting on protesters' parts more than once.

judiediver said...

Whooray for the volunteers helping to comfortably and safely escort clients into a very impressive medical clinic for much needed quality services at an affordable cost (and in some circumstances even at no cost). Everyone at PP respects each person's right to choose that which is best for them. We would not have it any other way - and we dedicate our time and talents to helping keep that choice a right for all.

closetChristian said...

I am old enough to remember when these same misguided zealots ranted about the birth control pill. Why don't these protesters make themselves USEFUL and help homeless kids? or adopt an orphan?

I was an RN for many years and I recall a patient I had who during the day was extremely religious- praying loudly in the dining room, always watching the televangelists, listening to Christian music..."bless you" uh huh yep kinda like these protesters...but when he was asleep we got a huge kick out of the absolute FILTH that used to come from his subconscious mind and he would YELL out in his sleep.
That is why I call myself a "closet Christian"

Kristen said...

This blog hit very close to home.

I went to a Crisis Pregnancy Center to be tested for my second pregnancy. I was terrified and confused. All I wanted was an affirmative answer. I did not want to be lectured. The "counselor" that I spoke to had no credentials in either psychology or a health related science. What she was, was a fundamentalist preacher. She did give me information about all three options, but didn't hesitate to say "you know that abortion means killing your child". She then proceeded to hand me a three-dimensional plastic 8 week fetus, to show me what it looked like. I was disgusted. She also ran me through a questionnaire, basic things like my health history. I could not believe what came after that. It turned out that half of the questions were about my belief in God and an afterlife. She nearly burst out laughing when I told her that I was spiritual, but not affiliated with organized religion. By the time I walked out of there, I was furious. All I wanted was an answer. I did not want to be treated like some worthless piece of trash.

These establishments who advertise "free pregnancy tests" may as well add, "If you walk through our door, you had better be Christian, or you will be chastised"

In the end, I did terminate the pregnancy. Planned Parenthood exceeded my expectations. I was treated with respect and I walked out with my dignity still in tact. I want to thank all of those involved with PP. You do make a difference.