Friday, October 10, 2008

Is That the Best Use of Your Time?

Last time we had protesters here in Issaquah, I didn’t really mind having them across the street. They didn’t approach our patients or yell hateful epithets like so many protesters do outside other clinics. They smiled and waved. Their signs were not ugly or hateful. Mostly, they chatted on cell phones, read or napped.

In all, I figure more than 1,000 hours were wasted -- roughly half–a-dozen people, there for eight hours a day, for 27 days. I can think of quite a few other ways that those hours could have been better spent.

· raising money to help low-income, single parents
· providing childcare for those who can’t afford it
· snuggling babies born addicted to drugs
· spending time with kids that don’t have a loving, caring adult in their lives
· foster parenting
· adopting a child with special needs
· lobbying for health insurance for everybody
· taking a group of kids outside to learn about the environment and get exercise
· being a reading buddy at a local elementary school
· mentoring at-risk kids

And that’s just off the top of my head.

It takes real commitment and diligence to sit on the sidewalk for 27 days, rain or shine. Think of all we could accomplish if their efforts went toward something we can all agree on -- healthy kids, families, women, and teens.

In this all-too-important election season, when there is so much at stake with health care and women’s rights, to sit idly by is just a waste of everyone’s time.

I am Emily X.

I am Planned Parenthood.


Geri said...

I just sent a contribution to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's "honor". Keep up your important work. Geri Berkman

Anonymous said...

I wish all the hardcore pro-life people didn't give you guys/girls such a hard time.

Here is my personal view on the matter - although I personally don't condone abortion due to my Christian beliefs, I think there is a middle ground that can be reached. I have actually been to Planned Parenthood to get a birth control prescription, and I noticed that besides offering abortions, you do A LOT to help people get contraceptives and other sexual health items. I feel that this kind of service is important, and I really appreciate it. I didn't feel alienated from the clinician as I usually do with doctors.

Now for my solution to the pro-choice pro-life battle: If birth control pills were more affordable (like $10/pack) and more accessible (as in doctors were no longer allowed to require an exam) then I believe more women who did not want babies or who could not afford to be a parent would use pills and never get pregnant in the first place, reducing the need for abortion by a lot. This would also save the government money in the long run. Many single mothers or low income families are forced to rely on the government for assistance, especially if another unwanted or unexpected child comes into the picture. The services that the government must then provide may include prenatal care, health coverage for the child, schooling costs, public childcare facility costs, etc. If the government would change its thinking so that birth control pills were free of charge or available for a reasonable price, they could head off all that other spending in many cases. I have a degree in political science and have been researching the issue a lot lately, and I believe lobbying for such changes would be far more effective and influential, especially if you have a chance to present this type of reasoning to those in Congress.

This scenario should make pro-choice people happy because although it stresses pregnancy prevention instead of abortion rights, it would give women even more of a choice. I know a lot of people get pregnant because they can't afford the birth control or don't want to jump through stirrups to get it (meaning they have no choice but to do without), and this change would do away with such situations.

This scenario should also make the pro-life people happy because they would no longer have anything to scream and fuss about. And the ones who completely oppose birth control - well, they're just going to have to get over it, especially since many girls need birth control for reasons other than just pregnancy prevention.

I'm actually ashamed that a lot of people who claim to share my religion are some of the main ones who harass you. If they really practice what they preach and believe what they say they believe, then they should know we are not to judge others.

Once again, I'd like to thank you for providing more easily accessible birth control and for doing so in a non-judgmental environment.

Elizabeth said...

I'm so glad that there are wonderful people out there like you who care about reproductive health. Keep your chin up! You're doing a great job - as opposed to those protesters who are wasting their time fighting against a woman's (and guy's) right to reproductive health information.

Amanda said...

Thank you so much for everything you and Planned Parenthood do for women's health!! I am a graduate student and as much as I would love to pledge money to help out, I just can't afford it right now:( What I can afford to do is pledge my time. What is the best way to go about finding information on volunteering to be an escort????

actonbell said...

Thank you, Emily X, for this blog!

And good for you, Amanda! I don't know where you're from, but in my locale, the Planned Parenthood Clinic would be able to put you in touch with the other escorts.

Prosey said...

I'm in full agreement with you...but the thing about those anti-abortionists is...all they care about is conception to end-of-term. They don't care about anything beyond the fetus into the actual "baby"'re right - it's a horrific waste of time and energy.


*hug* I'm glad you do this, though. You've got a lot of moral support from the other end of the country.


You have wonderful recommendations for how time can be spent. I will spread your message in my own blog as well as email your blog address to all of my friends.

An avid reader!

Pandora said...

Excellent comment NicoleBaker. That was one of the most edjucated opinions on the subject of reproductive health issues and laws I've ever seen. Pretty sane-minded as well. I like how you can uphold your own beliefs while still respecting other's and respecting that people are different and have different lives. :D

I'm going to start following this blog on a more regular basis, I just recently got the e-mail from Planned Parenthood about the "pledge-a-protestor" thing. Honestly, I cracked up. I think it's kind of funny that these protestors are out there, waving signs and all that, yet are actually making the clinics money and helping their existance by doing it. XD

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ann bier said...

Thanks for sending a contribution in Sarah Palin's "honor", Geri.
If she becomes aware of it I'm sure she'll ignore it. That vicious woman with such a closed mind and venomous mouth makes this country a laughing stock. She is dangerous, and has stirred up the very worst in the audiences she inflames. Shame on Sen. McC for ever nominating her without vetting her and learning the scurrilous things she has done in AK, and the ridiculous spectacle she has become. The only good thing has been the hay Tina Fey has made of it.
ann bier

CrashGrab said...

What a great list! I've often thought the same thing. Instead of protesting outside of clinics, why don't these people do something that would make a meaningful impact on unplanned pregnancies or help the lives of women and children?