Friday, September 25, 2009

Houston, Texas

They arrived Wednesday, before I got to work. We’re used to protesters here in Houston. Usually they target the two health centers that provide abortion, but this time of year they target double that number of health centers.

There were about a dozen – including one protester who harasses our clients with a video camera. He asks them provocative questions, tries to get a rise out of someone, anyone, to get some kind of outburst on film.

We have our ways of dealing with it, though. We’re prepared. All our escorts have signs that read, “You do not have permission to videotape,” and they use them to block our clients’ faces, protect their privacy.

Unfortunately, our patients are used to this kind of thing. One client described the group of protesters as voyeuristic. She wondered why they didn’t have better things to do than to come and watch clients entering a health care organization. She specifically asked one protester if he wanted to come in and watch while she got her Pap test!

It’s a long walk from our parking lot to the front door of the health center, which gives the protesters more opportunity to harass and antagonize than we’d like. And they are particularly aggressive during the 40 days. Sometimes they try to lure our patients to the crisis pregnancy center next door, where, instead of medically accurate health information, they receive anti-choice rhetoric.

Ninety-nine times out of 100, though, the protesters fail. Many of our patients have a long relationship with Planned Parenthood—we provide them affordable, high-quality health care that they often can’t get anywhere else. Our clients know where to go for compassionate care, for nonjudgmental service. They aren’t fooled by the lies of these anti-choice extremists. That’s something the protesters will never understand.

Protesters: 12
I am Emily X.
I am Planned Parenthood.


molly said...

Dear Emily X,

I am a college student and you can not know how good it felt to realize that I could go somewhere close and receive sound, trustworthy healthcare and support without having to pay hundreds of dollars. I almost cried I was so relieved.

I can not imagine how awful I would have felt if there were protesters outside the door when I got there. I met a girl in the waiting room with the happiest little baby in the world, and neither one of them would have health care at all without planned parenthood!
Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for doing what you do. Planned Parenthood SAVES lives, it doesn't take them away.

blueeyedgirl said...

Hi Emily X, Many years ago I had an abortion. I was 18yrs old and just knew that I was not ready to become a mother. Thanks to the women that came before me, it was legal to have an abortion. And I God bless the women who had to go to filthy and dangerous "doctors" to get done what I so freely did. And I'll tell you something, I WISH there had been protesters in front of the clinic harrassing me.I calmly would have spit in their faces. Many years later, when I realized I was pregnant, there was only one place I knew would take excellent care of me and my child. On October 6th 1987 I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl I'd ever seen. Thank You Planned Parenthood.

Alathea said...

Thank you for your comment Molly, I completely agree. I recently went to plan parenthood with flue symptoms that I thought might have been an infection. I am without health insurance (aside from the College health facility where I attend school) so Planned Parenthood was my only option. I also go there for all my yearly checkups and birth control. I am so thankful to have a place to go. I don't know what I would do if it wasn't for Planned Parenthood. I am thankful for each and every person that works there. Keep it up! we all depend on you! Thank you all so much!!