Friday, October 9, 2009

Chicago, Illinois

There’s been an uptick in the activity recently. We saw it first when Obama was elected, and again after Dr. Tiller’s murder.

It’s both the number of protesters who are outside, and the aggressiveness of their tactics. We’ve got protesters who are impersonating medical personnel, giving “advice.” And we’ve got protesters wearing bright yellow vests with “Parenthood volunteer” and a cross that looks amazingly like Planned Parenthood’s logo—so they look just like our volunteers. Anything they can to do confuse, harass, and intimidate. It’s gotten really bad, especially at our Near North health center.

That’s why we pushed for the buffer zone ordinance. It was introduced at a city council meeting last month, and went for a vote in the human relations committee two weeks ago. The full city council voted on Wednesday. It passed 28 to 13, and should be in force by mid-November.

Starting then, protesters will have to stay at least eight feet away from people outside health centers. The safe space will exist within 50 feet of the entrance of all health centers. Those who get too close will face a fine. It doesn’t stop the harassment, but it’s a start.

Some people have gotten used to the protesters and say they’re fine as long as they obey laws and stay out of our way. But the patients aren’t fine. They’re coming in upset, angry. It’s not fair for them to be in the middle of this war zone.

I am so proud to work for Planned Parenthood, to be fighting for the issues I care about—reproductive rights, women’s health care, and access to health care, which is my passion. I fight for those issues every day. Particularly when you hear stories of what’s going on on the front lines, to be able to change public policy to make a difference in the lives of teens, women, and those in need — it’s very rewarding.

Protesters: anywhere from 8-20

I am Emily X.

I am Planned Parenthood.


delialah said...

Although the buffer is not enough, it shows how devoted Planned Parenthood is to peaceful, lawful resolution. What courage and stamina you have! I am so proud of you and your patients. Thank you. Marilyn Hackett, Franklin, VT

RoRed23 said...

I'm so sad that I live here and I didn't know about this. I'm sad that I'm in a place right now where I couldn't help out by escorting, even though I'd like to. My husband used to do maintenance work at alot of PP facilities in the city through his company and he said it was always quiet outside. Looks like he was wrong.
I am so, so glad that the buffer zone ordinance was passed. But, I was saddened when I sent a letter to all of the aldermen and women about it and only one of them responded at all (and she with a yes vote).

Cast Iron Balcony said...

Good for you Emily, kudos to you (from Australia).

douglassmyth said...

This is powerful stuff! My only critique would be, that you should insure that we know that each blogger is her/himself--as well as Emily X. I didn't realize that at first, and I was a bit confused for not knowing.

I hope you can get material like this into the hands of newspapers and TV news shows.

I'm not anywhere near where there are embattled clinics--this is midstate NY, where abortion is much less of an issue than in a lot of the country, and I'm in the country.

I'll try to think of a way to use some of your material in my blog, however.

douglassmyth said...

This is powerful stuff!

It would be even more powerful if you each took your own voice, as distinctly you, even though you all sign as Emily X. I was confused st first, by not knowing who was speaking.

I wish I could do something, so, despite living far from the battle lines (in abortion-tolerant NY), I'll try to think of a way to fit it into my blog--a few hundred read it, most days.