We have had picketers since the day we opened in Prescott. We started offering medication abortion in December 2004, and they were here before then. It’s funny — they used to come every Wednesday until they realized we were offering the abortion pill on Thursdays.
There are between four and six people at a time, generally the same people with the same signs. They have been talking more to patients, lately — telling lies. They say we are prescribing low-dose pills so that women will get pregnant, that the abortion pill will cause ulcers or make it impossible for them to get pregnant in the future. Outright lies. It’s ridiculous.
I’ve been at this health center since 1985. I’m a PA (physician assistant). I do basic women’s health care, including birth control, STDs, Pap tests, and mammogram referrals — the full range of services. And at this health center, we see everything.
We saw a vulnerable 17-year-old woman who was molested at age four by her uncle. She hadn’t told anyone until she told us.
We saw a 58-year-old woman who was new to the area. She felt a lump in her breast but couldn’t get an appointment for a mammogram — until we scheduled her in right away and made the necessary referrals.
We saw a mom who came in every so often to purchase condoms that she tucks into the bathroom drawers for her boys.
We saw a woman — a single mother of two girls — who came here first, for affordable birth control. Now her daughters come here, too.
One day, I was talking to a patient for follow up. She was crying. In my experience, people are usually happy and smiling at their follow-up visits. I asked her what was wrong, and she said the protesters yelled at her, saying that she was going to hell.
After that, I signed up for a monthly donation of $100. I figured if I couldn’t stop the protesters, I could at least ease some of the financial burdens faced by our patients.
I’ve been through 24 years of them out there, once a week, praying — or should I say “preying” — on the vulnerable. And I can say one thing — it doesn’t change the good work we do inside this health center.
I am Emily X.
I am Planned Parenthood.