I work in the clinic here in Tempe, and am one of the few men on staff.
Here, the protesters are a fixture — whether or not it’s “40 Days for Life.” I tell patients they wouldn’t find our facility if not for the people gathered together outside.
“Every village has its idiots,” I say, “and we have ours.”
Last weekend, there were 30 people out in front of the building — more than normal — plus the ultrasound van. The van has mobile ultrasound, and free pregnancy tests — like a “crisis pregnancy center” on wheels, ready to scare women with biased information.
I know it can be intimidating to have to get through a bunch of protesters, but do I think they’re deterring patients from coming in? No.
It’s a year-round phenomenon — heavier on Fridays and Saturdays. There are going to be protesters out there, five or 50, depending on the day and who’s organizing.
If I don’t call the cops once a weekend, I’m surprised. It’s part of my daily routine. I make a point, on the days we provide abortions, to walk out there and make our presence known. We count them, and note if there are any new ones or weirdoes.
I am a soldier on the frontline of what we do.
Typically, I am one of the first people that a patient sees when they come in. Maybe because I’m a guy, they often think I’m the doctor. But when I start talking they realize I’m not. I sit and talk with women, crying women — and by the time we’re done talking there are no more tears. I’m helping them through the process.
I have three sisters, and I know they’ve have some tough decisions to make. So I get up every morning to fight for these women’s rights.
I am Emily X
I am Planned Parenthood.