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Every Wednesday Morning

April 16, 2010

On Wednesday mornings, when I arrive at work, I am greeted by a group of protesters. I’d love to say that after working here for over three years, I’m immune to them. And there are some days when I drive in and honestly think, “Oh, right, it’s Wednesday.”

But then there are times when I let myself contemplate the fact that this is an organized, well-funded movement, both national and local, to end the work that I do and the health and educational services that my organization provides. The truth is that thinking about that makes me feel disgusted.

To think there are people who want me to live my life by their rules. There are people who are so against my right to make personal, private, medical decisions that they dedicate their lives to protesting my work – my life.

I’m talking about making an informed, private decision that will determine the course of my own life, and the lives of my family, not decisions that will result in any effect on any of these people, who are all strangers to me.

These protesters are a group of people who, on a twice weekly basis, dedicate hours of their time to standing outside holding signs that admonish our patients for obtaining health care. They are part of a group that protests our family planning services – services that include contraception, basic gyn care, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, testing for HIV. They protest our trainings for adults and teens, and our presence in schools. These are trainings about healthy sexuality and relationships. We’re talking about one-day educational sessions about contraception and sexually transmitted infections that may be the only sex education teens get for their entire lives.

They have even protested other organizations’ events when Planned Parenthood is involved. In 2008, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic and our sister affiliate, Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, received the “Organization of the Year” award from the Long Island Women’s Agenda. The award was given to us because of the tens of thousands of women for whom we are there, sometimes when no one else is. In my eyes, we got this award as much because of the abortion care we provide as because of the preventive services – not despite the fact that we provide abortion care. And when we drove up to the celebration, standing outside were the protesters, a handful of older men and women.

On my second day here, the person running the comprehensive health center where I’m located proudly said to me, “We change women’s lives.” For the better. We empower women, and men, and teens, to take control of their lives, to know that biology does not equal destiny. That’s what Planned Parenthood is about.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kathy SOmmerich permalink
    April 17, 2010 1:23 am

    I remember this experience so vividly. I love your blog.

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