Choice means BUTT OUT!

What if I protested your trip to the Doctor?

What if I protested your trip to the Doctor?

I’ve walked past the Planned Parenthood office near my work a hundred times. Every Wednesday and Friday, an older Caucasian man and woman with their rosary beads and occasionally a younger person stand in front of the clinic and protest abortion. I walk by without saying anything – I’ve been in a lot of (very different) protests myself.  I believe we do have a right to express ourselves.

Often, I’ll slip the clinic escorts a coffee card, or just wave or smile. That day, I waved to the clinic escorts in their hazard orange vests, and said “Thank you! You’re Awesome.”  Immediately, the older man ran up to me and started yelling “how dare you, how can you say such a thing?! Shame on you!”

I want to make clear that I’ve walked past these people hundreds of times, and regardless of how strenuously I disagree with them, I keep to myself. And those that know me know I don’t back down from a fight. signs

Threatening my personal space, the older man kept yelling at me, so I fired right back. “How dare YOU judge and stand out here, threatening women coming here – this is about WOMEN’S HEALTH, this isn’t about abortion. This isn’t about people ending lives. You seem to think that saving a life ends at birth. SHAME ON YOU, this is about saving WOMEN’S LIVES. If you cared, you’d be working at an orphanage or raise money for new families, not standing here, judging women seeking HEALTHCARE.”

What surprised me the most was the look of total shock in the older man’s eyes. I wonder if anyone had ever yelled back at him. I’ve never yelled at someone like that in public, despite being outspoken, spirited and often naturally loud. I was vaguely aware of people stopping and watching the fracas.

Can you imagine if the situation was reversed? If I went and protested in front of that man’s doctor’s office every time he went for a check-up? It would be ridiculous. Choice is about a personal privacy. Would my protest in front of his doctor’s office with a sign that says “Get Screened” or “Love your Balls” make him more likely to get a cancer screening?  Is that any of my business?  Of course not.

I can’t say I’m particularly proud of that moment – in a perfect world we wouldn’t have to yell to be heard. What those protesters don’t know is that I was raised in the Church, served as a missionary, and go to Mass. Where I come from, I don’t dare think I know the will of God. I can only hope to draw close to the Lord, and help out my fellow woman and man. And frankly, butt out of other people’s business!

[And for the record, most Planned Parenthood Clinics spend 97% of the time on preventive care, such as family planning services, cervical cancer and breast cancer screenings, and gynecological exams.]

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  1. You just made ME want to yell at you: “THANK YOU! THANK YOU! YOU ARE AWESOME!” But seriously, thanks.

  2. Aw shucks 🙂 thanks so much! honestly, I do hope we figure out a way to work together – I think being for Choice doesn’t mean you’re against health families. It’s such an emotional topic!

  3. Sarah

    You may not be proud of that moment, but I am proud of you for it! Thank you for standing up to that guy.

  4. Joanne

    You did good! I was just wondering the other night if I should wander on up there and stage a protest in support! Something along the lines of “feel your boobies” or “I wish my tax dollars supported Planned Parenthood and not your viagra!”

  5. readergirl

    so proud of you!
    it is presumptuous for anyone to assume what is on another person’s heart and mind. they labor under the dumb assumption that all the services center around abortion. i know many, many professional women who use planned parenthood because of the excellent affordable care and good information they are given. none of them have used those services for abortions. however, what if they had? that is their personal business- you are right, it is about privacy!
    way to go, sweetie!

  6. Good for you! We’ve had too many years of everyone just passing by and looking the other way while our rights are slowly being choked. It’s time to stand up and say Yes we can! to taking care of ourselves and protecting the rights of others!!!

  7. I have a male friend who walks right up to the clinic workers, while pushing aside protesters, to thank them. He does this with his 2 children in tow.

  8. @ilinap now THAT is the way to do it – with your kids 🙂

  9. bcita

    Well, I am that young woman that stands outside the clinic every week, quietly praying. I never harass anyone–indeed I have never even spoken to anyone there–but I have had various items thrown at me, countless people give me the finger and curse at me, and have stood by others who have received death threats for quietly praying on the sidewalk.

    I think you are absolutely right that we cannot judge another’s heart–that right belongs to God alone. However–and I include the faith angle here because it appears in your post–we can judge the rightness or wrongness of an action, as Jesus and His apostles did. We can indeed know God’s will, as He has revealed it to us, through Sacred Scripture and Tradition. His will is to care for our neighbor, and as Sacred Tradition has told us authoritatively, the unborn are to be numbered among our neighbors, as are pregnant women in need of assistance.

    The Church opposes abortion not because She opposes women’s rights, but because she affirms them–including the right to life of the unborn girl. The Church opposes abortion for the same reason She cares for the poor, stands up against female genital mutilation, torture, prostitution, and slavery–because all of these things violate the integrity of the human person and insult human dignity and because they harm both those who suffer from them and those who practice them.

  10. Thanks for stopping by bcita, and for expressing your beliefs. I happen to disagree with some of them, but I think we’re united in the belief that some day we can live in a world where there won’t be a need for abortion. It’s a wonderful thing that we live in a country where we’re both allowed to maintain and express our beliefs.

    I see that Planned Parenthood clinic – and the hundreds around the country – the same way I see a doctor’s office. It’s a health care issue. Once a woman grabbed my arm as I was on my way in to one of those clinics – for a routine health exam – sobbing and asking me not to kill my baby. I said to her, sister, I’m not going in to kill anyone’s baby.

    What a person’s belief system is – what choices they make – from owning a gun, what they choose to eat, what health decisions they make – are their choices. I have a limited amount of influence and even less control (if any) over those choices. I hope they are educated, informed, and make choices that are good for them, and for the community they live in. I actively volunteer and work in ways that support that view – and hope a maximum amount of health and good comes as a result.

    It takes guts to stand up for what you believe in. It is clear to me that you are a woman of principle who stands up for what she believes in. It’s unfortunate that people throw stuff at you — again, I don’t like the fact that I yelled at that man. But he provoked me – doesn’t make what I did right – but I had had enough. For me, this issue is one of privacy – I don’t protest your visit to the doctor – I don’t protest in front of your Church. And we clearly maintain faith that is similar in very broad aspects, but very different in others.

    I’m glad we can have a dialogue on this. And I’m glad that the Internet is big enough for us to hold and maintain two very different views, with a level of civility.

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