They arrived Wednesday, before I got to work. We’re used to protesters here in Houston. Usually they target the two health centers that provide abortion, but this time of year they target double that number of health centers.
There were about a dozen – including one protester who harasses our clients with a video camera. He asks them provocative questions, tries to get a rise out of someone, anyone, to get some kind of outburst on film.
We have our ways of dealing with it, though. We’re prepared. All our escorts have signs that read, “You do not have permission to videotape,” and they use them to block our clients’ faces, protect their privacy.
Unfortunately, our patients are used to this kind of thing. One client described the group of protesters as voyeuristic. She wondered why they didn’t have better things to do than to come and watch clients entering a health care organization. She specifically asked one protester if he wanted to come in and watch while she got her Pap test!
It’s a long walk from our parking lot to the front door of the health center, which gives the protesters more opportunity to harass and antagonize than we’d like. And they are particularly aggressive during the 40 days. Sometimes they try to lure our patients to the crisis pregnancy center next door, where, instead of medically accurate health information, they receive anti-choice rhetoric.
Ninety-nine times out of 100, though, the protesters fail. Many of our patients have a long relationship with Planned Parenthood—we provide them affordable, high-quality health care that they often can’t get anywhere else. Our clients know where to go for compassionate care, for nonjudgmental service. They aren’t fooled by the lies of these anti-choice extremists. That’s something the protesters will never understand.
I am Emily X.
I am Planned Parenthood.