We arrive at 7:15 a.m. and park on a street adjacent to the health center. We greet each other and proceed to walk toward the employee entrance. As we walk down the block to enter the building, the second greeters of the day are the protesters. They are lined up along the sidewalk in front of the health center, telling us why we shouldn’t go to work today and saying how terrible we are. We ignore them and keep walking.
Inside, we begin our day. We prepare medication for the patients, set up the rooms, and prepare the front desk so that patients can check in — very routine and very status quo.
The first patient walks through the door. Maybe she is thinking about what the protesters said. Maybe she is thinking about the choice she made to come in that day. Or maybe she is just glad that she was able to choose.
We check her in, and then she comes back to an exam room. Along the way she is greeted by every person on staff. Each one reassures her, through actions and words, that we care and that everything will be OK. The doctor successfully completes her procedure. She recovers, and is discharged. On the way out, she expresses her sincerest thanks to the nursing staff and asks them to convey that same message to the rest of us.
We see so many patients just like her during the course of a day. In some respects, we know that any one of us could be her. And we realize that this is more than just a job, more than just a set of tasks.
It is vitally important for us to be here, to provide a much-needed service for the women of Arizona. What we do at 7th Avenue makes a difference. No matter what obstacles we face, or how many protesters line our streets, we are proud to work for Planned Parenthood. We are proud to change the lives of Arizona women.
I am Emily X.
We are Planned Parenthood.