Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Prescott, Arizona

We have had picketers since the day we opened in Prescott. We started offering medication abortion in December 2004, and they were here before then. It’s funny — they used to come every Wednesday until they realized we were offering the abortion pill on Thursdays.

There are between four and six people at a time, generally the same people with the same signs. They have been talking more to patients, lately — telling lies. They say we are prescribing low-dose pills so that women will get pregnant, that the abortion pill will cause ulcers or make it impossible for them to get pregnant in the future. Outright lies. It’s ridiculous.

I’ve been at this health center since 1985. I’m a PA (physician assistant). I do basic women’s health care, including birth control, STDs, Pap tests, and mammogram referrals — the full range of services. And at this health center, we see everything.

We saw a vulnerable 17-year-old woman who was molested at age four by her uncle. She hadn’t told anyone until she told us.

We saw a 58-year-old woman who was new to the area. She felt a lump in her breast but couldn’t get an appointment for a mammogram — until we scheduled her in right away and made the necessary referrals.

We saw a mom who came in every so often to purchase condoms that she tucks into the bathroom drawers for her boys.

We saw a woman — a single mother of two girls — who came here first, for affordable birth control. Now her daughters come here, too.

One day, I was talking to a patient for follow up. She was crying. In my experience, people are usually happy and smiling at their follow-up visits. I asked her what was wrong, and she said the protesters yelled at her, saying that she was going to hell.

After that, I signed up for a monthly donation of $100. I figured if I couldn’t stop the protesters, I could at least ease some of the financial burdens faced by our patients.

I’ve been through 24 years of them out there, once a week, praying — or should I say “preying” — on the vulnerable. And I can say one thing — it doesn’t change the good work we do inside this health center.

Protesters: 5

I am Emily X.

I am Planned Parenthood.

5 comments:

HYuma said...

Jane,

You are one of the reasons why Margaret Sanger's legacy is still going.

Thank you so much!!
H in Y

Marilyn Markham said...

My Dearest Jane,
I have heard so many wonderful things about you over the years. I have had healthcare elsewhere, and had to go to Phoenix once for an abortion because I take anti-seizure drugs. I had one child and would have loved to have had more children, but it was a bad pregnancy, and one not to risk anyway. But my point is thank you. Those protesters have not a clue what you do for so many of my friends.
With gratitude,
Marilyn Markham Petrich, RN

M of PNW said...

Heads Held High, Hand in Hand, we must support each other. We are ALL God's children and NO ONE but God can say any differently (and I don't believe God would. God is with out a doubt better than I, and I would not condemn). Those that spout ugly self righteous words only show their own contemptuous hearts. No PERSON has a right to speak for God, to judge another. God is loving. Be strong!
A friend of Emily X and all other women as well

Audrey said...

I live in Prescott Valley and have been to the Prescott Planned Parenthood. Living in this particularly conservative community, it has surprised me that I've never seen protesters there when I've been.
All I've ever seen is wonderful kindness and understanding from the staff and I really appreciate all the work you guys do.
Thank you!

yarrow said...

I am from Prescott, though I live in NM now. I went to your clinic for affordable birth control and healthcare when I was in high school, and there is no doubt in my mind that the care and information I received at that clinic kept me safe from extremely unwanted pregnancy and risk of disease. The work you do is incredibly valuable---more so in the repressive, conservative climate of a town like that, where many people do not give their daughters a decent education in matters of health & sexuality. Thank you for continuing to do the work you do!