Lucky us. Following a week of inspiration, the horrible so-called pro-life people invade my city. I am taking a quick break from our regularly scheduled programming to do a little pro-choice blogging. I'm all for free speech, and I support the right to have one's own opinion. What I do not support is crazy.
- It is crazy to make your 11-year old son yell at strange women about abortion, and then bring them over to the Air and Space museum an hour later, like it is part of a tour.
- It is crazy to scream that there are too many abortions, and then not support realistic sex education in classrooms or to endorse policies that encourage family strength.
- It is crazy to deny poor women the access to abortions of children they didn't want and can't support, and then blame them for the increase in crime and poverty.
- It is crazy to think that I, as an adult, am going to listen to a word you say, when you are verbally assaulting me in my city on my way to work, without knowing a thing about me apart from my gender, and believing that you have the right to conduct yourself in this manner.
You are welcome to your beliefs, but lets make sure they aren't crazy..mmmmmkay?
My dear friend over at Not My Gal explains it perfectly:
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.
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.]
Thank you. We can now return to our regularly scheduled programming.