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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Protesting Planned Parenthood

Today was the big nationwide protest against the infamous abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. While I've been fairly quiet about the controversial videos released which proport to show Planned Parenthood executives and staff engaging in illegal activities (organ trafficking, infanticide, etc), know this: I am, and will always be, pro-life. My pregnancy and subsequent birth served to reinforce and enhance that which I had been taught regarding the sanctity of life, both in AND out of the womb.

A card my hubby picked up from the registration table. If you don't respect life in utero, you'll view it as worthless outside of the womb too.

It's one thing to see a picture of an ultrasound baby on a poster or hold a plastic fetus at various stages of development. But it's also something totally different to actually see the fetus wiggling and floating around in utero, real-time in front of your eyes and instinctively know "wow. That's mine. I made that."

It would be one thing if Planned Parenthood actually did what it claimed to do and offered STD testing and treatment, counseling, women's health care, etc. But it doesn't. Abortion is ALL that Planned Parenthood does, and the dishonesty put forth by that organization is an injustice to women everywhere. That has always been my beef with Planned Parenthood, even when I did not have the vocabulary to articulate it in the way I wanted to.

While I am largely in favor of crisis pregnancy centers as a means of giving women an alternative to murdering their offspring in utero, I've gotten away from blindly supporting them like I used to. When I got pregnant, I went to a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) not because I wanted an abortion, but because I was a low-income individual seeking to get low-cost prenatal care. I was hoping a CPC could assist me with that.

The first CPC I visited (only because it was close by my home) was completely useless. They confirmed my pregnancy with a drugstore piss test but never bothered to give me a letter confirming the pregnancy for our bureaucratic purposes, even though I asked for it. This outfit was run by a bah-bul thumper church, which put the environment in there further right wing than I'm comfortable being around.

The second CPC I visited was one highly recommended by fellow church members, a number of whom volunteered their time and efforts there. While they weren't completely useless (I got my first ultrasound there), they refused to take me on as a patient cuz I had insurance through my employer (they claimed to take only noninsured and Medicaid patients) and instead referred me to the lone doctor's main office clean on the other side of town. After the run-in with CPS when my daughter was born, before I figured out who it was that reported us to them, my husband had speculations about the second CPC we visited being a front for a baby trafficking operation at the hospital, not too different from this infamous incident in Chicago. Outlandish? In hindsight, yes. Out of the realm of possibility, given certain circumstances? Not exactly...

In short, due to my experience, my stand on crisis pregnancy centers is to be wary of them. Until more of them would expand services to include competent staff (preferably with actual medical training), free/low-cost prenatal care (whether the patient is insured or not), as well as provide support to the mother and her family after the child is born (provide clothes/formula/diapers, employment assistance, help with navigating social services and affordable childcare, etc), I will continue to view them as either right-wing fetus factories or fronts for something far more sinister.

So with this hardened cynicism firmly embedded in my character, my family and I attended today's Planned Parenthood protest in Tucson. While I was never intensely involved with Tucson's chapter of Right to Life, I was happy to do March for Life, attend meetings when I could (which was seldom because I was in college at the time), and sit out on the main lawn at the University of Arizona with my friend with various pro-life propaganda out on display for anyone to see. I've only protested at the abortion clinic once, maybe twice in my entire life. After my life became chaotic towards the latter half of 2012, I returned to Arizona for a fresh start and though I would continue to do March for Life, I formally severed my ties with Tucson Right to Life. I had come to view the organization as infested with Republicans who would sooner spit on the baby as soon as it was born than actually help that baby have a chance at a better life than it might have been born into.

Unlike the popular portrayal of anti-abortion protesters in the media, our protests at the clinic are calm and orderly. There are lots of prayers said, people hold signs and hand out literature or other religious items (rosaries and prayer cards, to name a few). We have to behave ourselves cuz these sorts of places have law enforcement on speed-dial.

From the registration table looking north

No shortage of sunshine on this day

Sign says "57,762,169+ babies dead"

This family had a "Vota para Vida" sign ("Vote for Life" in Spanish)

We didn't stay long at the protest. It was dreadfully hot out and there wasn't much in the way of shade. I hadn't been too keen on coming, but I knew some of our friends would be there and I wanted to see them.

The man in purple is the head of Tucson Right to Life, Mr. Kelly Copeland, leading the assembled crowd in a Rosary prayer. The sea of hats and umbrellas attest to the scorching weather at the protest

Our rally space, between the yellow tape

My husband trying to pray, hold his sippy cup, and take pix all at the same time

These black bands were distributed as a sign of mourning for the murdered unborn. My irritation at the weather is apparent in my expression.
One person I was somewhat surprised not to see there was the doctor associated with the second CPC I'd visited early on in my pregnancy and had been referred to for my prenatal care; who for reasons of both anonymity and those outside of the pro-life cause I will refer to as Dr. Dipshit. Given that he admirably spent his days off seeing impoverished mothers-to-be at the CPC, I would have thought that Dr. Dipshit would have at least put in an appearance for an hour or so to speak out against an organization that would otherwise rob him of patients. Oh well. Maybe he was seeing patients like a good doctor.

After about an hour there, we left with a close friend to go and have brunch. I was relieved to be finally getting out of the sun and into a cooled environment.

And that's how I spent my Saturday.

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