Every now and again, the timing chain in my convoluted mind spins around to a need for a non-fiction post, one culled from my experience near the demarcation line between pro-life and pro-choice folk.
Volunteering for Planned Parenthood sets me down square on the PC side, a place where the generic you make a choice and I support the decision. In contrast, those on the other side of the PP fence wish to make the choice for you.
Today I put in extra duty. In a tragedy of gut wrenching proportion, last week Greenland NH Police Chief Michael Maloney died trying to protect other downed officers in a moment of terror and madness. Today, every off-duty officer in this state, along with contingents from other states and Canada, attended his funeral, leaving no officer on duty between the disparate groups at PP.
Arriving patients faced an active group of five or so protesters, who prayed and shouted out judgements they attempted to sweeten with alternatives, but no amount of honey would mask the acerbic nature of their messages.
“Some volunteer you are!” taunted me mid-morning, the words meant to question the cause for which I volunteer. They would aim at me again later, but the worst part of the day came right at the onset at 8AM, when the first two patients I met succumbed to tears on their walk in, thanks to the barbed shouts directed at them and their choice.
For all of us there, knowing how excruciating decision making can be, aware no matter personal resolve the follow through isn’t easy, it feels like someone plucked out our hearts and ripped down the middle, as if thin sheets of copy paper. The protesters consider the shouted derisive comments the first step in an alternative pathway, one designed by them, the wizards of impartiality, leading to a redirect to the prolife version of a family planning centre. Their planning options consist of ‘if pregnant, carry, right to birthing’, and then you get a choice as your reward. I can only wonder how a patient would feel any inclination to trust them enough to try their version, since they just endured the first 15 seconds of acquaintance receiving verbal spittle in their face.
From then until noon, they snapped my picture at least twice. Aside from a cover or centrefold of Mad Magazine, I doubt the image will surface anywhere. If anyone wishes to see me, ask. J
Lacking an officer to keep decorum, and preferring someone be there to assist and keep things tame, I went back this afternoon for a couple of hours. That earned my second shout out of the day, “You know, you will have to answer to God for all the people you help,” the protester advised me. Curious how help leads to condemnation.
The comment earned her a return advisement, simply how I worry not, since I’m not Christian. For the remainder of my day, things remained peaceful, with loud collective Hail Mary’s occupying their time. Overheard from my perch, they discussed how prayer can be a useful tool of intimidation, and if they muster sufficient forces…
Protest if so inclined. Pray if it stirs your soul. But, if you shout mean spirited comments what make people cry, I question any commitment to wanting the best for another.