Planned Parenthood Web site lists “hotspots” of harassment and violence

12Jan10

The Planned Parenthood Web site features a monthly listing of incidents of harassment that occur at Planned Parenthood facilities across the United States. These incidents range from non-violent protests to harassment, threats, vandalism and obstruction of pedestrian traffic.

There are so many disturbing things about these reports that I’m not even sure where to begin. Just the listing for November 2009 alone is mystifying. It seems as though some protesters will go to unthinkable lengths to voice their opinions. These lengths include personal letters and phone calls to the homes of physicians and clinic staff and blocking or impairing visibility of passing vehicle traffic – creating a dangerous situation even for uninvolved passerby’s.

Some November 2009 Hotspots Listed by Planned Parenthood:

  • Colorado  11/30/09 The front window of a Planned Parenthood health center was found shattered by a piece of concrete when staff arrived for work in the morning.”
  • Michigan  11/18/09 A Planned Parenthood health center observed three protesters with red tape over their mouths with the word “LIFE” written on it. They remained on the sidewalk and no confrontations occurred.”
  • “Pennsylvania  11/16/09 A staff member at a Planned Parenthood health center received a call from an unknown individual asking about the funeral arrangements for one of their health care providers (the provider is alive). The caller also asked how the staff member could sleep at night.”
  • Colorado  11/12/09 Motorists passing a Planned Parenthood health center complained that protester signs were obstructing their view of oncoming traffic. Police responded and the signs were moved.”

While the pro/anti-choice battle has offenders on both sides of the argument, my biggest issue is with harassment of women who seek health services at these clinics. They should not be denied services because of a fear of protest or retaliation. Many of the protesters who harass women like this find support through the leadership of anti-choice politicians such as Senator Bart Stupak. Sen. Stupak worked tirelessly to make sure that health care reform would NOT allow a woman who receives federally assisted health funding to safely and affordably terminate a pregnancy. On his Web site, Stupak credits his anti-choice allies with passing the less-than-sufficient health care reform bill.

“Without the votes of 41 Democratic Pro-Life supporters of my amendment, health care reform never would have passed the U.S. House of Representatives,” Stupak wrote on the site.

Many progressives and liberals, like myself, may be starting to lose faith in the health care reform bill’s ability to provide adequate coverage to women in need. Why deny reproductive rights to a woman who does not have access to affordable health insurance and can simply not afford to start a family – or take UNPAID time off from work simply to give the child up for adoption?

Health care reform aside – I hope that women struggling with this very important and life-altering decision find the peace to do what is right for them, despite whatever resistance they may face. I can only hope that 2010 brings a decrease in incidences of violence and harassment towards those who provide women’s health services.

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2 Responses to “Planned Parenthood Web site lists “hotspots” of harassment and violence”

  1. 1 saynsumthn

    Just curious if Planned Parenthood listed the murder of Jim Pouillon among their “Violence” – Oh yeah- I forgot the man who gunned down Jim was pro-choice ! hmmmm !

  2. 2 femininsight

    That is absolutely correct – that murder was horrifying and completely wrong. It’s a shame that some people on both sides of the argument react with violence. I highly doubt that Planned Parenthood would condone that type of behavior in retaliation to any kind of protest, however I think the purpose of these listings is to show women in need of their services that they monitor these incidents and try to create a safe atmosphere. I’m just guessing, though. Thanks for your comment!


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