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Complete And Utter Disrespect.

As a part of my public affairs job, I usually have informational and give-away tables out at community events. This past weekend there was a very large community event in town and I had a booth at it. For the most part, we were received really well and had a very positive day, in fact I received two very good donations during the event. However, there are always at least one or two who come up and feel the need to sound off to make themselves feel better. On saturday, I had three of them and while they all said something slightly different they all had one thing which they said in common.

Every single one of them said, "abortion hurts young women so (planned parenthood) should not support them."

now, because I am good at my job and because i've been doing it for a while now, I know that these people are not coming to me to have an actual discussion or civil conversation with me. They are venting their ignorance at me because I am an easy target and because i'm not going anywhere. So, the best course of action is to remain impassive, smile, and thank them for stopping by the table (9 times out of 10 saying, 'well, thank you for stopping by and you have a great day' will get them to leave before they decide to: throw something at me, spit at me, turn my table over, scream like a spoiled child who did not get their way, or threaten me with future violence- all of which have happened in the past).

After the event, though, I started thinking about what they had said and I was struck by the complete and utter disrespect their words contained.

First, abortions are not obtained solely by young women. All women of all ages, backgrounds, religions, and financial situations obtain abortions every year because the cause of abortions, unintended pregnancies, occur in all groups of women. Secondly, the prevailing evidence from the american psychological association has proven that abortions do not harm women emotionally. The medical research has also shown that an abortion is the safest medical procedure that a woman can undergo in a developed nation where it is legal.

But the inaccuracies within the statement did not phase me at all since, considering the source, i've come to expect them. What got to me was, again, the disrespect shown towards women. Apparently, to these people, women (specifically young women) do not possess the mental or moral ability to decide for themselves whether they should keep a pregnancy or not. And as such, the only reason (again, just to these people) why young women obtain abortions is because they are easily accessible and because we, planned parenthood, will refer them to a provider. So, to these people, if planned parenthood did not refer any young women to abortion providers and did not provide them ourselves, abortions would no longer occur because these young women do not have the mental capacity to figure out where to go when they are blocked from information.

The entire statement, the more I thought about it, truly reeked of disrespect (and ignorance but again, considering the source, I expected that). First, women, young and old, are not stupid. That's why when they are experiencing a gynecological problem, such as a skipped period or a sore of some sort, they go to their doctor (if they can afford it) or they go to a local planned parenthood. To me, this is a mark of intelligence and common sense.

Secondly, despite popular opinion and belief amongst "prolifers", planned parenthood does not stress or push abortion when a woman comes to us because she thinks she might be pregnant. For us, just like any other ob/gyn or women's health clinic, we make substantially more money on offering pregnant women prenatal and postnatal care than we do on abortion services. It is in our best interest, just as it is in the best interest of any ob/gyn doctor, to see to it that our patients keep and continue healthy pregnancies. Therefore, when a woman comes to us and she is pregnant and wants to know her options, we have trained, certified staff on hand who can set up open and closed adoptions. If the woman, herself, asks about abortion, then we will offer a referral and we offer referrals because we care about the health and safety of all the women who come to us.

Thirdly, by not offering abortion services or referring women to abortion services, we would be setting women up to harm themselves which is something we will not ever do. Women who have decided to obtain an abortion are not dissuaded by a lack of access to safe, legal abortion services. If they cannot find a safe abortion and they have decided that they need one, they will obtain one, one way or another even if it means putting their health or life at risk from an usafe method. This has been true for every society, including our own, who has ever criminalized abortion services.

Fourthly, women are human beings and as such, they have the same unique ability to support a moral/ethical code within their lives and behavior just like men. Women are moral agents in charge of their own lives, bodies, and thus destinies and they do not need to ask for anyone's permission to make complex moral decisions which impact their own lives just like men. Therefore, if a woman makes the decision to obtain an abortion, she is exersizing her brain and her heart in judging the best choice possible for herself, her life, and her family. Because women are more than capable of doing this, just like men, themselves, they do not need other individuals who are not involved to tell them what to do and what not to do.

To restrict abortion, you will necessarily be telling women that they are not smart enough, good enough, or moral enough to make decisions regarding their own bodies by themselves. Therefore, women are like children who need to be told what to do at all times and if they do not follow orders, they deserve to be punished. And if they cannot even decide what's best for their bodies and lives, then they probably shouldn't be in charge of anything else like their educations, money, property, businesses, or government. A basic and fundamental right to our own bodies, minds, and consciences without government or societal interference exerts our powers in all other areas to where we can truly be independent if we choose to be. With independence, we can be free. Without it, we are slaves to biology, society, and our own government.

It is disrespectful, to me, to assert in any way, shape, form, or fashion that women are so stupid that they need to be told what to do with their own bodies. It is disrespectful to assert that women are not moral agents and thus, are not the equivalents of men and therefore need to be told what to do with their own bodies. It is disrespectful and ignorant to assert that women would not obtain abortions if they were not accessible. It is disrespectful to assert that an organization who has helped more families climb from poverty than the federal government ever has or ever will is anything but helpful to the families, women and men, who utilize all of their services.

And, finally, it is just plain disrespectful to come up to someone you know you do not agree with and pop off to them just to make yourself feel better about your beliefs. I know what your beliefs are, i've heard them countless times before. I do not agree. There is no need to disrespect anyone when you have never been disrespected by them.

So, if you come to my town and see me at a table or event and you do not agree with me, kindly respect my space and my right to say what I wish within it and I will respect yours.

Sorry for the rant. Thank you, everyone, for getting this far through it.
Peace,
jenn
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replied October 9th, 2006
Extremely eHealthy
Thank you jenn for your post. I enjoyed reading it.

I doubt i'd be able to resist the urge to say something unpleasant back.

I would make up a flier (if you were allowed or whatever) that had your points above on it. I would also mention that alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, and men hurt young women. Probably shouldn't go to stores that support that stuff, either. Smile
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replied October 9th, 2006
Extremely eHealthy
Jenn I enjoyed readint he post as well I would have had to bite my tongue but then again I work in customer service and I know sometimes you have to "smile with a mouth full of crap."

i think people who are not well informed are ignorant I am pro-choice I have two beautiful kids but if I ever needed that choice I would like to have it! Sometimes I dont like th reason/choices that people make but I bite my tongue unless it affects me cause its their choice but I do state my opinion.

I wish people would wake up and smell the coffee I went to planned parenthood with my buddy they provided her with mat clothes and awesome support during the pregnancy, with me they helped during my pregnancy with depression cause every dr refused me meds!


Jenn thanks I hope other people can read this!!!
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replied October 10th, 2006
Active User, very eHealthy
birch wrote:
thank you jenn for your post. I enjoyed reading it.

I doubt i'd be able to resist the urge to say something unpleasant back.
I sometimes have to literally bite my tongue. I have only bit back at one person because he decided to personally insult me as a person and not just my position at planned parenthood. I embarrassed the man in front of his wife and children, which I should not have done, and I paid the price for it later on when he got his church group to write several letters to the editor about the incident (not that they had all the facts, but oh well, the damage was done regardless).

Now, it is far better to just smile, thank them for stopping by, and wish them a good day. They aren't there to actually discuss and have a civil conversation with me. They are just there to act self-righteous and be jerks. Cutting them off with a "thanks for stopping by and you have a nice day," breaks them from their rant, confuses them momentarily, and they usually walk away because they know that I consider the conversation over at that point.

Quote:
i would make up a flier (if you were allowed or whatever) that had your points above on it. I would also mention that alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, and men hurt young women. Probably shouldn't go to stores that support that stuff, either. Smile
a flyer would be as pointless, for these people, as me getting into an argument with them. We do have pamphlets which describe our position in very clear language that everyone can understand. Those who do not have the urge to be self-righteous, disrespectful people are more than welcome to pick one up.
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replied October 10th, 2006
Extremely eHealthy
Thank you .Jenn for the post and I agree! We are not here to change people or judge someone we are just here to help people and their are those that just do not understand. I am pro-choice and I have my kids, well now young adults that I love.
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