It’s that time of the year, again! Pro-lifers flock to clinics around the nation to stand and pray for grown women and families making personal and private decisions. Otherwise known as: 40 Days For Life. This year, our Austin, Baltimore, Beaumont, Fort Worth and McAllen clinics are on the list.
A lot of patients have questions about the protestors when they come in. “Why are they there? What do they want? Why are they yelling?”
The quick answer is that they want you to change your mind from having an abortion, to carrying the pregnancy to term, regardless of what you may know is best for you. And the long answer is that they want to redirect you to places that are called Crisis Pregnancy Centers, where they can “educate you” about pregnancy, the development of a fetus and why they think abortion is wrong. These places are oftentimes religiously affiliated organizations whose primary goal is usually to convince you to not have one. In some cases, they provide moral or limited financial support for women who are going through particularly troubling, yet wanted, pregnancies. They do not refer to or support abortion clinics or your right to choose, they don’t refer to places who provide birth control, and they oftentimes have a cut-off for how long they can actually provide assistance to women in need (i.e. once the child is 1 year old.)
To our patient readers, we have a few tips for dealing with pro-life protestors that may be on the outside of our clinic during the next 40 days:
1.) You don’t have to stop your car for them. Sometimes, our protestors will try to stop you from entering the clinic. The first way is by trying to flag you down as you drive in. It is illegal for them to stop your car and/or block the driveway into our clinic. Call us, or let us know if they try to.
2.) You don’t have to take their materials. “No Thank You” should be enough. During 40 Days For Life, a lot of protestors like to pass out all sorts of “treats” for the women coming in to see us. From miniature plastic fetuses to pamphlets with gory pictures and sometimes misleading information, a simple “No thank you” should be enough to let them know that you’re not interested.
3.) But if it’s not… and you feel intimidated, call us if you have a cell phone handy. We will send a staff member to personally escort you inside, if we don’t have one waiting outside for you already.
4.) You do not have to give them your name or phone number. We have had instances in the past where pro-life protestors have used this information to personally harass our patients, if they choose to have an abortion. This may be unusual, but it has happened. You do not have to give them any personal information, whatsoever.
5.) They are not allowed on Whole Woman’s Health property (and we are watching!)… The outside of all of our clinics are equipped with security cameras, for patient protection.
Some of them are truly nice people who simply don’t believe in abortion and would like to convince you not to have one because of their own personal reasons, and then some of them will judge and yell and try to make you turn back around or feel guilty (or whatever their goal is). But these aren’t the people who know you best, and they certainly aren’t the people who will be responsible for your pregnancy and/or child for the rest of your life. You are.
Having an abortion does not make you a bad person. Be confident in your decision, whether it’s abortion or childbirth, and remember these tips over the next couple of weeks! We trust your decision, whatever it may be, and we are here to support it.