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On Saturday I went to Planned Parenthood in order to obtain oral contraceptive refills. I have no health insurance, and I was on my last pack of pills that had been prescribed by my college's health center before I graduated last June.

I had heard about Planned Parenthood on the radio and I figured I'd give them a call. They were great on the phone and were able to make an appointment for me the very next day! This is totally unheard of in my dealings with the medical profession; when I had an HMO, I generally had to make appointments months in advance, and I didn't have much of a choice as to what time of day the appointment was.

My boyfriend's mom gave me a ride; I had originally intended to ride my bike (I have no car), but Matt's mom wouldn't hear of that, seeing as the ride was long and the streets were busy. She is truly an awesome lady. So we left at 10:30 for my 11 AM appointment.

We found the place easily, thanks to the directions I got from the internet. As we drew closer to the building, I noticed that there seemed to be quite a bit of activity on the sidewalk. Oh, no, I thought to myself. Apparently a bunch of militant pro-lifers had chosen that Saturday to protest in front of the clinic, and verbally harass everyone who entered the building. They had those giant posters featuring full-color shots of aborted babies. We parked the car, and I apprehensively got out.

A group of protestors looked straight at Matt's mom and I, and began yelling. "NO, PLEASE, DON'T KILL YOUR BABY!" and, "MOTHER, PLEASE DON'T TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER IN THERE!"

I couldn't help it. I was so enraged that I yelled back at them.


And even if I was, it was none of anyone's business but mine. I should have just ignored them, in the spirit of do not feed the troll, but I was so taken aback and upset that something just popped out.

Planned Parenthood always has some of their employees in the parking lot, to escort people from their cars to the clinic doors. This made me feel a bit better. But I was still upset, so much so that when the doctor took my blood pressure it was so elevated that he would only give me one additional pack \ of contraceptives. (using hormones is not advised when one has high blood pressure) So now I have to go back in later this week at at time when I'm more relaxed, and get another blood pressure check. Then they can write me a refill prescription.

I was quite surprised (and pleased) to find out that Planned Parenthood offers services besides those pertaining to women's health. They offer primary care appointments for everything from injury to psychiatry, as well as immunizations for children. They are really offering a great service to the community, especially for those unable to obtain health insurance.

Matt's mom's comment about the protestors was, "I wonder how many children they've adopted so far?" I am extremely glad she was there with me, and that she had such a wonderful attitude about the whole thing. I felt a little weird at first talking to her; after all, what does a mother think of a girl that is almost certainly sleeping with her son? This particular mother had a very healthy and realistic perspective, and made me feel very comfortable and comforted. Totally cool.

I am still miffed at those protestors. Nobody wants to see the graphic results of a medical procedure while driving down the street. Abortion is gross, but so is kidney surgery. Autopsies aren't too pleasant to look at, either. It is just poor taste to display such things, and to make people's already difficult lives more difficult. And free speech is one thing, but harassment is quite another. I want to be able to walk out of the car and into my doctor's office without being yelled at, especially when the stuff people are yelling doesn't even apply to me.

Note: This incident occurred in San Jose, California. I am not sure what the laws are regulating protests, but I would be interested to find out. If anyone has information about such laws, feel free to /msg me; I'd be interested to know how different states deal with this sort of situation. Thanks to enth for suggesting I indicate where this occurred.