Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

I’m a tough chick.  I’ve worked as a fitness instructor for 25 years, and I’m very physically fit. Even still, I have been threatened and harassed for years as a patient at Planned Parenthood by protesters. My most recent unpleasant experience occurred nearly two years ago at a Boston Planned Parenthood health care center.

pplm.jpgSince I work seven days a week at three different jobs, it’s not easy for me to schedule doctor appointments.   But I had a rare day off in April, 2012--so that was the day I scheduled a routine appointment to check on my IUD.  I currently have health insurance, but I still get my yearly gynecological exam, birth control, and breast exams at Planned Parenthood. I’ve been going there for years, ever since I lived in San Diego as a college student. Back then, I didn’t have insurance, so Planned Parenthood was my best option for low-cost preventive health care.

I had seen anti-abortion protesters many times over the years, both in San Diego and in Boston. Usually they had pamphlets they tried to distribute as I walked to the entrance.  Often they had big placards with graphic pictures.

But this time was different.  I hadn’t realized it when I’d scheduled the appointment, but I was coming in on Good Friday, when apparently the protesters ramp up their efforts.  The day before, someone who works at Planned Parenthood called to warn me that the protests might be more intense than usual, and that I should brace myself.  As a result, I asked my fiancé to accompany me.

As we were pulling up, we saw a man holding a giant cross.  It was bigger than he was.  He was walking around with the crosspiece over his shoulder and dragging the bottom part on the ground.  He slowly paraded himself in front of the entrance.  I don’t know if he was within the buffer zone-restricted area, marked by a yellow painted line, or not. I guess he wanted to carry it as if he himself were Jesus.  I started to have a mild panic attack in the car.

When we got out of the car, we saw approximately 15 other protesters.  Some of them were the usual pamphlets-and-placards crowd, but one woman in particular came up to me and screamed in my face, “Please don’t kill your baby!”  I turned to her--she was within inches of me--and said, “I’m not pregnant.”

If I had been there for an abortion, I really would have felt threatened.  I can’t imagine that anyone, male or female, makes the decision to get an abortion lightly.  Anyone who has to make that decision is probably already in a fragile state. Imagine the added pressure of having a screaming protester call you a “baby killer” as you are steps away from the front entrance.

This woman didn’t know anything about me.  She just presumed that she knew my story and that she was in a position to “save” me and my nonexistent fetus.  But I was there for preventive care so that I won’t ever need an abortion.  These protesters don’t get the fact that most people are walking in for birth control and Pap tests.  How would they feel if I stood outside their doctors’ office, assumed I knew the reason for their visit, and screamed at them in front of crowds of people?

The buffer zone for patients is actually pretty small--35 feet to be exact.  But it is necessary. I have a right to go to the doctor without being harassed.  The yellow painted line is important because it makes the patient feel protected and, most importantly, validated.

Tags: Supreme Court, Massachusetts, Buffer Zone

Is Abortion Still Legal in My State?

Learn about abortion access changes in your state.

Get the Facts

Demand court reform now!

To protect and advance our rights, we must reclaim our federal courts. 
Structural, systemic, and meaningful court reform is the only way to ensure that courts uphold the law and protect our rights.

Add your name

Planned Parenthood Action Fund Will NEVER Back Down

Know this: our right to abortion is not debatable. We will rebuild and reclaim the freedom that is ours.

Donate

Sign Up for Email

Sign Up

Explore more on

Español

This website uses cookies

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors use cookies and other tools to collect, store, monitor, and analyze information about your interaction with our site to improve performance, analyze your use of our sites and assist in our marketing efforts. You may opt out of the use of these cookies and other tools at any time by visiting Cookie Settings. By clicking “Allow All Cookies” you consent to our collection and use of such data, and our Terms of Use. For more information, see our Privacy Notice.

Cookie Settings

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors, use cookies, pixels, and other tracking technologies to collect, store, monitor, and process certain information about you when you access and use our services, read our emails, or otherwise engage with us. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences, or your device. We use that information to make the site work, analyze performance and traffic on our website, to provide a more personalized web experience, and assist in our marketing efforts. We also share information with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You can change your default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our Necessary Cookies as they are deployed to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.

Marketing

On

We use online advertising to promote our mission and help constituents find our services. Marketing pixels help us measure the success of our campaigns.

Performance

On

We use qualitative data, including session replay, to learn about your user experience and improve our products and services.

Analytics

On

We use web analytics to help us understand user engagement with our website, trends, and overall reach of our products.