Ed’s Note: This cross-post was written by Steph at Grounded Parents. If you want to leave a comment, click through the link at the bottom to the full post.
It’s not a day that ends in “y” if anti-choice extremists don’t try to discredit or defund Planned Parenthood. When I worked for a Planned Parenthood affiliate,
extremist terrorist groups targeted us, along with other affiliates relentlessly. Groups like Live Action and its spin-off the Center for Medical Progress used a variety of tactics to try to incriminate and intimidate Planned Parenthood staff and volunteers – phishing phone calls, video taken in exam rooms and waiting rooms, actors wearing wires, etc. Staff were recorded without their knowledge and then highly edited video and/or audio would be shared that dun dun dun “proved” that Planned Parenthood was evil. We were constantly on alert and were trained to not just do the jobs for which we were hired, but to identify and respond to threats. Some of the same groups and group members were also involved in clinic picketing, roadside protests, staff and patient harassment campaigns, fake websites that would direct potential patients to dummy sites loaded with viruses and pornographic images, and even clinic bombings and the assassination and attempted assassination of abortion providers.
It is kind of surreal to have to walk through a crowd of protesters each morning to get to work and to receive extensive training on the tactics of anti-choice extremists to stay safe. At work. Providing legal health care and education and advocating for healthy women, families and communities. To be shouted at. At work. To worry about being shot. At work. And this is just what staff members and volunteers experience. Planned Parenthood patients experience worse harassment for having the audacity to take care of their sexual and reproductive health – a fact I know first-hand, having been a Planned Parenthood patient for 20 years.
I vividly remember the day my name, along with several other staff and board members, was discovered by our security director on a website with blood dripping in the background, identifying us as butchers and marking which staff had been wounded and killed by extremists. It was chilling. Then, there was the time when my neighbors received post cards letting them know that I was a baby killer. We assumed that they looked up my address from the license plate of my car, while I was escorting outside the clinic (probably improperly using government resources). The problem with this tactic was that I was a proud Planned Parenthood supporter and all of my neighbors were well aware of that fact if they paid attention to my lawn signs and bumper stickers. But, can you imagine if I was a patient who had obtained abortion care? The people who do this are horrible human beings.
Their latest smear campaign seems so benign by comparison. As a pro-science advocate, I am really having a hard time wrapping my head around people’s objection to Planned Parenthood helping facilitate legal fetal tissue donation to support scientific research.