A young mother visiting our WIC clinic at Family Planning Health Services in Wassau, Wis., was frightened by a male
picketer as she came into our clinic a few weeks ago. Other women,
sometimes our patients, sometimes our employees, have felt threatened
by the anti birth-control demonstrators who protest in front of our
building on a regular basis. Many of us worry that these self-described
"prayer warriors" are distracting drivers and obscuring driver
visibility on our very busy street. We fear that someone, maybe even
one of the picketers or their children, will be hurt as a driver pulls
out of our drive-through and into oncoming traffic.
Sometimes drivers back away from the demonstrators. Parents coming
to WIC with strollers don’t expect a vehicle to back out of the
drive-through and they have enough to pay attention to already.
haven’t asked these women if they are visiting our clinic to get food
for their infants or prenatal nutritional education. I haven’t asked
whether they use natural family planning, or condoms, or hormonal birth
control pills, or the patch, or an IUD. I don’t ask whether they are
married or faithful or abstinent. I don’t ask whether they are
Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist or non-believers. Neither do the
demonstrators who intimidate them.
FPHS is a non-sectarian health
care provider with a mission to prevent unintended pregnancies. More
than 95 percent of all American women use modern contraceptive methods.
We’re proud to support access to safe, legal voluntary reproductive
health care as a human right. The women who come to our clinic do not
come to get an abortion or an abortion referral. We prevent abortions,
we do not provide them.
The "prayer warriors" know that women and
men come to us for birth control. Aspirus and Marshfield Clinics also
provide confidential birth control. Unlike us, they probably make
medical referrals for pregnancy termination when necessary. Walgreens
and Wal-Mart deliver hormonal birth control pills and every hospital
emergency room now gives out emergency contraception to rape victims.
theological or political issue is going to be resolved by frightening
the women who come to us for health care. We have been providing
high-quality, affordable and confidential health care for 36 years and
we will continue to provide that care as long as there are women who
choose to come to us to receive it.