'Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, Pro-Peace' photo (c) 2005, benuski - license:

I received the following letter from a friend of mine who is a nurse with Planned Parenthood. I asked her if I could share it with you and she agreed.

I worked at the Planned Parenthood clinic in one of our most affluent communities in Texas today. It is the only clinic that we have protesters at in the Dallas area.

In the 15 years that I have worked for Planned Parenthood, I have never seen this much protester activity. There were between 15 people when I got there to about 30 people when I left out on the small area of grass between the sidewalk and the street, shouting at cars driving by, holding up signs and calling me personally a baby killer when I walked into the clinic this morning. They are not allowed on the parking lot or to engage us in any conversation and will be arrested for trespassing, so I did not feel threatened as I walked in, but they can certainly find out about me from the plates on my car. I don’t feel that I am in any danger or that my family is, but it is making me more uncomfortable than I have ever been in the past.

Despite all of this I had a great day at work! I saw people with medical problems or who wanted a well woman exam and/or contraception and one young women who was there for a pregnancy test. A planned pregnancy, we celebrated with her. She said that the protesters told her we would try to convince her to have an abortion and she was nervous but needed a form for Medicaid so came in anyway. She was surprised that abortion was never even mentioned and we were celebrating with her. It is only mentioned when someone asks for the information, we do not give it to everyone. We do not do abortions at any of our clinics, we do not even have an abortion clinic that is a part of our affiliate. There is another affiliate in Dallas that does perform them but it is separate from us.

The amazing part of my day though was the many people who stopped by the clinic to thank us for being there. To find out where to donate time or money to Planned Parenthood to make sure that we stay here for the community. The men and women who offered to watch the parking lot to make sure we were safe and who offered to buffer the patients from the protesters. The people who wrote letters that they have brought in thanking us.

This is why I work for this organization, I know that I make a difference for these individuals. I am doing an important job and I get to hold my head up and ignore the disrespectful crowd and remember why I am here.

It feels good to say that this afternoon. Thanks for listening.

Growing up, I was fully immersed in the pro-life culture. I marched on Washington with my sign. I watched Silent Scream. I took pictures of carved up fetuses and showed them to my elementary school classmates. If my kids mentioned someone like this in their class today, I would be appalled, but back then, it was completely normal behavior.

Of course I hated Planned Parenthood.

The thing is, I didn’t know anything about Planned Parenthood. There wasn’t one in my town. I didn’t know anyone who had visited one. I certainly didn’t know anyone who worked at one.

My anger and hatred was borne completely out of my ignorance. I chose only to listen to one set of stories, rather than to all of the stories.

Things like abortion and the discussion between a woman’s right to choose and a fetus’s right to be born are difficult to sort through. I would love for there to be simple answers to these questions, but I’ve yet to find them.

In the absence of answers, I want to seek out ways to be compassionate. Compassion for the women who are forced to make difficult decisions. Compassion for unborn babies who are seen as burdens. Compassion for doctors and nurses who help women receive the care that they need.

When we choose compassion, we choose life.


  • Becki

    Hahaha. I remember you bringing those pics and literature to elementary school. I’d come from a solid pro-choice background–not pro-abortion, mind you, but pro-choice. My mom regularly gave money to Planned Parenthood, and when I casually mentioned the possibility of going to the March for Life (because that’s what everyone else was doing, and I was a mindless sheep following the herd), she flipped her hippie-liberal shiz on me. I don’t remember being offended by you, though. I DO remember thinking you were always the coolest for marching to the beat of your own drummer, and for standing up for what you believed in. You always were a braver soul than most.
    I’m really, really glad that we’re friends.

    • Alise Wright

      I feel the same way about you. Also, it baffles me that I knew someone who was pro-choice back then. It so wasn’t even on my radar. Crazy.

  • JR

    Wow. “Compassion” that’s that selective is outright Orwellian. The degree of cognitive dissonance required to mentally assent to the messages embedded in this post is astronomical. Doublethink is clearly necessary.

    Let me summarize: Anti-abortionists mean and ignorant. Planned Parenthood caring and good. And PP doesn’t really have much to do with abortion. Nothing to see here, folks, move along…

    There’s an interesting contrast here: anti-abortion protesters being *not nice* (horror!) vs. tearing the limbs off living people or burning them to death with saline solution inside and out. This article functions to associate pro-lifers with hatred and ignorance, and to disassociate Planned Parenthood from abortion. It’s intentionally misleading propaganda.

    Seriously, Alise. How Orwellian is this: “At this branch of the nation’s largest abortion provider, we’re so compassionate that we don’t actually kill the defenseless people on site. We just help women get their babies killed at the nearest available location. And we only give women information on how to get their kid violently terminated if they ask for it. Because we’re so compassionate.”

    As if those protestors are ignorant for associating any given Planned Parenthood clinic with abortion? Even the women used as an example in the letter was surprised that abortion wasn’t mentioned.

    • Alise Wright

      There are multiple sides to every story. And I’m not going to say that the lives of the unborn are worth more than the lives of women or the workers. As I mention in the piece – this is a complicated issue and for either side to pretend that it’s not is completely disingenuous.

      And Planned Parenthood does much, much more than provide abortions. But given that abortions are pretty much all that the pro-life folks talk about when mentioning them, it’s no surprise that someone who goes there for anything else is surprised to find that abortion isn’t part of the pitch. But that’s a whole OTHER kind of propaganda.

  • Jessica

    Nice. Did you see my post Monday? It’s funny to me when multiple bloggers end up accidentally talking about similar topics. #holyspirit