Neither Do I Condemn YouDigg This!
A young mother visiting our Women Infants and Children’s nutrition clinic in Central Wisconsin 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 “40 Days for Life” anti-birth control demonstrators leading a Lenten protest that began yesterday in front of our clinic in Central Wisconsin and in 131 other communities across the nation.
I haven’t asked the clients if they are visiting our clinic to get food for their infants or prenatal nutrition 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.
My agency is a non-sectarian health care provider with a mission to prevent unintended pregnancies and to improve maternal and child health. We’re proud to support access to safe, legal voluntary reproductive health care as a human right. More than 95% of all American women use modern contraceptive methods. The women who come to us do not come to get an abortion or an abortion referral. We prevent abortions, we do not provide them.
The 40 Days for Life demonstrators know that women and men come to us for birth control. Other local clinics also provide confidential birth control. Unlike us, they may make medical referrals for pregnancy termination when necessary. Walgreens and Wal-Mart deliver hormonal birth control pills and every hospital emergency room in Wisconsin is now required to give out emergency contraception to rape victims.
No 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.