Meeting with a Planned Parenthood Director

 

On Wednesday, April 13th, I had a fantastic meeting with the director of a Planned Parenthood in a city in Minnesota. She was training a new staff member, so that lady also sat in for the majority of the meeting.

I told her that I was there because I wanted to be able to provide accurate information to the young people in my life, particularly some of my nieces who are coming up in age. I then told her that this was going to be a little bit different, though, because I am Pro-Life, and that I would be asking questions from that viewpoint. She blinked a few times, almost imperceptibly, and then said, “Ok.”

We talked for 45 minutes, openly and very respectfully, about the different methods of contraception (particularly hormonal) that they dispense, the drug Ella (which they do not,) and Mifepristone/Misoprostol (RU-486, which they also do not dispense.)

After I’d asked questions and felt that I’d gotten sufficient answers on the topics, she said, “I’m actually very glad that you came in here, because I’d like to ask you a few questions about Pro-Life beliefs, if you don’t mind.” So we discussed what the Pro-Life position is on different methods of contraception, and why. We discussed the fact that not everyone on either “side of the fence” agrees, or should be labelled. We talked about labels, and how they limit, or often even end, dialog between sides. And, we discussed how there are so many misconceptions about each other, so much information out there for people to sift through, judge and make sense of, and that it was a great opportunity for all of us to really just talk.

Toward the end of the meeting time, the staff member who was sitting in went out because she had to do something else, and I continued to talk with the director. I felt that the meeting had gone very well, so I told her that I would like to tell her a little about what I (personally) do within the Pro-Life movement. She was receptive, so I told her about Rachel’s Vineyard, and very briefly what we do. To my surprise, she was very enthusiastically supportive of it. She said that it was “awesome, and so needed.”

I decided to really challenge her, and asked if she’d be willing to take a few of my brochures, and keep them in the back of one of her drawers; in case someone, due to their beliefs, was suffering and came looking to them for help.  She said she would not put them in her drawer, and I thought, “Well, I pushed that a little too far. Oh well…I tried.” But what she then said was, “No, I’d love to put these in our resource binder at the front desk!”

Can you even imagine a referral to RV coming from a Planned Parenthood?!  I think it would be nothing short of miraculous–but God can do anything!  And these ladies seemed very close to being on the same page as me, as far as their feelings about abortion–or at least the possibility of it having severe negative effects in people’s lives.

They were nowhere near to my beliefs on contraception, but I really felt that we had a lot of common ground on other things. Among these were:

  • If you truly care about someone, you tell them the truth about things, and let them make a choice based on the information you’ve given them (a “seed” I tried to gently insert a number of times into the conversation–especially in regard to the way contraceptives work.)
  • The BEST education we can give our young people is on dignity and self-respect, to help them understand that they should never feel that they need to have sex with anyone.
  • The best time to think about contraception and abortion is before sex. Do you want to have a child with that person? Do you want to have a child, period?
  • That far too many people would like to believe that their actions have no consequences…and that that is simply not the reality.
  • That abortion hurts (at least some) people.
  • That there are people on both sides of the issues who truly care about women, and really want to help them.

I told the ladies when I began talking that I felt that in the past, some of the most caring people I’d met were those in the two family planning clinics I’d been into. This was absolutely true–not a ruse, and it was borne out that day as well. The staff was very courteous, and I truly did feel they cared about me, and that they really were very attentive to my questions.

I also felt that they had expanded their minds somewhat about “us Pro-Lifers.” I went into the clinic with the hope that if nothing else, I could carry the Gospel– the love of Christ–in to the staff members, and give them a glimpse of a person on the other side of the fence. I prayed that God would allow me a couple of minutes in there, before they “kicked me out.” Instead He granted me 45, and we parted with an exchange of contact information, and a HUG!

A friend of mine said that that would have been an interesting photo–the director of a Planned Parenthood and the facilitator of a Rachel’s Vineyard site hugging, in the waiting room! I agree–but I also think, it is the epitome of exactly why God asked me to go in there: to build a bridge (or at least begin) between us. In essence, to put my money where my mouth is, since I’ve been speaking publicly on this issue for awhile now: that they are not our enemies…that there is no “us” and “them”…that we have only one real enemy, and we are all together on the same side against him.

I sent an email follow-up thanking the director for the chance to talk with her. She sent back an email with a scan of some more information on the way hormonal contraceptives work, along with the statement, “Thanks again for such a positive encounter!”

Even if nothing more ever comes of this, I personally felt like God had changed me a little because of it, and I pray that the two ladies I met with felt a similar ripple in their lives.

AMDG!

 

❦                                        ❦                                        ❦

 

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is neat! Thank you for sharing! Wow.


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