Lessons From a Stranger

I spent my morning yesterday doing “clinic defense” in the Bronx. What does this mean? Basically ensuring that patients entering and leaving a woman’s health clinic were free from harassment. And, as with most feminist endeavors, I re-learned a very valuable lesson: you can’t presume to know every woman’s story.

It’s too bad the anti-choice harrassers haven’t yet learned this lesson. Case in point:

One man, who was accompanying a female patient, started to  engage with the protestors who were — unsurprisingly — urging the woman not to “kill her baby.” The interaction was quickly squashed and the man showed more control than I could have in his position. It was clear he was troubled, however, and he began to open up to me about why they were there.

Earlier in the week, the woman’s doctor informed her that she absolutely needed an abortion. She had nearly died giving birth to her first child, and this fetus was stuck and growing in her fallopian tube. If it was left to grow, it would likely explode, and she would face irreparable harm and possibly  death. Since she has no insurance, she couldn’t afford to have the procedure done at a hospital, which brought her to the clinic. She was devastated by the news and, already a mother, very much wanted to have this baby. But her health and life depended on not having the baby.

My point here is that every woman’s story is different. Nothing about abortion is black and white, and everyone — both pro-choicers and anti-choicers — should bear this in mind.

Categories: Health

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