by Lynn Sableman
Michelle, Connie and I met Helen and Rich Race at the Rally . They attended the International Women’s Day fund raiser and concert we held several years ago, and Rich joined out Tax Day demonstration in Clayton when we last had it. Here is Helen’s reflection on the rally yesterday.
“Planned Parenthood had a strong presence at yesterday’s Women’s Rally for Stop the Ban in St Louis. It brought back some memories for me when I worked at the Planned Parenthood in Worcester MA in the mid 1980’s just a decade after the Roe V Wade decision.
In 1983, I was in nursing school and chose Planned Parenthood for my Women’s Health rotation. I stayed on after graduation as a staff RN for another year or so. My role there included escorting patients, assisting with office visits for well women check ups, birth control, STD treatment, abortion procedures and aftercare. I provided counseling, took phone calls and helped with follow up visits.
I remember being an escort and having to walk around a few demonstrators. One man in particular was always there. He was dressed like a monk and dragged a wooden cross back and forth on the sidewalk. There would also be a couple people yelling at us and holding signs with graphic images meant to intimidate our clients. This was a very small group compared to the larger pro-life groups I see these days in St Louis outside Planned Parenthood as they protest loudly and harass people on the sidewalk.
Our staff included the nurses, physicians, social workers, medical assistants and volunteers. We had very strict protocols to follow to make sure each woman received the best care we could offer. Counseling women who had an unwanted pregnancy was a huge part of the visit. We helped each woman talk through her individual situation and provided accurate information to assist her in making a decision so that whatever her decision was, she needed to feel it was the right one for her. I never felt like we “pushed” abortion. It was a service we offered if the woman chose it. We also had a list of other area organizations that could help her if she wanted to look into adoption or a center that provided inhome care for pregnant women.
I continue to be a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and for the right for all women to have safe affordable healthcare including abortion. Missouri has a powerful pro-life movement that threatens this right. It is therefore our responsibility and our obligation for ourselves, our daughters and granddaughters to stand up , show up and do what we need to do to Stop the Ban. ” — Helen Race