I was really struck by two blogs that I read recently, the first by a husband supporting his wife through their abortion for a genetic abnormality and the second by the daughter of a anti-abortion picketer. Each gives a powerful 'from the sidewalk' perspective. As providers, we've known for years that the presence of picketers had little-to-no effect on the decisions women make when walking in the door. At our clinic, whether we have a very heavy picketing day or one completely absent of picketing, we always have a "show rate" of about 75% What this tells us is that IT AIN'T THE PICKETERS that are influencing our patients' decisions. A stormy day, in fact, probably has more of an impact on who actually makes it to the office.
What can change with a heavy picketing day is the mood inside the clinic. Most patients question the picketers mental health. Some are deeply hurt by the judgments of the picketers, others are furious. Partners often jump into a fiercely protective role. Needless to say, we often have to do a lot more comforting of patients and partners on heavy picketing days. Below are the two blogs:
The second blog post that caught my eye was entitled The Daughter of an Abortion Protester.