So, today I sidewalk counseled for the first time outside of Planned Parenthood of Collier County, down in sunny Florida. They perform abortions on Mondays, which is a tad inconvenient when sidewalk counseling. However, if South Florida is known for anything, it is for the retirees. The pro-lifers here are very active and they pray and do counseling from 8 in the morning until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. There are so many of them that they have a shuttle from a local church.
They are very well prepared. Most of their materials are secular (it’s hard to argue with science). They have a dvd and they hand out packets of information in little bags with fetal models. They also have post-abortive packets which they hand out with roses. I really like the idea of handing them roses, it seems like an effective way to get them to stop. The counselors themselves are not in the least bit secular. The first question I was asked was which parish I was from, so I assume that the majority of them are catholic. However, they do use secular arguments when they talk to the women heading into the clinic. They mostly tell people that they’re praying for them post-abortion.
The Planned Parenthood itself is kind of creepy. It’s done in the Mediterranean stucco that all buildings are done in, however, it is completely surrounded by black tarps. These are apparently to keep us from interacting with the patients. They have escorts (or deathscorts if we’re being mean) who are also retirees. They walk everyone in from their cars, using umbrellas so that we can’t see them. Two of them normally carry guns, which they have out whenever the doctor enters or leaves the building. Whenever a car leaves the parking lot (the only time we are near the patients), they stand in front of us, preventing us from giving pamphlets to the cars.
I didn’t stay long today, but while I was there one woman accepted a post-abortive packet. Another woman arrived in obvious pain. All of the “escorts” sobered up immediately. It took them such a long time to get her inside and she walked like she was in labor. None of the other counselors had seen something like this before. We don’t know what was wrong with her, so the following is just my reasoning. This Planned Parenthood only performs abortions up to 13.6 weeks post period, or I’d think it was the laminaria strips causing her to dilate too early. So the only thing I can see it being is a complication with RU-486. We felt awful, there was nothing we could really do or say at that point. One of the counselors just spoke to the man who was with her, offering our sympathies and post-abortive support.