As the end of February approaches, it’s 14 degrees below zero outside, the sun is shining, and the annual onslaught of daily picketers (in honor of Lent) are keeping warm in their cars across from our Augusta Health Center. Before their strategic retreat into warm cars, however, they did manage to pound their deceptive and degrading signs into the frozen snow banks on either side of our driveway.
Harassing Maine Family Planning clients is hateful
I recently visited Maine Family Planning [in Augusta], where protesters have gathered on the occasion of Lent to picket. They littered the side of the street with vulgar and provocative signs aimed at shaming those coming and going.
Whatever position you take on the issue of abortion and reproductive rights, it was clear to me that these people have hate in their hearts that is antithetical to the Christian beliefs they claim to espouse.
As an ethical issue, which I believe it is, this is an issue that merits conversation. But Maine Family Planning is a medical facility that provides information and health care to women and families that may not otherwise have it. Standing outside and harassing patients and staff as they come and go is hateful (and a little immature), and it is certainly not a valid Christian response.
When a person or group acts in ways to bully, condemn and humiliate, they undermine their ability to speak on moral issues with any legitimacy. Furthermore, I fail to recognize the connection between these demonstrations and the Christian season of Lent.
Lent is a time of introspection when Christians engage in prayer and self-denial in repentance and preparation leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. It is not a time for these types of antics, and it is certainly not a time for nailing others to a cross. Shame on them.
Maria Elmshauser, Gardiner, ME
I do not know Ms. Elmshauser. I am very grateful to her, however, for her articulate and eloquent voice, a voice that resonates with every patient, staff member, and visitor to our building, especially during these 40 days. I hope that it resonates with you, too.
Your support makes a difference for us and the nearly 24,000 Mainers we serve, enabling Maine Family Planning to, as Ms. Elmshauser states, “provide information and health care to women and families that may not otherwise have it.”
President, Maine Family Planning Board of Directors
P.S. If you already have supported Maine Family Planning this fiscal year, thank you! If not, please consider following one of these links: