Spring has sprung here at Maine Family Planning and with that, the annual 40 Days for Life anti-choice demonstration outside of our gates. For 40 days, staff, visitors, and clients must drive through a gauntlet of ugly protesters outside.
I am new here in my third month at this organization. I have learned about the wonderful work we do – operating 18 health sites across Maine’s rural landscape, serving over 21,000 patients per year for all of their various needs from birth control to STD tests to Pap smears to early detection services. I have also met the many women and men who work diligently to help these patients and the broader community.
Each week during non-Lenten time, I have been faced with protesters outside our gate and I am driven to think about the women coming in for the exact services they are protesting. I wonder about the thoughts that these women must have coming into their visits – relief, fear, grief, pain – in addition to the stigma they feel.
At Maine Family Planning, we collect “share your truth” cards from our patients and one struck me: “People think you are heartless because you have an abortion, but it is the complete opposite. My heart and my brain made the decision to wait to bring a child into this world.” She adds that she doesn’t feel like a failure because, “a house, a husband, who will father my child. Without those things I would feel like a failure of a parent.”
Another patient writes, “Your office was helpful in the most meaningful of ways, although hard emotionally and physically, I am glad I made this decision. It saved my family; now we can focus on us again.”
From the strength of these women, I find the strength to face 40 Days for Life because honestly, that is exactly what we are providing. A life for Maine women and families, and for that I am so proud.
Director of Marketing and Communications, Maine Family Planning