What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 10, 2017

Planned Parenthood supporter? There's one place to be and one place to avoid on Saturday!

If you support women's reproductive health and rights, then please don't go to Planned Parenthood tomorrow (unless of course you have an appointment). On Saturday, there are planned protests occurring outside of Planned Parenthood offices nationwide -- including here in Pittsburgh. 

Naturally enough, some are organizing counter protests. 

All good, right? 


That 'no' is coming from Planned Parenthood itself:
Adrienne Verrilli, Associate Vice President of Communications at Planned Parenthood of New York City told The Huffington Post on Tuesday that too many cooks in the kitchen can be really detrimental to a patient’s experience ― and the patient’s experience is their ultimate priority.  
“Our goal is making sure our patients are comfortable,” she said. “The quieter it is outside, and the less people are engaging with each other, the better it is for our patients.” 
 When counter-protestors are present, patients don’t see them as helpful, Verrilli said, “they just see chaos.” 
Planned Parenthood of Western PA is in agreement: They do not want counter protesters.

Unfortunately, there is a counter protest planned. 

A Facebook event was set up for the counter protest by a group of three men and two women, with the International Socialist Organization - Pittsburgh later added as a sponsor.

Their event page garnered hundreds of comments from women and Planned Parenthood asking, imploring, and literally begging them to reconsider. The pleas were met with complete resistance -- primarily by two of the men who set up the page. Via Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents:
This is what what my friend Jodi Hirsh calls ‘the ultimate mansplain.’  I am reposting my own comments from Facebook with regard to the intent of a group of self-identified Socialists to organize a counterprotest in support of abortion rights, but IN SPITE of the wishes and experiences of Planned Parenthood, clinic escorts, patients and pro-choice activists across the region. 
This is not okay. A group of 3 men and 2 white women are organizing an event to defend choice in spite of the vehement opposition of Planned Parenthood, clinic escorts, patients and more. 
This counter-protest threatens our safe access to PP clinics. It shows disregard for the leadership of women and the experiences of women. It flies in the face of logic. 
But mostly it says that these men do not trust Planned Parenthood and do not trust women. They are taking action on our behalf much like all of the Republican men who sign anti-choice legislation do. Their opinions matter more than anything else.
Listen to women, socialists. Listen to women and demonstrate the capacity to model political resistance where men center women’s experiences instead of their own.
I'd link to that event page, but it was deleted by the sponsors and replaced by a new one sponsored solely by the International Socialist Organization and where no commenting is allowed.

And, in one more act of ignoring the reality of the situation, the cover photo on the new event page is actually taken from a rally in support of Muslims which took place in Denver (13th photo in the slideshow here) -- nothing whatsoever to do with women's reproductive rights. But I guess, they figure the 'look' was right. Just like they like the idea of a counter protest and the sound of their own voices -- however counterproductive that is in reality in this case.

If you could see their original counter protest page, you would see that Planned Parenthood tried to work with them. For example, suggesting that they protest at PP's Greensburg office which is closed for the day (so no patients to upset), or protesting outside of "crisis pregnancy centers" (fake clinics run by people who are anti-abortion). Planned Parenthood even set up their own event people could attend to demonstrate their support, but to no avail.

So, if you do want to support Planned Parenthood, again, please do not go to the counter protest in Pittsburgh.

Instead, join them at their I Stand With Planned Parenthood Celebration and avoid both the rabid forced birthers and the unhelpful mansplainers. 

The irony of supposed supporters doing the exact opposite of what the group they say they're supporting is beyond rich. And, it's no way to be a real ally.

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