My Morning as Viagra Sidewalk Counselor

We Shall Overcum

Last Thursday, June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law that created a 35-foot “buffer zone” outside women’s health clinics (at which legal abortions are performed.) While my instincts cried foul, my intellect told me that since the decision was unanimous, the law itself must have had some pretty massive fundamental flaws. Surely, the trifecta of my girl crushes on the highest bench in the land wouldn’t have concurred otherwise in ruling against the buffer zone designed to protect women seeking legal medical care.

The SCOTUSBlog’s “In Plain English” column broke down the decision and the reasoning behind it in terms that I can (almost) understand. While I’m pretty smart, I’m not a lawyer, nor do I speak fluent Constitution, so some of it was a little hard to follow.  But I got the gist. Basically, as the law was written and subsequently argued, it violated anti-choice protesters’ First Amendment rights to free speech. Eleanor McCullen, lead plaintiff in this case, has been vindicated. The Huffington Post quotes her as saying, “It’s America. I should be able to walk and talk gently, lovingly, anywhere with anybody.”

I wondered , though, where a citizen’s privacy came into this discussion. I don’t know about you, but I find medical matters to be intensely personal. (HIPAA guidelines seem to support me in that.) This may seem painfully and ridiculously obvious, but doesn’t a woman or couple seeking medical attention regarding reproductive matters deserve privacy – regardless of whether they’re seeking an abortion or treatment for an STD or a breast exam?

“COUNSELOR” to woman entering clinic: DON’T KILL YOUR BABY! FETUSES FEEL PAIN! YOU’RE A MURDERER!!!

Woman entering clinic: Um…I’m just getting medicine for my gonorrhea.

“Counselor:” Oh. Never mind.

I’m telling you, I’m just DYING to go to one of these clinics for the SOLE PURPOSE of being accosted by one of these people.

“Counselor:”  God loves your baby! Don’t kill it!

Me: Actually, I have a super-itchy hoo-ha, and some goo is coming out of it. It sort of has a funky smell, too. Do you mind if I discuss THAT with you?

In fact, just to switch perspectives, I decided that I would do a little “sidewalk counseling” of my own. I like to challenge gender roles occasionally, and stick it to the man – so…I parked myself outside of a doctor’s office near where I live, and attempted to “counsel” the people going into that office about the dangers of…can you guess it?  Of course you can!  VIAGRA! (Insert Kermit the Frog Arm Flail here…) I “walked and talked with people gently and lovingly” about why they shouldn’t take Viagra. Just for funsies, I made a video of how I spent the morning after SCOTUS decided my free speech was more important than how I spent the morning after. (Credit Emily Bock with recording and editing said video.)

In all seriousness, what right does ANYONE besides my doctor have to even know, let alone advise or counsel me about any medical decision – especially a medical reproductive decision - I might make? Here’s a radical idea: If a medical procedure or medicine is legal, I have a right to pursue that remedy unencumbered – even if some people wish it weren’t legal. Say it with me. “My medical decisions are none of your business.” Sing it. Scream it from the rooftops. “MY MEDICAL DECISIONS ARE NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!” Every time you say that phrase, the sweet baby Jesus smiles, coos and claps his hands, trust me.

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  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    Your posts need to come with the following warning label

    danger!! Reading this may cause sudden bursts of laughter, causing your spouse to look at you oddly (again) scare the cat and test the holding capacity of your bladder.

  • mindy

    LOL! Perfect. If anyone yelled that at me, about killing a baby, I’d look at her like she had three heads and say, “What baby?!” and keep going. Because you are so right. NO ONE ELSE’S BUSINESS.

  • Virginia Sullivan

    Thanks for the laugh- and the strong words about privacy. Regardless of what we personally think about it- people have a right to privacy and to act within the law without harassment. Well said.

  • crgolightly86 .

    Love this! Really made me think about if it was men’s rights being interfered with this would be a different story altogether – it wouldn’t be happening.

    • MorrisCoveMom

      Absolutely. Women are still treated like garbage in this country, just now under the guise of the men looking out for us and our morality/souls.

  • Mark Perdue

    funny issue, in that certainly nobody would listen to a nut on the side of the road for medical advice. However, that isn’t the issue here. You would certainly understand time/place/manner restrictions on free speech (35 feet from clinic, can’t yell fire in theater, etc….). You phrase the issue of medical decisions. The others phrase the issues as murder. Big difference. I think the same of those who drop off animals at the pound. I wouldn’t object if someone stood beside the animal pound and yelled, why can’t you take care of the animal? An animal is for life. We know that the majority of animals that go into the pound result in death. I am not yelling at those going into the animal pound to show that I am better medically informed. I am yelling to say, I care about this animal (not any particular animal, but animals in general….since I doubt I would know any animal by name and character going into the pound).

    • Aliza Worthington

      Of course, you’re correct about the difference between Viagra and an abortion. (I’ll ignore that you implied I was a nut…mostly because you’re correct about that, too.)

      However, as of this moment, just because some people consider abortion murder, doesn’t mean they should have the right to harass people seeking to avail themselves of one. I consider the death penalty murder, but I would never harass a family seeking the death penalty in reaction to a loved one’s murder, since they are already going through intensely personal, tragic pain. So to, might women seeking an abortion. I have more to add to this, but I don’t have time at the moment. I’ll try to get back to this later.

      Thank you for your comment.

    • AuroraBird

      Did you know that IVF clinics all around the Country are destroying embryo’s every day? How many IVF clinics have you protested?

    • CT14

      Abortion is a legal, medical procedure. Murder is defined as illegally taking the life of another. They are demonstrably not the same, no matter the “sincerely-held belief”.

      For abortion to be considered murder, either the law has to change or the medical establishment has to change.

      So why aren’t they taking their protests to the courthouse to change the law? Why aren’t they taking their protests to the AMA or the American Council of Gynecologists?

      I’ll tell you why. It has nothing to do with babies. It only has to do with controlling women through sex. They want to bully and harass and slut-shame, and taking their protests either to a place where men and women can change the law or a place where men and women decided on medical best practices doesn’t give them the gratification of bullying and harassing women who had sex. It would expose their lie.

      Much better to get in the face of some woman and scream that she’s going to get cancer and go to hell. THAT gives them immediate gratification, even if she forces her way through their gauntlet.

  • Shannon Menkveld

    “Go to hell!” or other insult direct is all the answer a snoopy question rates.

    –Lazarus Long

    Being rude to such people is not only not wrong, it is almost a moral obligation.

  • Steve Pålsson

    HIPAA not only fails to protect your medical information from disclosure to governments, it increased government access to your private information by eliminating the need for a warrant. It did this while making sure that many or most people are inconvenienced by the law (close relatives for example) in order to trick people into thinking they were being well-protected.

    Like most laws that involve our rights, HIPAA is deceptively labeled and described, and really is almost the opposite of what it claims to be. It’s an anti-privacy law that takes away some of our privacy.


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