Thursday, June 30, 2011


Thursdays have always seemed kind of like the lame duck of the week.  Not really the middle, not quite the weekend, they're really just there as a transition.  Rather like holding your breath through a tunnel to make it go faster.  (Unless you're my husband, who thinks it rather hilarious that he once tricked me into holding my breath and then slowed the car down to a crawl!  There's a valid reason I call him nasty names, really.)

When I moved here and started working, my new U.S. co-workers dubbed Thursdays as "Crabby Canadian Thursdays".  It stemmed from one memorable morning where I arrived un-caffeinated to the office and they mistook my complete inability to fathom the world around me as "crabby".  Despite my assurances to the contrary, and even explaining that I was too tired to even have the energy to be crabby, the title stuck.  So much so that upon gaining dual citizenship, I thus declared Thursdays to be "Crabby Can-Am Thursdays", throwing open the doors to include my millions of compatriots.

Thursdays are also the day that the man comes to the building complex where I work and exercises his Constitutionally mandated right to free speech.  By putting up a dozen gigantic posters of aborted fetuses.

You see, I work in a complex with a Planned Parenthood office.  And in this country there appears to be a relatively small but vociferous group of people who truly believe that Planned Parenthood is nothing but a place to get an abortion.  This makes Planned Parenthood the devil incarnate, rather than a valid option for women's health care.  (For my Canadian friends who may be reading this and not know, because of the way the medical system works here, Planned Parenthood is actually one of the foremost providers of women's health services because they are accessible to people without insurance.  I actually went to them for examinations and meds prior to being on a medical plan.)

At some point I'll likely go on a diatribe about women's issues and the like, but for now I'm going to focus on the signage.  

Years ago, when I worked in this same office, the Thursday morning free speech was a sandwich board and a man in a chair.  He's an older man, who sits and reads, waves to the people driving in and out of the complex, and essentially is just there, making his views and his presence known.

Fast-forward 4 years.  Thursday morning is now the same man in the chair, still reading and waving.  Only now there are two vehicles parked all day with gigantic posters attached to their roof and sides, grotesque pictorials comparing healthy fetuses to aborted fetuses.  The captioning on the pictures is inflammatory toward Planned Parenthood.  There's still the sandwich board, but it's been joined by several more.  Essentially one turns the corner on Thursday and is bombarded with graphic propaganda which is at best in poor taste and at worst, misleading.

And I'm not even going to Planned Parenthood (I just amused myself by abbreviating that to PP and decided that wouldn't work...but it's funny!).  I can't even imagine how someone feels arriving for an appointment - procedure or not - and seeing that.   In many cases, this is the only place a woman has to get health care.  I applaud men and women for taking responsibility for their health and reproduction, and this little old man and his signs are seeming to be in direct opposition to that.

That's why I get angry.  Regardless of anyone's personal stance on what a fetus is or isn't, or whether abortion of said fetus is ethical,  this weekly display provides condemnation without education.  It addresses the end result of a series of choices, without acknowledging the value that Planned Parenthood could play in that equation.  I'm a firm advocate of sexual education and informed decision-making, and if this weekly propaganda display turns away even one person from gaining correct knowledge and health services, then in my opinion it's not worth it.  

I guess in the overall scheme of things, Thursdays aren't really do mundane any longer.  They're still Crabby though.

1 comment:

  1. Thursday is our garbage day. Coincidence? I think not.

    PS: my verification word looks like a Harry Potter style spell word...