Dentistry With a Side of Protest

NaBloPoMo while I’m off the grid…

I just changed dentists – I should say changed BACK to the dentist I liked but had to leave (because insurance is complicated) and just this year was able to return (I told you… complicated).

Since I got to the office ahead of my appointment and was in need of a little coffee, I opted to hang out in the Panera that shares a parking lot. I don’t remember there being a Planned Parenthood office in the dentist’s building, but that fact was made clear by three very helpful people in the shared parking lot.

One of them was shouting into an amplifier of some sort, which managed to distort most of what she wanted me to know. But she and her friends are holding pretty classic anti-abortion signs.

I was torn, honestly. Part of me wanted to ignore them completely.

I was there for the hygienist to scrape my teeth and give me my twice-yearly talk about how to floss and brush more effectively…  And I have good health insurance that covers mammograms, PAP smears and annual exams.  I have access to birth control through my prescription plan. In other words, I don’t need Planned Parenthood.

But I remember when I did need Planned Parenthood. I remember when I didn’t have insurance, when I didn’t have access to the medications and exams I needed. I remember needing someone to talk me through what to do when the man who date-raped me disappeared. I remember that the last thing I needed was someone shouting into a megaphone.

Because when you are shouting into a megaphone, you can’t hear a damned thing. You can’t hear the real reasons people are walking into that office, most of which have NOTHING to do with abortion. You can’t hear the conversations they’ve had in their heads, in their hearts, in their homes and families, with their counselors and yes, even their pastors. You can’t hear what makes them human beings, just like you, just like me.

By the time I got my coffee and bagel, they had finished the shift or were taking a break. If they’re back next time, I’ll invite them in and offer them coffee and a conversation without amplification.

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