Letter: Portland health center needs patient safety zone

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The sidewalks surrounding 443 Congress St. in Portland have become a battleground on Fridays and Saturdays due to the presence of the anti-abortion extremists. These protesters are creating a road block for Planned Parenthood at a time when we should all be moving forward.

The Violence Against Women Act has been renewed and health-care initiatives have made birth control easier to access. This is a great time for women and for health care – something so simple as entering the health center should not be an issue.

I absolutely agree that the protesters have a right to voice their beliefs. However, in order to abide by their rights they should not be targeting or yelling at individuals. Their negative presence is making what should be a simple trip to the doctor into a nightmare. Even though abortion only makes up 2 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood at the Portland health center, I dread to imagine how it must make those patients feel. Mustering up extra strength to get to the building should not be necessary for those already facing a difficult time.

As an intern for Planned Parenthood, I have seen the damage and chaos these protesters cause. It is of the utmost importance that we put in our best effort to protect their safety and right to receive health care. I strongly urge the passing of a patient safety zone outside of the Portland health center in order to better serve the patients.

Tawni Turcotte, intern
Planned Parenthood