Thursday, June 10, 2004

(Un-)Planned Parenthood Visit
Fr. Tharp told me to blog on this. The event I will describe took place at my first assignment, some three years ago. First you need to know something about me. Every once in a while I get really sassy. I don't know if it is a full moon or misplaced zeal, or what... but it happens. A wild idea will come to my mind and, presuming it is not contrary to divine and civil law, I go for it. This story is one such example.

I was driving back to the parish and glanced over to see the Planned Parenthood local office. I had passed by it many times before, but today the wild hair sprung! So, I turned around and parked in front of it. I walked inside the office into the waiting area. A young couple was seated there (I was glad I did not recognize them as parishioners). Folks, remember I was in Roman collar. You should have seen the looks. I stepped up to the sliding window (much like a doctor's office) and asked the receptionist if they had any information about what Planned Parenthood is and what they do. She disappeared for a bit and returned with a few pamphlets, pointing to one she described as their best one. She was clearly taken aback by my presence. She handed me the pamphlets and, I am sure, she expected me to leave. Instead, I just stood there and proceeded to SLOWLY thumb through the pamphlets, reading them, searching for buzz words. The phone rang and she answered it, occasionally quickly glancing up at me as if to ascertain whether I might be leaving soon. As she spoke, I noticed a sign attached to her glass window notifying patrons of an office policy regarding children playing in the lobby (I'll save what it said for the end because it is the punch line).

When she hung up the phone, I began asking her questions. I went directly for the jugular asking, "You don't give referrals for abortions, do you?" She responded, "We offer confidential, professional advice about all the options available to those who come to us." I said, "Oh, I see." Then I raised my hand to that sign I had seen, tapping on it as I said, "It sort of makes this sign rather ironic then, doesn't it?" The sign read: "WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILDREN." Then I turned and walked out.

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