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The 40 Days of Life protesters are intimidating, not informing

The 40 Days of Life protesters are intimidating, not informing

I’ve got a bone to pick with the Rev. Don Braukmann and his letter regarding pro-life efforts in the Bemidji community, as well as the 40 Days of Life protestors.

Despite how you may feel regarding abortion, what I assume the 40 Days protestors aren’t comprehending (let’s hope they’re not, because otherwise they’re just being willfully ignorant) is the fact that the Bemidji Planned Parenthood doesn’t even provide abortions. The 40 Days protestors are not raising awareness and they’re not stopping any abortions from happening — what they are doing is intimidating people with fewer resources than themselves from seeking help and reproductive counseling.

The Bemidji Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide abortions — they provide referrals, yes, but I think you’ll find those are far fewer than their more common services, which are there to prevent the need for an abortion in the first place. Planned Parenthood is a wonderful resource that provides birth control, HIV testing, men’s health care, pregnancy testing, vaccines, STD testing and much more. When you protest this incredible resource you’re not informing anyone of anything — what you’re doing is bullying the people who are scared and unsure of their futures, and intimidating them from doing what’s in their best interests.

Instead of protesting a service that the place you’re protesting in front of doesn’t even offer, why don’t you pool your resources into sex education, with an emphasis on contraception? I imagine that would make it less fun to pat yourselves on the back, but at least then you’d be doing something helpful that benefits everybody.

It’s important for Bemidji residents to know that the 40 Days of Life protestors outside of Planned Parenthood are just a small sliver of the entire population, and you should not let their presence intimidate or scare you from seeking out the help you need. Be brave and don’t be scared to accept help from the wonderful resources there.

Brittany Olson