About 5-6 months ago, you may recall that I went to Planned Parenthood to film for a class in electronic news.
Now ai think it must be heard the story-behind-the-interview; what it felt like as a Christian woman to be in Planned Parenthood.
Really, however, this must be said that it was a friend of mine named Bryant who encouraged me to conduct an interview with the Houston Planned Parenthood Spokesperson, Rochelle Tofoya. I initially did not want to do it because I honestly felt that I, as a Christian woman, would basically lose face. I was thinking that someone from church would see me and think that I am going in there to have an abortion procedure done. The reason that I say this is because sometimes Christians judge others. Also, nobody from church really knew what I was doing because at the time I was trying to stay apolitical because I was not a member of the church at the time. I didn’t know what their stance was on this type of issue and I was in no mood to make waves – though they now know and one has even complimented the short video I made. I was not going in there for an abortion procedure and I would never do such a thing. So I went in to film the interview and nothing more.
However, God had other plans. I was unable to get alot of footage of people praying outside the Planned Parenthood building on Fannin St. and finally came to the conclusion that I had to conduct an interview with a pro choice person. The UH women’s resource center would not do an interview with me. I had no other choice. I had to go to Planned Parenthood and conduct the interview.
Also, that day was filled with alot of drama. I went by the University of Houston MD Anderson Library and, as I was told earlier that weekend, the Pro Life Cougars (which I am a member of – the only active Vineyardite/protestant in the group!) were out and about with their Genocide Awareness Project. That display, as shown in the film I made, had some extremely graphic pictures of genocide with a comparison to abortion. I somehow had an inkling about this when I first found out about it that protesters would come out and heckle these pro-life people. They did exactly that. They brought out coat hangers, wore coat hangers, and shouted many things at them. One I believe even threw a coat hanger at the organizers!
In hindsight, this had me a bit worried about what I was about to do: would those that approach the vehicles at Planned Parenthood be out in full force on a weekday? Would they be stupid enough and confuse me for someone whose going in for an abortion procedure? Would the folks at Planned Parenthood figure out that I was a Christian by the fact that I was a Christian who is basically trying to expose them by using their own words against them? The only way they could remotely have known this fact about me was by the fact that I had previously been there as a sidewalk counselor – someone who tries to convince women not to have an abortion or get a pregnancy test at Planned Parenthood. Also, if their car people were out and about, they may figure out my faith by what I was blasting (usually Amy Grant when it comes to Christian music) on my ipod through the speakers.
There were so many questions on my mind.
However, it is during these times that a Christian woman must rely on one thing: faith. So before I went, not only did I let friends know what I was doing so they could pray for me, such as the members of the Pro Life Cougars, my friend Rachel, my parents, and a few others. I believe I also told some of the members of my lifegroup – but not many because I wanted to be apolitical with them.
So I walked into the building with camera and tripod in tow. I met up with Rochelle and Laura Leona, the Public Relations specialists at Planned Parenthood. But first, I was met with a metal detector, which my camera set off. As they were looking through my stuff, I looked around and saw a picture painting of children. I thought to myself “how ironic” – but not in a good way. I also saw the lady manning the front desk and the security guard, also a woman. I could not help but think that these women, by working at this place, are nothing but traitors to their own sex. They are inflicting more pain than healing.
I also noticed, in the words of Juno MacDuff, that the place “smelled like a doctors office.” Also, I noticed a disturbing amount of pictures of happy pregnant women and families. I kept thinking, “doesn’t this defeat the purpose of your existence?”
Interviewing Rochelle, the spokesperson, I felt like I was interviewing a Nazi. They thought they were doing a public service, but in reality were doing much more harm than good. It was sorta like having the devil in disguise in your midst – you never trust a deceiver.
So after the interview, I went back to UH so I could show some of the footage to my friend Kristine and the rest of the Pro Life Cougars at the Catholic Newman Center. We discussed what went on in our various places.
The next day, I stopped by the Genocide Awareness Project so I could film. The protesting and tension was just as tense as ever! So I decided to interview the protesters. One guy was literally getting into my face as I was speaking to him. Unpleasant, yes, but it made for a great interview. However, he turned out to be a rather nice guy even if we didn’t agree on the subject matter.
Finally, I had to turn in the raw footage – or at least let my professor see it. I saw him flinch when he saw the footage! However, when I turned in the final edited project, he gave me a C. I don’t know if it was because it was late or because he didn’t agree with my stance. I think it’s the latter because he basically slammed everyone’s project. However, the funny thing was that, while editing the project, I showed it to other film students and they seemed to like it. It flowed well and looked current – like something you would see on Mtv or Fuse.
Overall, it was a journey that I will never forget. However, I hope it opened many eyes to the horror and travesty of this procedure.