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Abortion debate in america part 3: Christina visits Planned Parenthood in Houston May 31, 2010

Filed under: abortion,news-opinion — Christina Lynn Hildebrand @ 4:32 AM
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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.

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Some thoughts and memories of Michael Jackson February 20, 2010

Nearly eight months ago the world lost one of its greatest entertainers, Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson was the bestselling artist of all time. He died in June 2009.

For me, personally, many things come to mind when I think of Michael Jackson. First of all, a flood of memories come back. I believe the first time I ever  listened to him was when I was a freshman in highschool in 2001. I went to a private religious (lutheran) and the Invincible album came out, along with that television special that he did with his brothers, the Jackson 5 as well as Usher and Chris Tucker. I never watched it until his death when it re-aired on either BET or TVONE.

Also, that year we would have chapel and there was this chemistry teacher who would frequently give the chapel lesson. He would use the moniker of this fake movie called “Cash Money.” “Cash Money” would act like a mafioso – you didn’t pay him back, you would face consequences. Usually when cash money was about to give someone a beat-down, Beat It would be the ambient music.

That year, I got a Squire by Fender black jazz bass guitar for Christmas. One day I found Beat It while looking for bass tabs on the internet, so I printed it and tried it because it looked so easy. I also downloaded the song so I could play along. I think I got okay with the song, but not nearly as good as the bassist on that recording.

Later on, all those allegations about him being inappropriate with a child came out. Call it looking back in remorse or whatever, but it was wrong of me both as a devout Christian and US citizen to prejudge him and continually say that he was guilty when he was not. I looked at the evidence and the evidence does not render a verdict of “guilty.” It is wrong to prejudge ANYONE.

Then he died.

The weird thing is that day, and the days before he died, I remember those days rather clearly.

I was in summer school at the time, and I remember talking to one of my best friends, Briana, at her birthday party. We were at the symphony and were talking about the next big article that I wanted to do. She, being the good friend that she is, told me that I would get another mega-article.

Little did I know that a week later, that mega article would come in the form of the death of the King of Pop unfortunately.

That day is a day that I will never forget. Like I said, I was in summer school when the whole thing happened. That day I was having an interesting day because I was facing a deadline for another article. I got on the internet before class and heard the news about Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett passing away, but there was nothing about Michael Jackson. After that, I got on my facebook page (I used to have one, but no longer do) and saw my friend’s status that read “OMG Michael Jackson died” and then saw a conflicting status that said he was at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but that nothing serious had happened. I believed the latter.

By the time I had arrived at a vocal lesson, my voice teacher had the tv on and was apparently watching the news. As usual we traded niceties and she told me about Jackson’s death.  I was rather shocked and it put a damper on the lesson as a whole.

When I got home, it was ALL OVER the news – there were at least 2 Barbara Walters specials about his death and Farrah’s death. Out of curiousity, I did want to watch them but was unable to due to the fact that I had a spanish test the next day.

The next morning, my friend Jenny called me because she was helping me with the previous article that I was working on. I had it on the local R&B station and they were talking about and playing his music and they were playing either Thriller or Smooth Criminal. I lamented to Jenny about what I had heard about Michael Jackson, how it was a major loss to ALL the music world – not just pop/rock (Jenny likes lots of classical music as well as country and maybe some rock, but mostly her world is classical). I even told her a few memories in regards to the artist in which she responded with her trademark phrase “good times, good times!”

Suprisingly enough, it was not really addressed at school in class. But I knew I was going to write something about Jackson’s death, so I decided to try to write something on facebook, but failed. So instead I decided (and got permission) to write a tribute article concerning Michael Jackson.

So with the editor’s blessing, I conjured up a tribute/career highlights article and, literally, stayed glued to the television the whole weekend. All the news networks, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, as well as all the music channels Mtv, Mtv2, MtvTres, VH1, VH1 Classic, and Fuse had constant videos and/or news concerning his death. Also, someone on youtube posted Captain EO in its entirety. So I watched it.

Then Sunday came and I went to church.  You would think that people would be talking about it after church – mainly those that grew up listening to Jackson’s music. Some did but the conversation was initiated by me, especially when I talked to my friend J., who apparently listened to him as a child. J, being a few years older than I, recalled that she listened to him as a child and that his music brought back childhood memories.

The next few days were rather rushed. I had to publish the article on time – the one about Michael Jackson, and also had another article about UH Concert Chorale going to Wales. Both the Michael Jackson tribute article and the Concert Chorale Wales article were in the same issue of the Daily Cougar!

The memorial service was another entity in itself that week and I ended up covering a celebration of his life at UH. It was a great and memorable celebration.