During a street interview published in the Bangor Daily News January 21, pro-life demonstrator and organizer Donna Hebert said that when she was 15 "and scared," she had a legal abortion and later, some more. In hindsight she lamented, "No one was there for me." She now believes she would have made a different choice. And yet she seeks to interfere with women in similar straights by attempting to deny them guidance and counseling so that they might make a more reasoned and healthy choice at a critical time in their lives!

Demonstrators focus on Fridays and Saturdays because they say this is when abortions happen. But they don't focus on individuals, choosing instead to do a broad sweep of any reproductive age female who happens to be walking in the direction of Planned Parenthood, which ups the commotion, which is good for intimidation and press. Demonstrators control tempo because of proximity to those targeted. It can become a carnival atmosphere with women seeking healthcare services and others, having to run a gauntlet.

In 1944 and pregnant with my younger brother, my mother suffered a massive, paralyzing stroke. She was 23 and my father, 26. I was 2 and my sister, 1. We were Catholic and born in St. Francis Hospital. My parents sought counseling and changed hospitals should termination become necessary. My parents wanted that third child, but Dad chose not to be widowed. And Mom didn't want him widowed! With the guidance of wise counsel and TLC, I did gain a brother. But we were now a (Catholic) family of choice. We do not consider this an oxymoron. My brother, in retrospect, agrees with the decision that my mother's life had to come first.

Ms. Hebert, on the other hand, limited her options. Had she been better able to take advantage of services such as those provided through Planned Parenthood, her outcome(s) could have been different. I don't know her age, but certainly there were guidance and referral services available through religious and civil organizations during her pregnancies. There would have been somebody there for her.

Fortunately, those women who are seeking competent, professional advice on their reproductive health on Congress Street these days are following the same pathway as my mother's so long ago. But unlike Ms. Hebert's, their decisions will have been made with their good health in mind.



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