I want to respond to M.D. Harmon’s column (Nov. 23) in which he says that forming a “buffer zone” at the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Portland infringes upon his right of free speech.

Harmon says that he does not condone harassment of clients of the clinic and that he went down there once for a short time to observe and found nothing objectionable to him.

I would beg to differ with him. I wonder how he would feel if, when he visited his urologist’s office, a gauntlet of concerned citizens yelled at him and showed him graphic pictures of resected prostates and implied or outright stated that God would punish him for going into that clinic.

I dare say he would be quite perturbed and not very concerned about the right of free speech of the members of the gauntlet. Yet by equating women’s health care with godlessness and “murder,” he sees no problem with such a gauntlet.

I am a physician and I have been in medicine long enough to have seen young women die hideous deaths from botched backroom abortions. I have seen young women get pregnant as much from lack of medical care and birth control options that would actually work for them.

I have had patients of my own from very fundamentalist backgrounds brought to me by their parents demanding I arrange an abortion for their daughter. I have seen the daughters of the well-to-do admitted to hospitals for dilation and curettage of their uterus with the phony diagnosis of “incomplete abortion,” meaning a miscarriage. They received abortions under false pretenses. That was common before Roe v. Wade. The hypocrisy over this issue is astounding to me.

Harmon’s right of free speech ends before he gets into my face.

William L. GriffithAugusta

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