Why won't this company work in an abortion clinic?
June 16, 2014 4:08 PM   Subscribe

I was just offered a job as an apprentice plumber in a small shop, but they have a curious rule in their policies and procedures that I'd like to know more about: "Do not enter/work in an abortion clinic".

There are a couple other "do not enter/work" examples, but the abortion clinic one stuck out. Is this likely a political/religious thing, or perhaps a liability issue (should one get bombed or something?!?), or are they perhaps just wary of working at a controversial location?

I did a little googling but the only relevant issue that I saw was a trades boycott on a Planned Parenthood organized by right-to-life groups, some of which were sympathetic, but some just didn't want the publicity.
posted by hafehd to Work & Money (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
At best guess, political/religious.
posted by jferg at 4:15 PM on June 16 [8 favorites]

There is no way to know why they do this without asking them. It could be any reason, including strange made-up ones.

Abortion clinics do have plumbing, so that's the one thing you can rule out.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:17 PM on June 16 [3 favorites]

Where do you live? If you are in the South I would bet money on it being political/religious.
posted by chainsofreedom at 4:19 PM on June 16

Where do you live? If you are in the South I would bet money on it being political/religious.

It looks like the asker might be in Milwaukee, so, that rules that possibility out.
posted by ftm at 4:23 PM on June 16

What are the other restrictions? Maybe there's a pattern.
posted by michaelh at 4:25 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]

"It looks like the asker might be in Milwaukee, so, that rules that possibility out."

I think it's still totally possible that the owner of a small plumbing shop in Milwaukee could be politically and/or religiously conservative enough to refuse to serve an abortion clinic.
posted by amaire at 4:27 PM on June 16 [20 favorites]

The other restrictions are safety issues: don't work in a hoarder's home or one with aggressive pets.

And yes this in in Milwaukee.
posted by hafehd at 4:29 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]

I assure you that there is an active pro-life lobby in Milwaukee (which, btw, has a lot of Catholics). I am certain that the reason is probably, being charitable, conscience-based.
posted by dhartung at 4:34 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]

Rather than being the viewpoints of the owners, they could be rules they've agreed to to address concerns from other employees. The ones you've cited don't sound like they'd cost them that much business so it could be something like "OK, rather than argue over this we're just going to agree not to deal with that any more.."
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:35 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]

The phrasing makes it suspect. Most places that perform abortions don't call themselves "abortion clinics." Further, they're not telling you to avoid other doctor's offices, clinics or hospitals, and any of them could be providing the same services.
posted by sageleaf at 4:41 PM on June 16 [28 favorites]

I'm also in Milwaukee. I guarantee it's religious/political.
posted by desjardins at 5:02 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]

sageleaf has it, this is definitely the result of someone's antichoice agenda.
posted by elizardbits at 5:05 PM on June 16

And then there's this: Some vocal opponents of abortion have a history of referring to the procedure as having "your baby sucked into a sink," so feel free to extrapolate what a plumbing company might infer from that. This isn't generally how medical waste is handled, but facts rarely get in the way of a good catchphrase for particular viewpoints.
posted by sageleaf at 5:07 PM on June 16

It could be the plumbing company is run by anti-abortion activists; it could also be that the plumbing company does not want to be boycotted by anti-abortion activists.
posted by latkes at 5:11 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]

There are web stories about plumbing contractors being hassled by protestors.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:17 PM on June 16 [4 favorites]

Yeah, if I were them I would be worried about being hassled or worse by protestors, and it's probably not all that safe to go around mad people.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:37 PM on June 16

First, contrary to what other people are saying, there's nothing suspect about the language (abortion clinics do indeed refer to themselves as abortion clinics). And yes, plumbers--much like waste removal companies--get hassled for working with abortion clinics because in some municipalities it's legal to dispose of the procedure remnants via garbage disposal.

Your employer doesn't want to get tarred with the "liberal abortionist industry" brush. Chances are they're already getting hassled by the local anti-choice groups.
posted by cowboy_sally at 6:25 PM on June 16

There's also a possibility that it's not the plumbing company's own religious / political position, but their concern about having their truck / logo / personnel photographed, tarred and targeted by fanatics, and resultant smearing and boycotting. In other words, they may just be afraid of getting sucked into and damaged by a dispute that they themselves have no stake in.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:31 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]

[Just a general note folks, though the OP has now responded here with their location: Please do not publish private info from profile pages (which are not indexed, and certain fields are viewable only by members) in comments. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 11:40 PM on June 16 [3 favorites]

in some municipalities it's legal to dispose of the procedure remnants via garbage disposal.

Uh, this seems extremeley unlikely to me. Would be very curious to hear about a specific muicipality that allows this. Medical waste management is a highly regulated field.

Also, most abortion clinics in my region are not called abortion clnics. They are called Women's Health Centers or some such.
posted by latkes at 8:11 AM on June 17 [2 favorites]

I'm sure there are plenty of small business owners out there who wouldn't want to have anything to do with an abortion clinic. I'm going with conscientious-objector status.
posted by BurntHombre at 9:00 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]

If I were feeling charitable (which is not my judgment call to make since I don't know anything else about these individuals), I would consider it possible that, in light of the other stipulations about hoarders and aggressive animals, this is a measure to protect employees from potential harm, since unfortunately violence and general hassling is not unheard of at clinics that perform abortions.
posted by threeants at 10:47 AM on June 17

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