Access and Dogma

We have written numerous times about the sidewalk protesters present daily at the EMW clinic. Their toxic words fill the air in their efforts to shame, blame and humiliate clients walking to the clinic door. I am constantly examining what fills them with so much hate directed towards strangers. Expecting particular protesters to spontaneously catch fire from the hate they are harboring inside is a daily exercise in disappointment for me.
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Knowing the reasons is not the same as understanding why they feel they can insert their beliefs into a personal medical decision for someone they have never met. I know they passionately believe they are doing the right thing by protesting abortion. I know they believe escorts are evil and a tool of Satan. But I cannot understand why they passionately believe that gives them the right to publicly bully and harass. How can they think being on the sidewalk screaming at clients will change anyone’s mind?
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When the antis are not on the sidewalk, they are working to get laws changed to prevent access to abortion. When regulations are based upon one religious group’s beliefs, we have a problem.
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“Pro-Life” (a.k.a. pro-birth) activists have lobbied hard to get their beliefs imposed on the rest of the population. Not content to focus on abortion, they would also like to restrict access to birth control. This would be counter-productive to their aim in ending abortion, but logic does not enter into the plans. I know they are opposed to birth control because they believe sex should only be engaged in for the purpose of procreation, but 49% of pregnancies in the US are unintended. That’s about 3.2 million couples that don’t share their belief.
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The anti-choice activists groups have aligned themselves with conservative Republicans in order to write their beliefs into law. The conversation about abortion has dominated the GOP debates and primaries. This is surprising since according to Gallup more Americans describe themselves as pro-choice instead of pro-life, but the anti-abortion groups have found messengers for their beliefs in the Republican party. These very vocal, minority fringe groups are using their influence with politicians to literally move us backwards in time to a system of misogyny and patriarchy. I, for one, do not want to go back.
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Anything is acceptable in the pro-birth agenda as long as it stops access to abortion. Deception? Lies? Stalking? Arson? Terrorist threats? They are all lesser evils than abortion in the anti-abortion beliefs. They are willing to murder to make their political statement in direct contradiction of their stated “pro-life” position. How can you be pro-life and advocate the death of abortion providers?
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The pro-birth activists are not only working within recognized political lobbying, they are working to encite followers to more direct action against abortion providers.
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We have entered a realm of unreality for me when a North Carolina state representative, who is also a pastor, can call for public hangings of abortion providers and receive public statements in support for his view.

  • “If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.”

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One group of anti-abortion activists has created a database of all of the abortion clinics and providers in the US. This listing includes photographs of the physicians, home addresses and other personal information. This can only be viewed as encouraging domestic terrorism in their followers. When individuals speak out about the lack of compassion, violations of the FACE Act and terrorist tactics, the anti groups claim they are only exercising their right to free speech.

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Antis claim to be discriminated against for their religious beliefs. What about freedom from religion? Religious beliefs you do not ascribe to should not be inserted into your ability to access reproductive choices. Isn’t that discrimination against those who do not share your dogma?
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Let me make myself clear, I do not believe the anti-abortion movement is a Christian movement. I am speaking about radical anti-abortion groups who self-describe as Christian: Operation Rescue, Live Action, Pro-Life Action, Catholics in Action, and others with similar beliefs who are present on our sidewalk every day. I am referring to those who believe women should be dominated by men and politicians who believe pregnancy resulting from rape is a gift from God.
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This narrow interpretation of Christianity does not allow for any deviation from their opinion of what is right. When the tactics and beliefs of these groups are mentioned, someone always says, ‘That reinforces a prejudice against Christians that is hurtful.’ I don’t agree. There are many, many Christians and other religious groups who support choice. They work tirelessly for their faith, their members’ families and reproductive choice. Christianity is not the root of the discrimination visited upon reproductive decisions. Fanatical anti-abortion groups are the problem.
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If we are to be a country that is based upon separation of church and state with non-discrimination for all citizens, how can we allow these extreme religious views into our state and federal laws? How can a resolution declaring 2012 as the “Year of the Bible” in Pennsylvania pass with no dissent? When did we forfeit our freedom from religion?
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Antis that protest at the clinic daily are stating their religious views, but lining up on the sidewalk screaming at intimidated clients and their companions will not change anyone’s mind. It drives people away from you. Recruiting to a dogmatic belief does not begin on a sidewalk at 7a in the morning when you are calling potential converts murderers.
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Knowing how the antis believe and what they say does not give me an understanding of how they could think it is okay to publicly bully anyone. A companion asked me one morning, “You must be used to all the things these people say.” I responded, “I hope I never get used to it. That would mean I had stopped caring.”
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The next time I hear a sidewalk preacher yell, “You escorts are all murderers,” I have to be content to not ever understand the logic or belief. Knowing is not understanding.
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Bloggers United for Human Rights is a community of bloggers dedicated to the principle that all human rights are inalienable. Not to be voted, or debated, or negotiated. Blog with us on 2/15 to support Women’s Reproductive Rights.

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REMINDER: The next escort training is February 25,  9:00A to 10:00A.

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Registration will start at 8:30A. The subject of the training is Legal Discussions.  If you want more information about the training you can email us at:  everysaturdaymorning@gmail.com

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2 thoughts on “Access and Dogma

  1. I do have to comment about one thing in this article. A couple of years ago I stumbled on that list of the abortion clinics’ addresses. It was extremely useful to me. I was in the middle of a project to send a postcard of support to one clinic in each state of the US, telling them that I appreciated their work and that they gave women a choice. It was so sweet of the anti-choicers to save me the trouble of having to look them all up.

    I do hope those postcards got through and were read by the clinic staff. With all the hate mail they get, I think they needed them.

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