Last month we were approached by one of the co-founders of the website Jobstr to participate in their listings to explain escorting. Their website is designed to “Ask people anything about their jobs.” When you participate, you write a brief explanation of what your job is. Then members of their website ask you questions and vote on your answers. Anyone can read the listings, but you have to join to comment or ask questions.
We looked over their website and discussed participating. The co-founder assured us, “it’s extremely low-maintenance.” I have to admit, I was reluctant. I was concerned we would have a lot of antis commenting or asking questions. Spending the day deleting “dead baby” posts wasn’t something I was eager to tackle. Despite the statement from the co-founder, “Our readers are an intellectually curious bunch who tend to ask great questions,” I was hesitant. In our research, we found most jobs had questions ranging in number from 20 to up to about 60 questions. How would the subject of abortion access change this? It would be a way to add awareness of what escorts do out of the normal channels we reach, but I believed it would also be an attractant to antis too.
After weighing the pros and cons, we sent this answer to the invitation: “We want to thank you for the invitation to participate on your Q&A site. The subject of abortion is controversial, so any opportunity to dispel the myths and clarify what actually happens in front of clinics daily is an opportunity not to be missed. That is part.of the reason we write our blog. We will sign up to be a host today.”
This was the start of a very interesting project. I was so wrong and I am glad cooler heads prevailed. We participated and did not receive one negative comment or question from antis. The co-founder was correct, it was low-maintenance and we were able to answer questions as we had the time. There was no pressure to send an instant reply. The 19 questions we received were respectful and some of them made us think a lot about a clear answer. The reader voting also let us know what questions generated the most interest.
I am not going to recreate the web page for “Abortion Clinic Escort” in this article, but I would like to list the questions. You can read all of the questions and answers at this link.
Please let us know what you think of our answers. How would you answer these question differently?
Here is the list of questions we were asked in order of popularity votes:
- Have you ever met protesters who presented their position in a respectful manner such that, despite your conflicting beliefs, you still had respect for them? Or do both sides just assume “My way is the right way?”
- You say “Abortion is not a dirty word.” While I tend to agree, do you at least acknowledge that it’s a “heavy” word and appreciate why many people, even those who are pro-choice, have trouble throwing it around lightly?
- Are there protesters every day at every clinic you volunteer at? Is mainly picketing and shouting, or does it get violent?
- What are protesters allowed and not allowed, legally, to do? I assume they can yell whatever they want, but where’s the legal line to how far they can take harassment?
- What motivated your decision to volunteer?
- Do you ever feel like you’re in any real danger while on the job?
- Do you talk to or console the women you escort about their decision, or is your job simply to get them from car to clinic?
- Have you ever had a pro-life volunteer who simply didn’t think it was right for women to get harassed by exercising their legal right?
- Are there women who arrive at the clinic who insist that you *not* help them? Or do they all readily accept the offer?
- Do you do more than walk clients from their car to the clinic door? If they ask you questions about abortion or law or religion, are you allowed to answer them?
- Is your volunteer group comprised most of women who have had abortions themselves?
- Roughly what percentage of women arrive at the clinic alone?
- How many women show up for their scheduled abortion but then change their mind?
- Are most of the protesters doing so for religious reasons, or are there a lot of non religion-based pro-lifers involved?
- Have pro-life nuts ever tried to pass laws restricting clinic escorts, maybe thinking that might be an indirect way to make women less likely to get abortions?
- Do you have to get permission to act as ACE’s from the clinics you volunteer at? Or do you just show up?
- Have you ever turned down someone who wanted to be an escort? Would anything completely disqualify me?
- Do protesters bring their young kids to join in? As an American, do you respect their right to free speech, even when it’s abusive and insensitive?
- Do protesters taunt you guys too, or just the women going to get abortions?
In conclusion, we would like to thank Jobstr for inviting us to participate. This was out of our comfort zone, but a very rewarding experience.