What is Harassment?

Escorting has allowed me to see the best and worst of human behavior, often at a dizzying rate.  Some mornings I am thankful for a long quiet drive home. It gives me time to process what I have seen and heard. This allows me to make better choices on how to interact with clients and make sure I am doing what is less stressful and most empowering for them.  Everyone is an individual and it is not a one size fits all approach.  It is always their choice on whether or not they choose to speak with us at all, escorts and antis alike.

One morning I was standing along the curb as a car pulled up. As I approached the car, I could see the client and her companion tense up. I stopped a few feet away and waved.  The window rolled down a few inches and a sharp voice asked “What?” I pointed to my vest and identified myself as a clinic escort and asked if they had an appointment today.  They nodded. I gave a very quick summary, approximately when the doors opened and what to expect from the antis on their way into the clinic. I asked if they would like me to walk with them.  They replied no, and they didn’t want to talk to anybody either.  I assured them if they changed their mind and wanted someone to quietly walk with them just wave for one of the escorts wearing the orange vests over and we would return.

As I turned to stand back at the curb, I nearly collided with one of the male antis rushing over to speak with them . While they were rolling up their window he was loudly stating “I am not a protester. I just want to talk with you about some options you have not considered.”

Not a protester? Alright I thought , this could be interesting. What is he planning on discussing, the pros and cons of metered parking along the street or the day rates of the lots and garages in the area? Yeah right; unlikely.

From my vantage point several spaces down I watched as he circled the car from driver to passenger, speaking at them through closed windows. He was repeating one of the many similar scripts they all have:  free housing, free education, free medical care, open adoptions, loving Christian families waiting for babies.  It kind of reminded me of the drive through Safari when I was a kid. Some of the animals like the giraffes and baboons were fun to watch as they approached your car to peer in on you. Others like the tigers and lions were scary and you were glad for the safety of your car; hoping they lost interest quickly and backed off. I wondered how these people saw the actions of this man.

When the clinic doors opened, I stepped back over to the car and informed the client that the building was now open. I again backed off about fifteen feet or so to give them the space they requested, but close enough to get in stride if they changed their minds. Not the case with “Mr. I Am Not A Protester.” He began to very closely follow them up the sidewalk. By now his words had become a blur to me as he kept at them. Part way up the sidewalk they were joined by a female protester with her pleadings of, “Don’t kill your baby.  You will always be a mother.”

Repeated requests from the client and her companion to the antis went ignored. The “Please leave us alone, Please go away,” turned into, “Get out of my face! Leave me alone!” I made eye contact with the client to see if she wanted me to step in and walk with her to try and give her some space. The look I got back was not of someone needing assistance. It was one of someone needing answers. She looked at me and loudly stated, “Do they EVER listen?” Sadly, I shook my head no.

They made their way down the sidewalk with the mini circus in tow. Only at the property line did they manage to finally get free of their persistent chasers.  A few more words preached at the now closed doors and the antis turned their attention to the next group headed in.

harassment (either harris-meant or huh-rass-meant) n. the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands. The purposes may vary, including racial and social prejudice, personal malice, an attempt to force someone to quit a job or grant sexual favors, apply illegal pressure to collect a bill, or merely gain sadistic pleasure from making someone fearful or anxious.

It seems like a pretty simple definition to me, but in this country it seems to be tolerated if it is in the name of religion and saving the unborn.

However, with these tactics becoming more public and the growing backlash against the oppressive regulations and laws passed in the last few years, I see it starting to change.  A recent arrest of a protester in Albuquerque,  the removal of the sidewalk blockers in Jackson, MS on December 4, and the protest-free space created by Portland, Maine’s city council give me hope.

I may be just one voice, but I have found others to speak with and we are being heard. From Wendy Davis and the women of Texas, the voters of Albuquerque, New Mexico and the many tireless volunteers who make sure every day women seeking access to abortion services do not have to face these sidewalk bullies alone.  We are 1 in 3. We have a voice. Don’t be afraid to speak up and use it. We can push back against the draconian laws that are forcing women back into the underground network of illegal and unsafe abortions.

Together we can make the difference.

It’s Not Free

I’ve been watching the outrage about the recently passed law in Michigan that would require a special rider for insurance to cover abortion.  I’m delighted to see people getting upset about it and pushing back.  I wonder how many of us  know that we’ve had that same law in Kentucky since 1978.

That’s right.

In Kentucky, insurance policies cannot cover abortion unless the woman’s life is endangered.  Abortion can only be covered through a special rider, but there’s no provision in the law saying that companies have to offer that.  I have no idea if they do or not.

So every client who comes up the sidewalk at the clinic has already had to find the money to cover the cost of the abortion.  Some of the antis on the sidewalk like to taunt the male companions – “Be a man, stand up for your child, don’t pay for her to have an abortion!!”

That line creates an image in my mind ~  there’s a villain ~ you know, with a mustache, like in the old “tied to the railroad track” movies – holding the money over his head, just out of reach of the heroine.  “No,” he’s saying, “I won’t pay for it,” while she ~ the damsel in distress ~ pleads with him for help.   A silly image, but it flashes through my mind every time I hear them hit that patriarchal note.

“Don’t PAY for them to take your baby’s life,” Angela screams.  Emphasis on “pay” as if that makes it worse, or has some special significance.    Maybe they think it does.

After all, “Come next door,” they say, “Where we care about you.  Where it’s all free.”

“It’s free.”  As if the people coming to the clinic are just shopping around for options ~ “Oh, wait – there’s a bargain over here – forget this abortion!  Let me go access some bible study and get some diapers instead!!  It’s all free!”

Good grief.

Of course, sometimes, the clients have trouble scraping together the funds for an abortion.  That can mean she’s further along in the pregnancy before she can pay for it, and it might mean she needs a more complicated procedure.  Which makes it more expensive.   It’s just one of the barriers to access in Kentucky, but it’s a big one.

There are a couple of organizations in Kentucky that help with funding for abortions.  If you’re interested in making a donation to them, feel free to email us.  We’d be glad to help set that up.*   If you can’t donate funds, there are lots of other ways to provide support – aside from escorting, which is not everyone’s cup of tea.  Email us for information on that too.

If you can’t offer support directly, that’s ok.  You can still help .  Lots of people are stepping up to tell the story of their abortion, which helps reduce the stigma.   We can all help by voicing our support for people who have abortions.  The more of us who openly say we’re pro-access, the less stigma there will be, and the more power our pro-choice politicians have. That will help them support access in the legislature.  So do what you can where you can ~ and maybe someday all insurance policies will cover abortion.  Even in Kentucky.

(* NOTE:  This is not an official fundraising effort – I just thought it was appropriate here.)

Polarities

When Servalbear and I decided to go on hiatus, I was a bit concerned that I’d get used to not posting and have trouble starting back.  Sure enough, inertia sets in and the days fly by and then it starts to seem like I should come back with a great post and that gets harder to think of and more time goes by… and finally, I just had to sit down and write something.

So here I am.  Breaking the ice.

We’ve been talking about doing some new things with the blog – adding some new voices more regularly, hearing from some old-timers, adding some different types of features, and exploring new aspects of supporting access to reproductive health.  I’m excited about the possibilities, but a lot of that is still in the planning stages – in the meantime, I’m back.

I’ve been thinking about polarities ~ I often do in conjunction with being on the sidewalk, but I was at a workshop this week, and it gave me new food for thought.  We were talking about trauma, and healing from trauma.  The presenter was saying that when people – or systems – resort to polarities, it’s a sign that the person – or the system – is overwhelmed by trauma.

Now I’ve taken that statement out of context, and so it may not make as much sense to you as it did to me at the time.  But I thought about our culture and how polarized we are in so many ways – whether it’s race or abortion or poverty or ~ so many things.  And it made me think about a funny story from the sidewalk that happened a few weeks ago.  See what you think about this.

I was down at the corner of First and Market, it was early, and there were a couple of cars with clients already there.  I’d talked to one of them them, someone else had talked to another, and I was moving back towards the corner.   One of the chaser/protesters was ranting about how they were going to regret this, that they’d never be ok again, that it would be so harmful to them… and on and on…

Then suddenly, he says to me “That’s right, you’re a therapist, aren’t you?  That’s right, you are!!  You’re some kind of psychiatrist or something.  So I guess the more of these women that go in there and get harmed, that’s just more business for you, isn’t it?  The more they hurt, the better for you.   Is that what you’re doing down here, just getting more business for yourself?”

I was so taken aback, I had to laugh ~ I had never considered the possibility that being an escort could be a form of ambulance chasing, right?

Of course, I didn’t say anything back ~ what could I possibly say to that?  Well, except, no, I’m not a psychiatrist, I would like to set that straight, but I just laughed and shook my head, no, I’m not actually down there drumming up business.

I am still trying to wrap my head around the idea that he might really think that’s really what I’m trying to do.

Good grief.

I don’t think I can connect all the dots in my head here, but ~ I think we are a traumatized culture.  We are confronted with perceived threat after perceived threat, over and over and over, until our ability to absorb and process them is overwhelmed.

I think the protesters are emotionally threatening to clients with their “in your face” chasing and yelling. I guess the protesters feel threatened by their own belief that little innocent babies are being slaughtered.  They think people are traumatized by abortion, and I think the idea of not being able to access needed healthcare is a bit traumatic.  (Not to imply that perceived threats and trauma are the same thing.)

But the polarities exist to protect us from having to think in shades of gray.  If I am an evil woman ~ if I can be demonized as someone who wants to see women hurt because all I care about is money ~ then that protester is justified in his own actions. And…

…yeah, I don’t know where this goes, except I always have this sense, this feeling, that then they burn some witches.

My commitment ~ my stance ~ is that we need to push back against the things the protesters do.  We need to expose the things they do, because otherwise people can’t know what’s going on.

And I will try not to demonize them.  I will step up and speak out and not be afraid to expose the things they say and do, but I’ll work against what they’re doing, not who they are.

Yeah, it’s a fine line.  I invite you to try to walk it with me.

Rethinking Rainy Days

Rainy days are usually a challenge for escorts. There always seem to be a lot of antis who like to come out and carry their umbrellas. We dodge the pointy accessories as much as we can, but it can involve tricky maneuvering.

It was pouring down rain one morning recently. Escorts had on their raincoats, rain pants and ponchos. It was surprising to see D as the only anti there for almost 30 minutes and she was sitting in her car.

We were able to approach three cars without any interference before 715a. Then we got really lucky and the doors to the clinic were opened early. They were opened as a kindness to the clients so they wouldn’t have to wait in the rain. The added bonus was we were able to bring more than half of the clients for the day into the lobby before the other antis showed up with their umbrellas.

There were 11 antis there without much to do since we had been able to do so much escorting before they even got out of their cars. Of course there were the usual speeches from the regulars, but it was actually funny to watch them lower their umbrellas to stand under the overhang. They grouped around under the overhang talking to each other and trying to engage escorts.

Then they would see a client and raise their umbrellas and start off. We just walked out into the rain and met the clients first.

I may have to revise my thinking about rainy days. They are not so bad after all.

An Exercise in Futility

Things were a bit ramped up here recently – an adult couple  arrived at the clinic with a young person.  One of the protesters – Ron – decided the young person must be a 10 year old girl who’d been raped.  Yes, he just made that up, but he was sure that was the story, because protesters know these things, right?

He decided that meant that we – the escorts – were protecting the perpetrator of the crime.  Yes, I know that’s an astounding leap outside the bounds of anything resembling logic, but there you go.  It went downhill from there.

From the comfort of my own home now, I can see that it might have been more helpful if I had ignored him, but he was all ramped up and raving and I might have gotten a bit ramped up myself.  So when Ponytail guy said it was probably one of the escorts who raped her – well, I might have said something a bit inappropriate.  Yep.  I did.

I know, it wasn’t helpful, just like it wasn’t helpful to ask Ron to explain how it would be better for a 10 year old to actually have to be pregnant and  have a baby.  He didn’t answer that, and I didn’t expect him to.  He just kept asking why we would protect the perpetrator.

Such nonsense.

I need to make sure I’m wearing my cloak of disengagement from now on.  I need to remember that Ron, and the other forced birthers, don’t have any actual power, which is why they spend their time trying to bully other people.

On the other hand, wasn’t there some state that tried to pass a law making it illegal for someone to help a minor who who was a rape victim get an abortion?  Some stuff about it “destroying the evidence?”  Good grief, do they not realize you can get DNA evidence from the aborted fetus if they needed to?  Oh, that’s right, science is not their strong suit.

Plus, as someone pointed out at breakfast, this is one more example of the way the antis distrust women.  It’s not enough for someone to say they were raped and name the person who raped them.  No, they need to have the rapist’s baby so we can make sure who did it.  Really.

Oh, but wait – if you get raped, you can’t even get pregnant, right????  Don’t we just “shut that whole thing down??”  Hmmm, this forced birther logic is so hard to follow!

Oik, enough of that, it’s not really funny, although we laughed about it a bit later.  At the time, it was ugly, and next time I’ll try to walk away sooner and ignore them harder.  Like Servalbear’s button suggests, I’ll ignore them so hard they’ll start to wonder if they exist.

Last week I posted the video of Chad preaching and said there was another video that gives a good perspective on what it can be like up by the door.  I transcribed it this week – actually the last couple of minutes are the same as last week’s videos so you don’t need to watch the whole thing.

There are three people talking/preaching at once, so I’ve used different type for each one – Chad is regular print, another preacher (I think he’s one whose nickname has the initials RFN, but I’m not sure) is in all-caps, and a third anti, a man in a red jacket, is in bold (which is ironic, because he’s talking really softly.)

Here’s the video:

And here’s the transcript:

IT IS YOUR CHILD

… that they may live.

AND YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE

That’s the book of Deuteronomy.

FOR THIS CHILD.

And not only does he want us to choose life,

NO MATTER WHAT YOU DECIDE TODAY YOU WILL ALWAYS BE THE MOTHER OF THIS CHILD

he has given us a way to choose life eternally, Eternally.

SIR THIS IS YOUR CHILD, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE THE FATHER…

Jesus said he comes to bring life and life more abundantly.

I ENCOURAGE YOU THIS MORING TO CONSIDER THE FACTS. CONSIDER THE TRUTH TODAY.

DON’T BE DECEIVED. THIS IS A CHILD. YOU ARE ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS CHILD.

Jesus said that. Jesus said he comes to bring life and life more abundantly.
Not abundantly in the sense that you get to have riches and wine?

YOU MAY SAY, “WE’RE IN A TOUGH SPOT, WE CAN’T HAVE THIS CHILD”

Abundantly in the sense that you can live and worship him in eternity.

IF YOU CAN’T HAVE THIS CHILD, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING TO ADOPT IT, IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO CARE FOR IT

Live in the Glory of God, in the light of his son Jesus Christ for eternity.

AND YOU HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO ALLOW IT TO GROW AND DEVLOP AND THE ABILITY TO BE BORN. JUST LIKE YOUR PARENTS GAVE YOU THAT SAME ABILITY TO GROW AND DEVELOP AND BE BORN.

Folks, that’s good news, That’s what the gospel means. You and I deserve eternity in hell. Eternity in hell and the fires that will never quench. That’s real friends. It exists. It is real, more real than our existence right now.

MA’AM AS YOU WALK THROUGH THAT DOOR, PLEASE CONSIDER SIR YOU HAVE TO OPPORTUNITY TO EVEN STILL THIS MORNING.

Hell is real. Jesus preached about hell,

Do you want to make a thousand angels in heaven rejoice? (This is the man in the red jacket. He’s talking to some young people who are escorting today, particularly a couple of young women.)

Jesus warned us about hell more than he preached about the Kingdom of Heaven.

How do you get a thousand angels to rejoice? How do we get a thousand angels to rejoice?

So friends, be prepared,

Anybody wanna rejoice?

he wants us to avoid that place

you know how to do it?

and the way to do that is to repent and be saved. believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today. Believe on him. Put your faith and trust in the Lord who is worthy to save

All of the lambs who (something) is worthy to be saved

Who wants to get saved today?

Repent.

You’ll make the angels rejoice…

This is the lie you guys are believing.

(Can’t tell what Red Jacket is saying…)

This is what happens to those babies. Period.

A thousand angels will rejoice…
Sir, but that’s exactly what happens. a lot more children That’s what you’re supporting, you’re an accomplice to this. And that’s what you’ll stand and be accountable for on judgment day. Unless you repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ and your sins are washed away. That’s what you’re going to have to stand up and face. This is true. This is what abortion is. This is what (something)

It’s the murder of an unborn child. The massacre of babies and it looks just like that. I hope you’re happy about that, because that’s what happens.

you need to repent. You all need to turn from your sins and believe the truth about abortion. Here’s what it is- plain and simple – here’s what abortion is – here’s the truth of abortion – death destruction killing and destruction. That’s of satan that’s what god hates and he wants you to repent he wants you to turn from your sins – to choose life, he wants you to choose life so your children will live He commanded us to go forth and multiply and to fill the earth…

And that’s where the videos I posted last week start, so I won’t add those transcripts here.  I can’t promise I got all the wording right, but it’s close enough to give you the idea.

It’s interesting how their words overlap sometimes, as if they’re bouncing thoughts off each other, but really each person is intent on his own presentation.  Red Jacket is brand new to our sidewalk and I hope he won’t be back.  He really was only talking to the young female escorts who were standing on the property line.  Yep, just a bit creepy.

This week’s post is strictly a “for my own emotional well-being” one – I just needed to describe what it was like that particular Saturday morning at the clinic.  There’s no particular point – no point in trying to reason with Ron, no point in getting upset with Ponytail Guy, no point in lots of things happening on the sidewalk.

But the whole point is being there for the client.  That’s the point of escorting.  When I remember that, the rest of this really does fall away.  And I’m ready for another day on the sidewalk.

Thanks for listening…

Sidewalk Snippet ~ {11/11/13}

Escorts hear this a lot, but this morning was such a clear example of what the antis believe about choice I wanted to share.

The antis always come out armed with pamphlets to give to the clients and companions. When you go into the clinic lobby any morning, frequently these pamphlets that were thrust into their hands are scattered on the floor; left behind because they were unwanted.

This morning an escort followed a client inside of the lobby to answer a question. While they were there, the client handed them the pamphlet that had just been shoved towards them as they crossed the property line. Three antis were watching the escort and client from the property line as they talked. They were closely lined up to get a clear vision through the the glass door. D said, “I knew it. Did you see that?”

When the escort came out, they stood at the entrance and ripped the pamphlet up. Trainee (fully trained now) said, “You have just destroyed her opportunity to make a choice. You are not giving her a choice.”

Really? As if the choice wasn’t made and that one pamphlet was the key to making a decision? What about their choice to not have the pamphlet? If the client had wanted to read it, they would have kept it. If they hadn’t made their decision before reaching the sign-in window of the clinic, I’m sure one pamphlet wouldn’t have made up their mind either.

The antis constantly berate escorts about their definition of “choice.” They seem to have a different meaning for the word than we do.

Have Soapbox, Will Preach

“Soapbox:  A temporary platform used while making an impromptu or nonofficial public speech.”  (according to the Free Online Dictionary)

Last week, for the first time in quite a while, one of the preachers (we call him Chad – don’t know if that’s his real name or not) brought his step stool, and his microphone, and preached to us.  He preached to us for a full hour and fifteen minutes, leaving some of the other preachers on the sidelines.

I thought I’d share some of that pleasure with you.

Transcript:

…so your children may live.  He commanded us to go forth and multiply and fill the earth.  That’s what he commanded us to do from the very beginning – he told Adam and he told Noah to do the exact same thing.
Come on, people!  Come on!  We’re in America!  We don’t need to do this!  If someone said, “Well, I can’t have a  baby because I can’t do this or I can’t do that or I don’t have a job or whatever,” – there’s no excuse in this country today for doing this (waves his arm at the fetal porn)  There are adoption agencies – people waiting in line to adopt babies – there is someone – someone wants to help you in this situation.  If you don’t have a job, someone will find you a job.  If you don’t have a home somebody will find you a home.  If you need money, clothing, shelter, food, there are people in this country who will help you in an instant.  And they don’t even have to be Christian or religious.  There are secular groups that will help you in this country today.
You don’t need to do this!!  (Pointing at the fetal porn.)  This does not need to be done!!

Just a couple of comments – notice that “He told Adam and Noah to do the same thing” about going out and multiplying – no need to mention Eve and Mrs. Noah, right?

Servalbear says her favorite line is “Come on, people!  We’re in America!”  and I agree, that has a nice ring to it.  But I think my favorite line is in this one:

Transcript:

…so you can live the gangster rap life.  This is what murder is.  This is what happens.  We don’t need to do this in our country today.  There are people who want to help.  So the excuse, “I’ve got no other choice,” DOES NOT HOLD WATER!  Not with me.  Not in America.  I know what happens in this country.  There are people that wanna help.  Let them help you!!
Let them help you do something that’s right!  Let them help you find a home for your baby!  Let them help you find a job!  Let them help you find a way to do something that’s right instead of doing something that’s wrong.
And THIS is wrong!  THIS is wrong!  (Pointing to the fetal porn)   Turn from your wickedness and turn from your sins today.  Put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  And if you don’t…

Ok, it’s kind of repetitive, but worth it for the line “…so you can live the gangster rap life.”  Really, Chad?   That’s classic.

Unfortunately, I didn’t capture the part where he says “there are no intellectual arguments that support evolution…” and “…there are no scientific facts that supports feminism, evolution or abortion. They are all sins against god.”  No intellectual arguments – no scientific facts- good grief.

We do have a longer video of him and other things going on at the same time that gives a really good picture of what it’s like in front of the clinic, but it’s tough to transcribe.  I may work on it though.  It’s such a lovely cacophony – Chad and another preacher both preaching at the same time, and red-jacket guy wandering over to some young escorts to talk ask if they “want to delight a thousand angels…”  Yeah, I may have to work on it.

But I post this today to highlight the privilege and the arrogance that the antis bring to the sidewalk.  I think Chad says it all when he proclaims that “your excuses DON’T HOLD WATER.”  You need to know that your “excuses” for your life decisions don’t hold water with Chad.

Doesn’t that kind of say it all?

That Morning ~ by RMM

Since I’ve been really little, conversations concerning pro-life and pro-choice have been big topics. My mom has always been pro-choice and would always share her opinion, but more importantly, she always told me that the choice was mine. That she would tell me many things throughout my childhood, but in no way did I have to follow in her footsteps.

Volunteering at the clinic all started because a girl at my school had put up a status on Facebook talking about this coming weekend being a big weekend because it was Easter Sunday, and that the more volunteers they had, the more smoothly the process would go for women trying to make it to the clinic. I had never volunteered before, heck I never even knew where the clinic was at.  (Even though I passed it almost every day to go to my bus stop after school). So, I convinced my mom (and more importantly myself) to wake up on a summer morning at 5 am and catch a cab down to the clinic.

This experience was a while ago, but I can say I will never forget how it went. I remember getting down there and everyone was so nice. My friend had told me all you had to do was look for the people in the orange vests and they were the people to talk to. It all started with me and my mom explaining that we had never done this before, but that I had for a long time been interested in helping out (also the idea of breakfast after was a plus too.)

A woman gave us two of her vests and told us to take our place at the side of the clinic. I remember it wasn’t even 6 am and protesters already started lining up. Some that I remember the most was an older gentlemen that had a cross statue. Now the funny thing to me was that the base for holding the cross was larger than the actual cross. I also remember a woman that had a flag of the Virgin Mary hanging from a frame she had made from PVC pipe. And of course, the most prominent person I remember was a woman that stood right at the front against the volunteers preaching from her Bible; so loud that the women already inside the doors could hear her.

Now don’t take what I’m saying as a bashing of Christians, Catholics, any religion for that matter. I’ve always been a strong supporter of respecting all religions, even if I don’t personally believe them. But I would say I definitely wasn’t prepared for the amount of protesters. While mentally I can’t understand how another woman will tell another woman that she doesn’t have the right over her own body, that’s my opinion. I would also say that the experience was a definite eye opener for me. I can’t even imagine the stress and fear that the women coming to that clinic feel. Being yelled at by people that they are killing their baby or sinning in the eyes of God. For all of you know, the women walking through those doors could be Catholic or Christian themselves. And it kills them to be doing something that their religion tells them is wrong and will send them to hell.

I’m glad that I came, and I really hope that I can do it again, although over the school year the weekend is my time to sleep, not wake up at 5 am. But you will be seeing me again, and I hope the next time I’ll learn something new.

Bad People

We talk once in awhile about how the antis will bring their children out as props. This morning we had a family group of grandparents and two grandchildren under the age of four.

It was one of the cooler mornings we have had this fall, with the temperature around 42 degrees. Of course, it is usually colder on the sidewalk in front of the clinic because of the taller buildings, proximity to the riverfront and all of that concrete.

The grandparents parked halfway down the block and walked the children to the clinic doors wrapped in blankets. One of them was carrying a babydoll wrapped in the blanket with them.

As they passed the clinic entrance the grandfather pointed out the escorts to the older child and said, “These are all bad people.” The child’s eyes got large as they watched us when walking past.

They continued on towards AWC where the other antis greeted them and talked to the children. They are the good people, evidently.

A short time later, the grandfather walked back holding the older child’s hand and stood facing me from about one foot away; trying to stare me down for Jesus I guess because he didn’t say a word to me.  After a minute, the child looked up and saw me. She said, “Uh oh. She’s bad,” while pulling away from her grandfather. He led her away; point made.

They lingered a little while longer until the children got tired and started sitting on the planter box of the clinic.

My heart went out to the child who was frightened by the “bad people.”

Just another day of observing the teaching of intolerance and hatred on the sidewalk.

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REMINDER:
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Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/158610191007342/

Website: http://kyroadrally.org/

It’s Not a Contest

Recently, I was up near the clinic doors when a woman and her companion came rushing out, looking distressed.  As they pass me, I say “Want some company going back?” thinking that they’re headed to their car.

The woman says, “I just need a test to prove I’m pregnant!!  That’s all!  Just a test to prove I’m pregnant!”

That makes me laugh, and I point them toward the right place… but notice how I, once again, refrain from trying to talk her out of going through with the pregnancy?   Just like I don’t go to Babies R Us and approach people to ask if they’ve “considered having an abortion instead.”  Nope, I just don’t do it.

Donna and Angela meet the non-client at the door to the anti-clinic and welcome her as if she has just escaped the bowels of hell, which cracks me up too.  You would think we had escort-chasers trying to talk her out of leaving.

But I think that’s how the protesters see it.  For sure, they consider it a victory anytime someone comes out of the clinic – and that makes sense.   Well, unless the person leaving never intended to get an abortion.  Or they discovered they didn’t have their ID’s and had to reschedule.  I’m not sure the antis “get points” for that, but in their minds they do, and that’s fine.

But it annoys me that the protesters seem to think the escorts are disappointed when somoene leaves the clinic.  The antis are welcome to think that means they’ve “won one,” but we have not “lost one.”

Of course, if you’re pro-access, you already knew that.  You already know it’s not about wanting women to get abortions – it’s about wanting people to make the decision that’s right for them.

More importantly, the real *contest* is not on the sidewalk outside the clinic.  It’s in the state legislature.  That’s what counts.

And it’s not just about abortion.   Reproductive rights include the right to have children, to not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments.

In Kentucky, we have an opportunity to express our support for reproductive rights now.  We don’t want to wait until onerous new laws have been passed or beneficial new laws not considered.  On Saturday, November 2nd, we will rally in Frankfort to let our legislators know what we want.

That morning, Saturday, November 2nd, reproductive rights supporters from across the state will meet in their locales to decorate cars for the rolling rally, traveling as a caravan into Frankfort to meetup with like-minded Kentuckians from across the Commonwealth. Following the rally, there will be a tailgating celebration where rally participants can learn more about supporting organizations, like the Kentucky Religous Coalition for Reproductive Choice (KRCRC), the ACLU of Kentucky, The A Fund, and the Louisville Clinic Escorts.

We have four points of focus:

  • Comprehensive Sex Education

In Kentucky, bills mandating that public schools teach comprehensive sexual education that is medically accurate and age appropriate have been introduced in 2010, 2011, and 2012, but did not get out of committee.  Our kids deserve accurate information.

  • Contraception Access

In Kentucky, a bill to allow pharmacists to refuse to provide birth control was introduced in 2013, but did not get a committee hearing.  However, recent  hospital mergers have made  family planning services more difficult, as many hospitals are now Catholic-affiliated, particularly impacting rural areas that are already underserved.  Our families deserve access to family planning.

  • Access to Abortion Services

In Kentucky, bills that would require transvaginal ultrasounds and 24 hour in person counseling have been introduced every year for the last five years, but have not passed.   Only two of the 120 counties have an abortion provider, and 77% of Kentucky women live outside those two counties..  Kentuckians deserve access to a full range of reproductive health care.

  • Family Support Services

The Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP) is just one of many programs that provide support to families facing economic challenges.  Support for programs such as this one is essential because Kentucky families deserve support to raise healthy children in a supportive environment.

So we’re all getting excited about the rally – and I thought I’d show you some of our preparations.

(transcript at end of article)

And one of the escorts has already got some posters ready:

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And they asked me to emcee the rally!  So I’m working on a (short) “Welcome to the rally” speech, trying not to be nervous, and hoping to see you there!

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Are you coming with us? Head over to the Events page or the website to sign up.  Can you contribute $5 or more to help make it happen?

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/KyRoadRally

Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/158610191007342/

Website: http://kyroadrally.org/

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Transcript of video:

I’m Sassy. And I’m a feminist. And no gynotician is going to tell me what to do with my vagina.

Vagina. Vagina. Vagina.

That’s why I’m going to the Kentucky Road Rally for Reproductive Rights on November 2nd.

I’m going to make signs.

I’m going to decorate my car.

And I’m going to tell those Frankfort politicians – stick to your day jobs.

Hi, I’m Temperence, Sassy’s twin sister. In preparation for the Kentucky Road Rally for Reproductive Rights, I agreed to make some cute little signs, and I wanted to share my tips with you.

First, you’ll need some posterboard. You’ll want to get the crispest, cleanest  posterboard you can find so that your message will be more easily read by the politicians who are overreaching their bounds.

Secondly, round up some paint, markers, crayons, stickers, glitter…anything you think you may need to create your message of maintaining reproductive freedoms in the Commonwealth.

Brainstorm what you might want your poster to say. There are some great suggestions on the FAQ page of the Kentucky Road Rally’s website; go to kyroadrally.org.

Once you’ve settled on a message, take a moment to consider how it will best fit on your posterboard.

Then, carefully write your message on your posterboard, taking time to add special embellishments.

Once you’re done, you’re ready to roll out to Frankfort to tell our elected officials:

Kentucky families deserve better..

I’m Temperence, and I’ll see you on the Capitol steps, November 2nd.