Abortion Facts

The Supreme Court case of Roe vs Wade was decided January 22, 1973. There have been many articles written about abortion access over the 40 years since the decision. Last year saw a huge number of articles in response to state legislation designed to chip away at the right to abortion.

This blog published a series of articles last January covering Roe vs Wade: The Marches, Legal Barriers and Battles, Physical Aggression, History, and a Call to Action.

This year Guttmacher Institute has published an information sheet and a set of infographics about abortion in the United States. The five fact sheets present a lot of details about abortion in the United States. They are easy to read and I encourage you to look at them all.

All of the graphics are excellent, but two of them really caught my attention. The issues highlighted in them are what we see daily when we escort at the clinic.

490-AbortionInTheUsHasBecomeConcentrated
Unintended pregnancies are rising for those below the federal poverty line and decreasing for those with incomes greater than 200% of the federal poverty line. The reasons for this are not listed, but access to health care, health insurance and contraception must be contributing factors. If you do not have access to free or low-cost effective contraception, you would expect a rise in unintended pregnancies. Some clients I have talked to at the clinic have stated they couldn’t afford their contraception for one or more months, but thought they would be safe with other methods. They made the decision to pay for other necessities of life.

What happens when 42% of the women having abortions are below the federal poverty line? As the graphic points out, an abortion can be delayed by the need to raise money. This results in a higher cost for the procedure. It is a real Catch 22. One client told me she was using her rent and grocery money for the month to pay for her procedure and was just hoping she wouldn’t be evicted until she could pay some on her rent, but she wasn’t sure where she was going to get food for her and her two-year old child. Those are hard decisions.

490-BarriersToAbortion

The second graphic that caught my attention ties into the difficulty of the 42% of clients below the poverty line. If 35% of all women live in the 87% of the counties without an abortion provider, how do they negotiate the additional cost of travel, time off work, and possibly childcare?

In addition to the physical barriers to a provider location, there are legislative barriers to abortion access. These include waiting periods that add more delay time and possibly raise the costs of a procedure. In addition, there have been a multitude of hurdles that clients have been forced to jump to access abortion thanks to anti-choice legislators in state governments.

Guttmacher says it best:

There are no women of reproductive age in the United States today who were of reproductive age prior to Roe. U.S. women of this age have never known a nation in which abortion was illegal and unsafe. Yet, keeping abortion legal and safe—and accessible to all women—is and must always remain an urgent national priority.

————————————————————————–

REMINDER: Share your story.

January 22, 2013 is the 40th Anniversary of Roe v Wade.  Forty years of legal, safe abortions.  This invitation comes from our allies at Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice:

“KRCRC (is making plans for a January 20 event in Louisville, “The Roe Monologues,” to mark those 40 years (four decades, two generations!) since the Roe v Wade ruling, and we need your help.

We’re looking for your story. But also for your mother’s, your daughter’s, your sister’s, aunt’s, girlfriend’s, roommate’s, friend’s story. Fairly brief; 2 to 5 minutes, and starting with the year. (e.g. “It was 1983, and I was trying to finish up my nursing degree, when I found out I was pregnant.” “In 2008, my wife and I had been trying for several years to have a baby. Now she had finally gotten pregnant, but when we got the results of the amnio, …” “1957. I was living in Missouri, and abortion was illegal. When my roommate learned she was pregnant, …” etc)

On Jan. 20 at our event, we will love it if you will present it yourself. But if it’s bad timing, bad location, or you’d just rather not get up to present it yourself, we will be happy to have someone read it for you. Also, you can use your own name or a made-up name, your choice.

We need these stories! – and people need to hear them. Will you help us? Will you spread the word that we’re looking for these stories?

Please email info@krcrc.org if you think you’d like to participate, either in person or by providing a story for someone else to read.”

By stepping out and talking about our experience we reduce the stigma and shame that surrounds abortion.  By sharing our stories, we support each other and continue building a world where reproductive justice is a reality.

VAWA versus NASCAR

We collectively breathed a sigh of relief after the election. Barack Obama won another term. A record number of women were elected to Congress in both houses. It still isn’t 50% of the representatives, but progress was made. Maybe we can relax and the War on Women will be a historic footnote.

You might  think the forward motion and election returns would diminish the anti-women rhetoric and some positive changes in human and reproductive rights would move forward. You might think that, but you would be incorrect. The first bill introduced to the 113th Congress was presented by Michelle Bachmann. It was a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act; even though similar bills have been voted on and defeated 33 times by the 112th Congress.  I for one, do not hold a lot of hope for forward motion in these issues this year.

The 112th Congress left unfinished business. They were too busy fighting over the Fiscal Cliff deals to consider the bills for relief funding for Hurricane Sandy victims or the Violence Against Women Act.

There have been really a lot of articles written since April about the VAWA. The bi-partisan revised act passed by the Senate in April was written to include LGBT, undocumented immigrants and Native Americans. The revision was too controversial for House Republicans. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor described the revisions as “issues that divide us,” and the House revised the bill to exclude those groups of people. And then it languished; pushed aside for other issues.

The VAWA expired on January 1, 2013 for the first time since 1994 when it was first enacted. People for the American Way simply state:

  • Now the new Congress will have to start the process of reauthorizing VAWA all over again. Until they do, women across the country will be left without the safety net that VAWA provides.

What has funding the VAWA actually done since 1994? The National Network to End Domestic Violence has a detailed breakdown on their website about what the funding has covered. It covers multiple services to victims, training for detection and prevention, prosecution, transitional housing, childcare, and workplace response training. This statement particularly caught my attention:

  • Programs are reporting significant increases in requests for help including crisis calls to hotlines, relocation assistance, counseling, shelter beds, legal services, transitional housing and childcare.  The National Census of Domestic Violence Services found that on one day in 2010, over 70,500 adults and children in America received support and services from local domestic violence programs.  Yet, on that same day, over 9,500 requests for services went unmet because of a lack of resources.  Every day, shelters and service providers must turn away victims and families in danger.  When victims take the difficult step to reach out for help, many are in life-threatening situations and must be able to find immediate safety and support.  Given the dangerous and potentially lethal nature of these crimes, we cannot afford to neglect victims.  Federal funding is now more essential than ever to ensure that programs across the country can keep the lights on, answer crisis calls, and provide essential services for victims fleeing violence.

As of today there is no official funding for those services, but some funding will continue through appropriations. There will be no funding available for improvements or the expanded coverage of LGBT, Native Americans and undocument immigrants. The 70,500 calls placed in 2010 could go unanswered in 2013.

Do we really need VAWA and those services? One article I read argued there would be coverage by other laws in existence, such as assault, murder, or kidnapping. However, since the VAWA has been enacted in 1994 (pdf) there has been a reduction of violence by 63% and an increase in reporting by 51% for women and 37% for men. The act is directly responsible for these changes.

  • VAWA has been the single most effective federal effort to respond to the epidemic of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in this country.”-Debbie Segal, chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence

One article on the history and impact of the VAWA is by Abigail Collazo published on January 3, 2013. It is thorough and she states about the refusal to vote on the act:

  • “And like the rest of society, the House of Representatives chose to not provide additional help and support to female survivors of violence for one reason – they don’t recognize it as a real problem.”

There has been no truce declared in the War on Women. If anything, the war has been expanded to include other groups.

What about the groups that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor feels are too divisive to include in the act? Doesn’t everyone deserve the right to protections from domestic violence? Who decides which person is “deserving” and which is not? Eric Cantor? Tea Party Republicans?

The Atlantic offers this idea for the failure to vote on the Senate version of the VAWA.

  • They may not realize that American Indian women are more than twice as likely to be victims of violent crime as the general population, but less likely to find an attorney willing to take their sexual assault case. They could be unaware that incidents of LGBT intimate partner violence increased by 18 percent in 2011, and people of color within that group were nearly four times as likely to experience physical violence.

While they did not have time to consider the VAWA, the 112th Congress was able to insert tax loopholes for favored corporations inside the Fiscal Cliff bill. One in particular caught my eye:

  • One of the more unusual tax benefits in the fiscal cliff legislation is a longstanding carve-out for racetracks used by NASCAR.
  • Supporters in Congress and industry groups have argued that the tax break is necessary to “maintain the current standard expected by our competitors and fans.” According to estimates by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the so-called NASCAR loophole will cost taxpayers $46 million this year and an additional $95 million through 2017.

How many calls and services could enactment of VAWA provide with the accelerated depreciation given to NASCAR? What about the other corporate perks placed in the Fiscal Cliff bill at the behest of lobbyists? Saving lives is not a priority with the current members of Congress.

My thoughts keep going to the thousands of unanswered calls and victims with no place to turn for help. We need to demand better from our government. I encourage you to sign petitions, call your congressional representatives and make our voices heard.

————————————————————————————–

REMINDER: Share your story.

January 22, 2013 is the 40th Anniversary of Roe v Wade.  Forty years of legal, safe abortions.  This invitation comes from our allies at Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice:

“KRCRC (is making plans for a January 20 event in Louisville, “The Roe Monologues,” to mark those 40 years (four decades, two generations!) since the Roe v Wade ruling, and we need your help.

We’re looking for your story. But also for your mother’s, your daughter’s, your sister’s, aunt’s, girlfriend’s, roommate’s, friend’s story. Fairly brief; 2 to 5 minutes, and starting with the year. (e.g. “It was 1983, and I was trying to finish up my nursing degree, when I found out I was pregnant.” “In 2008, my wife and I had been trying for several years to have a baby. Now she had finally gotten pregnant, but when we got the results of the amnio, …” “1957. I was living in Missouri, and abortion was illegal. When my roommate learned she was pregnant, …” etc)

On Jan. 20 at our event, we will love it if you will present it yourself. But if it’s bad timing, bad location, or you’d just rather not get up to present it yourself, we will be happy to have someone read it for you. Also, you can use your own name or a made-up name, your choice.

We need these stories! – and people need to hear them. Will you help us? Will you spread the word that we’re looking for these stories?

Please email info@krcrc.org if you think you’d like to participate, either in person or by providing a story for someone else to read.”

By stepping out and talking about our experience we reduce the stigma and shame that surrounds abortion.  By sharing our stories, we support each other and continue building a world where reproductive justice is a reality.

Double-Triple Sure

The elections are coming soon, but no matter who wins the national elections in November the outcome of the state elections will affect abortion access in many states.

It is easy to find information on pro-choice candidates for the US Senate and the US House of Representatives. Kentucky doesn’t have a US Senate race in 2012, but NARAL and others publish a rundown of the US House of Representatives stances on pro-choice. Planned Parenthood has a Congressional Scorecard page where you can look up candidates by state.

It is harder to find pro-choice candidates in the Kentucky State Senate and Kentucky House of Representatives races. Like many states, they are scarce or non-existent. Ballotpedia provides lists of the Kentucky State Senate and Kentucky House of Representatives races complete with links to the campaign pages of the candidates. Their summaries of the candidate positions do not include the candidates’ stands on abortion access.

In a traditionally Republican state like Kentucky, many of the state Republican incumbents feel they are assured of a victory. Perhaps this is justified. District 45 has voted for Rep. Stan Lee since 2000. He has served in the Kentucky House of Representatives since January 2001.

Why am I paying attention to just Rep. Stan Lee? It isn’t just because according to his campaign website he has been endorsed by the Kentucky Right to Life since his election in 2000. It is because he seems so sure of his re-election, he is already proposing a bill for consideration in January 2013.

RH Reality Check’s Robin Marty reports:

  • A policy is already in place in the state of Kentucky ensuring safe abortion care will not be [not be] covered by insurance plans created under the state’s health care exchanges, but just to be absolutely 100 percent and completely clear, one lawmaker wants to pass a bill to make double-triple sure it never happens.

In addition, Roger Alford of Associated Press reports:

  • Responding to Republican concerns, the Kentucky Department of Insurance posted a notice on its website earlier this year saying coverage for “elective abortions” won’t be offered. That notice pointed out that doing so “would be a violation of state law and has never been considered.”

Expect this to be the first of many bills proposed in the coming year. 2013 is going to be a rough year again for reproductive health services in many states. Expect contraceptives, preventative health care and abortion services to be under attack. New bills will be introduced just to be “double-triple sure.”

Moral Reasoning, Kohlberg, and Escorting

A few escorts and myself have been talking about moral development for a while now. Basic psychological theories of moral development go from very basic levels of thinking (Will I get punished? Did someone tell me this is right/wrong? Will I get what I want?) to higher levels of thinking (What’s the context of the situation? Regardless of whether I was TOLD this is right/wrong, is it?). One theory that I particularly love (and keep coming back to) is Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. I’ve thought a lot about where I fall on this scale, and where others at the clinic fall on this scale.

Kohlberg’s stages go from pre-conventional to conventional to post-conventional, with six stages that fall into those categories. Kohlberg discussed the idea of regressing from higher to lower stages and had other important insights, but I won’t go into all of that here.

Pre-conventional: Common in children, but exhibited in [many] adults. Judge morality based on direct external consequences.

  • Stage One: Obedience and punishment driven. Individuals in stage one consider the consequences of their actions on themselves, and usually think that the worse the punishment, the worse the crime, morally speaking.

  • Stage Two: Self-interest driven. Individuals in this stage wonder what’s in it for them, and define right behavior as whatever is in their own best interest. Limited concern for the needs of others (except in the context of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”). Lacks societal perspective.

Conventional: Typical of teenagers and adults. Judge morality based on societal views and expectations, and accept social norms concerning right and wrong. Major concern for “the rules.”

  • Stage Three: Conformity driven. Individuals in stage three consider the consequences actions might have on their relationships and are concerned with social roles/living up to expectations of others. The intention behind actions becomes important (whether someone means well or not), and there is a desire to maintain rules and authority.

  • Stage Four: Authority and social order driven. This stage focuses on laws, social conventions, and above all maintaining a functioning society. Often a central idea guides judgments of right and wrong (perhaps religion), and morality is dictated by an outside force. Views breaking a law as morally wrong (and potentially leading the way for others to follow, which would break down social order)

Post-Conventional: Recognizes that different individuals will have different perspectives, and these people live by their own (abstract) principles about right and wrong. View rules as useful but changeable (not absolute, not to be obeyed without question). Post-conventional moral reasoning is less common. It is worth noting that “Because of this level’s ‘nature of self before others’, the behavior of post-conventional individuals, especially those at stage six, can be confused with that of those at the pre-conventional level.” (That was a concern for me, honestly.)

  • Stage Five: Social contract driven. Individuals in this stage view the world as full of different opinions, rights, and values, and feel that these should be mutually respected. Laws are viewed as social contracts, and those that don’t promote general well-being should be changed to do the most good for the most people.
  • Stage Six: Universal ethical principles driven. Moral reasoning in this stage is based on abstract reason, using universal ethical principles. Laws are valid only if they are grounded in justice, and a commitment to justice carries with it an obligation to disobey unjust laws (I love that!). This stage involves imagining what you would do in another person’s place. Individuals in this stage act because it is right, not because it is legal or expected.

Ok, so all of these stages are lovely and great, but how do they tie in? Well, as adults who are doing something we believe in (which applies to most of the protesters at the clinic, not just the escorts) we have to have used some method of reasoning (moral and other) to conclude that what we are doing is indeed right.

To me, it seems fairly obvious. It seems clear that many (many, not all – this is a generalization) of the protesters are hung up in stage four. Which is where many people are – I’m not using this as a fancy (long winded) way to say that the protesters are stupid, just that our thought processes are very, very different. Consider the criteria for stage four in the context of the clinic. So often I hear arguments about how god has told us what’s right and what’s wrong, and god has said what to do and what not to do. But those arguments don’t seem to go much further than “Because god says so.” I don’t care of the law or god or aliens tell me if something is right or wrong, it’s still up for question if it doesn’t sit with me, and if it doesn’t appear to be in the best interest of people in general.

As for the escorts, I think that many of us have had to think deeply about escorting, abortion, and the situation at the clinic. It’s not a matter of someone having told us to do this, or someone telling us that abortion is right and us blindly obeying. It’s something that we had to tease out for ourselves, from our experiences, beliefs, intuition, and the world around us. I think that escorts tend to feel a commitment to justice, even when that includes doing something that our families, friends, parents, teachers, peers, and on and on, might take issue with. We feel a commitment to justice, even if that means doing something that can be potentially dangerous. We honor this commitment, even when it means being harassed and bullied. We honor this commitment because we see how important it is, and because we see that the rules and laws may not be doing the trick. Those of us who are at a place where we are able to escort (because there are many factors that make it impossible, and for some it is not the best place to direct their energy)  honor this commitment because once we’ve seen the necessity we realize we cannot ignore it.

Bad sad mad morning

Today was hard.

I’ve been on a semi-hiatus for a while, due to oversleeping, being out of town, and feeling the need for a bit of a break. But I managed to get my butt out of bed this morning, and I’m glad I did.

We had 6 escorts this morning, and not very many protesters, but the 10 or 15 that were there were pushy and horrible (what else is new though, right?).

Towards the end of the morning, a woman walked up, crying. Her support person was nearby, and Angela ran over. Angela evidently knows this woman, and also really loves targeting people of color. Angela was freaking out, trying to push through our circle of escorts, screaming that she knew the woman and that the woman wanted to talk to her. But the woman was crying so hard she could barely walk, let alone answer any questions about whether or not she actually did want to talk to Angela.

Then something kind of amazing happened. As we escorts were making really slow progress towards the door, an inch at a time, several people that were already inside of the clinic (and I’m not clear if they were with the woman coming in or not, but I believe at least one person was with another client) came outside. They held the woman’s arms and walked her up to the property line, pulling through Angela and Donna and all of the other really excited protesters. They created a space for her to make it up to the property, and really did what we try to do as escorts. It was so amazing to see that. Angela was still yelling, and Brady was losing it, but the client made it through the gauntlet, past the harassment of a supposed friend.

I’ve never cried at clinic, or ever even come close. That was one thing I was really concerned about when I first started going (and before I ever went that was a big concern, that I would just break down and be a mess), because sometimes I just get weepy. TV shows can make me cry, seeing other people cry can make me cry, and sometimes I just need a good cry to let go of some stored up shit. But nothing at the clinic has ever made me so sad. It’s also the first time I’ve seen some very even tempered escorts really get upset. It’s hard not to just want to get violent and angry and sad when a woman, so upset and crying so hard she can’t talk or walk, is being SCREAMED at by a “friend,” by someone who “cares,” not to mention strangers who can’t mind their own business.

This is a time that people really need support, and love, and a friend to tell them that they will be ok, that they are making the right choice because it’s what they are choosing for themselves based on their situation. Angela doesn’t know what’s going on with this woman, whether she had an unwanted pregnancy or had a very wanted but nonviable pregnancy. And screaming “I know you talked to ____ from our church last night, she told you I’d be here and she was right! Don’t do this, NO!” is not support. It’s not coming from a place of love, understanding, respect. Or even a place of basic common decency.

Days like today, I really hate how ugly religion can make some people. It’s hard not to be completely bitter towards religion, which is a shame because for so many people it manifests in a very beautiful way. But all I can see on mornings like this one is how hideous and hateful religion can be.

So for this morning at least, I’m going to re-focus my attention to the friends and partners and support people who go in with clients. They set aside their own beliefs and are there to support a friend. And sometimes that’s what it takes to be a good friend – shutting up about your shit and what you feel is best and standing beside someone when they need you. Thank you thank you thank you support people. You make me feel better about the universe.

October 3rd – Escorting video!

Head count: 15 or so escorts, 45ish prayers, 5 or more chasers, one cop.

After a somewhat strange Saturday last week, today seemed pretty boring, all things considered.

Mary was pushy. Brady was loud and tall. Angela and Soapbox preacher weren’t there so it was kind of quiet. Officer Harper was great as usual (I think he’s getting really fed up with Mary). The guy who stands near the door and says “PLEASE DON’T KILL YOUR LITTLE BABY” was creepy and aggressive (and threatened to push me). It was all kind of same old same old. One new addition to the chaos is lit candles near the statue of the big V (virgin Mary). Potential hazard, right? It’s getting chilly out, which means hats and scarves and stuff. Or I guess we could just stand by the candles for warmth…

So, because I don’t have a lot of interesting stories or anything from this week, I’ll take the opportunity to post a video that I edited a long while ago but haven’t gotten around to posting. It’s a compilation of clips that I’ve taken or that have been taken by other escorts at EMW. I feel like it makes things seem really intense – which can be true. But please, if you are a potential client or escort, DON’T let this scare you off! This is the worst of the worst, the craziest of the crazies. Things can be intense, but this is some of the more intense stuff all edited into a few minutes.

Have a lovely day!

-F

This is the day…

(I realize that this is a kind of long picture post – but if you only look at one thing, watch the first 30 seconds or so of the video at the end! It’s amazing – I was sung to/at!)

This was my first weekday at clinic. There were 6 escorts, if I remember correctly, and about 10-15 protesters. My numbers might be off, but that’s my estimate.

This morning was pretty interesting. The dynamic is very different with fewer clients, fewer escorts, and fewer protesters. The really loud and pushy protesters (soap box preacher, Angela, Donna, and gray haired rude dude) seem to enjoy the extra attention and engaging escorts as much as possible.

Here are the finest photos I managed to get today:

This guy does great ad-libs ("Do the math, people!") and make the most artificial looking hand/arm motions

This guy does great ad-libs ("Do the math, people!") and makes the most artificial, practiced looking hand/arm motions

... but when Angela showed up, he stepped down for a minute. Note the sorrow (or annoyance?) on his face. Poor guy.

... but when Angela showed up, he stepped down for a minute. Note the sorrow (or annoyance?) on his face. Poor guy.

Donna was there. As usual. I wanted to photoshop this to say "Asshole" with an arrow towards her face. But that would be childish. Then again, I had to tell her "No pushing!" a BUNCH today, so maybe childish is ok.

Donna was there. As usual. An advocate for choice! I wanted to photoshop this to say "Asshole" with an arrow towards her face. But that would be childish. Then again, I had to tell her "No pushing!" a BUNCH today, so maybe childish is ok.

This guy was very entertaining today, and was adament that he was neutral. He told us lots of interesting stories, showed off his baby (Matilda, aka Mattie), and even told the Soap Box dude to shut up. He is an interesting guy, for sure.

This guy was very entertaining today, and was adament that he was neutral. He told us lots of interesting stories, showed off his baby (Matilda, aka Mattie), and even told the Soap Box dude to shut up. He is an interesting guy, for sure.

This bossy lady stayed pretty quiet today, but did give us very stern looks.

This bossy lady stayed pretty quiet today, but did give us very stern looks.

This seems to be one of Donna's buddies. She said "What do you want me to do, smile?" and I said "Sure, smile, make a face, whatever." After I took her picture a few times, she said "That was pleasant," and walked away. What?

This seems to be one of Donna's buddies. She said "What do you want me to do, smile?" and I said "Sure, smile, make a face, whatever." After I took her picture a few times, she said "That was pleasant," and walked away. What?

Angela held open this car door as a client's support person/friend was getting in her car. I told her that she should think about not touching other people's cars. It was weird and I felt uncomfortable, because the friend was not adament about Angela backing off. I hovered a few feet away in case she needed/wanted some back up.

Angela held open this car door as a client's support person/friend was getting in her car. I told her that she should think about not touching other people's cars. It was weird and I felt uncomfortable, because the friend was not adament about Angela backing off. I stayed a few feet away in case she needed/wanted some back up.

I like this picture. Gotta get creative with time to kill, right?

I like this picture. Gotta get creative with time to kill, right?

And here is the crowning glory of my morning! I get a shout out about 30 seconds in.

Analysis people, it’s all about analysis

I began writing this blog for several reasons. I needed a place to process. I have been escorting since 1999 and have a lot of pent up emotion regarding the state of access to reproductive and sexual health care in this city. I wanted a place to discuss the merits of direct action and empowerment as tools for social engagement. And possibly the most important reason is to validate and understand the vast continuum of experiences people have surrounding our reproductive and sexual lives.

There is an interesting comment to Ken’s piece last week that was posted by the father of a regular protester. He has come down to the clinic once or twice to see for himself. He is a local businessman and attends south east christian church (a mega-church in the east end of expansive means, who partially fund the fake clinic across the street). His post is interesting in that it begins with his disagreement of the energy of the protesters:

“As my daughter and her future husband are ‘protesters’, I wanted to see first-hand the experience they were having each Saturday morning at the abortion clinic. What I observed differed from your account in almost all respects. The protesters were peaceful and respectful, as were some of the ‘escorts’.”

He goes on to opine that the difference between the escorts and protesters is our lack of jesus. This is the part of his comment that I will not post.

The escorts as a collective of autonomous people represent a wide continuum of religious and non-religious beliefs. While we are supported by the KY Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a non-denominational coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim partners, we also have Atheists and agnostics who all escort. The clients of the clinic represent an even broader range of belief systems.

This blog will not be a space where religious proselytizing of any sort will be posted.

Our culture is saturated with judo-christian images and influence. This space is for the analysis of Reproductive and Sexual Justice here in Louisville, Ky. Religion has no place in this conversation.

The following is the first have of the post, unedited until he starts getting into the jesus.

“As my daughter and her future husband are ‘protesters’, I wanted to see first-hand the experience they were having each Saturday morning at the abortion clinic. What I observed differed from your account in almost all respects. The protesters were peaceful and respectful, as were some of the ‘escorts’

Before you dismiss me as biased, I must tell you I have known one of the escorts for a number of years through business, and it was only by a chance meeting at a restuarant that I became aware of his involvement. That morning we conversed on the topic of abortion, each from our own perspectives, and we parted having no impact on the other. As I think about your account of that morning, and how differently it read from what I had experienced, the most obvious contradiction in our perspectives eminates from our world views. From your own account you have ‘lived a full life’, and I take that to mean your life experiences have left their mark, or consequences, on you. Interestingly, my world view was once similar to yours, and, believe it or not, every protester at one time shared your view of many of the things of this world. Your comments are laced with vulger adjectives describing the protesters, and yet you seem to have a heart for the horribly personal and traumatic experience the women having abortions are experiencing.

There is only one difference between you and me, and that is one of the heart.”

He goes on to talk about his “hard and cynical heart” and that you know who changed all of that

For three more paragraphs.

He concludes by offering to dialogue about all of these things with Ken.

I am now amending the commenting section to include a specific statement spelling out that religious speech is not appropriate in this forum. To be specific the comments need to be confined to analysis of Reproductive and Sexual Justice, Escorting philosophy and tactics or cultural milieu observations, as was originally stated in the commenting guidelines.

Here goes the analysis.

I want to explore the last sentence from his post, “and yet you seem to have a heart for the horribly personal and traumatic experience the women having abortions are experiencing”. This statement assumes all women will be traumatized by their decision to have an abortion. And that is just not the case. We see women every week who walk right on past those protesters with all the confidence in the world. 1 in 3 U.S. women will have an abortion in her life time, and the majority of those report feeling relief after. Some women are really sad, some are really happy, and many never regret their decision. Research also shows the women who are at the greatest risk for feeling unsure or guilty for their abortions are women who live in communities which stigmatize abortion.

We need to Quit stigmatizing our reproductive and sexual experiences. Then maybe more people could have honest and empowered lives.

In other words, religious inspired speech can be oppressive. There are few paradigms in history that have been more exploitative of subjugated populations than religious doctrine. The church is about conformity and privilege; earning rewards by social compliance. Some churches have done the work in addressing those privileges, and understanding their religious texts from a human rights perspective. But the commenter is in a place where his lack of understanding of what it might be like to be a female bodied person, or a poor person, or a person of color or a queer person colors his view. He is unwilling to explore why it could be intimidating, or why walking past crying women and people chasing you from your car could be interpreted as something other than peaceful. And unless he addresses his lack of scope, he is not likely to validate the broad continuum of experiences people have surrounding abortion.

Which is really what this whole blog is about anyway.

Welcome to Every Saturday Morning

Hi.

Every Saturday morning between 30ish and 60ish people show up at 7 am to protest at and harass women entering EMW Women’s Surgical Center.

Escorts provide emotional and tactical support to clients of EMW. We do this by using our bodies to create personal space for the people entering the clinic. We meet clients at their cars, identify ourselves, ask for consent to walk with them to the door, then escort the client and support persons into the clinic.

We do this because clients of the clinic are often met at their cars by protesters. Between 2 and 5 protesters will follow/chase a client from their car parked in the public lot across the street to the private property line; talking at them, handing out literature, attempting to steer clients into the fake clinic down the block, shouting misinformation, slowing their pace, blocking the door and impeding clients any way they can.

While all of this is going on there are another 30ish-60is protesters lining the sidewalk in front of the clinic door, praying the rosary, holding signs, shouting at women and creating traffic in front of the door.

This happens because this is the only abortion clinic in Louisville KY. The only other clinic in the state is in Lexington. EMW owns both clinics.

This is a pro-choice blog.

Every Saturday Morning is mostly about my experiences escorting. But I will add a few thoughts regarding reproductive and sexual justice, gender, health, education, empowerment and what ever else seems applicable.