“I have been coming here for 25 years. I know what I am talking about.”
This was screamed at the clinic doors by R trying to convince clients to come talk to him. Twenty-five years is a long time to devote one or more mornings a week to bullying, shaming and harassing clients because they did not make the decision you believe is right. That time commitment goes beyond a belief and drifts into a lifetime vocation of being a bully; a lifetime vocation of hating women; a lifetime vocation of wanting to control another’s choices about their body.
He is not alone. A lot of the antis have been coming out to harass clients and their companions for 20-plus years. Some come out almost every day the clinic is open; week after week; year after year.
I have thought of this dedication to control another person’s health care decisions as more and more anti-abortion legislation is proposed and passed by different states. It seems that every day brings another proposed bill: TRAP laws designed to close clinics; mandatory ultrasounds for all abortion procedures including RU-486 medication abortions; mandatory in-person counseling; waiting periods lengthened to exclude holidays and weekends; banning abortion after 20 weeks or in Kentucky at 6 weeks. (See IN Senate Bill 371; KY Senate Bill 4; KY Senate Bill 5, KY House Bill 132; SD House Bill 1237, ND House Bill 1456) There is even a new flurry of bills regulating miscarriages and personhood agendas that would put women in prison for “killing” a fertilized egg. The one bright light in this flurry of anti-abortion legislation is New York’s movement to ease abortion restrictions.
We definitely know the chipping away of Roe vs Wade by state legislators will not eradicate the need for abortion. If the extremists are successful in shutting down most of the clinics in the country it will force a lot of people to go back to the pre-Roe vs Wade days of illegal abortions. Only those with financial resources or luckily living in states with less restrictions will have access to abortion.
There was a really thoughtful article published by Betsy Phillips in January about abortion access in Tennessee. It addresses the comments that people can just go someplace else for their abortion.
- The funny/terrible part is that here in Tennessee I have had politicians and their staffs tell me to my face on several occasions that they can’t understand why I’m so worked up about abortion rights, after all women who “really need” them can go to Atlanta, even if they’re impossible to get here.
Her article is one that I keep coming back to in my mind because I hear the same thing: they can just go to another state where abortion is still legal. Everyone can just travel to New York. What happens if they cannot afford to travel, take time off work, arrange childcare, and jump the various state restrictions they will face? How many people needing abortions will seek dangerous solutions?
And now we are back to the beginning of this article. What will these extremists focus on next if they are successful in shutting down abortion clinics around the country? Where will they expend their energies to bully and harass? Will they move their operations to New York? Will it be demonstrating in front of OB/Gyn offices who prescribe contraception? Will it be pharmacies that fill prescriptions for contraception? Will it just be protesting in front of any healthcare facility? Will it be in front of religious or atheist meeting places that don’t conform to their brand of Christianity? Will it be some other place or cause in their attempts to control people’s lives?
Where are we going to go from here? Where are they going to go next?