Consider Adoption?

A friend of mine who has adopted two children posted this on Facebook recently:

It is amazing what complete strangers will ask/infer/question/etc. I always answer for my kids ears (never for the stranger), but I sometimes have fun with replies when they are out of earshot.

Some of my favorites:
- Does he speak English? Me, puzzled look, “ummm…he’s a baby”
- Do they know they were adopted? Me, puzzled look, “ummmm???” (note a theme?)
- Does he look like his father? Me: “More like the FedEx Man” (FedEx delivered the adoption paperwork…and kiddo was out of earshot). She gave me a nasty look, but maybe she has since stopped questioning strangers about their family makeup? You’re welcome. LOL
- Random woman: Are they really brothers?

- Me: “They sure are!”

- Random woman: No, really…are they REALLY brothers?

- Me: “Yep!”

- Random woman: I mean, are they from the same family?

- Me: “Yes, we just live one street over.”

Since she was not going to stop, I finally said something about how my kids’ stories are theirs to tell and I like to honor their privacy.

And two of my favorites…
-How much did he COST?
- Why didn’t his mother want him?
(I have to channel Gandhi, King, Dorothy Day and more when I get these).

I read it, and laughed, of course.  Good grief, the things people say!  I admired the way my friend protects her children from as much of the ridiculousness as she can.

But it made me think about that one couple that used to come to the clinic.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know the one I mean.  The couple that used to bring their babies to the clinic.  They were chasers, and they’d strap the babies on – one for each of them – facing forward, so the people heading for the clinic couldn’t miss seeing them.

Cute babies, both of them, with big brown eyes that always looked a bit worried.  I guess the babies were four or five months old when they started bringing them and I bet they were over a year old when they quit coming.

You can see the video here if you want to.  But essentially the man would say.

“My son was abandoned on the side of the road the day after he was born, by his mother, to die.  And what youall are going in here to do is the same thing, you’re bringing a child to die.  And there’s families that would be willing to adopt this child

And the woman would say:

I know you might be having a hard time right now, but there’s options, you wouldn’t have to raise this child, there would be a family that would love the child.  I love my adopted child no less than I love my own…

They said those same things over and over, and I cringed every time the Dad talked about his son being abandoned by his mother to die.  Maybe it was true – or maybe the mother died giving birth – or maybe some agency made it up to garner sympathy.  I cringed because he was saying it in front of the child, and I would imagine those words, repeated over and over, seeping into that child’s heart.

I cringed every time the mother said she loved her adopted child no less than *her own.*  I’m sure she did, but watching her daughter listen to her, and knowing this mother thought in terms of her biological children being *her own,* made me sad.

I’m so glad they don’t come anymore – it’s been years now.  I hope they realized that it was harmful for their children, and I hope those children are growing up healthy and happy.  But you can see how my friend’s post on Facebook made me think of them, her concern was such a vivid contrast to the parents using their babies like props at the clinic.

If you listen to the protesters, you might think that lots of people change their minds and choose adoption.  Actually, the percentage of unintended pregnancies that end with adoption is one percent.  Not one percent of people who consider abortion, not one percent of people who make an appointment at the clinic.  One percent of all unintended pregnancies end in adoption.*

Seems unlikely that any of our antis who offer to “adopt your child myself” are going to get any takers, doesn’t it?

I’m not against adoption, you know.  It’s not so much like the old days, when I was in high school, and pregnant girls dropped out and “went away.”  That was fairly awful.  These days, I think there is less stigma and shame, and the prevalence of open adoptions or partially open adoptions make it a bit different proposition.  But most of the people coming to the clinic have already considered their options and made a decision.  Tormenting them at the last minute is just not helpful.

Someone accused me recently of showing “utter hatred…for anyone who stands in opposition to your opinion.”   I had to think about that – I had to check myself.  Are they right? Do I hate the protesters?

And I realized – no.  I don’t hate them.

Not Donna, not Nurse Betty, or Ron.  Not Screaming Preacher or the guy that always walks backwards in front of clients.  Not Andrew – whose wife has had the baby, which is understandably exciting for them.   (And I’d be real happy for them, if he’d quit telling the clients that they can be as happy with their baby as he and his wife are with theirs if they just walk out now.)   But I don’t hate him, or the anti-evolution preacher, or the one that used to be gay.  I don’t hate any of them.

I hate that they’re at the clinic.

I hate lots of the things they say and do.  But once they’re gone – if they quit coming down to torment the clients and companions – I won’t have any bad feelings about them at all.  Like the couple with the adopted children – I wish them well, and want only good things for them and their children.  Even  if I am one of those evil, baby-killing, Satan’s helper, Deathscorts…

~~ fml221 ~~

* Between 38-50% of all pregnancies are unintended.

P.S.  As my first commenter, Sara, points out, I have ignored the ethical issues with adoption that continues to exist, so I’m adding a link to this excellent article by RH Reality Check about the problem and some effort at solutions.  http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2010/06/22/adoption-abortioncommon-ground-mistake/

Sidewalk Snippet ~ {10/21/13}

We frequently see clients and companions respond to the words spoken by the antis. Sometimes they respond with politeness to the questions the antis ask them. Sometimes they respond with their own biblical quotes to counter what the anti is saying. Sometimes they respond with well-thought out responses for the questions the antis bring up. Sometimes they respond with emotional pleas to just listen to them. Sometimes they respond with anger. Sometimes they respond with tears. Sometimes they respond with sarcasm. Frequently, it is a combination of several of these approaches.

One morning we had a client who responded with all of these approaches. The client had been to the clinic earlier in the week and heard all of the things the antis normally say. D particularly gave them a hard time. This time they had thought about their responses and were ready and eager to confront the antis, especially D.

The client and their companions arrived about 30 minutes before the doors of the clinic opened. They went immediately to the door because the client wanted to talk to D. The next 30 minutes in front of the clinic were confrontational, chaotic, sad and upsetting. Some of the words and actions of the client were purposely shocking even to escorts. After all, she had a couple of days to think about what they had said to her before. The client’s words and actions served the purpose of causing all but one anti to back away from her and leave her alone. D retreated early, but was still talking about it to other antis 3 days afterwards.

Two things stand out in my mind from the morning.

One was the client’s response to, “Have you considered adoption?” The reply was, “What? Do you want me to spend the rest of my life asking every child I pass on the street, “Are you my baby? Are you?” I don’t think so.”

The other thing that stands out was the waves of hurt and anger in equal parts coming from the client. She was vocal about being angry and hurt for being judged and shamed by the antis without knowing her or her story.

An escort spoke to her after she went into the clinic to make sure she was okay. She was pleased she was able to speak up for herself, but was still upset the antis even thought they had a right to question her and her decision, let alone film her as she waited by the door. The escort explained the policy of public sidewalks and filming, but it still isn’t right to invade her privacy so completely.

I’ll be thinking about this client for a long time.

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REMINDER:
We are standing up for reproductive rights on November 2. Are you coming with us? 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/

Good Cop vs Bad Cop ~ by Eeyore

Recently I was standing by the door at the clinic when Tim arrived. He cupped his hands to his face, as he is wont to do, and stood for a few moments before starting his spiel (sometimes he’ll stand like that for over a minute – I’ve timed him – with his hands at his face not speaking, I guess waiting for divine inspiration. It’s creepy, like he just turns off for a bit). It went pretty much along these lines . . .

“Mothers, we aren’t here to judge you, we are here to help you. We can help with your bills, we have a beautiful maternity home that you can stay in for three years for free. And men who are in there, you are sitting next to a murderer. You are with a woman who is going to murder her baby.”

Did you notice that subtle shift in message? Yeah, me too. Part of me wanted to walk up and tell him that just because he addressed the last bit to men doesn’t mean women’s ears stopped working. Or maybe he thinks saying men switches everything to a masculine frequency that women can’t hear. Sorry Tim, that’s not how ears work. The woman you wanted to trust in this offer of loving, non-judgmental kindness just heard you call her a murderer in literally the next sentence. See, right there, that’s you judging her. So now she knows you’re a liar and rarely do people look to liars for counsel.

It’s not an uncommon experience on the sidewalk. If a client approaches from a distance and a protestor gloms on, they will often start with the “we are here to help, we just want to love you, god loves you” rhetoric. About half way to the clinic the talk turns to a pleading whimper saying “don’t murder your baby, you know it’s wrong, mommy don’t kill me”. As the client turns the corner to enter the clinic the anti’s frustration breaks and the damnation and shaming spews forth “don’t do this, god will punish you in the fires of hell, don’t make this baby pay for your mistakes”.

The thing is, you can’t play both sides by yourself. That’s why in TV shows where they’re doing the good cop/bad cop routine there’s always TWO cops. Working alone would make a person look insincere at best. The person being questioned by good/bad cop won’t trust him, the audience won’t trust him. All of his words and deeds have become suspect.

I’ve often been amazed that the anti’s don’t see something so obvious and focus on one message at a time.Why not just stick with playing the good cop routine? It would probably have better results. I think that in their minds, though, they’re never playing bad cop. Love and punishment, help and judgment, sex and shame all go hand in hand. To them it’s all the same message.

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REMINDER:
We are standing up for reproductive rights on November 2. Are you coming with us? 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/

When Counseling Doesn’t Work, Try Screaming

We write a lot about the “sidewalk counselors” who try to coerce women into the CPC next door to the abortion clinic. They push and shove their way to stand next to a client, reciting their scripts to convince a woman to  “Just take a minute and come next door to find out if you have a viable pregnancy.” “Have you thought about adoption?  Let us tell you about all of your choices instead of abortion.” “Have you gone to a real doctor to get a second opinion?”  “I’ll adopt your baby.” “You can still change your mind. Walk out of that place.” And the ever present, “Don’t kill your baby!”

Many of the antis follow the clients to the property line at the door of the clinic and then remain there shouting at the door and window their messages of harassment. Some of the antis just come to shout and preach at the entrance. Their messages are always filled with condemnation, accusations and attempts to shame clients and companions.

“Those of you who are born-again Christians, you need to come out of there right now,” is heard almost every day from one of them.

Sometimes the shouting is just so mean-spirited it catches all of our attentions. There is a man who comes several days during the week and every Saturday to shame. His messages are always full of judgment and are delivered at full volume. In fact, he shouts so much we have nicknamed him Screaming Preacher.

Screaming Preacher

His messages are always so hate-filled and judgmental, even other antis have moved away from him. One Saturday when the Catholics lined up on the opposite side of the street to pray, he turned his attention to them by shouting, “You don’t need idols to worship God. You are all idolaters and are sinners.” That resulted in a shouting match on the sidewalk between antis as to who of them were following the one “true’ religion.

This Saturday a client and companion arrived before the doors opened. They stood facing the clinic doors, but immediately got the attention of Screaming Preacher. As he started shouting at them, the companion put his arm around the client and escorts tried to shield the message as much as possible. We kept moving right in front of Screaming Preacher. When he didn’t have a direct line of sight to the client and companion, he would move over a little bit. Since that was further away from the entrance it helped, but it didn’t block his words.

This is a video of part of his speech to them. It shows only his feet because I was so close to him I would have had only a shot of his chin if I tried to get his face. This was while we were moving him down the property line.

Transcript:

or out of your stubbornness of your heart, continue doing what you know is wrong. You know it’s wrong. You know this is a baby. You know it is. That woman is pregnant with a child and you’re the cause of that. But today, the call for you to be a man to that child and a protector to that child is there before you. But will you do it, or would you let that child fall into a hole and walk on? ‘Not my problem.’ I tell you if you don’t turn today, that child will be in a worse place than a little hole. They will be cut to pieces and dumped into a dumpster; burned as medical waste. All because you wouldn’t turn the very

These are not words meant to convert. They are words meant to shock, hurt, and shame. “That woman” is how he refers to all women. The thing about the Screaming Preacher that disturbs me is how he preaches only his view of sin and no message of salvation. “You are all going to hell.” His god is a very unforgiving one.

Once in awhile an escort will try to distract him with conversation. He welcomes these attempts to talk to him with a speech about how we are evil and are going to answer for the murders we help commit. This Saturday one escort tried. When the escort moved away to the corner of the block, he continued to scream and point at them. It ended up with him screaming so loud and long that his voice started to break up with the strain.

I personally don’t find him amusing, or even interesting. To me he is just a scary fanatic.

Sack-of-Potatoes Doctrine ~ by Lepus

“Take your woman out of there”

 “Men, convince her to leave this place”

“As men we are to stand up for women and be leaders”

I’ve noticed that antis always go after the men, particularly trying to wound and prick them in the “masculinity” department.  You know, that department where historically women could do nothing without express permission from either her father or her husband.  Women couldn’t own property or inherit property because they were considered property by society at large.

Times have changed for the better, but it doesn’t surprise me that those that see the world through Christian Patriarchal lenses say these things to men as they enter the clinic.

It also doesn’t surprise me that it rarely. if ever, works.  As if women have no mind of their own.  As if women are sacks of potatoes that can be thrown over one’s shoulder and carried off.  As if women are so easily influenced.

An anti spoke to myself and a male escort the other day.  The male escort informed me that the anti told him he was leading me in the wrong direction. Because all women need tending and leadership, because they are submissive and sinful by their very nature (again, this is the Christian Patriarchal worldview talking).

I chuckled.  Why, I got myself out of bed and drove myself to the clinic to escort that very day.  Imagine.  A woman, making a decision for herself, and acting upon it, unlike the sack-of-potatoes that the antis think women are.

Sidewalk Snippet ~ {8/26/13}

I met the client and companion on the corner close to the clinic, explaining to them the clinic wouldn’t be open for about 5 more minutes. As we talked I let them know they could stand by the clinic doors until they opened and the antis would not cross the property line, but they would talk to them. The client said, “Oh no. I don’t want them to talk to me. Can we just walk around?” I said of course, and suggested a bench about a half a block away and the opposite direction of the clinic; letting them know I would signal them when the doors opened.

They said they would do that, but as we were talking D was approaching us. They were waiting for the traffic light to change when D started. The client and companion crossed with the light in an opposite direction just to get away from D. “Just stop it! Leave me alone!” were some of the things the client shouted to D as they crossed the street. Watching them from a distance, I saw they did work their way to the bench we had discussed earlier.

When the doors did open, I walked to the bench and escorted them to the clinic doors. The client was crying and still upset. They said “This is hard enough. I can’t listen to them.”

They thanked me for walking with them and apologized for using foul language earlier. I assured them those words are ones that circle in my mind a lot, but I just don`t say them out loud when I escort. We chuckled a little over that and were almost to the door when D started again. “Don’t kill your baby. You need to be a real man and stand up for her.”

The client got into the door safely, but we could hear them break down crying as soon as they were inside. The curse words circled inside my head again.

Birds of a Feather?

I was going to do a whole blog post about abortion and depression and the fact that there is no such thing as Post Abortion Trauma Syndrome.  I was going to talk about the research review by the American Psychological Association that shows that most women experience relief and happiness after their abortion.  I was going to cite some data and talk about the factors that contribute to risk for psychological problems after abortion.

I wanted to start with a video of Donna saying this line she uses.  I’ve quoted it here before ~ it is one of my very favorite “most horrible lines I’ve heard.”

So I was delighted when the escort who took this video gave permission to use it here.  It does, indeed feature Donna, and she says her line right away, as if she had agreed to perform for the blog.

But then she goes on to say so many other things, by the time you get to the end, you may have forgotten the beginning.  It’s a long video ~ 3:45 ~ which shows you the reality of the sidewalk.  Periods of silence broken by Donna talking at the door of the clinic or lecturing the silent escort videotaping her.

Do you remember the beginning?  At the very beginning, Donna is talking to the client ~ or to the door the clients have gone through.  She says:

“Honey, they only want your money.  They’ll take your money, kill your child, and turn you loose to a lifetime of regret.”

Sweet, huh?  And here’s the kicker.  One of the four risk factors for experiencing emotional distress after an abortion is exposure to anti-abortion picketers.  Big shock, right?

I always thought that might be the case.  That these so-called sidewalk counselors were actually causing harm ~ and they are.  Not just in my opinion, not just from what we know intuitively, but also based on the data.

Let me back up ~ actually, the best predictor of whether or not someone will have psychological problems after an abortion is how they were doing before the abortion.  If you already had mental health problems before, you’re more likely to have them afterwards.

The research shows that most people are relieved and happy after an abortion, with a minority who experience depression and guilt afterwards.    And there are four significant risk factors for that ~ I’ll just mention them here, because when I learn something, I like to make sure everyone else knows it too.  According to the APA,  ” …the most methodologically strong studies…showed that

~  interpersonal concerns, including feelings of stigma,

~  perceived need for secrecy,

~  exposure to antiabortion picketing, and

~  low perceived or anticipated social support for the abortion decision

negatively affected women’s postabortion psychological experiences.”1(p. 92)

And really, those things are all common sense.  But it’s still nice to know that the data supports what seems likely.

Donna, of course, doesn’t stop with her first line in the video.  She goes on to have a little chat with the escort who’s doing the video.  Wait, not really a chat with her, more like a chat at her, if you know what I mean.  But in a soft voice, as if it is an intimate chat, Donna says:

“Remember when I told you how your persona would change?  You’ll be looking like these old women.  You’re young, honey.  Think for yourself.”

Right.  Listen to Donna – that’s thinking for yourself.  And what old women is our young escort going to look like?  I’m a bit offended ~ was she talking about me???

But Donna goes on:

“Don’t give in to this culture of death.  Use your brain.”

Then she talks about the fetus dolls and the picture of the supposedly ten week fetus.  “Is your heart so hard already that you can’t even think straight?” she asks.

There is a silence ~ that’s how it is on the sidewalk after most of the clients are in on weekdays~ long silences  punctuated by one of the antis talking at the escorts or at the wall.

The video moves to Camera Joe, who is taking pictures of the escort taking pictures.

Donna says, “You don’t have to ever come back here again.  Is this what you do for socializing?  Is this the “birds of a feather?”

“You don’t have to waste your time or your film on me.  There’s enough film existing on me to do a two hour movie.”

Now there’s a thought, right?  A two hour movie of Donna on the sidewalk.  What would we call that?  But she goes on.

She says, “Think for yourself.  Don’t buy into this culture of death.”

“Look at this little baby at ten weeks,” and she holds up the fetus doll.”  “How can you deny that these are children being murdered in here today?  And you’re a party to it.  You are aiding and abetting the death of unborn children.   It’s very sad.  Think for yourself.”

The video ends on that note, although I’m sure Donna went on.  There are all kinds of things I could say ~ funny commentary on her little lecture, speculation about the title of a 2 hour movie featuring her ~ but I won’t.

Instead, I want to go back to the beginning of the video, and the risk factors for psychological problems after abortion.   It’s clear that the protesters on the sidewalk are actually causing harm to people seeking abortion.  But it’s also clear how we can help.

Every time we publicly express our support for abortion access, we reduce the stigma.  By stepping forward to say we’re in favor of women making their own decisions about reproductive health, we can actually increase the perception of support, and by doing that, reduce the risk of psychological difficulty afterwards.  Our willingness to speak out can make a difference to the 1 in 3 women who will access abortion in their lifetime.

Stranded in the Street ~ by Skeletor

A very nice car pulled into the pay lot and I approached, wondering if it was, in fact, a family of antis new and late to the protesting party that morning. It wasn’t the car, it was something intangible about the people in the car that made me suspect they might be new protesters. Nonetheless, I walked up to the driver’s side and asked my standard opening questions, “Are you here for the abortion clinic?” and also, “Would you like an escort to walk with you?” The people in the car answered yes to both, and I quickly ran through the information about parking; that they could or could not speak to, or accept materials from, the antis. I could see the antis swarming toward the car.

I don’t use that word lightly. They were swarming.

As soon as the client and companion exited their car, antis were mobbing them –again, I do not use that word lightly, they were mobbed – berating the couple for their choice while alternately pleading with them to do the “loving thing,” to “come next door for a free ultrasound, they will charge you for an ultrasound.”

Let me be clear. A Woman’s Choice, the crisis pregnancy center next door to the EMW clinic, will offer free ultrasounds under certain circumstances, but that ultrasound will not be accepted by any medical professional. You will have to pay for an ultrasound later, whether you continue the pregnancy or terminate it. Also, I am always puzzled as to why the protesters think paying for services rendered is one of the evils of the clinic. I expect to pay for medical services and I would hope that the doctor and his clinic are financially solvent; I consider that to be a good thing.

As the antis turned the screws on the couple, I fought the urge to correct the lies that they were hurling with abandon. It is the choice of the client to engage with the antis or not. I am not there to correct misinformation, much as I may want to do so. At one point in this melee, I realized that the antis had flanked me and turned the lot of us into a barricade, preventing the people in the car from moving forward. Stepping back so as not to be another body in the blockade, looking for a way to throw the couple a line, I finally raised my voice over the antis to ask if I could put the money in the box for them, hoping that would give them permission to push through the antis and to be on their way.

And then I saw the child.

The client and companion had with them, a young girl. Children are not allowed in the clinic, and I hesitated for a moment, wondering if I should address this with the couple before walking with them across the street. As ferocious as the antis were being, I decided it would be best to help this threesome get into the clinic and let them sort things out with the staff once inside; in a calm environment.

I positioned myself as best as I could between the antis and the young girl, talking about the bumpy sidewalk and puddles, joking with the other escort – anything to give the girl something to listen to other than the rhetoric from the antis.

As we crossed the street, the antis formed another barricade from the street to the sidewalk with their bodies and umbrellas. The companion was able to get through, and I chose to position myself between the antis gruesome poster and the girl. There were just two escorts on the curb, but they were able to provide an orange cordon through the antis to the clinic’s property line. Unfortunately, in the confusion, the client and the young girl darted away from the orange cordon, around a tree, and wound up completely blocked from the sidewalk and surrounded by antis. The poster bearer swiveled around so that the young girl got a face full of repulsive and untruthful gore shoved in her face.

As an aside, I would like to say that the antis’ “CHOICE” poster has the most riduculously false looking “fetus” soaked in more corn syrup blood than a Freddy Kreuger movie. It looks like a prop from a bad Area 51 movie. However, it is shocking when you first see it. And gross, even if it is fake. I don’t want my own child seeing that, much less someone else’s. And the antis CHOSE to shove this picture in the young girl’s face. That is their CHOICE, reprehensible though it may be.

So, with the woman and child surrounded, blocked from getting properly onto the sidewalk, much less onto the clinic property, the antis rained down a cacophonous chorus of rebukes and protestations on the two females. Repeated, stern statements of, “Excuse me,” were completely ignored as the antis chose to block the woman and child, closing in on them and trying to squeeze me out. It was claustrophobic in the middle of all of it; not a single thing the antis were saying could be made out over the others, except that these people clearly were unhappy with this endeavor. Finally, we were able to get the woman and child across the property line and rejoined with their companion.

Shaken at the most aggressive confrontation I had been a part of – and I can only imagine how the threesome felt – I asked another escort what I could have done differently. She shrugged, offering that sometimes, there is just nothing else we can do. I guess it’s true, sometimes the protesters’ behavior is so beyond the pale that there is no way to predict what they will do.

And perhaps, she added, it was the child who was the client. If there is one thing I learn time and again on the sidewalk, it is to not make assumptions. It never occurred to me that the young girl would have been the client, but it is absolutely possible that she may have been.

I have replayed that scene in my head many times, trying to figure out what I can do more efficiently or what to watch out for more keenly in the future to prevent that from happening to another client. In my reflections, I have become increasingly appalled that, with all their talk of loving children, the antis CHOSE to keep a grown woman and a young woman standing on the street so they could volley antagonisms – to achieve what, exactly?

The antis make such grand assumptions about the clients and their companions, but none of us knows anything about the people walking through those doors. And, more importantly, it’s none of our business.

Sidewalk Bingo ~ by Anonymous

One of our escorts developed this brilliant Bingo to be played while we are at the clinic. You can print out the pictures and play along wherever your clinic is, but with practice you can visualize the Bingo board in your mind and place your mental tokens while practicing your 1,000-yard stare. Have fun and don’t forget to yell “Bingo”! It will totally confuse the antis.

(We have written out the Bingo Legend cards at the end of the article for easier reading and hyperlinks.)

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Bingo Card

Bingo Worksheet 1 (650x841)

Bingo Worksheet 2

Bingo Worksheet 4

Bingo Worksheet 3

BINGO LEGEND

FREE SPACE – Any mention of god, because there will be; there will be.

Description: The use of god as a weapon is prevalent on the sidewalk. The protesters never seem to think that the people escorting or going to the clinic might worship a different god or no god at all. They can’t fathom that someone might worship the same god but interpret the writings in different ways, with different outcomes. No, their god is THE god and they know what angers him, they are right and you are wrong.

Example: “Blah, blah, blah GOD blah, blah blah.”

MONEY

Description: Mention of payment as proof that abortion is evil and the doctors are without compassion or ethics. Makes you wonder how upset they get about plastic surgeons.

Example: “Girls, they only care about your money, they don’t care about you.” “Did you know this clinic has made four million dollars?”

CHICKEN

Description: Use of the ever popular “are you chicken?” taunt. Most people grow out of this phase at the same time they outgrow recess and drinking juice boxes, which is probably why it’s so jarring when used by an adult.

Example: “Are you too afraid to look at me?” “Are you too afraid to look at [plastic fetus, abortion porn, etc.]?”

TRAP

Description: Protestors like to try to scare people entering the clinic. One popular way is to imply the building is a tinder box waiting to go up in flames, apparently with no fire suppression equipment or escape route. If they are that concerned about the clients well being maybe they should be urging their congressmen to reverse the TRAP laws that prevent the clinic from renovating or moving.

Example: “Did you know that they take you into the basement to perform the abortion? There are no windows or exits down there. If there is a fire there is no way out. You will die down there.”

CHOICE

Description: The protestors like to point out that the women can change their minds even after they’ve entered the clinic. They seem to believe no one has ever realized this. The escorts on the sidewalk just call that CHOICE and assume women will make the one that’s right for them.

Example: “The door didn’t lock behind you. You can leave at any time.” “Every one of you can walk right out that door.”

RACE

Description: The number of assumptions here are staggering: assuming the race of the female; assuming the race of the male; assuming either cares about racial purity; and assuming that a woman owes something (in this case the use of her uterus) to her race.

Example: “Don’t destroy your race today.” “You are participating in a holocaust of you race today.” “You obviously didn’t look up Margaret Sanger. S-A-N-G-E-R.”

HELL

Description: Talk goes from love to punishment & damnation quickly on the sidewalk. Protestors know exactly what incurs god’s wrath and will happily tell you what’s coming for you in the afterlife.

Example: “God will punish you for this.” “If you die tonight are you ready to face your creator knowing what you’ve done here today?”

PROTEST

Description: Protestors like to say they are “counselors” due to the negative connotations of the term protestor, but counselors usually spend most of their time listening, not condemning. And by the very definition of the word, yes, they are:

pro·test n.

1. A formal declaration of disapproval or objection issued by a concerned person, group, or organization.

2. An individual or collective gesture or display of disapproval.

Example: “I am not a protester.”

DEPRESSION

Description: Planting the FALSE seed that depression, regret and emotional/spiritual trauma is an absolute consequence and that any and all future issues are directly related to the abortion. From the American Psychological Association:

“The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy.”

This review [Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion] identified several factors that are predictive of more negative psychological responses following first-trimester abortion among women in the United States. Those factors included:

•Perceptions of stigma, need for secrecy, and low or anticipated social support for the abortion decision;

•A prior history of mental health problems;

•Personality factors such as low self-esteem and use of avoidance and denial coping strategies; and

•Characteristics of the particular pregnancy, including the extent to which the woman wanted and felt committed to it.

Example: “This will change you. You will never get over this.” “80% of all women who have abortions think about suicide and 20% attempt it.” “You will ALWAYS regret this; all women regret this.”

MISOGYNY

Description: Misogynistic statements implying a male companion has dominion over a female client, her body and her choices. The people who say this truly believe men have the right and the obligation to drag women out of the clinic and force them to give birth, with no thought to her wants, her needs, or her mental/physical/financial health. After all, a woman’s only role in life is to be a “helpmeet” to a man and mother to many children. The men who get upset and aggressive on the sidewalk seem angry that women are doing things without their consultation and against their wishes.

Example: “Men are supposed to take care of women. Don’t let her do this.” “Be a hero today and take her out of this place. Don’t be a wimp””

SPECIAL

Description: Attempting to sow the seeds of discontent by pointing out the clients were all told to be there at 7:15 for a 7:30 appointment. They don’t seem to realize this isn’t like changing your mind about lunch cause you don’t want to stand in a long line at the burger place. If you leave that line you don’t have a burger. If you leave this one you have many months of pregnancy, then labor, then a baby that’s dependent on you.

Example: “Girls, you think you’re special with your 7:30 appointment. You all have 7:30 appointments. You’re not special.”

EDUCATION

Description: The complete disregard for the importance of education in a person’s life and it’s impact on future success. This seems most insulting coming from a bunch of educated, middle-aged, financially secure white people.

“The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance.” — Benjamin Franklin

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” — Brigham Young

Example: “Your education isn’t important. This baby is.” “Your degree won’t mean anything to you if you kill your baby.”

NAZIS

Description: Because all arguments wind up at Nazis. Godwin’s law = you lose.

Example: “You’re walking in to a death camp today.” “You’re like Nazis walking people into the gas chambers.” (to the escorts)

BIBLE

Description: Another popular weapon on the sidewalk, the Bible is THE trump card in all arguments.

Example: “It says in the Bible . . .” “In [book,chapter, verse] Jesus commanded us to . . . “

INNOCENT LIVES

Description: Touting god’s great sadness at the death of the innocent. Unless of course he’s doing the killing, he seems cool with that. Now that Noah’s ark has turned into a nursery decoration we forget it was floating over the corpses of millions of men, women and children. He hardened Pharaoh’s heart so he could show his might by killing all the first-born males in Egypt. In his anger he killed David and Bathsheba’s newborn son, but I guess it’s ok because he really liked their next son.

Example: “God hates the spilling of innocent blood”

CONSCIENCE

Description: Apparently if a client walks up looking nervous it’s not because she’s worried about having a medical procedure. It’s not due to stress because her pregnancy is putting her life at risk or because she may be recovering from rape. It’s definitely not because the client is scared of the protestors. It’s obviously the holy spirit whispering in her ear, if only she’d listen.

Example: “Listen to that voice inside you, it is telling you this is wrong.” “You’re crying because you don’t want to go in there and kill your baby.” “That’s god’s voice telling you this is wrong.”

SOAP BOX

Description: OK so it’s not a soap box, it’s a small step stool. Usually accompanied by loud men and occasionally loud men with microphones. Never women though, hmmmm.

Example: This one is visual, you’ll know it when you see it.

BABY KILLER

Description: The term “baby killer” is saved for the escorts; the clients and companions get a more manipulative appeal, but the idea is the same.

Example: “Please don’t kill your baby today.” “Mommy, don’t kill me.” “Why do you want her to kill her baby.” (said to an escort)

LIES

Description: Telling lies seems to come easy to the antis, but they also like to accuse escorts of lying or keeping the “truth” from clients/companions, even if all an escort is doing is walking quietly at client’s side. It doesn’t matter if the client/companion tells them to go away, it doesn’t matter if the escort is just giving directions to parking in the area. If the protestor doesn’t get to force his/her belief system on others they like to hurl this at the escorts.

Example: “Why don’t you want them to hear the truth?” “Don’t believe his lies.” (said when an escort informed someone of the cost of parking)

JESUS SAVES

Description: Apparently the human race sucked, so Jesus died for us. Because of that we’re supposed to do exactly what street preachers tell us Jesus wants us to do.

Example: “God sent his only son to die for us, even though we are not worthy of his mercy” “Jesus died for your sins and this is how you repay him?”

DOCTOR

Description: Protestors seem very concerned that clients have not met the OB/GYN who will be performing the abortion. Not sure if they feel the same way about an ER doctor, or a heart or brain surgeon. A lot fewer surgeries would be completed if everyone had to have a “getting to know you” dinner with the surgical staff beforehand.

Example: “Girls, you don’t even know the abortionist.” “Why don’t you go to a real doctor.

BREAST CANCER

Description: Spreading incorrect, out-dated data on the sidewalk is a biggie (see depression above). A popular one is about the link between breast cancer and abortion

From The American Cancer Society:

In February 2003, the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) held a workshop of more than 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk. The experts reviewed human and animal studies that looked at the link between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortions. Some of their findings were:

✴Breast cancer risk is increased for a short time after a full-term pregnancy (that is, a pregnancy that results in the birth of a living child).

✴Induced abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk.

✴Spontaneous abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk.

The level of scientific evidence for these findings was considered to be “well established” (the highest level).

Example: “Girls, your risk of breast cancer increases with an abortion.” “The younger you are the greater your risk of getting breast cancer if you go through with this abortion”

DEATHSCORT

Description: Escorts won’t get with the company line and call protestors counselors or “life escorts” so the next best thing is to call your enemy names.

Example: “Don’t listen to the deathscorts, they don’t care about you.” “The deathscorts won’t be here when you come out.”

FREE STUFF

Description: Protestors use the lure of free things to get clients into the CPC. They imply it will save them money and time, but the “few minutes” stretches into sixty, the counseling turns into preaching. They even have “hospital grade” pregnancy tests, a nicer stick to pee on one presumes?

Example: “Why don’t you come next door for a free ultrasound? It will only take a minute.” “If you change your mind we’ll refund the cost of your procedure.”

BAT-SHIT CRAZY

Description: Some things defy all categories.

Example: “Why do you want to kill my daughter.” (said to an escort while the protestor was shoving a two year old towards the escort)

“You were created in the image of god, not the image of. . . of . . .of a chicken”

“When I was pregnant . . .” (said by a male protestor)

“I just want to love on you.” (because ewwwwwwwww!!!!!!)

Various clients:

“The pregnancy is ectopic.”

“My daughter’s baby doesn’t have a brain.”

“The heart never formed.”

Protestor response:

“Are you sure? Have you seen a real doctor? Would you talk to a friend of mine, she had something like that and the baby’s fine.”

Saturday Stories ~ by KYCat

As I stood this past weekend with my fellow escorts, I lost myself in thought among the surrounding swirl of antis. I had just put in a 12-hour shift at work and was content to stand the property line quietly instead of my normal routine of greeting clients in the $3 parking lot and explaining who we are and what to expect as they walked to their appointment.

Saturday is a busier protester day than the normal weekday I escort. That said, I got to thinking as I watched the antis approach clients and their companions with all sorts of props, literature and even children they bring along with them.  These women coming here for an appointment are someone’s daughter, sister, aunt, wife, girlfriend or mother. How dare they harass them with their own baggage and beliefs?

Even when asked to ‘Please leave me alone’ they persist. The physical trailing, shoving pamphlets into their hands, and waving four-foot tall posters around may end at the property line, but some feel the need to shout comments and condemnation at them as they enter the clinic. The words are meant to shame, humiliate and hurt, not to help.

Research by the Guttmacher Institute has found that over half of all pregnancies to women in the US are unplanned. Four in ten of those pregnancies will be aborted. That’s about one out of every three women of childbearing age who will have an abortion sometime in their lifetime.

Dr Susan Wicklund  in “This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor” shares her life amid the pressures of providing this much needed service for women from all walks of life. She brings readers into the core of this issue with stories about women and the reasons they have chosen abortion. This is not a good vs evil thing that it has been made out to be. There are many shades of gray. One-third of the women you know, or perhaps yourself, will have an abortion. None of them fall into the ‘evil’, ‘sinful’ or whatever label  the antis want to use that day.

It’s not just the protesters outside the clinics that are making it difficult for women to access a basic constitutional right to control their reproductive rights, their bodies, and their destinies. It is restrictive laws that must be followed to the letter passed by anti-choice government officials, the lack of providers willing to offer this service and oftentimes a lack of funds and transportation to have an abortion. Some women will have to travel hundreds of miles for a basic outpatient medical procedure.

The harassment is most in your face on the sidewalk, but it is most dangerous in the government and laws that have been passed recently putting yet more of an emotional and logistical burden on someone who with all the information (and crafty misinformation) out there has decided on the best choice for them.

Would we stand for this so quietly on any other issue? Would we discriminate against a full one-third of the population on any other issue? Would we be ready to stigmatize our friends, our relatives, our co workers, or ourselves on any other issue?

(Example of sidewalk preaching on the property line.  Escort in tan pants and anti in jeans.)

As I stood there that morning listening to a man yell and preach who has never felt the dread of a late period, or held their breath for the agonizing few minutes it takes for an over-the-counter pregnancy test to register, I wonder how he would feel if it was one of the women in his life that venom was being spewed at.  I am sure that if I had asked the answer would have been, ‘None of the women in my life would do such an evil thing.’ Think again, Sir. One in three women do and I bet you know a few. Maybe they are too afraid of being judged, shunned, or lectured by you. You would not stand for someone to treat the people in your life so badly. Why then do you see no problem treating others that way?

After the clients were in for the day, I went across the street to the sandwich shop to get a drink before heading home.  Assembled there that morning where busloads of children and young people from a bible camp a few hours away. They had come to meet with Archbishop Joseph Kurtz and the group Catholics in Action.*  They were taking a stand against abortion.  I am sure that was not the ideal way many of them wanted to spend a Saturday; on a field trip to stand downtown in the heat.

Many of them glared at me as I proudly wore my orange escort vest and made my way through the mass of bodies to the shop. I wondered, how many of those standing there that day would I walk with one day in the future, while quietly assuring them that what may seem like the longest walk ever would be just a few more steps to the door? I left that morning hoping safe, legal access would still be a choice for them if they wanted it.

One in three.  I hope they will come to understand how very important this is for so many of us. We are not evil, we are not dammed to hell, we are not outcasts from the righteous and pure. We are human.  We are women. And we do know what is best for us.

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*All links to anti-abortion websites have been omitted purposely. Please use Google or message us separately if you would like a citation for sources.