Do You Know That Woman? ~ by KYBorn

So, the Supreme Court has just ruled that antis have a right to engage in activities that would otherwise be harassment. I’m not thrilled, but life goes on.There are so many things I wonder these days. I wonder how the Supreme Court can’t tell the difference between harassment or stalking and free speech. I wonder how our country can still remain so backward while most of the world wants to march forward. I wonder how people can’t see that the debate over abortion doesn’t happen on the sidewalk in front of a clinic. It happens in courts, governments, families and in the minds of women who choose abortion.

I have so many questions I want to ask antis who “counsel” outside clinics but could never do so without causing further chaos for the patient, who is my main concern. I do have many different questions though, after both escorting and taking friends for appointments.

The main one I always wanted to ask is where I got the title for this post.

Do you know that woman? I doubt it. If you knew her you wouldn’t have to stand on a certain street to discern her reproductive choices. She would have told you what they were if she wanted you to know.

Do you know she is both a rape victim and a survivor of childhood molestation? Of course not, to you she is nothing but a fetus container. The fact that she still screams every night from night terrors doesn’t matter to you anyway. Do you know the person who raped her was an intimate partner that she would have trusted with her life until a week ago? Of course you don’t. You are on a mission to save the embryo. It doesn’t matter what she says.

Did you know her name is Jeanna? Did you know she was 8 when her mama committed suicide?

I know her. That’s why I am at the clinic with her.

Did you know she has already been to your CPC before? She was the one who left crying and humiliated because she asked for help with a baby bed. What she got was a lecture and a few coupons.

Did you know I had to buy her child that baby bed because she had no money or help? She has just gotten on her feet after that one. How do you propose she pay for the embryo she carries now?

It must be nice to wrap yourself in that blanket of righteousness when you spend a few hours at your local CPC, while totally denying the real facts and the real, live, living, feeling, breathing women who come to you and you have no real answers.

I guess “just have the baby” and some stuff about Jesus is supposed to make problems about rent, bills that are 2 months late, a car that just had the engine blow and not having a paid maternity leave make it all better.

Did you know she wept on the phone for an hour when that second line showed up? Remarkably, it did not take an hour and a guilt trip to get her results at home. They were no less accurate.

Do you know about her medical history? No, and it is unlikely you care. She is not allowed to get care for herself now that she is a sacred fetus container. She should empty all concerns about making a life, living her dreams or even paying the rent next month in the category of “unimportant things that were never meant to happen.”

Do you know that by having six or more men surround her screaming about her decision makes her flashback to the rape? In case number one, she told a man no and he used her body in a way she didn’t want that got her pregnant. To go see a doctor, she has told a group of men who encircled her and wanted to stop her ability to walk into a clinic to go away. They won’t go away either. They are using her in a way that makes them feel superior by supposedly saving babies.

Do you know that surrounding this fragile woman, calling her a murderer and invading her space called up horrible memories she would rather forget? Of course not, you are all about saving “babies” and the woman is to be used as a vehicle towards this goal; willing or not.

Did you know that the car you used your preteen children to block wasn’t hers? It was mine. When you screamed at her that if she could afford a car like that she could afford another baby, it showed so much ignorance. Her only, unattractive old car won’t even start now.

Did you know that we drove around the block at least 3 times because you compassionate “sidewalk counselors” scared her beyond belief? She doesn’t want to talk to you before you even approach her. She didn’t want your counsel or literature.

Do you know that the decision was already made before she came to the clinic? I know, because I was there on the long, long night she looked up every possible option including abortion regret, adoption regret and motherhood regret on my internet because she couldn’t afford her own.

Do you know she ran faster than ever that day to get away from you compassionate and loving sidewalk counselors? Probably not. There was a ring of them following her and the rest were on to the next big thing.

Do you know we talked about this right on into the morning before we walked in the clinic? I am not even a terribly close friend, but she came to me because I wouldn’t judge or pressure her to do anything. I’m sure you see me here, with the dark circles under my eyes, praying I don’t flop to the pavement having a seizure from lack of sleep. You seem more concerned about my non-existent embryo and the type of car I drive than me.

Did you know when you were yelling at me, the woman you are yelling at to take responsibility and get 5 gazillion jobs to support a baby isn’t even pregnant? Nope. I wish you would have remembered that just because a woman goes into a doctor’s office doesn’t mean she is pregnant.

Do you know she wept in my arms for over 2 hours last night? She was mostly over the decision to terminate the pregnancy. She was more concerned that she wouldn’t be able to withstand the protestors.

Did you know all the “literature” that you mailed to my house did no damage or changed no minds? I doubt it. You clearly got it illegally from writing down my license plate. I’m not messing with filing charges because my husband knew and supported where I was, so the “dead baby” via US mail could be explained. How did you know that the license plates didn’t belong to a woman abused, whose husband would have killed her if she had a baby or an abortion, who just needed a little time to get out? You didn’t. You just didn’t care.

Do you wonder why people felt threatened enough to want a small zone around their clinic where nobody could stalk, harass or threaten them? Put away your photo-shopped images and actually talk to women if that is what you want.

Go away when she tells you that she doesn’t want to talk to you.

Life is simple when everything is black and white or good and evil. That is a safe place we go to when we are children, or a place we stay as adults because we are too afraid to look at anything beyond our own safe little world.

So I will go ahead and answer my own question. The protestors don’t know her or me; whoever that her or me may be. They just know that they know best, even though they don’t know a dang thing about her. They also know that there is nothing easier to love than an embryo that will have no impact on their lives and will be out of their sphere of influence in less than 30 seconds.

Maybe, just maybe, people lining the sidewalks should leave the decision up to women, rather than CPCs, legislatures and random strangers. How can people who have never met a person think they can solve all the problems in their life in 7 seconds?

That is a question I can’t answer and neither can anti-choice protestors.

We Are All Emily Letts~by KYBorn

Ah, I know. It was the last thing you wanted to read. Her name is associated with being a great martyr for the pro-choice/pro-access cause, or she is the demon-come-lately to anti-choicers, a creature of the night with no soul, the high priestess of child sacrifice. Heck, I can’t even print most of the threats this woman has received. Even the most “pro-lifey” of all the “pro-lifers” on Jill Stanek’s site can’t help but comment that due to the emotional issue of abortion, death threats are to only be expected. Not sure how you file that under “pro-life,” but we all know the minds of antis are capable of the great mental gymnastics needed to justify horrible behavior in the name of Jesus.

Now, don’t worry. I’m not here to harp on about antis this week. Nor am I here to lecture pro-choicers about how they should respond to Letts’ video. The fact that I appreciate the risk she took doesn’t really have anything to do with it. The fact that, as a horribly private person the idea of having a video made of me during hugely personal moments is something that I can’t imagine. The fact that I would be far too paranoid about disease to have unprotected sex with many partners (and I have had sex with many partners) does not mean she is stupid or a whore or wrong. It means she took I risk I was unwilling to. It means she had a different opinion.

‘Will she ever get to point?’, you ask. Yes. Yes, I usually get there, but today I am going to sooner rather than later. In spite of the many ways I would have handled Emily Letts’ situation differently, I am still Emily Letts. In fact, all women are Emily Letts. Some are older. Some are younger. Some are different races. Some are anti-choice.

I am Emily Letts even though I would never want to make any sort of medical decision public. I am a private person, and the loss of that privacy would be one of the worst things I can imagine. I freak out at the idea of diseases (and this is partly due to my occupation) so that part of my story would be different. Other than that, the same old movie plot is played out over and over and over.

Women need abortion.

Women behave responsibly and need an abortion.

Women behave irresponsibly and need abortion.

A married woman had an irresponsible fling outside of marriage and needs an abortion.

A woman just loses her job and needs an abortion.

A woman needs an abortion because she doesn’t want any children.

A woman already has 5 kids and can’t afford a 6th needs an abortion.

A woman finds out her fetus is so malformed he won’t live 5 minutes, if he is born at all, needs an abortion.

A rape victim needs an abortion.

A woman whose body is worn out from childbirth needs an abortion.

A woman taking teratogens needs an abortion.

Women who are a long past child-bearing years need abortions, because losing the right to have an abortion is the first step down the slippery slope to women’s ability to control their body, to control their medical treatment, to control their own finances, to work their own jobs and to remain autonomous individuals.

When we allow the government to take away even ONE aspect of our bodily autonomy, we are allowing them to get the idea that they have title to other aspects of our private lives and the choices we make as individuals.

So while we all might not make a video about our abortions, or even tell our own abortions stories, or even be old enough or young enough to have an abortion, it doesn’t change the facts that each and every one us is Emily Letts.

 

Censorship, Privacy and Why Antis Need to Just Shut Up~by KY Born

There are undoubtedly times in all of our lives where we have just been so wrong, after talking long and loud about a position, where the only thing we can do upon realizing the error of our ways is to stop talking. I have been in this position more than once and am always embarrassed once I realize I have basically made a huge horse’s behind of myself. Perhaps the only thing more humiliating than realizing that it was time to shut up would be everyone else realizing that it was time for me to shut up, but myself being too blind or stupid to notice it myself. Ever.

Due to travel delays and bad weather, I have had ample time to surf the internet. Sure enough, reading about antis never fails to provide a mixture of amusement and rage. Of course, Google was abuzz with wounded antis last week because Google chose to remove ads from CPCs that lie about services they provide. As an aside, I noticed many antis lying that Google was taking away all their ads, cries of censorship, freedom of speech being yanked and Nazis abounded along with discussions over whether or not Jesus would continue to Google or if he would switch to Bing. Instead of being embarrassed that these Christian Centers have lied so much a search engine is having to take action, they just continue to rattle on about the injustice of it all. Antis, it is time to shut-up.

I get particularly upset at these CPCs because I know for a fact they do lie, having sat in the lobby while a friend who fled an abusive relationship that very morning swallowed her pride and went to ask them for help with supplies for her infant. She worked very hard, but when her spouse mostly emptied one account and she had to come up with deposits for shelter and utilities, there was not much left over. In fact, I think there was about $2 left. She was referred to the CPC by her small church who helped to fund them. She left her old vehicle with its half tank of gas and everything she now owned back at her new apartment and off we went in my car across town to the CPC who told her that of course, they could help. They just needed her to come in to confirm some details and fill out some paperwork. Here is what she got:

  1. Told her friend (me) was not allowed to go back with her through the screening process for the sake of “privacy” even though she told them she wanted me there
  2. A recommendation that she return home to her abusive spouse.
  3. Admonishments to repent of her “sin”. She isn’t sure what sin they were referring to but at this point she didn’t want to encourage further chatter.
  4. Pressure to take a “free pregnancy test” even though she had no reason to suspect she was pregnant. I’m not sure where they got this idea but she had explained to them both over the phone and in person that she was seeking help for her infant and was not worried about pregnancy.

They didn’t offer a dang thing, not so much as a pack of diapers. Some of her pro-choice friends went out and bought her baby supplies and furniture to get her through. We were happy to do this and she would have greatly appreciated the CPC just saying over the phone that they couldn’t help her right now.

Looking back, I suppose the “counselor” was too busy going down her check list and declaring my non-pregnant friend abortion vulnerable that she didn’t have time to listen. I don’t know what this particular CPC did as it was over 60 miles away from the nearest abortion clinic, aside from trying to lure women in for their “free” pregnancy test and lecture. I do know they harassed my friend for two weeks on her cell number and work number to come in for the pregnancy test that she didn’t need or want. Despite their claim to “love them both,” they spent more time loving her imaginary embryo and not caring a bit about a real live woman and a real live born infant. This is another reason it is time for antis to just shut up.

Later in the week I made the mistake of clicking through a well-known anti site that claimed to have an article about women being freed from sex addiction (I’m paraphrasing here). The article itself was fairly routine and spouted the usual far-right approaches to any undesirable behavior. Whatever, it’s their site.

Where things just got utterly disgusting were the comments where one of them somehow jacked the conversation to be about Ariel Castro and the three victims who were kidnapped and held for 10 years. She claims to have some sort of connection by marriage to somebody who somehow knows one of the three victims. She then proceeds to post this supposedly insider information about all three of these women, even though they seem to have kept a fairly low profile since they were freed. This poster may just be a nutty liar or she may be an asshole who is violating a victim’s privacy to get attention. Most pro-choicers recognize that antis don’t understand the concept of privacy. Now if these women want to share this information, that is up to them. They deserve all the support possible. What they don’t deserve is some random internet person pimping out their story for attention. Gross.

This story, of course, has nothing to do with sex addiction and it also has nothing to do with abortion. Pro-choicers are very much against any sort of forced reproduction or termination. Pro-choicers can clearly see a difference between a safe, legal procedure performed with the consent of the patient and women imprisoned, raped, forced to birth a child or forced to miscarry due to physical abuse. Antis can’t seem to grasp the difference between these two and aren’t interested in learning. This is why antis need to shut up.

The last thing I noticed about antis this week is their need to turn Floyd Mayweather into a hero. Really?  Anti-choicers are rallying around a man convicted of domestic violence several times over and arrested more times than that, with several different women involved. I keep wondering why there seems to be no legal penalty for stealing this woman’s medical records, if they are in fact hers. I don’t even know if this woman was actually pregnant, because it is none of my business. The shame and outrage shouldn’t be about whether or not a woman had an abortion, it should be about the fact that her PRIVATE medical records were taken against her will and published online by an ex-fiance who can’t seem to get over her. Even if they were “his babies,” those were her medical records and none of his business. Celebrating the abusive actions of a known abuser is not exactly showing how much you care about real, existing women.

So please antis, take a hint, and just shut up.

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.