Pledge-A-Picketer Summer of Harassment: For Such a Time As This

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Back in 2010 we began Pledge-A- Picketer as a way to flip the script on those holidays we see increased protester attendance. Events on the Saturdays before Easter, Mother’s and Father’s days have drawn hundreds anti-choice protesters. For the last 7 years we have had great success using this event to raise funds for Louisville Clinic Escorts, Kentucky Health Justice Network and other reproductive justice issues. Escorts decided that if the protesters were going to be on the clinic sidewalk in number, raising money off their heads was a brilliant plan.

And it’s again time to count our abortion hating, not counseling, sidewalk preaching, door blocking protesters. And we need your help!

This year we are adding another event to the schedule. July 22-29 Operation Save America is planning a full week of protests. May 13, 2017 ten OSA participants blocked access to the clinic, refusing to move and were arrested. This action was a test for the upcoming July event.

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The concept is simple. Make a pledge for every protester that shows up. That way the bigger the crowd the more money we raise for abortion access in KY. Historically our community has donated between $.05 to $1 per protester. You can cap the amount of your donation. You can make a block donation regardless of crowd size. And this year we also have a way for you to donate an additional amount for every protester arrested.

To make a donation, fill out the form here. Share the link, ask your friends and family and raise your voice against anti-choice violence by raising funds for abortion access in Kentucky!

 

 

Support Access in KY!

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Louisville Clinic Escorts are giddy about all the support people are offering us from near and far.

As we’ve mentioned in the statements pictured below, it is not helpful for our supporters to show up at the clinic, BUT other groups have taken the time to be intentional about supporting us in ways that can help community members be engaged in the struggle for access in KY by planning a series of events! Follow these links for more details:

Thursday July 20th – Exclusive FREE Showing of the film Jackson. co-sponsored by EMW Women’s Surgical Center, Louisville Clinic Escorts, and KY A Fund Inc.  ASL interpretation provided!

Friday July 21st – Karaoke with Lady Parts Justice League, ACLU – KY, Kentucky Health Justice Network, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, and more friends!

Saturday July 22nd – LPJL’s Vagical Mystery Tour (with special guests) will be at Headliner’s Music Hall! ASL interpretation provided!

Sunday July 23rd – LPJL, ACLU, KHJN. & PPINK are hosting a Werkshop (registration required) about ways to support existing efforts to preserve and improve access.  ASL interpretation provided!

Saturday July 22-Saturday July 29th – Pledge – Picketer FUNdraiser for Louisville Clinic Escort’s Legal Defense Fund! See details here. In short: the more bullies show up at the clinic, the more $$ goes towards access in KY. Invite your friends to the FB event and make a pledge today!

Hope to see y’all there!!!!

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Metro Council, 7/19/2017

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The Safety Committee of the Louisville Metro Council met for the second time to hear the thoughts and concerns of constituents regarding a potential safety zone in front of EMW Surgical Center, Kentucky’s only abortion clinic. Louisville’s Clinic Escorts encouraged our supporters to make it early, knowing this meeting was likely to be more heavily attended than the first. Sure enough, the room was quickly packed both with supporters of a safety zone and those opposed – though we probably outnumbered them.

 

As was the case last time, speakers were scheduled in advance, but LMPD were first called by the council for a description of their plans regarding the impending siege by outside extremist group Operation Save America/Operation Rescue. Major Eric Johnson explained that they had “a good working relationship” with OSA, and that OSA had assured them of their good behavior during the week. That would certainly be an about-face given the group’s history and rhetoric; I don’t think any of us feel particularly reassured by this.

Council Members Brent Ackerson, Barbara Sexton-Smith, and Brandon Coan asked Johnson about the free speech zones employed by LMPD for other events where there was a concern in advance that protest or counter protest might turn dangerously chaotic. Johnson explained that they simply didn’t feel this was necessary – again, presumably, based on OSA’s assertions that they will be well behaved. I fail to see how this fits with their past pattern of behavior, their “Lesser Magistrate Doctrine,” or even the rhetoric on display in front of the courthouse today. It was nice, at any rate, to see some Council Members asking for a little bit more in the way of reassurance, even if it wasn’t forthcoming.

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After the Council was finished interviewing Johnson, they moved on to the scheduled speakers. Those opposed had been allotted four spots, and as there was a bit more time, a list was established for others to speak briefly if they wished. Speakers against included many faces that were familiar to us, and will likely be to you, too, if you’ve been following us for any length of time. Since the OSA group held a press conference outside immediately prior to the meeting, it appears most of them had to be content with the overflow room for the duration of the meeting, so the Louisville Metro Council was at least mostly hearing from Louisville folks.

Perhaps most exciting was that one of our folks who has been working on this project for more than a year now finally had the opportunity to speak and present today, after having been bumped from her scheduled spot at the previous meeting. Though the time was insufficient for her to get through the entirety of her presentation, copies were provided for each of the Council Members (and can be viewed by anyone here – Metro-Council-Safety-Committee-Meeting-July-19-2017-1 ). The materials help to give a very clear view of what the issue is: not speech, but behaviors and location.

The remarks of those opposed were unfortunately not particularly on topic. We knew that they wouldn’t be; listening felt rather like attending a Right to Life meeting as opposed to the meeting of a civil government body or, as one escort put it, “like being back in church again.” There was a good deal of rhetoric about “killing babies” and a good deal of religious commentary; one gentleman treated us to an explanation of how he’d put his flag away for years until Trump was elected. There was also some talk of immigrants, and the obligation of Western women to reproduce more – rhetoric that I always find deeply disturbing. Donna’s speech was the same one she delivers to the closed doors and windows of the clinic, Ed drew on the authority of the Church for his remarks but did not disclose that they pay him to be out there, and Vince Heuser criticized OSA’s antics without disclosing that he’s been representing them. Local news has covered the remarks of OSA and their supporters at their “press conference” outside quite thoroughly, so there’s no need to recap that for you.

It was all over the place, really. As of now, there is no actual proposal before the Metro Council to vote on; we continue to urge our supporters to contact their Council Person and ask for action (Glass Capitol). Meanwhile, we’ll continue doing what we do, in accordance with our long-established Points of Unity. We will continue to train for deescalation and nonengagement regardless of the provocation, and we will continue to remain client focused. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the antis do or say – it only matters what clients accessing care decide that they want. Someone has  to respect that.

(If you were unable to attend the meeting, video can be viewed here.)

Sidewalk Snippet – 7/13/17

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The escorts in Louisville see dozens, and occasionally, hundreds of protestors on any given day. Sometimes though, we’re blessed to have only a few. Today was one of those days. It’s rare, but sometimes escorting can be a real snooze. Whenever that happens, it’s terrific.

When the escorts are bored, a client isn’t being assaulted; we aren’t calling the police because a protestor is trespassing on clinic property; there isn’t a blockade or sit-in underway. Boredom doesn’t mean that clients present aren’t experiencing some form of bullying or harassment, just that it’s kept at the bare minimum for a state so hostile to reproductive choice.

It’s odd for me to feel blessed with boredom. At any other time in my life, standing around watching traffic drive by would cause me no small amount of anxiety. I always need to feel like I’m actively engaged in something for work or school. But on the sidewalk, in front of KY’s last remaining abortion clinic, we escorts revel in boredom.

To any escorts reading this, I hope you have a very boring week.

There is no law against love.

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Content warning: domestic violence

When walking with a victim of domestic violence to the police station or walking with a patient to the clinic through years, I have observed remarkable similarities in the behaviors expressed by both abusers and protesters, but I had not reflected upon the actions til now, I realized they do share correlations as oppressors, with their complicated perception of love.

Let me say it clearly, I’m not saying that protesters and abusers are the same-  abusers in abusive relationships can be physically violent toward the victim(beating, strangling, punching), as well as withholding financial and social access (preventing the victim from seeing their family, and not allowing having a personal bank account or keeping their income), as well as holding the children or pets as hostages. Reproductive abuse includes withholding the access to contraceptives, refusing to take them to the pharmacy for emergency contraceptives, marital rape, as well as forcing their partners into keeping unwanted pregnancies, trapping them in the relationship. And on the other side, some clinics, this one included, have experienced physical aggression as in stepping on the patient’s shoes in the back, or leaning heavily backward upon an escort, or blocking the patient, using a graphic fetus poster. At no point, I am not saying that protesters are abusers in their intimate relationships since I do not know their personal lives, and I certainly don’t want to know what they do in their own homes. (Wish they could give us the same consideration!)

What parallels they do share are:

Verbal abuseYell.  Speak in a menacing tone. Blaming. “Do not talk back to me.” Criticize you on how you look, talk, act. In the home, abusers put down your opinions, or yell at you front of your family or friends enough to embarrass you, mock you on your successes.  “You are ugly, you’re lucky that you have me. No one else would want you.” “You are stupid- you can’t do anything right.”  “Shouldn’t have made me mad to hurt you.” While on the sidewalk, it is common to hear “you’re a murderer,”  using a loudspeaker loud enough to deafen you even with a bluff of thick glass between you and the anti. “Your hot pants got you in this situation.” “We pray that God breaks you down and humble you so that you may know and love him.”  “You’re prime candidates for euthanasia,” spoken to an escort in an wheelchair and to an elderly escort using a cane.   “This is what love looks like” was said by the protester harassing the escort.

Gas-lighting: This is a tactic that intentionally causes one to question “did I just experience that?” while the abuser or protester claims that it did not happen, or switch the role to themselves, painting themselves as the victim.  The victim would look for her keys which she very well knew she had put on the counter, and then the abuser would return the keys to the counter later and tell the victim “you’re feeble-minded, you forget everything.” The victim then questions her sanity.  After saying “I’ll kill you,” later to say “I was kidding, I never said that, you made that up.” On the sidewalk, it’s common for protesters to make statements which they then do not recall later on, or rewritten to make themselves look as victims. “I’m the victim, not you!” “I did not push you, you pushed me” – despite the fact that they were in the back, pushing against you.  “Rape is always wrong, it would be wrong for me to rape you, and abortion is always wrong. If I raped you, it would be wrong, and getting an abortion is wrong.” “She certainly does not look brutally raped!” was said to a patient’s mother trying to explain why her daughter was getting an abortion.  Trivializing is popular, in dismissing their own behavior, while telling the patient or escort “you’re too sensitive, getting upset over a little thing?” It is also common for them to take videos and then edit the videos to paint themselves as the victim or martyr, omitting their own oppressive actions toward the patients and escorts, so when folks see the edited videos, they question the validity of the experiences that the patients and escorts – exactly as intended. That is a reason why we escorts hold up our cameras to tape illegal and violent activities of protesters,  on live Facebook, to prove otherwise.

ThreatsThreats are very common in both situations. That includes intimidation and threatening gestures.  “If you leave me, I’ll find you and kill you.” “No one will believe you, they will think you crazy.” “You have no job experience, no one will hire you. How can you live without me?”  The abuser does this to control the victim to stay in the abusive relationship, and people keep wondering why they will not leave.  Threats can be overt (“I’ll take you to court and take the children from you”), and covert, in which the victim is hyper-sensitized then to certain gestures and words – even a raised eyebrow can be a threat to the individual involved, that may fly over other people not familiar with this kind of tactic.  On the sidewalk, the threats are often cloaked with ‘good intentions’- hence covert threats, “They’re going to take you into the basement and cut your baby up.  If there was a fire, you’d never make it out alive.” “Be a  man, don’t let her kill your baby.” “You should die for helping them kill their babies.” Provoking the companions in goal of having them attack the ‘helpless protester” to get police involved, to prevent the patient from going ahead with the procedure.   And of course, this one. Loudly in the Louisville Metro Council chambers.

 

Depersonalizing: Both share the belief that the domestic violence victim and patient seeking the procedure is not their own person- they are property, belonging to the controller/public, not allowed to decide  or thinking for themselves. Even more, they see you as an object that should be controlled within marriage or relationship, your reproductive capability belonging to them, not you. They shame you for having sex outside of marriage, and then shame you for having a sexual identity – “Slut”, “Whore”, “mother”, “mommy”, “freak”, “sinner.” They take the personal identity from the individual involved in the situation, be it in a relationship or going to the clinic.

In the predictable outcome, the escorts and medical staff become desensitized to the mistreatment, like the victim in the abusive relationship.  The insults start creeping in, imperceptibly undermining the victim’s confidence and the escorts’ resilience. Insults disguised as jokes or prayers. Eventually, by months of being belittled and disparaged, the abuse is then normalized. It is concerning that when a day on the sidewalk come with “minimal” verbal abuse and threats, we count it as a “good day”, not realizing until later that it was still traumatizing for the patient who is like a victim newly exposed to domestic violence in the budding relationship, without conditioning as we escorts and medical staff have been.  The victim in the abusive relationship had already lost their self-confidence and trust in themselves was gone, whittled to nothing by the hands of the abuser.  Easier to do that with being isolated and alone, which is not so for us escorts and medical staff. We have each other to check in, to hold space, and to reaffirm our support for each other.  I admire solo escorts at certain clinics immensely; they each one would have to deal with the hatred cloaked as “love” and “good intentions,” while reassessing their self assertion without that support.   The tactics by the abuser and protester aim to cause harm to the other person who dares to take control of their own body, whittling here and there to the point that most of us have become numb.   Only when talking to other escorts who just returned to the sidewalk, commenting on escalating aggression, do we realize the danger.

All  this acts are done in name of “love” –  how they interpret love is very different from what the majority of us see love as.  They see love as harming the person for “the good of the person/soul.” They blanket their oppression, the violence, the aggression as “love”.

In domestic violence, the abusers misconstrue their actions as “love,” as control and power over the partner/victim.  They feel threatened by any sign of independence, either physical or emotional, expressed by their partner, such as considering going to college or getting a job, or picking an item of clothing without the abuser’s feedback. Hence the behavior is to pull in the victim back in control, while reminding them that the behavior is their fault, not the abuser’s. Shifting the blame of their own oppressive actions upon the victim in the abusive relationship: “You made me hurt you, I love you and I have to do this to you.”

In protesting against abortion, protesters distort their actions as “love,” as control and power over the patient, medical staff and escorts.  They feel threatened by the patient practicing the right to decide for themselves, so they cloak their harassing by claiming they are doing it in God’s name. The protesters are avoiding taking responsibility for their own behavior by claiming that the escorts supporting the patients are making them being aggressive. And they threaten the medical staff providing the abortions, by trying to find where they live, where they go to church or the grocery, with potential of harm. They even bragged how they stalked providers, with pride.  The “You’re making me hurt you, God says I must love you, and I am doing this in name of His love” mentality.

So you can see, how the abusers and protesters share some common ground in their twisted perception of love, how they shape love in their own image, to justify emotional, psychological and physical maltreatment toward the victim in the intimate relationship and the patients and people involved in reproductive access. Excusing their own abusive behavior in the name of “love.”

Truth?  Not in love, not in God’s name, but in truth, in the name of power, fear and control.

Sidewalk Snippet 07/06/17

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Our local antis routinely shove literature into the hands of clients and random pedestrians alike. Social conditioning and not wanting to appear rude, many people accept the handouts and move on.

Most times it is discarded within a few minutes of receiving it.

Sometimes they just throw it in a trash bin on the way past. Other times it’s handed to escorts and they ask us to please get rid of it. When that happens the antis accuse us of taking the pamphlets to prevent clients from learning the truth.

No, our goal is to keep them from being thrown out randomly littering downtown.

 

Where would they go? Part Two – The Patients

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Before I get into where the patients would go in the event that controlling power hungry oppressors get their wish, I want to take a moment to make sure our readers truly realize what it already takes for a Kentuckian to get an abortion. In April, Kentucky Health Justice Network outlined the barriers that many folks face before they even get to the clinic in this post:

The True Cost of Abortion in Kentucky

Effective Tuesday April 11, 2017, due to additional overhead from the new ultrasound law, increased staff needs and legal costs, EMW is raising their prices by $50 across the board.  That means the least expensive procedure (medication abortion, using the pill) will cost $700 per person. Someone at 14 weeks will have to pay $1150. Twenty weeks: $2050.

Those procedures costs are some of the highest in the nation, but there are costs far beyond that. Here is a breakdown of what it really costs:

If someone has a negative blood type, they will have to pay extra for a Rhogam shot. $60 if they are under 12 weeks, $150 if they are over 12 weeks.

If they do not live in Jefferson County, they will have to travel up to 250 miles round trip. That requires access to a reliable vehicle, and usually a companion to do the driving post-op. (So, also factor in gas money. Yes, maybe they could fly or ride a greyhound but would they take cabs to and from the airport, bus station, hotel, clinic, etc?)

The law requires they receive informed consent counseling 24 hours before the procedure. Some people take two trips to the clinic for this.  Some do it via web app but that requires access to Internet or smart phone data, plus a safe environment for a video conference call, which can be a big challenge for people in rural areas.

If they are a parent, childcare arrangement must be made, and sometimes paid for.

They may need to stay in Louisville overnight, which could cost $70-100 per night, plus cost of meals while away from home.

All this could require taking 3-5 days off work, which could mean losing a substantial chunk of income, or risking job loss.

All this to access safe legal care, that insurance could cover if it wasn’t for politicians trying to control our bodies and our lives.

THANKS, KHJN for that informative breakdown and also for running the Support Fund, which provides direct and practical support for Kentuckians facing barriers to abortion access, even when they have to travel out of state for care, which brings us back to our title query: Where Would They Go?

Kentucky is bordered by 7 states.

Indiana is home to four abortion clinics, and VP Mike Pence.  Many believe that if KY loses its clinic, IN won’t be too far behind.  I disagree, but have learned in the last year or so to not be too comfy or confident because those in power do intend to strip every right to bodily autonomy away from us, and they are wealthy, resourceful, and punishing- at best. Abortions in Indiana are only available prior to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Ohio has about 3.5 clinics right now.  One clinic in Cincinnati had to modify their services because of harsh restrictions that have no medical justification. For now, that facility can only offer medication abortion (with the pill) prior to 7 weeks of pregnancy, plus pre-op requirements for patients who live close to there, but then would have to travel to another location in Dayton where a termination can be performed.  For many folks living in Central or Northern KY, these OH clinics would be the closest options.

Illinois has some of the least restrictive laws, and several clinics. It is also the Bluegrass State’s neighbor that is least convenient for most KYians to get to. It’s likely that most people traveling to IL for care would be doing so to access abortions later in pregnancy.  Those surgeries can cost as much as $3600 and are often medically necessary due to a variety of complications and health risk.

Missouri is also home to just one clinic- the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. Anyone accessing abortion care in Missouri will be subjected to a SEVENTY-TWO HOUR WAIT, you know, because grown people cannot be trusted to know what they need when they make their doctors appointments. Seems like there would be similar regulations on things like erectile dysfunction meds…oh, wait.. nevermind, LOL. Due to that wait, I cannot imagine KYians choosing MO for an abortion unless they live very close to that state, and have supportive family or friends they can stay with. That medically unnecessarily waiting period is a huge barrier.

Virginia has several clinics, but they are also heavily regulated. Abortions performed beyond the first trimester must be done in a hospital, possibly with the approval of a second physician. There is a 24 hour waiting period, plus mandatory ultrasounds, and parental consent requirements for minors, among lots of other medically unnecessary laws.  Again, KYians needing care would likely only travel to VA if it were convenient for them personally, which is unlikely for the bulk of KY residents.

West Virginia is in a similar boat as KY, with one remaining clinic open in Charleston, which is neighbored by a (you guessed it) crisis pregnancy center- which can be especially confusing for folks coming from out of town. The drive to Charleston and back would be over 500 miles for most KYians.

Tennessee has a handful of abortion clinic, which are of course, outnumbered by deceptive crisis pregnancy centers, including a mobile unit.  Nashville or Bristol has the locations that would be most convenient for Kentuckians being forced to travel for care. Anyone seeking an abortion in TN must endure a 48 waiting period, so we can imagine that a KYian going to TN for care would need a place to stay, or have to make two trips.

All those options are only possibilities for people who have access to resources including social and emotional support, travel capabilities, the freedom and funds to take time off work, and many other hurdles including the biggest one: money.  Most states have one or more abortion fund, and some clinics have financial assistance programs, but for many, the hurdles created by stigma, crisis pregnancy centers, and legislation make it a miracle for folks to even be able to reach a clinic, or a fund in order to get factual information about the care available to them, and what it takes to get there.

We already know that google searches about how to induce an abortion at home are way up. We know that people with mouths to feed and bills to pay will take desperate and dangerous steps to end a pregnancy.  We know that stickers like this pictured below are appearing in public places because groups like Women Help Women want to make sure people have reliable, modern information, rather than questionable “guides” to using cottonroot bark, tansy, pennyroyal, and more to poison oneself in an effort to induce a miscarriage.

Unfortunately, I think the chilling truth that we have to face is that while people with resources will be able to travel to clinics mentioned above, those with fewer privileges in fact have fewer choices, and will likely end up repeating the drastic actions of people in poor, rural, or marginalized communities before Roe vs Wade. As we have already seen, these are also the communities most vulnerable to prosecution for the crime of taking care of their bodies.  This is why it’s vital to preserve access: so people can have compassionate and safe care in a medical setting. If only we can stop clinics from being regulated out of existence.

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Old Friends

You say to a person leaving the clinic, “Hey, would you like for me to walk with you to your car?” And they’re like, “Sure. Did you go to ____ Elementary School?” And you’re like, oh my god do I really look the same as I did in 5th grade? “Yep!” And now there is a protester tagging along, so you can’t remind them of your name or ask their name, but you vaguely recognize them too. And you don’t want to be like, “You’re such a good friend!” or “Are you ok?” or “I hope the harassment wasn’t too bad on your way in,” or anything where you’re making assumptions or making the situation weird. So you just pretend you’re at the grocery store (and there’s a guy harassing you both?) and try to be normal and make normal small talk without acting like they’re a hero or victim or whatever, for whatever reason they are there, which is really no one’s business. And you are very conscientious to not say something mildly stupid like, “Great to see you here!” or “Have a great day!” which might seem a little… unaware. But it’s cool that they even said anything, because you would have never recognized them, and it’s a very Louisville kind of thing, and you’re really glad they recognized you. As they get into their car they say thanks for being there and you’re feeling like, well, I never would have guessed we’d both be here today but I’m glad. And then many hours later their name will finally pop into your head.

Where Would They Go? Part 1 – The Antis

Louisville has anti-choice protestors that have come out 5 days a week for decades. What would they do if they actually achieved their goal and completely removed abortion access in KY? If the clinic staff locked the door for the last time and the escorts put away their vests for good, where would the anti-choice protestors go?

Maybe they’ll amp up their random street preaching. Those who work in downtown Louisville might be familiar with the sight of Operation Save America KY preachers outside the courthouse. The close of KY’s last remaining abortion clinic could provide a recruitment boom for OSA and they could protest downtown every day.

Perhaps their protests would migrate to a fertility clinic. Pro-Life Action League has already staged anti-choice rallies at a clinic that provides In Vitro Fertilization. IVF involves the disposal of unused embryos unsuitable for implantation. It’s a logical extension of the anti-choice mindset to view discarded embryos as equivalent to murder and fertility clinic employees as murderers.

Or perhaps they would start congregating outside your local pharmacy. Abortion is the most controversial form of birth control so society affirms their right to harass and intimidate patients as free speech. Would the same excuses be made when they come for Plan B or monthly oral contraception? Anti-choice groups are also opposed to “The Pill” and could mobilize their members to move outside a CVS or Kroger. Maybe they’ll create “Wanted” posters for pharmacists or managers who refuse to stop selling contraception.

Maybe they’ll go even broader and harass children outside public schools. We’ve already seen this in practice when OSA held their national leadership conference in Louisville in February. Anti-choice groups certainly find the public school curriculum to be too secular. This past week, Governor Matt Bevin signed a Bible Literacy Bill into law, “allowing” the teaching of bible classes in KY public schools. The hardline members of the groups we see every week won’t stop until these classes are mandatory. Maybe they’ll create websites containing the photos and addresses of principals and teachers who stand opposed to their curriculum.

These far-right extremists slowly chip away at rights. Look at the slow rollback of abortion access that has happened in the past 40 years. Post-Roe, KY had 17 clinics performing abortions; now 1 remains. TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) have been incredibly effective at destroying abortion access at a slow and steady pace. If you give these people an inch, they’ll take every mile of road you have. Currently, that KY road starts at the toes of Louisville’s clinic escorts. We’re doing our part to hold space and advocate for abortion access because who knows what the extremists will take next.

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Hard Hearted and Homely

Protester to newer escort: Don’t do this, you’ll become hard hearted and homely like the other women here.

Different protester to different newer escort: Young lady, don’t follow these older women down this path, don’t let them trick you into doing this.

Escorts show up independently, for a wide variety of reasons, but never because the older women in our lives are dragging us out there. I do love the concept of a coven of witches leading the escorts, and I get why protesters think the escorts who are older women are the leaders. But escorts have no leaders and are simply individuals who work together towards common goals with a few binding principles. (Meanwhile I find concern regarding the physical appearance of any escort unnecessary and offensive.)

The biggest thing I hear in these comments is… fear? admiration? bitterness? from the protesters towards older women. Throughout my life I have admired and gravitated towards women who are older than me – women a few years older than me and women a few generations older than me (and now women who are not older than me but just seem that way because I think of myself as a years younger than I am). I grew up with a mom with amazing women friends. Women who were midwives, women who worked at abortion clinics, women who taught dance classes at juvenile detention centers. It’s the same characteristics that make older women seem like leaders that draw me toward them. I see actions driven by compassion and respect for others, carried out with a sense of self-assuredness, assertiveness, and self-respect. So yes, sign me up to be a hard hearted, homely, older woman escort if that’s the price you pay for those qualities. You can also sign me up for the secret coven, and give me my crone card. I’m in.

Creating and Affirming Their Own Narratives

Anti’s love to “argue” with escorts and clients, but it isn’t a typical argument.  After the client has gone into the clinic, the anti’s will (using amplification) have an
argument with them.  The anti’s play themselves and the client.  They speak for the client, then knock down their made up client’s concerns with their own ideas.  They
do this with escorts too, since we won’t engage with them (see the Points of Unity).  We aren’t there to debate with anti’s, so anti’s create an escort argument that they
can “win” over. They also get really upset that we won’t talk to them.  “Will you get in trouble if you talk to me?  Why won’t you debate me?  You have no argument against
what I am saying?  Why can’t we dialog and reason together?”.  As if the personal medical choices of a third-party would be up for debate by two strangers on a sidewalk.
Talk about bad logic and reasoning.