40 Days of Respect – Day 1


For those who have been involved with Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Justice issues for many years, there is a twice a year event we never anticipate with anything except displeasure because of the stress it causes our clinic’s staff, volunteer agents, clients and their companions.

There is an organization named 40 Days for Life* who has their anti-abortion campaigns twice a year. There is one in the spring timed to end close to Easter Sunday. There is one in the fall timed to end close to November election days. Their organization is now worldwide, but only started in 2004. They only went nationwide in the US in 2007. Their twice a year campaigns are to send out “prayer warriors” to stand outside of abortion clinics 24 hours a day/7 days a week for 40 days. Since this was more than 30 years after Roe vs Wade was decided in 1974, it really makes me suspicious the origins of .these campaigns were politically motivated instead of motivated by firmly held religious beliefs.

They don’t seem too picky where they protest. If there isn’t an abortion clinic nearby, any women’s health clinic will do for their protests. If there isn’t a Planned Parenthood or other women’s health clinic nearby, a courthouse will do. The point isn’t to stop abortions, it is to shame women for taking any part in medical access for reproductive issues. Remember the birth control exemptions from ACA?

We have tried a lot of different ways to bring public awareness to the hypocrisy in their actions during these campaigns. We have had fundraisers during their campaigns. We have had counter protests during their campaigns. This fall, we have decided to take command of the dialogue. We will ignore their harassing presence on the sidewalk.

We are starting a campaign of 40 Days of Respect starting September 23 and ending November 1. Each day of the campaign we will be publishing an article about why we are volunteer agents for EMW Women’s Surgical Center. It is because of our respect for the ethical, compassionate, respectful care they provide for their clients every single day. We will also be highlighting some of the staff of EMW Women’s Surgical Center and the impact they have had on all those who come in contact with them. We will be including statements from organizations who work with the clinic, as well as patients of the clinic. The dedication to quality health care they bring to the community is appreciated by so many.

Today we are starting out our series with our admiration of Dr. Ernest Marshall. We are so honored to have Dr. Marshall as a provider in Louisville. In May 2019, the staff of EMW Women’s Surgical Center were awarded by the National Abortion Federation (NAF) their annual George R Tiller Award of “Attitude is Everything” Award for Excellence.

These annual awards are selected by nominations from all of the members of NAF. The selection is based on the nominations and according to the NAF board, “This award is given each year to one NAF member facility that emulates Dr. Tiller’s excellent and compassionate patient care, positive attitude, and staff cohesiveness.” This award is due to Dr. Marshall’s guidance and dedication over the years.There are two quotes associated with Dr. Tiller. The first one is “Trust Women.” They will know what is best for their lives and deserve respect. The second quote is, “Abortion is not a cerebral or reproductive issue. Abortion is a matter of the heart: for until one understands the heart of a woman, nothing else about abortion makes any sense at all.” Dr. Marshall trusts, respects and understands the heart of a woman and has kept these things in mind over all the years he has provided compassionate medical care to the community. The recognition with this award is so well deserved.

Of course, this isn’t the only recognition Dr. Marshall has received. In December 2015 ACLU ran a series for their 60th Anniversary in Kentucky titled “Faces of Liberty.” Dr. Marshall and Dr. Eubanks of EMW Women’s Surgical Center were centered in one of the profile articles. This quote from Dr. Marshall began the article, “Part of my nature is that every child should have a mother or father that wants them. My mother has had 13 pregnancies…I call it pseudo-slavery through reproduction.”

Compassion for patients, trusting and respecting patients, understanding patients take different paths to their decisions, and believing no child should be unwanted are some of Dr. Marshall’s approach to abortion care. We are so lucky to have him in our city and state.

We hope you like this plan and if you would like to join in our 40 Days of Respect campaign. We are soliciting comments and articles for this series. Please send your ideas or comments to everysaturdaymorning@gmail.com All submissions can be anonymous.

We will not respond to any anti-abortion comments and will block any senders.

**Links to anti-abortion websites not included intentionally.

Escorts Return to Sidewalk


On April 4, 2020 Louisville’s Clinic Escorts announced we were suspending escorts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our article also asked the protesters to stay home or if they did come to practice social distancing and wear masks to protect the patients and companions they claim to care so much about. That claim has been proven untrue.

The escorts have been watching the clinic from their cars since April 7. In the 61 days the clinic has been open from April 7 through June 30 there were always protesters present to harass people accessing needed healthcare. The numbers of protesters present each day varied from a low of 8 protesters to a high of 176 protesters one day. There was not one day where the watchers observed any of these protesters practicing social distancing. Most of them weren’t wearing masks; when they did, they wore them them incorrectly or pulled them down to talk.

Every day the clinic was open the protesters trespassed on EMW property and blocked the entrances and sidewalk. There were incidents of shoving patients and companions, and stalking companions as they returned to their vehicles. There were loudspeakers set on maximum volume some days. How is this sidewalk counseling? It’s not. This claim, like the one about only caring for the patients, is untrue.

Yet despite all of these things, patients did make it into the clinic. One day there was chalk writing on the sidewalk and building to let patients know there were people watching what was happening who cared. The protesters were angry about the messages.

Chalk art done with clinic permission by other supporters. “Abortion is essential healthcare.”

The time for escorts to return is now. We have been watching the city and state guidelines for COVID-19 restrictions. All returning escorts have agreed to these conditions in order to return:

  1. Returning escorts will wear masks and try to keep their distance from clients and companions as much as possible.

  2. Escorts agree to disperse without argument if they are advised by LMPD officers to leave. They can watch from their parked vehicles if asked to leave the sidewalk.

Of course, these are not the only precautions we are taking going forward. Escorts who for their own health or that of those they are in contact with will be waiting a while yet to return – our numbers will be much lower than they have been traditionally. Escorts who experience any symptoms, or who receive a positive test will remove themselves from the sidewalk and notify the group, so that the clinic can be notified as well. Escorts are encouraged to make use of the expanded availability of testing in Kentucky.

We can hope the protesters will learn by our example how to properly social distance and how to properly wear masks


Week seven of no escorts.


Chalk art done with clinic permission by other supporters. “Abortion is essential healthcare.”

Week seven of escorts’ absence from the sidewalk proceeded not much differently than the first six. Antis continue to gather, without masks, getting far too close to one another and to clients and companions and to security. Calls from the community to report this behavior go as ignored as clients’ and companions’ pleas to the antis to please stay away from them.
Tuesday 5/19: 16 antis total
Wednesday 5/20: 12 antis total

Thursday, 5/21: 20 antis total

Friday, 5/22: 16 antis total

A man sits in a chair he has placed beneath the clinic’s awning, in the center of the entrance.

Saturday, 5/23: 38 antis total

It is frustrating for clinic escorts watching from cars as the situation escalates. Our training is to deescalate. While we cannot control the actions of any individuals, the presence of people devoted to calm and safety does make a difference. We are keenly aware that our absence is felt. As restrictions are lifted in Kentucky, we are beginning discussions about what our return to the sidewalk might look like. We will publicly announce those plans when the time comes. For now, we will continue to document and provide updates to the best of our ability.

Week Six with no escorts


This week’s record for one day was SIXTY THREE protesters gathered on 5/16.

We understand that there are only recommendations, and not enforceable laws, calling for a minimum of 6 feet between any two people who do not live together. We get that LMPD can’t force the protesters to wear masks, or give others space.

These facts make a perfect storm when combined with the complete lack of regard for public safety that the protesters have always shown us with their actions.

This week, the congestion caused someone riding a scooter to crash.

In 2019, a protester was hospitalized after an encounter with someone leaving the clinic.

Pre-COVID19 escorts would regularly ask patients or companions to leave their weapons in their vehicles.

Now, everyone is under heightened stress, and there are no escorts to deescalate everpresent tensions. How many injuries will it take before action is taken?

The sidewalk won’t become safer unless two things happen:

Louisville Metro Council takes action by passing a new law creating a safety zone in front of the entrance.

LMPD needs to actually enforce the laws, including the existing noise ordinance, a safety zone, and the full range of blocking, assaults, and trespasses that happen regularly.

Indeed, if they continue to do nothing, we can be sure that more people will be harmed because of the protesters. Please continue contact your Council member and ask them to support a safety zone!

Tuesday May 12th: 17 protesters total
Wednesday May 13th: 13 protesters total
Thursday May 14th: 12 protesters total
Friday May 15th: 20 protesters total. The sidewalk congestion also caused a SCOOTER CRASH this morning.
Saturday May 16th: SIXTY THREE (63) protesters total 🤬

Update: Week Five of no escorts


“Y’all can’t be doin that!” – Gov Andy

As many Kentuckians carefully weigh how and when it may be safe to resume certain activities, the protesters remain consistent in their lack of consideration for the health and safety of themselves or others. Escorts observing from vehicles this week continued to see a variety of behaviors that go against the state, federal, and CDC recommendations. This week, the owners of EMW spoke out, encouraging Louisville Metro Council to bring back the safety zone that was in place following a blockade by extremists, which took place three years ago on Mother’s day weekend, a time known for large protests.

The inaction of Louisville Metro Council, and LMPD has become all but laughable, as they take turns passing around the responsibility to enforce public safety standards. Meanwhile, people still need to go to the clinic. To help further document the problem, the clinic and Metro Council have asked that people report the gatherings to 311 using any of these options:
Tweet @loumetro311
Email metro.311@louisvilleky.gov
Report on the metro 311 App
Submit a report at: https://louisvilleky.gov/government/metro311

Here are just a few of the scenes captured by observing escorts this week:

Tuesday 5/5 – 14 protesters total
Wednesday 5/6 – 10 protesters total
Thursday 5/7 – 12 protesters total
Friday 5/8 – 22 protesters total
Saturday 5/9 – 54 protesters total

Week Four Update


Four weeks in, and anti-choice clinic harassers continue to congregate in groups larger than ten outside of the clinic. Our observers are still documenting antis talking directly into the faces of patients and companions and engaging in physical blocking. While masks are in use by one of the several groups present, it is unusual to see them being used correctly with any consistency; groups of yellow-vested antis frequently stand in groups to talk with one another with masks down on their chins.

Tuesday – 13 antis

Wednesday – 14 antis

Thursday – 13 antis

Friday – 22 antis

Saturday – 32 antis

With the first phase of a gradual reopening imminent, it is clear that we won’t see anything done about the congregating issue. We are hopeful about the push for mandatory masks while in public starting May 11th.

Week Three Update


Prayer circles – not a good idea right now, guys.

Week three proceeded much the same as the previous weeks, with antis failing to practice social distancing or wear masks. However, this week did have one serious bright point: the hiring of two security guards by EMW Women’s Surgical Center. Both security guards are dressed in black, wearing gloves, masks, and white hats to help identify them to clients.

Tuesday – 17 antis

Wednesday – 8 antis

“Closer than they appear” This is what clients trying to exit their cars see.

Thursday – 18 antis

Friday – 21 antis

Saturday – 51 antis

The tactics of the antis each day of each week have remained consistent, making it impossible for patients to enter the clinic while observing social distancing recommendations. Every day that these people continue to disregard recommendations from public health professionals, they put others at risk. They put themselves and their families at risk, they put patients and everyone they come into contact at risk, they put people they might encounter while shopping at risk – and they do not care. Abortion access advocates have been saying this for a a long time, but hopefully it is abundantly clear to everyone now – these people should never again be referred to as “pro life.”

Week Two Update


This week, as last week, volunteers alone in their vehicles were stationed in the area surrounding the clinic in order to document the behavior of protesting antis. The antis’ presence and tactics have not been much changed by the pandemic locking down much of everyday life. While most non-essential workers in Kentucky are staying safe at home, limiting trips, and refraining from congregating with people outside of the household, the anti-choice protesters continue harassing patients. The antis belong to  a certain subset of person who believes that being asked to act in the interest of others is the greatest imaginable affront to their personal liberty. When you combine that with a penchant for willful scientific ignorance, you get the perfect storm that is our antis.

You can be asymptomatic and contagious.

Tuesday, April 14 – 19 antis

Eight “workers” in the non-essential fake clinic.

Wednesday, April 15 – 11 antis

Thursday, April 16 – 14 antis

Friday, April 17 – 16 antis

Saturday, April 18 – 35 antis

As we saw last week, antis ignored social distancing and continued chatting among themselves and confronting patients entering the clinic. One family even brought their infant along to the protest and allowed other antis to get far too close to the child. Masks were worn only by a few, and not always correctly. While city and state governments have addressed churches and crowded parks filled with those who refuse to comply, still no action has been taken outside of EMW to protect patients and the general public.

As most are well aware, “protests” were held Wednesday night outside of Governor Beshear’s nightly address to the Commonwealth. Scare quotes are appropriate in this instance for the same reason that they are appropriate when describing the anti-abortion presence outside of clinics: the point was not political speech directed against leadership. The point was for one group of people to strike fear into the hearts of their fellow citizens, to discourage them and break them down. Such rallies have been and are being held throughout the country.

That there was overlap between the group at the capital Wednesday and people we see on the sidewalk came as no surprise to us. The organizer of the incident Wednesday has been spreading false information about the clinic and its practices in order to drum up faux outrage. Fortunately, you are welcome to donate to EMW in her honor.

For now, abortion remains legal in Kentucky. Antis remain on the sidewalk putting themselves and everyone else at risk, and escorts remain in our vehicles, documenting.

Week One Update


One week ago today Louisville’s Clinic Escorts announced that we were choosing to suspend our presence on the sidewalk in order to do our part to flatten the curve in Kentucky and the surrounding region. What we did not do was abandon our watch over the clinic. This week, individual volunteers stationed in vehicles have been present each morning to count the number of antis still defying CDC recommendations by showing up at the clinic, interacting directly with one another, and invading clients’ physical space despite this pandemic. Very few antis wear masks and, when they do, don’t always wear them properly even when continuing to approach clients. Since pregnancy lowers an individual’s immune response, and the full effects of COVID-19 on pregnancy are not yet known, this is particularly alarming.

That’s… not doing any good.

We made the ask for antis still arriving at the clinic to take basic precautions. On our final Saturday, one anti informed others as he was leaving that he was on his way to a birthday party. Another was heard bragging that her church was still open – despite the outbreak in Hopkins County that has been tied to a church revival. So it came as little surprise to the volunteers watching this week that our worst fears about the antis’ continued presence and behavior on the sidewalk were confirmed. Below are the numbers and images from each day.

Tuesday, April 7th  – about 30 antis

Wednesday, April 8th – about 17 antis

Thursday, April 9th – about 12 antis

Friday, April 10th  – about 17 antis

Saturday, April 11th  – more than 50

You’ll notice right away that Tuesday and Saturday are the worst days, as has long been the case. There is a regular Catholic presence throughout the week and, while the 40 Days for Life campaign has been called off due to COVID-19, some still remain, funded in part by the Archdiocese of Louisville. Tuesdays are the days that Reformation Church travels the 30 miles from their base in Shelbyville into Louisville to preach on amplifiers, film themselves and clients, and physically block clients as they attempt to enter. The weekend always sees large numbers, but this Saturday was special – Sovereign King Church of southern Indiana declined to postpones one of their semi-regular “rallies” at the clinic. These “rallies” can vary in size, and typically involve multiple people with amplification, multiple people filming, large signs, and frequent instances of physical contact. Last Saturday saw police intervention after one member of this group was seen repeatedly jumping in clients’ paths as they attempted to go around him. There was no distance at all.

The Saturday before Easter is traditionally one of the big three days for protesters at the clinic, and were glad to not see 200 or 300 as has been the case under these circumstances. Still, numbers were high and there was no social distancing – antis were close to one another on the sidewalk and many have plans to hold services tomorrow. Watchers saw innumerable occasions of antis “swarming” patients, obstructing their movement down the sidewalk with large groups of people, getting to close, and speaking directly at their faces, typically with no mask. It was noteworthy that Immanuel Baptist Speak for the Unborn antis had masks – unfortunately, some were removing them in order to speak more clearly to people.

It is our hope that the new order requiring 14 day quarantines for people who choose to participate in mass gatherings will help alleviate this situation. With escorts no longer physically present on the sidewalk, this should be relatively easy for authorities to accomplish, at least with regard to antis who reside in Kentucky. Watching this morning as antis placed clients in danger, blocked them, misdirected and confused them was difficult, and we’re looking forward to the day we can put on our orange vests and get back out there. The sooner everyone joins in to help flatten the curve, the sooner that happens. We’re in this together, Kentucky.


Covid-19 Announcement from LCE


Louisville’s Clinic Escorts have always been client focused. For that reason, we are halting our presence on the sidewalk effective immediately.

We have made every effort to comply with best practices to reduce the spread of Covid-19 as they have evolved. First, we halted our shuttling service. Then, we spaced escorts farther apart, wore masks while escorting, and encouraged escorts to move away from antis invading physical space. This is no longer sufficient.

Going forward, four volunteers per day will be stationed in their separate vehicles to monitor antis’ behavior toward patients accessing care, social distancing, and various violations of the law. They will record and report issues as necessary to the clinic.

As this public health crisis has progressed, we have witnessed innumerable instances of antis not only failing to observe social distancing and other best practices, but actively deriding those who do so. Our presence and example has not impacted this trend. It is our hope that by stepping back from the sidewalk, we expose patients to fewer people while also making it easier for public officials to end congregating outside of the clinic altogether. With public gatherings being prevented elsewhere in the city, there is no reason for this not to happen. Abortion remains essential healthcare, as it cannot be readily rescheduled, and the last thing we want is Kentuckians traveling to neighboring states to access care. We can make it safer by clearing the sidewalk entirely.

To antis if you are reading this: please stay home. Anyone can be asymptomatic but contagious. Pray from home. Call your representatives. If you still come to the clinic, wear masks and do not get closer than six feet to one another or patients and their companions. Please, help Kentucky flatten the curve. We will still be watching.