January 9 2009
Protesters: about 55
Cops: 1 and he stayed warm and dry in his car parked at the corner of 2nd St. and Market were he could not see either the door of the clinic or the parking lot.
It was rainy and in the low 40s this morning, just lovely.
We were busy this morning; we escorted approximately 20 clients in an hour and a half. The protesters were behaving badly all morning.
Angela again recognized the support person of a client this morning. She apparently knew the niece of this woman and began calling out “S_____’s aunt, come out of there, I’m calling S_____ and we can talk about this”. Angela then called this woman’s niece and they began trying to figure out who the client was. When Angela got off of the phone it sounded like the niece was going to try to call the support person. I went inside and spoke with the intake nurse letting her know that this woman may need some extra support. The intake nurse said she already knew and they were talking with the client and the woman. I can’t begin to describe my disgust at this behavior. I have never seen anyone be so disrespectful and intrusive into other people’s lives as Angela is on a regular basis. There are so many things wrong with this scenario, it is hard to know where to begin, but I will start with:
First if this young woman had wanted S __ to know she was having an abortion, she would have told her.
Second it is not Angela’s right or responsibility to out this woman to her family. Angela has no idea what family dynamics are involved.
Third this act is intended to intimidate and shame this young woman as well as her support person. The impetus behind this type of invasion of privacy is to dominate the decision making process with fear and concern for what others will think.
This type of power dynamic creates an environment where the 1 in 3 American women who will have an abortion in her lifetime, is made to feel the need to hide this normal part of her reproductive life from the world.
Make no mistake, this is about power.
Who has the efficacy to make decisions in women’s lives? Do we allow people like Angela to harass and instigate familial discord? Why is she allowed to even be close enough to the door of the clinic to be able to pick out an individual she may know? This does not fall under the heading of speaking one’s mind. This is not about protecting Angela’s right to free speech. This morning I saw a woman’s privacy be violated by a stranger on the street.
This is one of the moments where a buffer zone could have allowed some privacy to this woman; privacy for women to be free from the disdainful need of busy bodies to stick their noses into other people’s business.
The woman who can not seem to dress her five children appropriately for bringing them out into inclement weather was again present with her shivering wet brood. Again the young priest came to the rescue and let them use his umbrella. One would hope he will eventually make sure this family has the resources to dress the children for weather.
I hope eventually they will realize the clinic is not an appropriate place for children. Because letting them observe the actions of people like Angela teaches them great lessons in autonomy. Oh wait they are catholic, they don’t believe in autonomy, never mind. I guess this family just gets its jollies from being cold and wet.
The chasers from the fake clinic across were out this morning and attempted to confuse a non-English speaking client by telling them their appointment was in the wrong clinic. This is a regular tactic of the fake clinic crowd. We have gotten reports from the clinic of clients reporting mistakenly going to the fake clinic and being told a translator was on the way, only to be left for hours waiting, thus missing their appointments. Classy deception.
Good thing our escorts are on top of things and were able to appropriately direct the client. However, this does illustrate an ongoing issue on the sidewalk, we are always in need of those persons with language skills. On a regular basis we encounter clients who speak a myriad of languages and we are generally unprepared to communicate with them. We have several Spanish speakers who are semi-regular escorts, but other than that we must hope that we can adequately convey the reality of the situation to them.
The last thing I saw as I was driving away from the clinic was Angela laying hands on a young man. I had watched her chase after him as he was walking to his car. I didn’t hear any of their interaction, but he deffinately did not seem excited about talking with her and tried to walk away from her on the sidewalk. But as I turned the corner onto 1st St, there they were. I slowed down and Towanda got this picture. We then yelled out the window asking if he was ok. He gave us a slight nod, and made the you do what you gotta do shrug that indicated to both of us, if this is what it took to get this crazy woman to leave him alone then fine. Again, I have to point out Angela’s complete disregard for personal space. She chased this man down an entire city block and around the corner so that she could accost him and lay on hands.
WHY IS THIS NOT HARASSMENT? Coercion is as much a method of intimidation as out loud condemnation and often more insidious.
Anyway, by the time I got home it had stopped raining, of course.
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