getting warmer…

this week was interesting to say the least.  for the first time in too long it was light out when we arrived.  this was especially nice because there was a TON of traffic on market street at this hour, compared to the usually calm road.   we witnessed at least 4 times the car traffic we are used to.  luckily we had plenty of escorts, and we all worked really well together, despite many obstacles.

one major hurtle we’ve had for the last few weeks has been dealing with a new wave of “sidewalk counselors” from the decoy clinic down the block.  chasers from the fake clinic usually station themselves in the parking lot on the north side of the street.  the lot is on the same side of the street as the fake clinic, across from EMW.  these protestors are known for offering a free ultarsound (packaged with a lot of mis-information) and have been know to convince clients for whom english is not their primary language that “the doctor is this way”.  this trick can also be effective when the client and their support person(s) are not from louisville and are easily confused.  for the most part protesters from A Woman’s Choice (AWC, nice name huh?) are easy to deal with.  this may be why we are seeing more and more of them, and the trend these days has been for the men to do the sidewalk work.  “my wife works in there, she would love to talk to you about the truth of your options.”  these men say while reaching over escorts and pushing their ways to clients.  this week we saw about nine.  this is a massive number of chasers in general, much less all in one place, then add in both marys (who hopped from one side of the street to the other all morning) and we really had our hands full!

the parking lot

the parking lot

there are a million and one things that can be said about what’s wrong with men objecting to a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body.  the entitlement oozing out of these privileged young white men is sickening.  all we can do is try to be as effective and empowering as possible in our escorting.

we are lucky (in a way i guess) that this is happening during a time when our regular police officer is on leave and we are working with a deputy from the sheriff’s office who actually identified himself to us as pro choice and proved quite helpful this morning.  The deputy spent almost the whole morning picking out protesters and talking at length with them over the city’s harassment law.  he was quick to stop his conversation and observe the chaos when i pointed out to him the scene pictured above.  he checked in with the escorts as well to let us know what he’d been working on and to let us know how that was coming along.  it was mildly comforting, but i don’t think it will be long lasting.

if i may make one more point about the appauling behavior of men trying to effect the actions of women around their reproductive health, i’d like to tell a quick tale about the last client we walked in today…

from my perspective, at the door:

a scuffle of people approached the entrance to the clinic, i opened the door and a young woman of color popped out of the crowd and through the door.   when clients go under general annesthsia they are required to have someone sign that they will give the woman a ride home.  i didn’t see anyone with the woman, so i started asking if she was alone (trying not to pry.  escorts have been known to sign for someone who does not have anyone with them.)  The girl indicated to me that her aunt was here, and as she turned to look out the door and check on her people she noticed that her partner had walked right past the clinic entrance and was just walking towards 2nd st! ” he’s got the money” she told me.  i was out the door after him.  i ran and hollered for him to join his friend “i’m not going in there” he told me.  i was dumbfounded.  he rounded the corner, being followed by angela while this girl’s aunt and cousin got into the clinic.  we were all awe struck.  These people had driven from Evansville IN (about two hours).   the aunt tried to track him some, while andy tried to get a hold of the powers that be at A Fund to see if it was possible to cover the whole cost for now (usually all that A Fund will pledge is $100).  he had disappeared, and we could not reach anyone to put more money down for this woman.  they decided to try to track down ol’ boy which we encouraged them to do in their car since protesters were all over them by this time (“thank you lord for this holy ghost obstacle.  you are worthy…” says angela.)

we were too furious to go home, so we decided to make an effort to track this guy down.  sure enough we spotted him ducking into the food court of 4th st live!  (a big shopping mall in the middle of a downtown street).  i hopped out of the car and followed him while my two friends parked the car.  i caught up to him in an empty corridor. (think fast girl.  breathe.)

i got him to engage me while my friend tried to get through to the ladies, why does timing have to be so awful sometimes?

i told him that i knew this wasn’t easy, that i had dealt with an unwanted pregnancy, and that as much as we may wish for it to just go away, that’s a pretty rare solution.  i gave him a little guilt over everyone having to drive so far for nothing, asked him if he had a plan, “i’m just praying” i think that was the most he said to be the whole time.  we decided after a bit to walk a little.  i think that when he saw my friends he decided he was through with me.  i offered him a ride back to the clinic and he just quickened his pace more.  in a minute he was rounding the corner a half a block away from us.  then we got through to the ladies. (UGGHHH!)

my friend hopped in their car to help navigate around our one way streets, and my other friend and i drove around in our car for a while.  he’d disappeared.  who know’s to where.  i’m shocked we found him the once.  we all drove back to the clinic where the client rescheduled for tuesday.  the A Fund pledged $100 towards her procedure and she said she would be able to get the rest.

WHAT A HORRIBLE HASSLE!!!

if the protesters don’t stop you, you’re partner will!   WTF!!!

i don’t know if it was her money or his, it’s none of my businees and it doesn’t matter.  i do know that his ass got left in louisville, and whenever he does get back he might wish he’d just moved to the ‘ville.

i understand that this is never a situation someone wants to be in, no matter which body you’re in, but we have to deal with these situations one way or another.  it was clear that the woman knew what was best for her, if only she’d thought to get the money off of him before them.  was this planned?  did he think he could stop her?  was this his shitty way of saying if you do this i’m breaking up with you?  did he really think this was an okay thing to do???

be back next saturday, same bad time, same bad channel.

dsc006571

2 thoughts on “getting warmer…

  1. Hey there-
    I just wanted to write and thank you for doing this. I’ve been considering becoming a clinic escort myself and see it as very important work. I help with a project called CPC Watch, an online advocacy project that focuses mainly on deceptive ‘crisis pregnancy centers’, but operates under an adamantly pro-reproductive justice umbrella. Our project coordinator and I have been talking about a possible resurgence of clinic violence/protests under a more pro-choice president, and I pray every day that doesn’t happen. We’ll be keeping you guys in our thoughts and sending energy for all the great work you do… keep it up!!!

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