There are times when revelations of the weight of reproductive choice hits me like an elbow to the throat. A man with his toddler child left the clinic this morning after most everyone, escorts and antis, had left. Another escort and I asked the man if he wanted us to walk with him. He said he didn’t need it but if we wanted to talk to him, he’d like to know why we escort. I told him we were volunteers, didn’t get anything for doing this and I was motivated by not wanting to allow people to put their personal moral, ethical or religious beliefs above the rule of law. He was blown away that we would get out of bed before dawn on a Saturday to come put up with all that bullshit. I want to pass on his gratitude for what we did this morning folks, without our support, his trip into the clinic with a toddler would have been horrific.
Of course, Angela chased along, telling the man he needed to bring his wife out of that horrible place and across the street to AWC yaddyyaddyyaddy. She got right up next to him and his baby. I offered to make some space
“No, I want to talk to her too.”
She continued with her usual spiel about heart beats and brain waves, the baby drinking amniotic fluid and having fingers and toes and a tricycle. (OK, she didn’t say the tricycle part but she might as well.)
He listened patiently and then began to tell his story – two great kids that they love but are barely making ends meet, carrying a baby full term and then giving it up was not in their emotional tool kit, they made the decision early so as to minimize the suffering of the fetus, this was a decision they discussed with their religious leader and considered for as long as they could before reaching the best decision for their family.
Angela then went into damnation mode, “You’ll stand before Jesus and he will judge you for killing your baby. Do you want to have to answer for that blood on your hands?”
“Look lady, I love my family and am doing what I think is the best thing for us. If God sends me to hell for doing my duty to my family, then so be it. I’ll suffer forever as long as my family is safe and taken care of”
It’s easy to think we are fighting a battle on the sidewalk every Saturday morning. But the truth is, we are not the warriors here, that would be the clients and companions. We are, at best, the emotional MASH unit.