Vandals

It seemed a little rougher on the sidewalk today than it has been lately, which of course probably just means that my little piece of the sidewalk was rougher.  So much of that depends on who’s around, and what mood they’re in.

A patient and her companion walk from the car to the door while M steps in front of them and pushes into them.  They walk faster; they tell her to leave them alone; she thrusts her arm in front of them, displaying the plastic fetus in her hand.  Talking, talking, talking.  Chiding, scolding, fussing, berating the woman the whole way to the door.

Sigh.  It is hard to stay calm through that.

I’m more amused by the men they have sweeping and raking in front of Women’s “Choice” Center on Saturday morning.  It’s going to be the best maintained corner in the city.  I’m sure it’s purely accidental that the men do theit landscaping in the middle of the sidewalk while patients are trying to get to EMW clinic.

I’m not sure what their purpose is. I guess it slows people down a little, so the chasers have more time to talk to them.  I guess if they stick out their broom or rake and trip someone ~ that might keep them from getting to the clinic that day.  Just doesn’t seem like it’s a really effective intervention.

I figure by next week, all the leaves and debris will be gone – maybe the fake clinic can haul some in so there will still be reason to work on that one corner of the universe.

And – you know – I hadn’t even thought about this until just now, but it fits perfectly.  The fake clinic have two men spend an hour, hour and a half grooming one corner in the city every week.  Now, there are lots of places that need work, lots of corners that could use some raking and sweeping. If they invested that energy elsewhere, they could make a real difference in the landscape of the city.

In the same way, the protesters put all this energy into chasing down women who’ve already made a decision, who are just trying to get to their doctor appointment.   If they put that energy into doing things that would help the already born, making sure children are safe and cared for, making sure people had access to accurate reproductive information, working toward a more just society, they could make a huge difference in the world.

But that’s not what i came to talk about today.

The people from A Woman’s Choice, the fake-clinic, may have been particularly upset today because some vandals had placed stickers on the lightposts and parking meters.  They said:

Women’s “Choice”

Resource Center

=

DECEIT

and

Women’s “Choice”

Resource Center

IS

ANTI-CHOICE

and

Women’s “Choice”

Resource Center

IS

MISLEADING

Of course, all those things are true, and that’s been documented many times.   You can access that information on websites like this:

http://www.feministcampus.org/act/cpc/fightback.asp

But apparently the folks who work at a Woman’s Choice clinic were upset about the destruction of public property, the vandalism of the stickers.  One of the women went and got a police officer to come see the damage.   She showed him the stickers, and assured him that their security cameras would reveal the culprits, looking meaningly at us all the while.

He looked at it and agreed that it was illegal, shook his head and “Tsk’ed.”  Then he went back to the police car parked across the street.

Some of the protesters were convinced we’d done it.  One man took our picture ~ mine and a few other escorts.  Said he was going to post it on his website and ask people to vote on which one of us was guilty.

Now, I’m pretty sure that even if they all voted for me, that wouldn’t convict me in a court of law, so I shrugged that off.

I know we didn’t do it because it’s not de-escalating and it borders on counter-protesting, both of which are against our Points of Unity.  I know we didn’t do it, cause even though it’s kind of a warm fuzzy glow to see the stickers there, it doesn’t really help anything.

So yes, it’s unfortunate that they defaced public property.  But that’s the only thing the Women’s Choice staff have reason to be upset about.  What the stickers said is true.

5 thoughts on “Vandals

  1. I am both baffled and horrified that this situation continues to play out, day after day, where people attempting to receive medical care they believe is necessary are blocked, cajoled and harassed by people who have the firm intent of preventing them from accessing that care. While abortion is an emotional issue that some people have very strong feelings about, it’s still legal and still medical care. Anyone trying to prevent another human being from receiving any kind of medical treatment they and their doctor agree is necessary should be arrested on the spot; to block access to health care causes harm. While the protesters will cry ‘free speech’ in our ears every time someone suggests the cops actually do their job and protect the public from fear, intimidation and assault, I am pretty sure that the law is clear that free speech ends when it causes harm and invading people’s personal space, intimidating them and deceiving them are not protected.

    Simply put, I don’t get why these people have not been long ago thrown in jail or shooed away by the cops. There really does not seem to be any excuse. It’s beyond unacceptable of for this kind of conduct to be routinely ignored or tolerated, and I cannot think of another situation (in the US at least, though I can think of similar issues in Northern Ireland and Scotland) where this vehement aggression and intimidation is allowed to impede people’s ability to access what they need day after day. If it’s abortion, it seems to get a pass. Naturally people who are trying to get their medical marijuana are far less likely to be faced with a gauntlet of aggressive, judgmental characters bent on preventing them from getting access to their medicine, waving plastic brains in their face, shrieking about the possibility of paranoia or lung cancer, praying for their poor stoned souls. The cynic in me thinks this has something to do with it being possible to smoke pot and have a penis, but surely these protesters are not simply misogynistic, hypocritical bullies, right?

  2. As a side note to the sweeping men, I did speak to the woman behind the desk at AWC and another anti about our concern they were blocking the sidewalk. They both shrugged and told me to take it up with the men, even when I expressed concern for the sweepers being caught up in a crowd moving down the sidewalk. The next time I was escorting a client, I yelled, “Don’t block the sidewalk,” and they moved out of the way. Clean corner and sidewalk, though.

  3. Hi, Lacy,

    Yes… they say that our situation is one of the worst in the country. Patients actually have to walk a gauntlet of protesters, pray-ers, preachers, and chasers to get to their doctor’s appointment. Although they can choose to have us accompany them, there is nothing that separates the anti-choice folks from the patient and her companion.

    FML

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