Bananas and Orange Juice

What do bananas and orange juice have to do with clinic escorting? It turns out they have a lot to do with our clinic on a Saturday morning.

Every Saturday Morning antis arrive at the clinic. Some come with bananas, orange juice and their signs that say, “For Clinic Escorts.”

When they first started stopping by on Saturday mornings, they set up portable tables at two different sites. There is now one man and his family carrying offerings of free food and drink around in a basket. When I asked them one Saturday about why they weren’t setting up tables they replied, “An escort suggested this and we thought it was a good idea.”

It is a good idea for them. They are able to interact with more escorts as they walk along the street. They will approach every escort on the sidewalk and ask them if they want a banana and orange juice. As they are asking them about the food, they are smiling and talking to the escorts. They will tell you they come out every Saturday morning to help. “I want you to meet my mother,” “I want you to meet my wife,” “Why are you out here?” You know the usual conversation when you meet someone for the first time as they escort clients to the abortion clinic.

When I asked the man walking around with the basket why he came each Saturday, he answered he just wants to help. In our conversation he confirmed he was pro-life and was not affiliated with any church or organization. He only represents himself. He is a seminary student and had heard about what happened at the clinic in class.

He came out one Saturday and, “I saw the great division between the sides. I come out to be a bridge between the two sides. I want to show God’s love to the escorts.” I replied he was assuming escorts were not Christians. “Many of the escorts are Christians and attend services regularly. We have several Christian churches in the community who support us. You are assuming things about all escorts.” He agreed he had found out there were Christians among the escorts.

These people are so nice. They care about the escorts. They want to form a bridge between the antis and escorts so they can talk to each other. This will never happen with bananas and orange juice.

There are several homeless people who gravitate to the clinic in the mornings. They tell us it is interesting to watch all the people until it gets too loud. I was walking and talking to one of our regular homeless watchers the first Saturday these helpers came out. The helpers had a table set up with the sign “For Clinic Escorts.” We stopped and I asked the men behind the table if my friend could have what I wasn’t going to take. There was a long pause. They said, “Well, it is only for Clinic Escorts.” I countered with, “But I am not going to take any and want to give him my share.” My friend said, “I just want orange juice.” With great reluctance, he was given the orange juice.

Showing love and forming a bridge between anything is not extended to the homeless. They only want to help escorts.

My real question is how are they helping us? Are they going to change our minds about being escorts with a banana and a glass of orange juice? Will a smile and pleasant conversation change our minds? Will they change our conviction that it is a woman’s choice? Will they change our hearts from feeling no antis should be on the sidewalk, no matter how nice they seem?

What is the price for your convictions? Do you have one? Is it as low as a banana, orange juice and a smile?

What is the price for their conviction they belong in front of the clinic on Saturdays trying to build bridges to conversation? What happens to the bridge when they slip in a quiet, “Don’t do it,” to a client? What if we offered them food and drink, would they go away?

I watch these pleasant-speaking people walking up and down the street. They talk to any escort who will not move away. They are always smiling.

My observation is a mixture of contempt and revulsion. How can they think my ethics can be bought at any price, but especially so cheaply? How naive they are to feel they can bring about cordial conversations between antis and escorts. How arrogant they are to think they have a right to interfere with women as they go for an abortion. How revolted I am to know when they are smiling and making polite conversation, they are “working the room” to convert people.

I have never and will never accept bananas and orange juice on Saturday mornings.

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