The skies were a dusky pearlescent gray, the streets, from what I’ve seen of Louisville thus far in my trip, nearly abandoned. We parked near the corner, looking towards White Castle, as my friend and guide explained the “rules of engagement”.
Really, they are rules of non-engagement. Talking only encourages the vest-wearing haters and chasers who feel free to abuse their first amendment rights by hurling invective, and censure upon women who have made the choice to abort.
They, the anti’s, don’t know these women’s stories, how they came to the Clinic on a cool October morning, prepared to have a medical procedure performed on their bodies. Neither did I. And while the stories may be of tragic events, or thoughtless actions, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that they take that walk down that long, long sidewalk, lined by pray-ers, by shouters, by sign holders, all denouncing them.
They attempt to lure them into their own little “medical center”, though their God preaches truth and honesty. This deceit is yet another chance to strong arm these women to change their minds.
This week the haters scored coup on us. Three women scooped up and ground down on, only to hurry out, tear-streaked and spirit-wounded. They were quickly escorted into the true clinic, but the damage had been done.
But they, those women, don’t matter to the anti’s. Only the fertilized egg laying in their belly matters. Apparently, once a woman is grown it doesn’t matter that she is alive. It only matters that she be forced to procreate should she become pregnant, and the haters will do all in their power to stop her from entering that clinic, and using her right to take control of her reproductive destiny.
It was emotional, powerful work, standing in my orange vest, waiting for a client to brave the gauntlet. There was the woman who embraced her power and told the haters to “get the fuck out of my way” and woo-hooed her way into the clinic. And the woman who leaned on my friend, drawing support from her quite, nurturing words. Almost running to keep up my side of the “shield” that surrounded her, I could feel the hate and rage of these praying haters. They hated that we shielded this woman. They hated her with every fiber of their being.
Yet their very words, shouted from the top of a footstool, were against judging.
How could they not see the hypocrisy of their words, their actions?
Across the street, a mass of people arrived, swaying and praying.
The sun came up, and the clinic seekers dwindled. Time to put away the vests and wait for another day. Another day for woman to make the choices they want or need to make for their own bodies, their own reproductive health.
I’ve always been pro-choice, and today I stood united, with those who act on the front lines of those very values, and was humbled.
Serving today was a privilege, an honor, and an eye-opening experience.
A guest from Massachusettes