When we publish articles on Every Saturday Morning, we moderate all comments received. Our view on comments is spelled out on our Comments page. Even though it is spelled out clearly we will not post religious or anti-abortion comments, we frequently get comments from antis wanting to let us know the error of our ways.
One comment we deleted because it violated our comment policy got me thinking about the different types of motivations for antis who come out on the sidewalk regularly. It is part of my personal, never-ending quest to figure out why antis come out to harass strangers once a week. I especially do not understand those antis who come every day.
They all believe they are entitled to be there. They frequently tell us they are exercising their right to free speech. They tell us they see the truth and say we are Satan’s tools. They pray for escorts and clients. We frequently hear, “May there be a Holy Ghost intervention to stop you from entering this clinic,” “I will pray for you to see the truth,” “You know you will go to hell for what you are doing,” “If you died today, are you ready to be judged?”, directed at clients, companions and escorts.
If prayer isn’t answered fast enough, some antis block the way, pushing and shoving. We trip over them in our attempt to walk clients around them. They frequently provoke a reaction from clients, companions and sometimes escorts. When violence has been barely avoided or actually sparked, we have been told by this same comment-writing anti, ‘I am here to stop the killing of babies and would lose my life if necessary.’ This anti has been punched, shoved off the sidewalk and screamed at by clients and companions. Still E comes back every week.
This anti isn’t rare and we see the type each day on the sidewalk. I call these the Martyr and Saint protesters. These particular protesters go a little further in their actions. They appear to be eager and willing to put themselves in harm’s way as if to prove their devotion to their belief. A violent reaction seems to be one of the things they are seeking. Sometimes they do get violent responses. Then we hear them ask other protesters, “Did you see what they did to me?”
These antis are volatile and unpredictable. When we point out they are violating the FACE Act one of them replied with, “Federal law’s a joke. What about the law above?” It is not unusual to have these antis standing 3 inches from our faces screaming about how escorts are all liars, sinners and murderers. This sometimes gets an angry reaction in response.
M is one anti in this group we write about all of the time. The potential to provoke physical violence is present each time M is on the sidewalk. The reactions to M from companions and clients are always vocal repetitions of, ‘Leave me alone,’ in the words they choose to say to convey that message. Clients and companions have balled up their fists and swung, yelled and pushed, but M’s tactics have not changed.
D is there 5 days a week and is in this group. D is like postal delivery: neither rain, snow, sleet or any other obstacles will prevent the visit to the clinic daily. Imagine what benefit that kind of dedication would be able to do in a different setting. Feeding the poor? Helping the homeless? The possibilities are endless.
I realize the quest to understand these antis is never-ending for me and never to be fulfilled, but I know I will continue to explore the subject.