* Our goal is to normalize and de-stigmatize abortion services.
Normalize and de-stigmatize. Are we kidding?
There is just not much “normal” about walking past a bunch of protesters on your way to the doctor. Protesters who don’t want you to go to the doctor. Some weeks ~ like the day before Mother’s Day ~ there are maybe a hundred and fifty protesters. It’s would be hard to make that feel normal.
But that’s why, on times like the Saturday before Mother’s Day, we need lots of escorts. Not to actually escort so much ~ walking with a client really just takes three escorts. Maybe four. You know how it works.
The client and companion walk together. One escort on each side, one behind or in front, maybe one behind and in front, to deflect the protesters. One of those escorts is the greeter and the talker. The other two, or three, are holding space, creating a cushion around the client.
But on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, Easter, the day before Father’s Day, we want lots of people in orange vests to create a strong presence. We want to line the space in front of the clinic so that the clients aren’t blocked. So they don’t have to wait for a protester to move so they can get through.
We create a sea of orange vests. The client coming up the sidewalk can see the orange vests, and know that there’s support around them.
Ok. There is still nothing “normal” about walking through a gauntlet of pray-ers, preachers, and protesters to go to the doctor. There just isn’t. There is no way to normalize that.
And their purpose, the protesters’ goal, is to create stigma. To instill shame. All we can do is be there. Our best shot at “normalizing and de-stigmatizing” is to create space.
And we do know how to do that.
There is lots more to be said here ~ and I invite other escorts to add their thoughts and opinions. I barely touch on “de-stigmatize.” Servalbear’s post “Let’s Talk About It” demonstrates one way to reduce the stigma associated with this medical procedure, but there are lots of others.
Also ~ the astute reader may notice that i went from Points of Unity II directly to Points of Unity IV, bypassing III. That is because being a new grandmother, being on the verge of early retirement, and starting a private practice have limited my time to write, and Points of Unity III is my favorite ~ de-escalation. Maybe next week…