On the Fourth of July

After escorting last Saturday, we went to breakfast, as we usually do.  We were talking about things that happened that day on the sidewalk.  I was listening, paying particular attention to anything that sounded like it could be fodder for the blog.

Suddenly, I thought, “I’m tired of it.”  I’m tired of the protesters.  Tired of listening to the preachers.  Tired of watching the chasers race up the sidewalk with us, tired of them spouting their arrogant, misinformed routines.

Every week, I get stirred up emotionally, and have to talk myself back down.  Remind myself that protesters are people too.  That they have a legal right to be there.

I have to let go of the moments that would haunt me.  The woman in the parking lot shaking, almost in tears.  “I didn’t know it would be like this,” she says.  “Are they here every day?  What will they do to me?”

Interesting, isn’t it?  That the protesters think they will make her rethink her decision ~ instead, she’s not thinking about the abortion at all, she’s focused on running the gauntlet of protesters.  They have actually distracted her from thinking about the procedure.

Interesting, but I don’t want to think about any of it anymore.  I’m just tired of it.

Right about then, while I’m sitting at breakfast thinking that, Servalbear starts talking about the legal battle in Pennsylvania, where they just succeeded in getting a buffer zone outside the clinic.  They started with a bunch of petitions and just kept pushing til it passed.

“You know,” Servalbear says, “I’m thinking we could try that here.  I know they say it can’t be done here, but I don’t think we’ve tried lately.  What have we got to lose?  I think we should give it a shot.”

“YES!” I say, suddenly inspired and energized.  I can picture the protesters, standing on the other side of the street.  Not up in people’s faces.  Not chasing them to the door.  Out of stalking range.

It’s a pretty picture.

“Let’s do it!” I say.  “I’ll blog about it Wednesday, get the ball rolling, so to speak.”

So here I am.  There’s the ball.

I have a beginning to-do list, lots of ideas, plenty of enthusiasm and 35 other things going on in my life right now {just like everyone else.}  Do you think it’s time to give this a shot?  Interested in working on it with us?

If you are, leave a comment, or email us.  I’ll be emailing some people who might be allies, but please don’t wait to hear from me if you want to join the party.  You are invited.

19 thoughts on “On the Fourth of July

  1. are there any attorneys involved yet? A motivated lawyer would (I think) be key to determining the viability of a buffer zone. Having experienced this scene as the mother of a client on Tuesday, I am all for pursuing a buffer or at least a bubble. A chaser touched my daughter as we were walking from the pay parking lot to the clinic and I shoved her away. That should NOT be necessary! I will be happy to throw my energy into whatever ways I can help to try to make this fantastic idea a reality!

  2. Happy to help in anyway I can from here in Minnesota, including (but certainly not limited to) blogging about your efforts and/or promoting on social media, signing petitions or sending a few bucks down your way. I’ll keep my eyes glued to the blog in case more information becomes available.

  3. I hope you can do it. There is NO excuse for the level of violence and harassment that is present, and for a safety zone to be in place would help so much. Let me know how I can help from Ohio.

  4. Hi again! I just read Makoto’s post and this got me thinking: why keep it local? Why not try to go viral with the signatures? Using Change.org, for example? Because this cause is broader than just Louisville, even if any changes that are ultimately made are at the local level.
    If we did something like a Change.org petition, it seems like the best strategy would be to do as much legwork as we can first (e.g. try to get a bill introduced at the city or state level that would create and enforce a buffer zone), then when we hit a stopping point, identify the person/people/organization with the power to get things moving again (either the one doing the blocking, or the one with power over those doing the blocking) and have someone with some credibility (e.g. an attorney, a victim, an elected official, etc.) create the petition. I believe we could even post a video, so if any clinic clients were okay with the idea, we could even show the world what they have to go through — could send an even more powerful message than anything we could write.
    Anyway, just building on some ideas here. I’m still not sure where to start or what is required, but happy to help once we all settle on a course of action! 🙂

    • Hi, F+T,

      Those are some exciting ideas!

      We actually have a video of a person who the anti’s think is a client, talking about her experience, which is pretty cool, but yeah, there’s a lot we’d need to do to really make this happen.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, I’ll keep you updated!

      fml

      I’m going to look into possibilities here

  5. I’m another out-of-stater (Virginia), and I’ve lurked on this blog for quite awhile now – I’d love to help out any way I can. (I actually have family near Louisville and visit the area occasionally.) I really like the idea of trying to raise money to help the clinic move – even if that might mean raising the money to have a building built specifically for the clinic.

    • Hi, J,

      Thanks for commenting and for the support!

      I don’t really think that helping the clinic move is practical, but I could be wrong. I think I probably need to talk to the clinic before I do anything else.

      But thanks again for coming out to comment!

      fml

  6. Hey there, I’m up here in Canada, so I don’t know how much help I can be with this, but I do know that it’s a great idea, and worth the sanity of not only you but the people you help.

    You and the other escorts do good work, and people appreciate that.

    • Hi, Kazei5,

      That’s pretty cool ~ that we now have offers of help from way down south and way up north! Thanks!

      The “how to get involved’ page can give suggestions of how to help, but know that supportive comments really help too.

      Thanks.

      fml

  7. Will out of state help.. er.. help? I think buffer zones are a great idea, and they should include parking areas as well as the walkways up to the clinics if at all possible (a guy can dream). I’m over in TX, but if there’s anything I can do to help (signatures, monetary support, etc), please say so.

    • Hi, Makoto,

      Thanks for the comment! Your support is greatly appreciated! I don’t think signatures from Tx would help, but if it looks like they will, we’ll come to you first. 🙂

      Monetary donations are always welcome (and can be made through our “how to get involved” page.) I don’t know that this particular project needs funding at this point, but there are lots of opportunities to help.

      In any case, just the verbal support here is helpful ~ thanks!

      fml

  8. we have looked into this a bit and spoken with legal support people in the past. it never seemed very viable, but trying can’t hurt. i personally can think of 2 huge access increasing projects i’d rather work towards but i won’t mention them here.

    may i suggest looking into the difference in a buffer and a bubble? they are totally different and you can’t have both. (knowing fml and sb, y’all have probably already done this.)

    there’s also the question of enforcement. similar to FACE, it can be hard to enforce and the local law enforcement has already gotten really tired of the sidewalk scene a number of times.

    • Hi, Wenches,

      Thanks for the input ~ I’d like to live up to our reputation for careful research and reflection, but in this particular case, there was more impulse involved, inspired by the success in Pennsylvania. Which, btw, I hadn’t actually been following, but Sb told me about it.

      I do know the difference between a bubble and buffer, I think ~ the bubble is space from the client, the buffer is space from the clinic, right? I was thinking buffer, mostly because I want the preachers on the other side of the street, and the chasers to have to give up and back off before we hit the property line. But of course you’re right about the police and enforcement…

      AND I’m not committed to this particular plan. So far, the enthusiasm in response to it has been completely underwhelming, and I’m not looking to put my energy into corralling people and trying to talk them into supporting this. I’m just tired of the same ole thing every week on the sidewalk.

      Now that I think about it, aren’t there actually things I’m supposed to already be working on with you? My life has sort of been a whirlwind of change lately, it may take a while for the dust to settle, and my mind to clear. This just seemed like a brilliant idea ~ one whose time had come ~ at breakfast Saturday morning.

      Thoughtfully yours,

      fml

  9. Hi fml221,

    I loved your post about seeking a buffer zone in Louisville — and I think it might be easier to start “putting on the pressure” than it might have been in the past: there are websites like Change.org that can help us bring attention to the issue (and hopefully get lost of signatures!). In any case, it’s important enough that the possibility of improving the situation alone is justification enough for action — in short, why wouldn’t we try??

    I wanted to ask one quick question first, though: has the clinic or have supporters within the community ever tried relocating the clinic to facilities where a private parking lot would be available? I know this would be expensive, but from a legal standpoint as well, I wonder if this is even possible. Not that the clinic should be “running away,” but if it is possible to move, it might be easier raising enough funding for the relocation (and provide a permanent, legal challenge-proof solution) than fighting a potentially long, drawn-out battle in “hostile” territory with no guarantee of success.

    I’m sure I’m not the first to have thought of this, I just don’t know enough about what’s possible and what’s advisable, and I wanted to make sure everything was being considered, with an eye toward efforts that have the potential to do the most good.

    Thanks again for your post,

    Best,
    Fréde + Tim

    • Hi, Frede + Tim,

      Thanks for commenting! I’m glad you liked the post, and appreciate the support.

      That’s an interesting suggestion ~ that we could raise money to help the clinic move. I have no idea if the doctor or staff would be receptive to that or not.

      My understanding of the problem connected with moving is that the TRAP laws would make it too risky. That if they moved, the chances of not being in compliance with some small regulation ~ height of sinks, width of doorways, for example ~ could result in them being shut down.

      But that’s a lovely idea. I like to picture it in a building with a huge parking lot, where clients walk to their doctor appointment through a sea of quiet calm. How nice that would be!

      And, like I told Wenches, a buffer zone may not be the brilliant solution it seemed like at breakfast Saturday…

      Thanks again for commenting!

      fml

  10. Let’s try! Let me know how I can help. If we could just get a little buffer zone around the clinic it would lessen the anxiety for the clients. You make a good point about clients only thinking about the antis to the exclusion of anything else. A little protest-free zone would be a welcome addition.

    Servalbear

    • Thanks, Servalbear! I’m definitely counting you in ~ it was your idea after all!!! 🙂

      And wouldn’t it be lovely? Let’s hope lots of other people agree…

      fml

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