I escorted on Wednesday and Friday again last week ~ a lot of time to listen to D’s ridiculous meanness. She was really on a roll on Friday, and I wish I’d had paper and pencil to jot down some of the things she said.
Some of them were funny in that way that makes you snort and gasp, “She did NOT just say that.” But she did, and I’m sorry I can’t remember them.
One stuck with me though.
“Don’t go into that place.” Shaking her head, “Don’t go in there. They’re just going to take your money, kill your baby, and put you back out here to a lifetime of regret.”
Really? I mean, does she think the client doesn’t know it’s the abortion clinic? Does she think the client thinks it’s free?
As for “killing your baby,” clearly a fetus is not the same as “a baby,” but it makes me think of the woman I escorted to the clinic back in the summer ~ or it could have been last summer. English was not her first language, and it wasn’t clear, even to me, whether she was going to the abortion clinic or the anti-clinic.
The client was confused by the protesters talking at her, and me talking, and she was trying to listen to two or three of them at the same time, so I quit trying to talk, just tried to make eye contact and waited. They continued talking at her, and finally one of them said, “Don’t go there, don’t go to that clinic, they’re going to kill your baby.”
And the client said, loudly and firmly, with great relief, “Yes! That is the one,” and added, nodding, “Kill my baby. That one.”
I don’t think I’ve told that story here before, but when D says that, about “taking your money and killing your baby,” I always think about that client.
I was in Lexington last week, with a couple of other escorts, doing an orientation for some wonderful young people. At the end of their meeting, they showed a segment of a film called, “If These Walls Could Talk.”
The film ~ it might have been made-for-TV ~ shows a nurse, before Roe v Wade, who is desperate for an abortion. Watching the film reminded me so vividly of women and girls I knew back then who were faced with that frantic “I can NOT have this baby,” kind of pregnancy.
In the movie, she tries some pills, but throws up, tries a knitting needle, but can’t quite bring herself to do it. She can’t afford to leave the country, and she gets more and more desperate.
Eventually, an abortion on her kitchen table with a stranger, unsterilized instruments and no anesthesia seems better than carrying the pregnancy to term. The whole film was painful to watch, and I left a little traumatized, thinking about people I knew back then and what it’s really like to have only those choices.
So when Donna talks about “a lifetime of regret,” I just shake my head. Apparently some people experience that. Some of them do end up on the sidewalk, preaching about how they had an abortion, or two abortions, and now they regret it.
I think they’re entitled to their own experience and their own emotions, it just seems unreasonable that they got the benefit of choice, and now they want to take it away from everyone else. It makes me sad that they’re still hurting from a decision they made which must have seemed like the best choice at the time. I wish they’d find a way of healing that doesn’t involve trying to hurt other people.
When I think about all this, sometimes it all just makes me sad. The hatefulness and the efforts to control other people. The problem with escorting, sometimes, is that it starts to feel like the anti’s are taking over the world.
But that’s not true. Many people have an abortion and never regret it. Many people support the right to choose, and as the anti’s get more vocal I’m seeing more push back.
Here’s a beautiful example of a way to push back.
Society often judges women by the tough choices we make; the experiences we survive; or the ways we don’t conform to society’s idea of how a woman should be–deeming us a “bad woman”.
UniteWomen.org has partnered with Northland Family Planning Center and Abortion Care Network to change that conversation.
(This is a first in the series.) Please share this widely and help us change the conversation. No one should be judged by one aspect of her life. It is the judgement and stigmatization of various aspects of our lives that creates the most harm!
Thank you to all the women who helped make the video. Thank you for speaking out and pushing back on the stigma. Together, we can support each other to push back some of the horrible legislation the anti’s are trying to pass.