Where Do I Park?

The client and companion pulled into the drop-off zone to ask where to park. It was about 30 minutes before the doors of the clinic normally open. We discussed options and I gave them directions to the $3 parking lot. Before I moved away from the car, I warned them about the antis not wearing orange vests and that they may approach them to talk and give out literature.

They were starting to pull over to the lot when D approached their car. She was talking to them when I re-approached the car to let them know she was a protester. D turned to me and said, “You are so rude. You had your turn to talk to them. Now it is my turn. You say you are pro-choice. They need to know their choices.” Since I had said what I needed to let them know, I  backed off and let her talk.

Escorts watched as the car drove down the street and turned the corner, bypassing the public parking lot. I alerted another escort to the fact they might have been diverted to the AWC lot by D. This is a common tactic we see. They offer free parking in their lot, but it comes with a lot of talking about the “right choice.” It is usually easier to pay for parking than hear the words meant to shame and coerce clients into their clinic.

The other escort was able to stop them just before they parked in the AWC lot. The companion told the escort the woman (meaning D) said they would have to pay for an ultrasound at EMW, but they could get it from AWC free. When it was explained to them that they didn’t have to pay extra for the ultrasound at EMW*, the free ultrasound performed at AWC would not be accepted by EMW* and they would just have to have another one, and AWC was an anti-abortion clinic, they parked their car in the public lot as originally planned.

D arrived at the AWC parking lot just as the client and companion were pulling away. She approached the other escort and asked, “If you die tonight, do you know where you are going?”

The companion was really upset when I went over to help them with the payment box. We discussed what had happened to them. They were mad they were lied to by D. I explained we cannot control what the antis say, but agreed it was frustrating.

As I was leaving, I warned them about the antis approaching their car even in the parking lot and suggested they did not need to roll their windows down if they didn’t want to. I told them we would come get them when the clinic doors opened.  Sure enough, shortly after I left the lot four antis surrounded their car trying to get them to roll their windows down. The antis began sticking literature on their windshield without permission.

The companion called the police to report their harassment. Two squad cars arrived within minutes and spoke to the antis. The four antis moved to the corner of the lot and stayed away from the car after their conversation with the officers. We did not hear what was said, but we were able to escort the client and companion without further incident.

When I went into the lobby of the clinic a short while after they entered, the companion asked me why the protesters were allowed to go right up to clients. “There should be a distance they have to stay away. This isn’t right.” I agreed and explained there was no bubble/buffer zone in Louisville. The companion expressed their anger over the whole situation.

I have to agree, lying, shaming, judging and harassment from the antis just makes the day more difficult than it has to be for everyone.

*The ultrasound at EMW is included in the procedure fees. There is no association between EMW and AWC. A procedure done at AWC will not generate a discounted fee from EMW. It will just cause the client to have duplicate procedures.

12 thoughts on “Where Do I Park?

  1. I am going back to my GYN office for my follow up next Saturday. My man made me promise not to engage them again. He doesn’t want me to disturb the other women at the office.i’ve read him entries from this blog, and even he said how lucky we are that we only come within 20 ft of the freaks at any time. If you park in the parking lot, you don’t even have to come in contact with any public land at all, all they do is scream at you, and the most annoying thing is having to hear badly sung versions of Amazing Grace and garbled sermons through a bull horn. THAT pisses me off. 7am to 11pm noise ordinance. they can make all the racket they want from 7 to 11 and there is nothing we can do about it. They are using a law that is in place to get road work, and construction done in business/residential areas to scream at the windows and doors of a medical office that does not just perform pregnancy termination! That makes me so angry. I’m bringing a Box O’Joe from Dunkin’ Donuts for the escorts, it’s the least I can do.

    • Lulubelle,

      Not engaging is really the best course of action. You won’t change their minds and just will succeed in upsetting yourself and possibly other clients. The antis know the law and will walk the fine line, whether it is noise ordinance regulations or harassment.

      What a nice gesture on your part. I’m sure the escorts will appreciate your kindness and the donuts early in the morning. I know most of the time we stumble out early, we wait to have breakfast until after escorting. However, a lot of us are clutching coffee.

      My hope is you have a safe and quiet trip next week.


      • Heh, my problem is I just want a good fight. I don’t care if they change their minds. I just want to troll them, and I didn’t think I could resist saying something.

        Though the point you just made about upsetting the clients made me pause. For their sake, I could practice non-engagement.

        Hmmm. Maybe now I have a reason for me to go see about being an escort without being afraid I’d blow my mouth off.

      • Longtail,

        We always save the good fights for when the orange vests are not worn; when we are not escorting. It is always for the clients that we practice non-engagement at the clinic. We try to minimize the chaos and losing our tempers doesn’t accomplish that goal. It isn’t easy, but if you can always keep the client’s view in mind you would be ready to escort. That’s why I also laugh about developing the “thousand-yard stare.” It helps me ignore their words. You could always give it try. We start training new escorts by having them just observe the first time. It gives a sense of what will or will not trigger you personally; what you can ignore and what just pushes every anger button you have.


  2. D never ceases to amaze me every time you write about her. I wonder if the woman is on anti-psychotics; she’s so far out of touch with reality.

    I can only think of Lily Allen’s song, “Guess Who, Batman” and it takes away the rage.

    • Longtail,

      That is some powerful earworm you just planted! Now the tune and words will be cycling through my head every time I am at the clinic. “Do you really enjoy living a life that’s so hateful?” It will put a smile on my face when we deal with D. She is out every single day the clinic is open.


  3. The forced birth advocates are inviting comparisons to the Inquisitors of the Dark Ages, the holy men with unfailing faith unencumbered by empathy, ethics or compassion. The anti’s like the inquisitors of past, subscribe only to their (twisted) notion of what is right.

    It is frightening how thin the veneer of modernity is even now in the 21st century.

  4. Thank goodness you were there to help these folks. Lying and manipulation, harassment and bullying are maddening to behold. When flabbergasts me is that this is all done with the outcome justifying the means. Why is this supposed to be OK?

    • Kittybrat,

      As far as I can tell in our interactions with the antis, they believe any means is justifiable in the pursuit of changing a client’s decision. It is infuriating, frustrating and sad all rolled into one. We were really glad we were there that day too.


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