Last month we were approached by one of the co-founders of the website Jobstr to participate in their listings to explain escorting. Their website is designed to “Ask people anything about their jobs.” When you participate, you write a brief explanation of what your job is. Then members of their website ask you questions and vote on your answers. Anyone can read the listings, but you have to join to comment or ask questions.
We looked over their website and discussed participating. The co-founder assured us, “it’s extremely low-maintenance.” I have to admit, I was reluctant. I was concerned we would have a lot of antis commenting or asking questions. Spending the day deleting “dead baby” posts wasn’t something I was eager to tackle. Despite the statement from the co-founder, “Our readers are an intellectually curious bunch who tend to ask great questions,” I was hesitant. In our research, we found most jobs had questions ranging in number from 20 to up to about 60 questions. How would the subject of abortion access change this? It would be a way to add awareness of what escorts do out of the normal channels we reach, but I believed it would also be an attractant to antis too.
After weighing the pros and cons, we sent this answer to the invitation: “We want to thank you for the invitation to participate on your Q&A site. The subject of abortion is controversial, so any opportunity to dispel the myths and clarify what actually happens in front of clinics daily is an opportunity not to be missed. That is part.of the reason we write our blog. We will sign up to be a host today.”
This was the start of a very interesting project. I was so wrong and I am glad cooler heads prevailed. We participated and did not receive one negative comment or question from antis. The co-founder was correct, it was low-maintenance and we were able to answer questions as we had the time. There was no pressure to send an instant reply. The 19 questions we received were respectful and some of them made us think a lot about a clear answer. The reader voting also let us know what questions generated the most interest.
I am not going to recreate the web page for “Abortion Clinic Escort” in this article, but I would like to list the questions. You can read all of the questions and answers at this link.
Please let us know what you think of our answers. How would you answer these question differently?
Here is the list of questions we were asked in order of popularity votes:
- Have you ever met protesters who presented their position in a respectful manner such that, despite your conflicting beliefs, you still had respect for them? Or do both sides just assume “My way is the right way?”
- You say “Abortion is not a dirty word.” While I tend to agree, do you at least acknowledge that it’s a “heavy” word and appreciate why many people, even those who are pro-choice, have trouble throwing it around lightly?
- Are there protesters every day at every clinic you volunteer at? Is mainly picketing and shouting, or does it get violent?
- What are protesters allowed and not allowed, legally, to do? I assume they can yell whatever they want, but where’s the legal line to how far they can take harassment?
- What motivated your decision to volunteer?
- Do you ever feel like you’re in any real danger while on the job?
- Do you talk to or console the women you escort about their decision, or is your job simply to get them from car to clinic?
- Have you ever had a pro-life volunteer who simply didn’t think it was right for women to get harassed by exercising their legal right?
- Are there women who arrive at the clinic who insist that you *not* help them? Or do they all readily accept the offer?
- Do you do more than walk clients from their car to the clinic door? If they ask you questions about abortion or law or religion, are you allowed to answer them?
- Is your volunteer group comprised most of women who have had abortions themselves?
- Roughly what percentage of women arrive at the clinic alone?
- How many women show up for their scheduled abortion but then change their mind?
- Are most of the protesters doing so for religious reasons, or are there a lot of non religion-based pro-lifers involved?
- Have pro-life nuts ever tried to pass laws restricting clinic escorts, maybe thinking that might be an indirect way to make women less likely to get abortions?
- Do you have to get permission to act as ACE’s from the clinics you volunteer at? Or do you just show up?
- Have you ever turned down someone who wanted to be an escort? Would anything completely disqualify me?
- Do protesters bring their young kids to join in? As an American, do you respect their right to free speech, even when it’s abusive and insensitive?
- Do protesters taunt you guys too, or just the women going to get abortions?
In conclusion, we would like to thank Jobstr for inviting us to participate. This was out of our comfort zone, but a very rewarding experience.
I just wanted to let you know that your Q and A somehow got linked to Jill Stanek’s site. I have a whole slew of opinions that I would like to express (about the disgusting tripe on her site) that are not the least bit nice but I won’t because that would make me as hateful as them. I don’t know how these people sleep at night. If anybody chooses to go over to read, be prepared for some really nasty comments that are cheered on and advocated by the site in the name of “saving babies” and being “good Christians.” Some highlights of the site include rejoicing at the death of a woman who had a late term abortion (facts totally unknown), violating her family’s privacy by snapping pics outside the clinic, combing obits for pictures, her Pinterest, an online baby registry and somebody who claims to have obtained and released information in violation of HIPAA laws. Also praised are a 13 year-old raped by her step-father who birthed and is raising the baby and a 9 year-old Mexican girl, also a rape victim, forced to give birth. Disgusting.
Believe me, we know about being linked to Jill Stanek’s site. It kept us busy a good deal of the day yesterday. Actually, the Jobstr website reached out to let us know too. I cannot say enough nice things about the way they handle their site; very professional. FML has written a blog post about the flurry of activity and lovely comments we deleted yesterday. It will be posted this coming Saturday. Since we were aware our article was linked to Stanek’s site on the 10th, we have been spending way too much time there. The linked article on her site was deleted Sunday, only to be put up next to the article about Germantown yesterday. The public violation of the patient’s information was horrifying to me also. But Stanek’s whole site is mind boggling for me. Don’t you know, these young girls have to carry their babies to term or else there would be a cover up of their rape? The logic escapes me completely.
Thank you for letting us know about the link. We appreciate it. Even though we were aware of it this time, it doesn’t mean we will always catch these tactics. Keep letting us know, please.
I am very sorry to bring up a repeat topic. I was flying much of the day so I didn’t see it until late last night. I love your blog, by the way, and wanted to wan you that you were probably about to get bombarded by trolls and their standard garbage. I hate that you all had to deal with much garbage from that. Please keep blogging. You help a lot of people this way as well as being clinic escorts.
We are very grateful for the warning and that you were looking out for us. If I implied otherwise, I apologize. It is a huge help to us when our readers bring these types of things to our attention. Thank you so much for the kind words. We will keep blogging.
We ended up agreeing that providing sex education and effective contraceptives would be a better way to reduce abortions. He stated to me, “We need to rethink this. This protesting on the sidewalk doesn’t help anyone. We need to reach out sooner.”
This is all I ask of people. I don’t care if you are “for” or “against” abortion so long as you are willing to look at the facts and realize you can accomplish your goals and we can accomplish ours by working on preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place.
Unfortunately, the only thing that is going to get those yahoos off the sidewalk is someone somehow convincing them that they are more special and elite in their god’s eyes by staying home.
I wish it wasn’t as rare to have an anti understand those points. If you reduce unwanted pregnancies, you reduce abortions. Simple equation. I only wish we could convince them that staying home made them special and elite.
*There was one incident last year of a gun being drawn by a companion in a threat to protesters.*
Whoa! Seriously??? E gads, gods nightgown and several other exclamations I shouldn’t say on the internet!
It must be stressful, confronting and sometimes depressing facing the Antis all the time. What keeps you coming back, and how do you “let go”?
I would mention compassion fatigue in the answer to this question.
Great question and great answers, I am really glad you took the time and patience to participate!
Yes, “My stars and garters!” applies as do many other phrases. We had an off-duty police officer one day as a companion not long after that incident and he was carrying a gun in a shoulder holster. He was really nice and warned me he had it and a license when I first approached them. I’m sure my eyes were as round as saucers, but we alerted all of the escorts and clinic staff and I was grateful to him for letting us know instead of pulling it out to show to someone.
Good point on the compassion fatigue. That last question just came in early this morning after we published this article. Compassion fatigue and burnout are things we normally address in trainings too.
Thanks for your input,
Good questions and even better answers! Way to go ServalBear, nice job!
Thanks, Kescort! Your comment is appreciated.