The client and companion pulled to the curb right at 7a and the client jumped out of the car immediately. We explained the clinic doors didn’t open until 7:30a. They replied they knew, but wanted to wait by the door because they wanted to be the first into the clinic.
We then explained the orange vests and protesters, and that the protesters would talk to them while they waited, but wouldn’t cross the property line. The client replied, “Oh, I know all about them. I went into their so-called clinic last week by mistake. It was horrible and I missed my appointment. I want to be sure I get in first this time.”
We explained the $3 parking lot to the companion and let them know we would be there to help them there after we walked the client to the door.
D was right there before we took two steps towards the entrance, telling the client to “just take two minutes to come to A Woman’s Choice. They aren’t open anyway. What harm will it do?” The client replied, “Get away from me. I have already been there and know all about that place. I don’t want you to talk to me.” Of course, D didn’t listen. She continued to talk to the client while they were standing by the door.
Two escorts stayed at the entrance with the client while I went across to the lot to help the companion with the payment box. The companion decided to wait a little while in the warm car before standing by the door.
When I came back to the door, the client was shaking, upset and yelling at D to leave them alone. After I heard her say to D three times, each successively louder, to “Leave me alone,” I told D, “She has asked you to leave her alone three times. Now you are harassing her.” The expected, “I’m not harassing her. I just want her to know her options,” was the response. Then she continued to talk to the client and the client again told her to leave her alone.
I turned to the client and said, “You can call Police Dispatch and report her for harassing you if you want. I’m not sure what they will do, but you can call.” The client indicated they would like to call and I gave them the phone number.
While the client was waiting for the police, the companion also came to the door to wait with the client. I met them halfway down the sidewalk and said, “I’m glad you are here,” while catching them up with what had happened.The client and companion were together by the door while they waited for police response..
Two squad cars came within minutes. D reached the responding officer first and gave her version. When the officer talked to the client they were told D could say anything she wanted to them because of “free speech.”Sigh. Sometimes it works to call the police and sometimes it doesn’t. It all depends on who responds and their views on abortion.
After the officer left, D turned to me and said, “You are just a busybody.” However, D and the other protesters did leave them alone after the conversation with the officer, but this particular client had two unpleasant trips to the clinic. I worry that I contributed to the second unpleasant trip by suggesting they call the police.
Actually, police presence had the antis subdued until the majority of the clients went into the door. After they went in, an anti who regularly prays by the curb noticed it was quiet, picked up the fetal porn poster, and stood at the entrance shouting, “Do you know about Jesus? If you haven’t heard about Jesus you need to.” D actually waved her away after a few minutes.
Politics and your view on abortion should not determine how you interpret harassment. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean others cannot be offended by your speech or they cannot ask you to stop talking to them.