We watched the car pull into the monthly rental parking lot at 7a. The driver got out carrying a briefcase and purposefully started walking down the sidewalk across the street from the clinic. We continued watching as they crossed the street at the light and then approached the clinic. We joined them close to the clinic doors and guided them to the correct building.
D didn’t notice them until just before they crossed the property line. Her greeting was, “You don’t have to kill your baby today.”
When we were across the property line and close to the doors, I explained to them about when the clinic doors opened, the orange vests and protesters. Then we talked about where they were parked. The monthly rental lot will tow unauthorized cars, so we needed them to move their car to the $3 lot. I offered to walk back to the car and show them where to park and how to pay.
When we reached the car, we stood for a long time talking about what they could expect from the antis. “Will they touch me? Will they stop me? Don’t they have anything better to do? Don’t they have jobs? Why do they come out here to hurt women? ” Some of the questions answered with reassurances the antis would not stop them or touch them, but they would talk to them and try to hand them literature.
A look of apprehension crossed over their face, “Will they say worse things? That lady (meaning D) has already said horrible things to me.” I reassured them we would be there talking to minimize the words of the antis and we would get them in as quickly as possible.
We moved the car successfully to the $3 lot. I reminded them we would come get them when the doors opened and not to roll their windows down to anyone not wearing an orange vest. Before the car was turned off, another anti approached their car. The client handed me the money for parking and shut the car door while the anti was still talking. The client remained in their car while I fed the money for parking into the pay box.
Two escorts walked the client back to the clinic when the doors opened without much interference from the antis, just one anti trailing behind them who gave up after a short distance.
This never makes sense to me. How you can proclaim you “just want to help” and literally terrorize clients? We cannot stop the antis from saying words meant to hurt and shame, but when we have a client so obviously upset with their speech it is distressing to me. I find myself asking the same questions the client did.