Fifteen Minutes of Fame

“Everyone gets 15 minutes of fame.”  Andy Warhol said that, or something like it, back in 1968.  If that’s true, the escorts used up a few minutes of our allotted time this last week.

In case you missed the excitement, there was a post about the Crisis Pregnancy Center next door to the abortion clinic here that went viral.  Seriously.  You can read the post here.  And some of the comments here.

It was kinda cool – getting that much support, hearing all the indignation from the pro-access people out there.  Even though we know that most people support a woman’s right to make her own decision, the protesters tend to believe that most people share their beliefs and support what they’re doing.

Maybe they think that partly because there are generally more protesters on the sidewalk than there are escorts. That gives them the impression that the antis actually outnumber the people who support access to abortion.

Of course, the data doesn’t reflect that.  One in three women has an abortion in her lifetime.  Almost three-fourths of Americans trust her to make that decision.

But it was ~ I admit it ~ kind of fun this week to hear all these people being outraged about the protesters on the sidewalk.

Some people contacted us separately, wanting to take action.  They wanted to stage some kind of intervention to stop the protesters and the Crisis Pregnancy Center from doing what they do.  I imagine they pictured a dramatic confrontation that would put an end to the shaming and harassment, that would stop the deceit and lies on the sidewalk.

And we discouraged them.  Told them “thank you very much, but no, please don’t.”

Crazy, right?

But here’s the thing.   The sidewalk is not where the real battle is.

What happens on the sidewalk ~ and I’m still thinking this through, so hang with me ~ what happens on the sidewalk is like a symbolic representation of what is happening in the rest of the country related to reproductive justice and access to abortion.  What the escorts do is an immediate action that makes a statement.  What we do matters to the individual women coming to the clinic.

But the real battle is in the legislature and the court system.

We don’t need to outnumber the antis at the clinic.  We need to outnumber them at the polls.  We don’t need to intimidate them away from the sidewalk, we need to stop them from intimidating politicians into voting against appropriate health care for women.

We need to spread the truth about abortion and refute their distortions and lies.  {No, abortion is NOT linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.}  We need to demand medically accurate sex education in schools.  We need to demand that our politicians vote for reproductive justice in many different aspects, not just in relation to abortion.

I don’t think most of the 70% of Americans who support abortion access have realized that a powerful minority of fundamental Christians and Catholics are hell-bent on reversing Roe v Wade  ~ and that they’ve made enough progress to feel hopeful about it.  Dramatic moments, like the article on CPC’s going viral, help increase that awareness and move people to want to take action

But the sidewalk isn’t the place to act on that anger, not the right venue for that action.  If some people want to come escort, that’s great and we’ll welcome you.  But escorts follow the points of unity.  And big crowds of people at the clinic, no matter why they’re there, often just add to the intimidation factor for the clients.

So do something else.  Write your legislators.  Vote for people who are pro-access. Spread the word ~ talk about your support for reproductive health rights.

Join Voice of Choice.  Join the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.  If you go to this page of our website, there are other suggestions for actions you can take that will make a real difference.  If you want to do something quick and easy and fun, check this out.

I’ll try to add other links to things people can do that will make a real difference from now on.

The people on the sidewalk think they’re doing something important, but really they’re insignificant.  In the greater scheme of things, escorts are only a tiny piece of what needs to happen to keep abortion safe and legal.  You know, I’m not saying what we do isn’t helpful to the individuals who have to walk the gauntlet to the clinic, but the sidewalk isn’t where real change is happening.

So if you get angry about what’s going on at the clinic, support reproductive justice in ways that will eventually eliminate the need for escorts.  Please.

12 thoughts on “Fifteen Minutes of Fame

  1. Sorry to drag up an older post. I am getting caught up. All I can say is that none of this is OK.
    It is not OK to grab another person on the street to prevent them from entering a safe and legal health care facility.
    It is not OK to demand to speak to the person once they are inside the building.
    It is not OK to involve others in private health care decisions. This client’s choice to go to the CPC should have remained there. The young man did not have the right to drag their personal dispute about how to handle this pregnancy into public streets. The CPC did not have the right to post detailed accounts of their interactions with the couple. I am sorry the young man is distressed by his partner’s choice to end the pregnancy, but if he really respected his partner he would have put her needs above his own and those of an embryo.
    If it is against the law to force a woman to have an abortion which anti-choicers seem to think is a rampant problem, then there should be similar laws making it illegal to force a woman to carry to term. Trying to force somebody to bow to another person’s opinion of their reproductive choices is wrong no matter what that choice is.
    Some days I feel like it is so simple: If everyone would mind their own business when it came to reproductive choices the world would be a much better place. Everyone should have access to the birth control of their choice up vasectomies or tubals at any age and without consent of their spouse.

    • KYBorn,

      Comments are always welcome. Your last paragraph says it all. “If everyone would mind their own business…”

      Thank you,

    • Thanks for the comment – it’s good to be reminded of how unreasonable these things really are. And yeah. People minding their own business would be a welcome change.

  2. My local CPC isn’t as active as some (the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic is about thirty minutes away), but a few years ago, there was a bit of an incident involving an unfortunate individual who thought they had the morning-after pill. They were told that the drug was “extremely dangerous” and “a known cause of breast cancer.” The CPC was shut down for a month while their status was reviewed by the state health department.

    • Yeah, CPC’s pretend to be medical clinics, but they really aren’t. Nothing wrong with that, I guess, except for the deceit.

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. I accompanied a friend to the facility “A Woman’s Choice” several years ago. The description in the post you mentioned, “What some people do makes me sick,” does not parallel my experience.

    My friend had tested positive with a home kit and wanted it confirmed for free because she was uninsured. She was sure that if she was pregnant, an abortion was the right choice in her situation. As I recall, she was promised a free ultrasound, but she was never told that the facility provided abortions. She was given a snack and about 20 minutes worth of paperwork and interview time before she could have her ultrasound.

    After the ultrasound, the PA told my friend that she was pregnant and that she had what looked like fibroids that should be seen by a gynecologist. When the PA wanted to revisit the question of next steps, my friend stated clearly that she had thought it through very carefully and had definitely chosen to have an abortion. There was no further pressure, and the staff was very helpful in providing suggestions on getting treatment for fibroids. — The PA turned out to be absolutely correct about that.

    I realize that things may have been different if my friend had appeared uncertain. I also understand that staffing and policies change over the years, so it is possible that the posted description is typical of current daily practice there. Somehow, though, the description, given without corroborating data, does not sound as much like support for women’s rights as a gleeful castigation of “a seriously nightmarish hell-hole.”

    Certainly, naming a pro-life facility “A Woman’s Choice” and locating it across from an abortion clinic was a strategic move based at least in part on the hope of misperception. I can understand the frustration that motivated the post, but parts of the post did not seem fair or accurate to me. When I asked outright whether the facility provided abortions, I was told, “No.”

    I am grateful that Everysaturdaymorning’s blog offered more productive and loving solutions than “What some people do makes me sick” seems to have inspired in many.

    • Hi, Wanda,

      Thanks for reading and for commenting.

      I thought this was an interesting comment. I’m glad your friend had such a positive experience at AWC when she was pregnant, that’s good to know.

      But it’s interesting that you offer your personal experience for evidence of how the clinic operates – but dismiss the recent blog post because it doesn’t have “corroborating data.” I believe what you tell me about your friend’s experience because you’re telling me. I don’t have data to support that either. For sure, I think what women tell us as they leave AWC, when we talk to them on the sidewalk, are equally believable and as trustworthy as you are.

      I do think it’s important for people to be aware of things that can actually be helpful in the struggle to maintain access to reproductive health care, as well as moving toward reproductive justice, so we are on the same page there. On the other hand, articles that highlight the injustice catch people’s attention, which is also important, so there’s a place for all of it.

      Thanks again for commenting and sharing your friend’s experience.

  4. I’ve written articles, done graphics, created T-shirts, posters, flyers, and whatnot for pro-choice orgs and engaged in this debate for years. I HAVE managed to convince people who identified as pro-life to change tactics and start supporting pro-access instead.

    Now mind you, I’ve never, ever convinced someone to change their feelings on abortion. That’s not necessary. I think it’s a totally natural and normal to feel that abortion is abhorrent. I don’t happen to feel that way, but I don’t think it’s an any less of a valid way to feel. We can all agree that going for an abortion isn’t really a fun way to spend your time, and most women would prefer not having a crisis pregnancy in the first place — THAT is what is important.

    These are the people who genuinely didn’t realize that pro-choice does NOT mean they automatically condone abortion, and that there was a LOT they could do to help without being forced to compromise their beliefs. They work hard for families by promoting the tried and true methods of reducing abortion rates. Promoting access contraception, sex education, reproductive health, and ensuring resources for poor women — prenatal care, checkups, exams, food, formula, work sources, safe houses, and so on.

    None of that requires you to be a liar, either.

    Unfortunately, there are people like those you see on the sidewalk who are just hateful, hateful people who think of pregnancy and children as punishments for “moral” transgressions. There is really nothing you can do about those folks. They are just out-and-out guano crazy.

    • Thanks, Longtail, there really are a lot of things people can do other than escorting. I appreciate the things you do, and thank you for naming them here. I appreciate your comments on this blog too ~ it’s always good to hear your perspective.

      As for the people on the sidewalk, I hate to call them “crazy,” it just adds to the stigma for people who have actual mental illnesses. But I’m often glad that I don’t view the world through the harsh, rigid “moralistic” view that they have.

      Thank you again for commenting!

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