There were only a few escorts this morning. Sometimes we aren’t able to reach clients as soon as we would like.
This client already had pulled into the parking lot behind the CPC when we met on the sidewalk. I let them know about the orange vest, the clinic wasn’t opened yet and they were parked in an anti-abortion lot. We discussed moving their car and directions to the $3 lot.
As they started to their car to move it T, one of the AWC staff, intercepted them and started talking to them. “You can park in our lot for free. We won’t tow you. Why don’t you come in to have a free ultrasound while you are waiting.” I quietly said, “That’s an anti-abortion clinic and she is a protester.” The client said, “Thank you,” and continued moving to the car. I let them know I would go across to the parking lot and guide them to it. Then I waited.
After about 5 minutes, the client pulled into the $3 lot. When I approached the car, they were shaking and started crying. “That was so horrible. She wouldn’t let me close my door. She blocked me from leaving the lot. She just kept talking and talking and saying horrible things.” We talked for awhile and I reassured the client to not take the things said personally because we hear the same things said to every client every day. “They don’t know you and your circumstances. They are just saying the things they have memorized to upset clients.”
When the client was a little calmer, I let them know I would come get them when the doors of the clinic opened. As we walked to the clinic, T’s parting yelled words to the client were, “Don’t believe the lies she is telling you. All of the escorts lie. They are not pro-choice. They are pro-death.”
Even though I know we will not change the antis’ minds on the sidewalk, I wish they would reflect upon the effect their words have on clients. I fail to see the compassion and practice of ‘We just want to help.’ The words always change once the client crosses the property line of the clinic. No matter how quiet the words on the sidewalk and in their parking lot, words are always shouted at the property line.
The last impression clients have of these antis is of anger and hate; not too conducive to fostering trust.