It had been a fairly quiet weekday morning. There was the usual quietly hissed insults to the various escorts that morning from the regular antis, but no episodes of loud screaming and chasing of clients; just the trailing, waving pamphlets and pleading.
I was standing on the corner about three minutes after eight; chatting with two of the other escorts; catching up on plans for the upcoming rally on November 2nd.
Further down the sidewalk I spotted a confident yet concerned woman heading towards us. She had two companions following her lead as she strode up to us.
“Can I ask you a question” she directed at me. “Sure,” I replied, hoping it was not going to be something that I did not know, like where the nearest good coffeehouse was or any of the other things I have been asked while standing around looking official in my orange vest.
She said, “I have been told that the ultrasound costs 300 dollars and that I could get a free one here.” pointing to the CPC on the corner. She held tightly to her purse and the tension in her voice and hands were obvious when she said, “I only have enough money for the procedure. I don’t have an extra 300 dollars.”
I quickly realized that she had spoken with someone at the CPC. Fearing that she did not have sufficient funds for the total procedure, she wanted to get further confirmation before turning the corner and drawing the attention of the antis still gathered at the door of the clinic.
“No,” I replied. “The ultrasound is included in the cost of the procedure at the clinic.” I added that even if she thought she could save some of the cost by getting a free one, the CPC was not a medical facility and it would not be accepted by EMW if she did decide to go through with the abortion.
It is a deceptive scare tactic, I explained. They know that you have had to make many arrangements to get here today; sometimes at great expense and time traveled for patients. They have been known to delay women so long that mistakenly go there first, they miss the check-in time for their scheduled appointment. This puts yet another burden on the clients once they realize they have been deceived as they have to reschedule and take yet more time and expense to obtain their abortion.
She looked at us and a huge smile broke out across her face and she let out a big sigh. “Then I dò have enough money. I was worried that I would not be able to have this today. They lied.”
I asked if she would like us to walk with them. “Yes.” she replied and took the lead with a renewed purpose in her stride, seemingly knowing that anything further spoken to her by the antis would just be more of the same.
It was a good way to end the morning. Walking with a client that made the decision that was best for her with plain old facts; no guilt, no shame, no personal questions. Just factual answers to her questions.
I am beginning to think some of these antis must be avid fishermen on the days they don’t come to the sidewalk to harass clients. They sure do tell some big fish tales.
We are standing up for reproductive rights on November 2. Are you coming with us? Can you contribute $5 or more to help make it happen?
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