before the inception of this blog, we escorts were essentially existing in a vacuum. we had minimal support from the clinic we volunteer outside of, and very little connection to those who escorted before us. we had no idea what protesting looked like at clinics in other places, or how bad we really had it here.
since ESM’s birth (how old is this blog now?) we have had the privilege of meeting and working with access advocates from all over the US, and even abroad. for us bible belters, it’s been very encouraging to no longer feel so isolated, and it’s impossible to quantify the value of the connections that have been made in these last… (fine, i’ll go check) …SIX years! Our methods on and off of the sidewalk have changed immensely, and our numbers have grown shockingly. lots has changed in the 14 years i’ve been escorting, and especially since this blog has been helping spread the word (go ‘head internet) but lots has stayed the same as well.
some things we can always count on:
- oppressive legislation – take action!
- uninformed assumptions from protesters
- misleading promises of loving adoptions and paid expenses
- sickening use of children as political tools
- and (more to the point of this post) a post holiday break rush at clinics across the states
now, i apologize for not having awesome links for each of my bullets, but you’re a smart reader who has possibly seen these things first hand, or at least read about them here, or somewhere else, (plus i know you know how to use google). yep, most of those are fairly well known things, EXCEPT maybe for the last one. I can’t remember how long ago we put it together that there is a reason why we see an increase in client load starting in January, and lasting through March… it’s the same reason why there are more babies born in spring and summer months than other times of year. starting in the late fall, folks get snuggly, and no matter how lively the football season is, there are other indoor (undercover) activities that folks tend to pass the time with… (ok, i know you get it, and as much as i may want to, i won’t fill a whole blog post with sexual innuendo.)
this year, i am learning more about how this pregnancy rush affects people, and that escorts and clinic staff are not the only ones feeling the squeeze from higher client numbers. In the last year I became a volunteer for one of two organizations here in Kentucky that provide support for people seeking abortions and facing barriers to access. this work has given me new insights to the hurdles people face before they even get to the sidewalk, including, but not limited to a lack of funds to cover the procedure, which is more expensive here than at most other clinics.
the group i volunteer with (which has chosen to not be mentioned here for security reasons – funny how stigma works, huh?) started to see an increase in calls for assistance right as 2014 arrived, and in just two weeks, the caseload has just about tripled from what we were seeing before the holidays (and these are mostly pregnancies that began in October… so we’re not even hearing from people who got pregnant over christmas break, or during the recent POLAR VORTEX yet). so, as we’ve been scrambling to support people as they seek funding for their abortions, we’ve reached out to other groups doing similar work, as well as the clinic here, at which point we learned that not only does this rush happen every year, but it almost always depletes the funds available for this type of support.
this brings me to my point, which is that until abortion is not only legal, but is truly accessible and AFFORDABLE – on demand and without apology – those of us with more privilege than other folks (and if you’re reading this on a computer that is not at a library, let’s assume you have more privilege than a number of folks in your community) have a responsibility to do what we can to support people facing barriers to access, until we can do away with the barriers. i don’t mean to imply that donating to an abortion fund is the only way to offer support, but for many folks it as an easy way to make a difference.
if you’d like to donate to one of our local abortion funds, you can send a contribution via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. include a note about funding abortion, and i’ll be sure it gets where it needs to go.
to learn more about abortion funds, check out http://www.fundabortionnow.org/