In a parallel way, the antis and the escorts exist on the sidewalks across the nation, side by side, divided only by a thin line of law and human decency.
Ed shouldered into me earlier that morning and cut in front of me, edging me back and away from the client. The client turned to Ed and said, “And NOW you’re getting in my personal space! Why don’t you just go away? I already told you, No!! I don’t want your brochure. I don’t want to talk to you or hear what you have to say. Now, go away!”
No surprise that Ed didn’t go away or stop, until he stopped at the property line. His highly polished, brown dress shoes sparkled in the morning light. When I told Ed to stop shoving me, to stop pushing me, he said, “You’re the one who’s doing the pushing.” As always, the anti believes his self-martyrdom mythology and will not admit to constantly doing wrong shit.
As I stood on the sidewalk, I heard a deep British voice behind me say, “What you people are doing here is wonderful. Simply wonderful! Marvelous! Thank you so much for doing this. And I really do mean that.”
Turning around, I saw a helmeted bicyclist. A young, handsome, bearded bicyclist with a luscious British accent. What’s not to smile about? So, I smiled.
“Sorry,” he said, “I didn’t mean to interrupt what you were doing.”
“That’s all right,” I replied. “Thank you for your kind words.”
“I cannot understand what those people are doing here,” he continued, nodding toward the cluster of antis who stood at the property line, a few feet from the door to the clinic. Old women and men, saying and doing horrible things. Words and actions which would land them in jail if they pulled that crap anywhere else in town.
“I mean,” he went on, shaking his head, “What those people are doing here is truly evil!! They are evil, evil people, terrorizing the people coming here to see the doctor. Complete strangers on a public city street. They are horrible. Can’t they see that? How could they not understand that?”
“I do not know,” I agreed. “We just do what we can, to get people through the mess.”
“Well, I’m going to ask them,” he declared, wheeling toward the entrance.
“May I ask you people a question? Just why are you here? What are you doing here? Don’t any of you people have a job? Yes, a J-O-B; that’s a job, where you go each day, and work for money. Why are you here, terrorizing people? You there! Don’t you have a job to go to?”
The short, older anti with bobbed black hair and glasses, held up her laminated abortion porn poster. The one she had been holding up, facing the glass entrance doors, hoping someone inside the lobby would look out, be stricken by conscience, and stumble out in a flood of shame and guilt, preferably in tears, begging the antis to help them rethink their choice.
The anti woman answered the bicyclist, “I worked for fifty years. I did have a job. Now, I’m retired.”
“Then why don’t you go home, and BE retired? Go home. Enjoy your retirement. No, really! Why don’t you just go on home and be a retired person? Why not do something else good with your life?” the bicyclist asked, truly amazed and curious.
“Don’t you people see that what you are doing here, terrorizing people, is evil? It is. It’s truly evil. Why don’t you just all go home and mind your own business? This is none of your business. None of it. Surely you can see that.”
I walked back to my post on the corner, smiling. We always enjoy the positive comments we hear from the morning people just passing by, on their way to work or to a morning appointment.
A long debate ensued between the Bicyclist Man and the antis. So engrossed were they in their argument, they meandered away from the clinic entrance, standing a few feet away, at the curb. In fact, the antis completely missed a heckling opportunity, as our escort C smoothly walked clients and companions past them and through the door.
What I hope to say here is this: We must reclaim the moral ground. We must call upon the support of our nation. We must realize and remember that the majority of people understand and support reproductive autonomy and freedom and choice. People who are informed do not want to backslide to back alley abortions, coat hangers, and women dying from botched illegal abortions.
Thank you, Mr. Bicyclist, for supporting choice.
Gentle Reader: Thank you for lending us your listening, moral, spiritual, verbal, electoral, financial, intellectual and/or physical support. You truly make a difference and we appreciate your support and encouragement!
… I see what you did there, Mr. Bicyclist.
As any smart magician knows, the hand is quicker than the eye and the best way of magic is misdirection. Kudos to him for taking some of the focus off of you hard working escorts and thanks to you for doing what you can for who you can.
I imagine more than a few men and women appreciate what you all do.
Thank you for your kind words, kazei5! You may be right about his motives, and either way, he was my hero that day. I totally adore it when clients, companions and people passing by are not cowed, intimidated or afraid of the antis.
As escorts, we work on not engaging with them. Disengagement is so much less chaotic and efficient for the client, which is whom we’re there for as volunteer clinic escorts.
Thank you for cheering us on!
Comments like yours keep us going. Also, as you know, you’d be welcome to join us as an escort, at your local abortion or health services clinic.
Oh, I wish I could, but I am in Northern BC, Canada, so too far away to help, hence my comments. They’re about the best support I can offer right now, I’m afraid.
What a wonderful guy! There is nothing more refreshing than random support. I couldn’t agree with him any more thoroughly.
Yes, 150% agreed, Longtail! It was as if I was dreaming a very happy dream where random people walk or wheel up out of the blue, and say it all to the antis for us.
Very satisfying to see the bullies maneuvered away from the entrance and completely flunked out of a sidewalk class in Reason & Logic.
Thank you for this inspiring story and thank you for doing this way more than you should have to. It matters. I never had to make that walk as a client but easily could have had to. People in the community have to start stepping up to voicing disapproval.
This is not OK.
Maybe if we say it enough times it will resonate?
I wish that, too, KyBorn. Perhaps we need to get more creative about getting our message out. Thank you for everything you give and do and BE to support free choice for all women.
I do love the escorts and you 2, ya know.
Thank you for posting this. A wise bicyclist, indeed.
You’re quite welcome, kittybrat. Agree with “wise” and adding, “eloquent” bicyclist. 🙂
I am in love with the Brit.
Must be love, or lust, Mandy. Was informed on Saturday morning by the young, Aryan, sneering, snarling anti that I am EVIL. And since that loud, disdainful word was how he introduced himself to me, hell, it must be true.
“My name is lisajane, and I am in lust with the Brit.”
Please forgive me for misspelling your name, Mendy!
“My name is lisajane, and I am EVIL, and I sometimes say or spell people’s names wrong.”
A passing elderly man was out jogging on 8/9/2014. As he jogged past uus, he said, “Thank you!” to another escort, H. and me. “Thank you for the work you’re doing! It’s important!”
Always nice to find random allies when you least expect them.