We had an unusually nice, low-key Saturday this week. With all the additional chaos on the sidewalk over the past month, it was a relief to have no media presence, our most extreme and vocal antis absent for the day, no out-of-town “professional, full-time” antis, and a grand total of only 26 antis on the clinic side of the street actively engaging people. Escorts actually matched antis’ numbers pretty evenly, which is a rare occurrence even on a weekday, and not something I think I’ve seen at all on a Saturday. As a rule, Saturdays are the “bad days.”
With the exception of the “yellow vesters,” this past Saturday could almost have been a weekday. Catholic regulars lined the sidewalk in front of the clinic flower bed and the street, creating a small gauntlet for clients walking from 1st street. It was actually even quiet enough to hear them praying. A handful of antis were mobile and confronting and following clients with literature about the CPC next door, but there weren’t numerous large signs blocking the sidewalk. Later in the morning, a small group of “Catholics on parade” showed up, but the group always stays across the street.
I’ve been doing this a little more than three years now, and I think I’ve seen one day where there were no antis present at the clinic. It was a weekday, during winter. The weather was brutal; well below freezing, and the roads were still a mess. Whether the antis just didn’t want to be out in that or thought the clinic was closed, I don’t know. But it was the one day I saw clients in Louisville get to access abortion care without interference.
Never happen on a Saturday, especially during warm weather. This past Saturday was about as good as it gets. And while for escorts it’s all relative and this week was “not bad,” we know that for clients that’s not the case. How do you really prepare yourself for being approached by a pack of pushy strangers as you’re going to a doctor’s appointment?
It’s still horrible out here, even on days when it’s less horrible.