Many of our local protestors come out multiple times a week. For each patient they approach to harass and bully (although the protestors call it “counseling”), they have anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes to say what they’d like. Each anti seems to develop their own short script of talking points they repeat ad nauseam at each patient seeking an abortion. Today, a patient quickly dismantled a protestor’s standard talking point.
When the doors of EMW opened this morning, a patient exited her car and stepped onto the Market St. sidewalk. She was greeted by one of our escorts, but also by one of our regular anti-choice protestors. He launched into his talking points, “None of us want to be out here this morning.”
The patient retorted, “Actually, I do.” And with that, she completely broke his talking point. It made me wonder how many years he’s been doing this same spiel: feigning sympathy for patients while simultaneously being the source of harassment.
As escorts, we train to make no assumptions about anyone we see on the sidewalk. The protestors who call themselves “sidewalk counselors” receive no such training. They assume every person who presents as female and walks anywhere close to the clinic is seeking an abortion (just ask downtown pedestrian commuters who get chased down the block). They assume that female patients are selfish and irresponsible while male companions are forcing the abortion to avoid child support payments. They assume that abortion is such an unspeakable, stigmatized act that no person would ever seek one, forgetting that they’re the ones calling it unspeakable and creating the stigma.
Louisville Clinic Escorts practice strict non-engagement and do not call the antis on these assumptions. It was, however, a joy to see a patient quickly destroy an anti’s argument using only 3 words. Based on clients’ surveys, the only safe assumption on the sidewalk outside EMW is that the “sidewalk counselors” are not wanted.