About Clara Harris

Actor. Writer. Producer.

Mission Statement

By unaimous vote, we have created a mission statement to focus our work as escorts and our organizational structure. This has been a process that has spanned nearly a year and a half as we have wrestled with how, exactly, we view our work as escorts. Along the way, we have refined our philosophy and better articulated what brings us together to do this work.

Mission statement of the Louisville Clinic Escorts:

Louisville Clinic Escort volunteers offer to accompany people seeking abortions to the door of EMW Women’s Surgical Center while practicing de-escalation and promoting normalization of abortion access.

Pledge-a-Picketer Annual Fundraiser 2015

It’s that time of the year!

Our annual pledge-a-picketer fundraiser has launched! And this year, there’s a little twist.

The day before Mother’s Day is one of the most-attended days of the year for antis, and in 2010, we decided to turn that discouraging mob into a real asset and launched Pledge-a-Picketer.

It’s a simple fundraiser. You pledge a given amount for each protester who shows up, we count the protesters, and the more of them there are, the more money we raise for escorts (vests, training costs, and other miscellany) and abortion access.

And now for the twist:

The other two big days for protesters are Easter and Father’s Day. This year, we’ve decided to do an extended Pledge-a-Picketer by including these two days in our tally for a Spring Pledge-a-Picketer.

You can help raise funds for abortion access by pledging a small amount per picketer, or by pledging a lump sum for the horde of antis who come out to harass and intimidate women seeking legal medical care.

We count the protesters each day, but on Pledge-a-Picketer days, it gives us great glee to know that each number ticked off means more money raised to support the very thing they are there to obstruct.

Also, if you have ever thought about escorting, or if you escort on the big days, like Mother’s Day, mark your calendar. Be sure to check out the Points of Unity, and keep your eyes peeled for our next training in anticipation of getting new escorts up to speed.

It’s time for Pledge-a-Picketer.

Easter: April 5, 2015

Mother’s Day: May 10, 2015

Father’s Day: June 21, 2015

We’ll be posting updates after each big day with the total number of antis, as well as any new sidewalk stories that emerge.

This form will be included in our posts from now through Father’s Day, but don’t wait to til the last minute, pledge now:
Pledge-a-Picketer Pledge Form

Road Rally a Success!

A great time was had by all at the Kentucky Road Rally for Reproductive Rights on Saturday, November 2nd. On a beautiful fall day, we had a fantastic turnout and an awesome slate of speakers who fired up the crowd in advance of the 2014 legislative session. Truly, we could not have asked for better weather on a November weekend.
Capitol
Many thanks to all our speakers for their thoughtful words.
Road Rally Speakers
Dawn Cooley, minister at First Unitarian Church in Louisville, spoke about the intersection of faith and reproductive rights, emphasizing that the right-wing evangelicals do not possess the morality of reproductive issues.
DerekAndFrede
Derek Selznick (left), from the ACLU of Kentucky really heated up the crowd as he spoke to his experience lobbying for family-positive legislation in the Capitol, the building on which steps we rallied. F (right) spoke movingly about her abortion experience that was rife with hurdles and complications, problems arising primarily from anti-woman legislation.
ClinicEscortatRally
Michelle Kinsey Bruns joined us, who tweets as @ClinicEscort, driving from Washington, D.C. to be a part of the action. Her words about moving from compassion were a beautiful cap on the day.
Mel
We are thankful to have had media coverage from the Lexington ABC affiliate, WTVQ, and from Kentucky Public Radio, whose story can be followed on the Louisville public radio station or WKYU. It is important that our message reach both legislators and like-minded citizens.
Merch
Specifically, in Kentucky, there is an immediate concern of which to keep abreast. A longtime reproductive rights activist, Kathy Stein, has been appointed to the judiciary. Her vacant seat will be filled in a special election on December 10th. Many of our District 13/Fayette County (Lexington) allies were busy knocking on doors on Saturday, in the run-up to that special election. We are following that race closely, as Stein’s vote was often an important one in blocking anti-family, anti-woman legislation in our State Senate.
PreacherAndHerPulpit

What’s Next

Rally attendees were encouraged to return to their homes and speak out about being supporters of reproductive rights. You can join in the next steps, too!

1. Invite two or three friends for coffee or lunch and chat about an article on reproductive rights. RHRealityCheck.org is a great place to find something to talk about, as is ReproductiveRights.org or ACLU.org/reproductive-freedom.

2. From these two or three friends and you, begin an activist club, where you meet regularly to discuss articles, learn about legislation, and keep up-to-date on what’s happening in court dockets.

3. Find out who your legislator is – on the state level and the national level. How are they voting on issues about reproductive rights? Make sure your voice is heard when they have bills to consider that affect reproductive rights.

4. Keep up-to-date on bills in congress. For Kentucky, specifically, you can see what bills have been prefiled or, once the legislature is in session, what bills have been filed, what’s being heard in committee, what is being voted on, who wrote the bills, who else is sponsoring them – in other words, more information than you ever thought you could learn in one spot. By clicking on different subject headings – Women, Public Health, Children, etc – you can keep yourself informed about what our representatives in Frankfort are doing. Better yet, sign up for BILL WATCH, a service that your tax dollars are subsidizing, so, you know, use it!

5. Get involved with a local group! Find a group near you that is working on reproductive rights. The ACLU of Kentucky has an email list that will send out email blasts about pending legislation, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky is a great resource, too. There are many other groups, like the Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, the Unitarian Univeralist Social Justice Network, and others. Many of them sponsored the rally, so be sure to check out the sponsors’ page on the website to find links to their websites.
Sara
Over the coming days and weeks, the rallly website will have a new tab for “What’s Next,” where this information, and more!, will be available. We will be posting resources to keep you informed, and ways you can link into local groups working for reproductive rights.

Let’s make 2014 the year that Kentucky families get the support they need – in comprehensive sex education, affordable and accessible contraception, access to abortion services, and family support programs – because Kentucky families deserve better!

Rallying in Frankfort Today!

After escorting this morning, many of us are headed to Frankfort to rally on the Capitol steps to tell our elected officials that Kentucky families deserve better! If you can’t join us, you can keep up with all the info by following the Kentucky Road Rally for Reproductive Rights’ Twitter feed, @kyroadrally, and by clicking “Like” on the Facebook page.

We are rallying in support of four reproductive rights issues:

  1. Comprehensive sex education;
  2. Affordable and accessible contraceptives;
  3. Access to abortion; and
  4. Family support programs.

COMPREHENSIVE SEX EDUCATION
In Kentucky, there are extremely limited sex education requirements. According to the Kentucky Department of Education’s Core Standards, sex ed must fulfill only the following two high school standards:

Students will understand that decisions regarding sexuality have short and long term consequences and responsibilities. (PL-H-PW-U-4)

and

Students will understand the importance of assuming responsibility for personal health behaviors by explaining how decision-making relates to responsible sexual behavior (e.g., abstinence, preventing pregnancy, preventing HIV/STDs), impacts physical, mental and social well- being of an individual. (PL-H-PW-S-PPH1.c)

However, it has been proven in multiple studies that comprehensive sexuality education is the best first step in decreasing unintended pregnancies and transmission of STDs, as well as increasing victims’ willingness to report sexual violence.

AFFORDABLE AND ACCESSIBLE CONTRACEPTION
While the ACA requires contraceptives to be covered in all insurance plans beginning January 2014, access to contraception can be difficult, especially for people living in rural areas; particularly were a so-called ‘conscience clause’ passed, allowing pharmacists and doctors to refuse filling or prescribing contraception.

ACCESS TO ABORTION
Kentucky currently has two abortion clinics, only one of which operates on a regular schedule. Currently, state-mandated counseling must be provided 24 hours prior to the procedure but can be done over the phone. In each of the previous three legislative sessions, bills seeking to restrict a woman’s right to access abortion have been presented; some of those bills even passed one house of Congress, only to be stopped by a handful of stalwart reproductive rights allies in the other house. One such ally has been appointed to the judiciary, leaving her seat open; a special election is being held on December 10th to fill that seat.

FAMILY SUPPORT PROGRAMMING
Kentucky has a poor track record of support for families. To add insult to the cuts in support programs at the Federal level, families living at the poverty line were handed another blow through the cuts to childcare assistance funds this year.

Check out what’s happening at the rally on Twitter!

Like us on Facebook!

Check out our YouTube page and Tumblr.

And look for a full report about the Kentucky Road Rally for Reproductive Rights here on Monday!

Rally in Frankfort: Kentucky Families Deserve Better!

Many of us watched, horrified, as events unfolded across the country this summer in states like Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Dakota, where legislators made deep cuts to family planning and support programs. Many of us, advocates for reproductive rights, want to make our voices heard in advance of the Kentucky 2014 legislative session. We will not tolerate midnight votes trying to push through anti-woman, anti-family legislation. 

Reproductive rights for American families are under attack. It’s time to tell our elected officials that “Kentucky families deserve better.” Join us on Saturday, November 2nd for the Kentucky Road Rally for Reproductive Rights, when we will roll into Frankfort to rally on the Capitol steps at 1:00 PM.

That morning, Saturday, November 2nd, reproductive rights supporters from across the state will meet in their locales to decorate cars for the rolling rally, traveling as a caravan into Frankfort to meetup with like-minded Kentuckians from across the Commonwealth. Following the rally, there will be a tailgating celebration where rally participants can learn more about supporting organizations, like the Kentucky Religous Coalition for Reproductive Choice (KRCRC), the ACLU of Kentucky, The A Fund, and the Louisville Clinic Escorts.

We are rallying around four main points of concern:

  • Comprehensive Sex Education

Research shows that teens who receive comprehensive sex education are more likely to delay first sex, and to use contraceptives when they do become sexually active, than those who receive abstinence-only information.1

  • Contraception Access

Contraceptive use helps avoid HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and reduces the need for abortion, in addition to its family planning benefits.2 However, pharmacists’ refusal to provide birth control has been reported in at least 24 states.3

  • Access to Abortion Services

In the United States, 87% of counties lack an abortion provider; 35% of women live in those counties.4 In Kentucky, only two of the 120 counties have an abortion provider, and 77% of Kentucky women live outside those two counties.

  • Family Support Services

The Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP) provides access to quality child care for low-income, pre-school-aged children while their parents work or attend education and training programs. Cuts to this program resulted in 8,700 families losing access to quality child care this year, according to state estimates, and an additional 2,900 children will be turned away from the program each month.

Register for the rally on the website, kyroadrally.org. Additional information and engagement can be found on the event’s Facebook page, facebook.com/kyroadrally, or Twitter feed, twitter.com/kyroadrally. Tweet with hashtag #kyr4.

Print

1Lindberg, Laura Duberstein, PhD, and Isaac Maddow-Zimet. “Consequences of Sex Education on Teen and Young Adult Sexual Behaviors and Outcomes.” Journal of Adolescent Health. 51.4 (2012): 332–338. Print.

2“Family Planning.” World Health Organization Family Planning Fact Sheet 351. World Health Organization. Web. May 2013.

3“Pharmacy Refusals 101.” National Women’s Law Center Resources. Web. April 12, 2012.

4Jones RK and Kooistra K, Abortion incidence and access to services in the United States, 2008, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2011, 43(1):41–50.

What We “Know”

We all “know” so much, don’t we?

I “know” that my son needs to eat his vegetables.

He “knows” that he ONLY likes broccoli, and will do just fine subsisting on mac’n’cheese and spaghettios.

When someone says, “Oh, I know she is going to regret that tattoo,” or “I just know that he needs to do X instead of Y,” that person is making assumptions about how someone else should live his life, based on her own worldview, her own preferences and prejudices. The speaker absolutely has the right to think that tattoos are foolhardy. She has a right to her opinion about any manner of things.

What the speaker does not have a right to do is to interfere with others based upon her own sweeping assumptions about how we all need to live our lives. The speaker has no right to impose restrictions about our decisions, based upon her own, individual worldview.

Many antis “know” the clients’ situations. They “know” how much the clients will regret this decision. It’s amazing how much they can “know” about people they don’t actually know.

A few weeks ago, the antis were calling out to a male companion entering the clinic to “be a man” and “stand up for your child.” What the antis didn’t know is that the male companion was the client’s brother. The antis make assumptions based upon what they “know,” and then expect the rest of us to fall into their neat and orderly little boxes.

I “know” that it is none of the antis business what the clients’ individual situation is. I also “know” that I know nothing more about these clients than do the antis. I just happen to not make the arrogant assumption that I “know” more than I do. That’s the distinction between the antis and the escorts.

Maybe it would behoove the antis to realize that, in fact, we all “know” very little about what is good for another person.

Except about the vegetables. Kiddo definitely needs to eat his vegetables.