Once again, our socially conservative state and local government are testing to see what sticks to the wall regarding how patients and doctors interact and how reproductive medical care is delivered in the state of Kentucky.
One of the more disgusting OSA tactics that they use in their campaign is the “truth trucks.” These trucks are covered in various anti-choice images (fetus parts, anti-LGBTQ slogans, Defy the government, etc) and are driven (slowly) by the abortion clinic. One of these images is a giant headless fetus with the words “America! Your Hands Are Covered with Blood! ABORTION God have mercy on us”. What makes this particular image interesting is that they censored the fetus’s genitals. They have no issue showing a headless bloody fetus BUT they put a black line over the poor fetus’s junk. Because I guess seeing a dead fetus penis might offend one of them? Because they think sex organs are bad and immoral? So lets get this correct. Perfectly ok to show a giant, headless, bloody fetus on the back door off a truck and drive it around town BUT you better not show the giant, headless, bloody fetus’s penis. Got it.
“Tell the abortionist you don’t want the abortion. They will stop” Protester D, yelling at that door outside the clinic today.
Sometimes, the protesters tell the truth. Yes, D is 100% correct. If a client goes into the abortion clinic and decides that they DO NOT want to have an abortion, the doctors will not force them to have one. The doctor’s won’t force them to do ANYTHING that the client doesn’t want to do. The clinic has counseling for clients, and part of that counseling is making sure that the clients wants to have an abortion. It is vital to establish that the clients want to do this from their own free will, rather than because someone is “forcing” them or coercing them to have the abortion. I thought after D said this, “Well, what doctor would do a procedure against someone’s will? What doctor with any ethics would force someone to go through a surgery?”
Then I thought of Ireland.
If you aren’t familiar with the story, a suicidal rape victim was denied an abortion, which caused her to go on a hunger strike. Then she was forced to have a Caesarean section to deliver a premature baby at 25 weeks (Here is The Guardian article).
I want to draw your attention to that last sentence. She was FORCED to have a Caesarean section by doctors, who bound by Irish law which states that abortion is illegal, had to put the life of the fetus over the wishes of the mother.
According to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act (which is supposed to allow for an abortion if the mother’s “life is at risk”), a suicidal rape victim didn’t rise to the level of her life being at risk.
I wonder if they strapped her down? I wonder if she struggled? I wonder if she screamed?
I wonder what the doctor’s felt like? I wonder if they felt forced as well?
In Ireland there is no access and no choice in this regard, for either patient or doctor. Their hands are tied by the law of the state. We are lucky here. If a patient says “no”, the doctor won’t continue forward with the procedure.
My question is this: Does D want the state to force a suicidal rape victim to stay pregnant in the United States with little to no options? Does D want the state to force doctors to perform procedures on patients against their will and medical knowledge?
There are women in the California prison system that have been sterilized without their consent.
Does D want this concept applied to all aspects of healthcare?
I can’t answer that question for her, but I can for myself. Laws that tie the hands of doctors and strip autonomous decision making from patients are bad laws and should not be. Laws that prevent the best and least invasive medical care for patients are bad laws. Laws that force doctors to act against their medical knowledge and experience are bad laws.
Currently, we have access and options for reproductive healthcare, but that window is slowly being shut by TRAP laws around the country. Do we really want what Ireland has? I think not.
On Twitter, there was a discussion about finding “common ground” with anti’s. An anti, who bills himself as a person who “helps pro-lifers be more persuasive and less weird when they communicate with pro-choice people” started this discussion.
Some of the questions he was asking went along the lines of, “Is it right for boyfriends and parents to pressure women to have abortions?” and, “What do you think about abortion if the unborn has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome?” and, “Would you prefer that there were fewer abortions?”
Of course my response was, anyone who wants an abortion should have safe and legal access to it, period. His response, “Well, its hard to have a conversation about abortion if you start by assuming it should always be available.”
Mr. Pro-Life speaker, you want to have a conversation on limiting abortion access and ultimately ending abortion. I do not. We have no common ground. We don’t have to have common ground. It is OK.
More to the point, here are some pretty big reasons why we will never have common ground.
1. You want to make abortion illegal. I do not
2. You want to put stipulations on abortion. I do not.
3. “Counseling” is not a pro-active thing. If you were really interested in counseling, a client would seek you out and come to you with questions and wanting to talk about options besides abortion. We all know that isn’t how it goes. You chase clients down the street and shove flyers at them. You yell at companions and (when applicable) insult their “masculinity” by telling them to “man up” and “bring your woman out of there”. That isn’t counseling.
4. You want to make “pro-life people less weird”. That is impossible. Even if you rounded up all the anti-choice protesters and made them sit through one of your presentations, there would STILL be protesters that don’t listen and do what they want. There would still be protesters that get in people’s faces, stalk, and get physically violent. The harassment and the intimidation would continue, unabated. Therefore, common ground is pointless.
5. Something that may actually help “counselors” do some actual “counseling” on the sidewalk is a buffer zone. A buffer zone may discourage harassing behavior, while still allowing clients TO APPROACH YOU instead of the other way around when they want to talk about options. That would be real counseling. I wonder how many “pro-life counselors” would be ok with that type of arrangement?
At the end of this twitter exchange, the pro-lifer said “I’m just saying that on the night that the #abortionchat topic was on common ground, I found a ton of CG with @LouClinicEscort , but he or she couldn’t find one iota of common ground with me :-/”
My response was this “Anti’s like to make themselves victims on the sidewalk, even as they are harassing. But no, you are the victim here”. Of course, it was all about his feelings. Even as people that he supports push and yell and scream and don’t listen to constant, “NO, GO AWAY, LEAVE ME ALONE”. Of course, its MY fault that we couldn’t find any “common ground”
I don’t have any common ground with pro-lifers, much like I don’t have any common ground with rapists. Stop harassing clients. Stop the guilt and shame. Leave people alone to go to the doctor. Period. Just go away.
(BTW, if you want to see some of the things we discussed on Twitter, I tweet @LouClinicEscort. The “pro-life speaker” in this exchange was @JoshBrahm. Or you can check out the hashtag #abortionchat)
Emotions can run high on the sidewalk, even though it may not always be outwardly visible. If anything, escorts do our best to keep things “normal”. “Normal”, at least in my estimation, is walking to the doctor’s office with as little drama or personal space violation as possible. You know, like walking down any other sidewalk on any other street would be. That is the goal. Minimal nonsense and maximum expediency to the door for the client.
Enter the anti’s. Their goal is disruption. Their tools are harassment, shame, and outrageous statements, but their main goal is to stop the client from walking into the abortion clinic. The shame and nonsense that comes out of their mouths is their most obvious weapon. “Don’t kill your baby. That baby will look just like you. Young man, we are called to protect women, stand up for her.” The litany goes on and on. Their most subtle, and in my opinion the most insidious thing that anti’s do is they themselves get “emotional”. Their voices rise and their voices break and they beg and cry and implore. They also put their bodies in front of the clients and the escorts to impede walking down the sidewalk. “But this is a BAAAAAYYYBBEEEEEEE” is a favorite of the anti that we call “The Cryer”. She often trails behind the clients and wails at their backs. As soon as the client is in the clinic, however, she and others are back on the sidewalk chatting with their fellow protesters. It is so ridiculous for them to be so dialed in and emotional one second, then completely composed the next. It seems fake and a pantomime of someone who actually cares. Not only faking the emotion, but then throwing it into a strangers face.
Another “tactic” that the preaching protesters like to use is while crying and wailing for the unborn, they assign innocence or guilt to a fetus that deserves neither. They plead constantly for the “innocent baby that you are going to kill” and in the next breath “God will judge you guilty of murder”. They talk about the “innocence of the baby in the womb” then “At our birth we are bound for hell.” The double talk that goes on with the sidewalk preachers is constant and ridiculous. Save the baby so it will be bound for hell unless it does what we say. Yeah. Subtle, but not very.