Pledge-A-Picketer-Final Count June 19, 2021

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On June 6, 2021 when we started this fundraiser, we hoped it would either discourage the Sisters for Life from coming, or if we failed in that goal would have Sisters for Life directly help to fund abortions in Kentucky. There were both results. 

There were 117 protesters present on Saturday, June 19. We were glad to see there were only 5 children among the protesters. There were 69 Sisters for Life participating in their “Walk, Run or Bike for Life” rally. It was predicted to rain some yesterday, so that may have discouraged some of their members. However, I do find it interesting last year there were 110 of their members crowding the sidewalk in the middle of some of the severest restrictions from Covid-19.  Pandemic=come; Rain=stay home

The Sisters for Life group arrived about 8:15a and quickly blocked the sidewalk, the entrance to the clinic and their overflow of people were standing in the street. It only rained for about 30 minutes. They had umbrellas. Angela Minter was sheltered by the EMW Women’s Surgical Center’s overhang. They had photographers to capture all of their antics. They sang children’s hymns, testified, spoke in tongues and made it extremely difficult for clients and their companions to get into the clinic. Difficult, but not impossible because of the clinic escorts. 

We want to thank all the protesters for helping us raise $1,767.42 for Kentucky Health Justice Network. They will use these funds for practical support patients seeking abortions need.  

We especially want to send out our heartfelt gratitude to our supporters. We will be sending emails today for pledges we have received. Thank you so much for helping to make this fundraiser successful.

Pledge-A-Picketer June 19, 2021

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Back in 2010 we began Pledge-A- Picketer as a way to flip the script on those holidays we see increased protester attendance. Events on the Saturdays before Easter, Mother’s and Father’s days have drawn hundreds of anti-choice protesters. In the past,  we have had great success using this event to raise funds for Louisville Clinic Escorts.  Escorts decided that if the protesters were going to be on the clinic sidewalk in numbers, raising money off their count was a brilliant plan.

This year is no different than past years. We still see large numbers of protesters every week in front of EMW Women’s Surgical Center. Restrictions to abortion nationwide are making it hard for anyone to access abortion care. 

We have decided this year to donate any funds raised to the Kentucky Health Justice Network. They are tireless volunteers working to advocate for people needing abortions, plus funding procedures, transportation and other needs for those contacting their hotline.  And we need your help!

The day before Father’s Day is by far the holiday we see the most protesters. Here’s a summary for the past four years. 

2017- 80-90 including about 40-50 Sisters for Life marching and singing

2018- 120 including 85 Sisters for Life marching and singing

2019- 125 including about 97 Sisters for Life marching and singing

2020- 176 including about 110 Sisters for Life marching and singing

Seriously, 176 protesters in the middle of the pandemic? This year, Sisters for Life is planning their “Walk, Run or Bike for Life” in front of EMW Women’s Surgical Center on Saturday, June 19. That day we expect at least 100 protesters from this group and many more from other groups.



Here’s the fun. You can guess how many protesters we will have on the sidewalk that day. You can pledge any amount for each protester, or you can just donate a set amount. We will publish the count after the 19th so you can know how close your estimate was. It’s like guessing jelly beans in a jar, but it is protesters on the sidewalk. All donations will be sent directly to Kentucky Health Justice Network.

Here is the form to make your pledge.

Want to know more about Kentucky Health Justice Network?


Kentucky Health Justice Network‘s Abortion Support Fund offers funding, transportation, lodging, language interpretation, childcare assistance, and case management to callers facing barriers to abortion care. In 2020 the Support Fund received over 1000 calls. This year call volume & caller needs continue to rise, while the KY General Assembly passed more abortion restrictions, and SCOTUS took up a new abortion ban case putting Roe vs Wade at risk and making the future of legal abortion access in Kentucky even more vulnerable.  

KHJN is committed to supporting Kentuckians and is prepared to adapt to whatever is ahead, but the need is already greater than we can meet, and we need more help to support our communities. Even a $25 gas card makes a big difference for someone having to take time off work to travel for care, especially if they are also a parent. THANK YOU for supporting KHJN’s callers. 

Make a tax deductible donation of any amount, or become a monthly donor here:  bit.ly/DonateKHJN 

Read more about the urgent need to shift philanthropic giving to direct support for abortions and practical support here: https://www.ncrp.org/2021/01/a-world-without-abortion-is-already-here-how-philanthropy-should-respond.html

40 Days of Respect – Day 3

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EMW Women’s Surgical Center is such a supportive work environment they have many employees who have been there for over 16-20 years. The Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (KRCRC) honored two of them in the spring of 2018.

The full article is below, but this quote really says everything about Anne Ahola, Director:

She handles all those pressures with grace and courage,
setting the tone for all the clinic staff. Counseling– “often
a short few minutes when I can approve, empower, be kind
and compassionate”– is the part of her job that she likes
best. She also appreciates the clinic’s physicians and staff,
and especially thanks the volunteers who escort patients
through the noisy mob of demonstrators into the clinic.
“I couldn’t be more grateful, to everyone who has helped
women and families have a choice in their family planning,”
she concludes.

Dona Wells is retired now, but this quote is one we try to follow:

Dona Wells is a woman of courage—a woman who even in
the face of hostility, hardship and danger works for the cause
she believes in. She has set an example for all of us, and we
must now continue her work.

This is a screen shot of the article, but please follow this link to the newsletter archives of KRCRC. They are valued supporters of EMW Women’s Surgical Center.

40 Days of Respect – Day 2

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The staff of EMW Women’s Surgical Center rely on volunteer clinic escorts to assist their clients into the clinic past protesters. Volunteer escorts are proud to wear their orange vests as they walk people past anti-choice protesters. They know the clinic staff all realize abortion is healthcare and once the client is in the door, they will be greeted by non-judgmental, empathetic staff who will treat them professionally.

One client shared this comment with us this year. Even though 4 years have passed, they still remember the kindness offered to them.

I went to EMW in May 2016, and I am forever grateful for the strength and support provided by the clinic escorts. I didn’t take my decision lightly, but if I had not had an abortion I would have brought a child into a life of poverty and instability. The protestors were horrible and insulting and they don’t seem to care about the circumstances of the woman going to the clinic. I have zero regrets for my decision, and I appreciate every single person who gives their time to protect the safety and freedom of any woman who makes the choice to go to EMW. Thank you

40 Days of Respect – Day 1

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For those who have been involved with Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Justice issues for many years, there is a twice a year event we never anticipate with anything except displeasure because of the stress it causes our clinic’s staff, volunteer agents, clients and their companions.

There is an organization named 40 Days for Life* who has their anti-abortion campaigns twice a year. There is one in the spring timed to end close to Easter Sunday. There is one in the fall timed to end close to November election days. Their organization is now worldwide, but only started in 2004. They only went nationwide in the US in 2007. Their twice a year campaigns are to send out “prayer warriors” to stand outside of abortion clinics 24 hours a day/7 days a week for 40 days. Since this was more than 30 years after Roe vs Wade was decided in 1974, it really makes me suspicious the origins of .these campaigns were politically motivated instead of motivated by firmly held religious beliefs.

They don’t seem too picky where they protest. If there isn’t an abortion clinic nearby, any women’s health clinic will do for their protests. If there isn’t a Planned Parenthood or other women’s health clinic nearby, a courthouse will do. The point isn’t to stop abortions, it is to shame women for taking any part in medical access for reproductive issues. Remember the birth control exemptions from ACA?

We have tried a lot of different ways to bring public awareness to the hypocrisy in their actions during these campaigns. We have had fundraisers during their campaigns. We have had counter protests during their campaigns. This fall, we have decided to take command of the dialogue. We will ignore their harassing presence on the sidewalk.

We are starting a campaign of 40 Days of Respect starting September 23 and ending November 1. Each day of the campaign we will be publishing an article about why we are volunteer agents for EMW Women’s Surgical Center. It is because of our respect for the ethical, compassionate, respectful care they provide for their clients every single day. We will also be highlighting some of the staff of EMW Women’s Surgical Center and the impact they have had on all those who come in contact with them. We will be including statements from organizations who work with the clinic, as well as patients of the clinic. The dedication to quality health care they bring to the community is appreciated by so many.

Today we are starting out our series with our admiration of Dr. Ernest Marshall. We are so honored to have Dr. Marshall as a provider in Louisville. In May 2019, the staff of EMW Women’s Surgical Center were awarded by the National Abortion Federation (NAF) their annual George R Tiller Award of “Attitude is Everything” Award for Excellence.

These annual awards are selected by nominations from all of the members of NAF. The selection is based on the nominations and according to the NAF board, “This award is given each year to one NAF member facility that emulates Dr. Tiller’s excellent and compassionate patient care, positive attitude, and staff cohesiveness.” This award is due to Dr. Marshall’s guidance and dedication over the years.There are two quotes associated with Dr. Tiller. The first one is “Trust Women.” They will know what is best for their lives and deserve respect. The second quote is, “Abortion is not a cerebral or reproductive issue. Abortion is a matter of the heart: for until one understands the heart of a woman, nothing else about abortion makes any sense at all.” Dr. Marshall trusts, respects and understands the heart of a woman and has kept these things in mind over all the years he has provided compassionate medical care to the community. The recognition with this award is so well deserved.

Of course, this isn’t the only recognition Dr. Marshall has received. In December 2015 ACLU ran a series for their 60th Anniversary in Kentucky titled “Faces of Liberty.” Dr. Marshall and Dr. Eubanks of EMW Women’s Surgical Center were centered in one of the profile articles. This quote from Dr. Marshall began the article, “Part of my nature is that every child should have a mother or father that wants them. My mother has had 13 pregnancies…I call it pseudo-slavery through reproduction.”

Compassion for patients, trusting and respecting patients, understanding patients take different paths to their decisions, and believing no child should be unwanted are some of Dr. Marshall’s approach to abortion care. We are so lucky to have him in our city and state.

We hope you like this plan and if you would like to join in our 40 Days of Respect campaign. We are soliciting comments and articles for this series. Please send your ideas or comments to everysaturdaymorning@gmail.com All submissions can be anonymous.

We will not respond to any anti-abortion comments and will block any senders.

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**Links to anti-abortion websites not included intentionally.

#notcounseling by Lucien Marcato

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So… on the Louisville escort Twitter page you can read various things about reproductive justice. You can also read some sidewalk commentary. Sometimes when an anti says or does something hateful,stupid, or just weird, you might read about it with the hashtag #notcounseling.

This is done because many antis who harass people call themselves “sidewalk counselors”. But there is a new group of people who agree with us that they are #notcounseling, which is good ‘cause we couldn’t agree more.

Recently they have taken to Twitter to do a series of tweets with the hashtag #notcounseling.

Examples:

At the abortion clinic we are #notcounseling. We are offering to adopt their child.

At the abortion clinic we are #notcounseling. We are proclaiming God’s ownership over them and the child he has given to them as a gift. Both child and mother carefully knit together by the hand of God.

At the abortion clinic we are #notcounseling. We’re witnessing sex industry handlers bring their teenage slaves in under the knowing eyes of pro abortion escorts.

Hmmm….ok let’s just agree that is #notcounseling. However I feel it’s a disservice to you and the others who call themselves sidewalk counselors to not mention just a few other reasons you are #notcounseling.

So glad we agree on something!!

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling because counseling only exists with consent or a court order. Neither of which you have.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you offer assistance but support politicians who wanna cut food stamps, Medicaid, welfare, and anything else someone might need after they are born.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you physically block the sidewalk to shame and intimidate people.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you yell to companions “Be a man,” as if men have moral authority over women.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you try to trick clients into the fake clinic next door.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when someone you are harassing approaches you and you trip over your own feet, cry assault, go on the local news and say “She threw me to the ground… I saw the eyes of Satan.”

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you trespass on clinic property and refuse to leave in your failed attempt to intimidate escorts.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you amplify your voice on top of your little soap box to counsel non-participating clients.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you find out an escort lost his wife and say she is worm food if she didn’t repent.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you tell someone they need a “daddy”.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you specifically target people of color and accuse them of genocide of their own race.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you see an interracial couple and shout “half black lives matter”

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you shout “ you’ll always be a mother, mother of a dead baby”

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you open carry a gun and say, “ If you’re gonna kill people you better arm up,” while wearing 3 percentile apparel.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when a client tells you they will die if they go through with the pregnancy and you don’t believe them.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when a client tells you they were raped but you still insist they carry the pregnancy to term.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you shout, “ I wonder if you’re here because of the way you dress”

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you compare an abortion to you murdering your own 3 year old daughter with an axe.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you bring your own children and use them as a prop for your own agenda.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you surround the client, scream at them, try to scare them into a complete breakdown because some are in fear of their own life.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you say, “ Let me adopt your child,” when most of you have never or will never adopt.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling trying to save the unborn while ignoring the six figures of children in foster care.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you talk about women “spreading her legs”

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you don’t support contraception of any kind.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling when you call other Christians fake Christians unless their name is Donald trump.

At the abortion clinic you are #notcounseling because anyone with sense knows that you are not there because you care about the unborn. You get a false sense of pride and power telling other people just how awful they are. It’s very sick and pathetic. I feel very sorry for your children.

However none of this changes you. You will still spout your hate, but we will keep showing up in our orange vests. We won’t back down. Hasn’t happened before or after 1973.

Family Planning Counseling from Slide Share

Minority Report: POC Experiences on the Sidewalk – by Roxanne

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This may not be immediately obvious to some people reading this, but I’m black. Just thought I should get the formalities out of the way before we move forward. If you want to get technical, I’m biracial, mixed with black and white, but for all intents and purposes surrounding my experience as a volunteer clinic escort-I am a black woman. I’m about 6 months into volunteering as a clinic escort at EMW Women’s Surgical Center, the only abortion provider in the state of Kentucky. In the beginning, I thought that I would simply show up for a few hours on Saturdays, do my part, then go back home. Nothing more, nothing less. However, that thought was long gone before the clinic even opened for business on my first “Sidewalk Saturday” last summer.

While there are several contributing factors that drive my newfound passion and activism, the one that has remained my top motivator is knowing that my presence can be a form of comfort and security for some brown or black clients and their companions. The walk from the parking garage to the front doors of EMW is brutal for anyone. Unless you’ve experienced it firsthand, it’s hard to even put into words-but I’m sure you can imagine what it’s like. Just trust me when I say that it is absolutely gut-wrenching. Now I’d like you to try and imagine having to walk through that hostility and harassment, but not seeing anyone who looks like you that also supports you and your right to choose.

We’re given lots of helpful information and education regarding the terrible things that antis may say to us volunteers, but I don’t think one can ever be “ready” to experience a person (a stranger, nonetheless) being so unapologetically vocal with their racism. Anti-choicers will say anything they can think of to bully escorts, clients, and companions. Most often it’s merely speculation that they concoct on their own with absolutely no facts or truth. However, if your skin is brown; that’s an obvious physical characteristic that can’t be masked or hidden by our practice of nonengagement.

Though I do get my fair share of racist comments from antis, their bullying isn’t just reserved for us volunteers. If the sidewalk gauntlet isn’t bad enough, when a client rounds the corner to the front of the clinic…it gets worse. When approaching the front doors of EMW, clients are likely to encounter cameras, loudspeakers with microphones and amplifiers, children, large graphic posters, bible readers and even the occasional opera singer. Add in a few MAGA hats and one man who always insists on showing us that he openly carries AND conceals firearms. Because that’s a totally normal thing for people to do at 7:00am on Saturday morning outside a healthcare provider’s office, right?

As ridiculously overwhelming as that sounds, it doesn’t end there for our black and brown clients. Just when you think you’re through the worst of it, nearing the waiting area located on the opposite side of a set of glass doors, you hear someone shout at you, “Black Lives Matter, even on Saturdays!! Maybe not to you though!” That comment never fails to send a jolt through both clients and companions alike. Sometimes I actually can see a person’s body begin to tense in anger. Other times, they’re so caught off guard that a random white man would have the audacity to use something created FOR and BY us as an opportunity to push their own agendas and hate.

I’ve heard antis say some of the worst things imaginable, just to list a few:

“This place is a KKK Paradise! A black doctor killing black babies! I bet the KKK loves that!”
“Honey, don’t you know that this place is the leading killer of your people? They kill more black babies in there than guns.”
“Doesn’t this remind you of slavery? This place kills the most Afro American people!”
“You’re not standing with black women, you’re leading them to murder their babies and have guilt for the rest of their life, you’re just wicked.”
“Sweetie, do you know who Margaret Sanger is? You should Google her.”
“See, that’s why most of you black people are ignorant.”

On one occasion an anti randomly and rather loudly shouted the n-word (Yes, a HARD R) with absolutely no context whatsoever. Six months in and I am still baffled by their antics every single time I step onto that sidewalk. I regularly remind myself that they choose to spend their time harassing and shaming people who are simply attempting to access care that they are entitled to as an autonomous person.

A few weeks ago, a fellow escort paid me what I consider to be the greatest compliment I’ve received in the time that I’ve been volunteering. This escort was my walking partner on that chilly December morning, and together we walked a handful of clients through the 3-ring circus that I have described in this article. As we were returning to our station at the parking garage, my fellow orange vested friend said:

“I am so glad that we have you here. The immediate connection you have with clients of color is an awesome thing to witness. I felt like I didn’t need to say anything at all because it was obvious that there was an unspoken trust between the two of you. That is something most of us will never be able to provide, so thank you for being here.”

And that, my friends, is why I will continue to proudly put on my orange vest for as long as I am physically able. I like to tell clients as we’re walking “If they’re here, we’re here” just so they know that we’re there for them, and I am confident that every single one of my fellow escorts share that commitment. If me simply being present helps ease anxieties or provides a sense of comfort to a person while they are exposed to that level of harassment—how could I not?

Stay tuned for part 2, coming soon! We’ll take a candid look at intersectionality and explore ways to best approach the issue of underrepresentation by POC within the Reproductive Justice space, specifically clinic escorting.

Who are the Legal Observers?

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Who are the Legal Observers?

Many people have noticed Legal Observers on the sidewalks around EMW Women’s Surgical Center over the past 3 years. They are wearing caps and/or badges that say, “NCAP Trained Legal Observer”. They carry cell phones and take notes. Who are these people? What are they doing? Are they taking photos of people who have appointments at EMW?

NO, they are not taking photos of people going to the clinic. They adhere to strict guidelines not to take photos of any patient or companion. If you see them with their cell phones up, rest assured they are not taking photos of you entering the clinic. They are taking photos of the protesters and escorts. They do not carry any other cameras either.

The Legal Observers are not connected to any escort group. They are present at the invitation of the clinic staff on the recommendation of the National Clinic Access Project (NCAP). Their focus is the safety of the patients, their companions, clinic staff and escorts.

They will not approach patients for conversation and cannot act as an escort for any patient and/or companion.

What are they doing then?

The Feminist Majority Foundation established NCAP in 1989. It was modeled on the observers for the National Lawyers Guild. These observers are documenting interactions of everyone on the sidewalk. The documentation is reported to the clinic, LMPD and NCAP with their notes on any threats or violations of laws.

Why won’t they talk to me?

The Legal Observers are neutral observers at all times. They have pledged to be strictly non-engaging with anyone on the sidewalk while observing. If someone asks them persistently what they are doing their standard reply is, “We are legal observers. We are not reporters. We are just observing and not interviewing. We don’t want to discuss anyone’s viewpoint.” If they are asked what NCAP stands for, they will reply, “Google it.” Then they will walk away and not have further discussion with the questioner.

When are they present?

Legal Observers are present each week and sometimes a couple of times a week. They are only on duty in the early morning. The clinic relies on their surveillance cameras when they are not present. The Legal Observers are an extra layer of protection for people wanting to exercise their right to an abortion.

For Such Time as This!

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This clinic stays open.
Every client made it to their appointment.
Our doctors, nurses and staff made it to and from work safe and sound.
Every escort made it home.

July 22-29, 2017 EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville KY was inundated by fanatic, anti-choice activists. Because of amazing organizing by Louisville Clinic Escorts, the Feminist Majority Foundation, and the National Abortion Federation, plus coordination between federal and local law enforcement and EMW, no one was denied an abortion. We saw the sidewalk blocked, sound systems turned up to full volume and every attempt made to thwart the work of supporting folks, simply trying to live their lives.

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Pledge-A-Picketer has been one of our tools since 2010 when we began to see increased protesters at the clinic on weekends like Easter, Mother’s and Father’s day. As the crowds increased we decided to monopolize on their organizing efforts.

It’s a simple fundraiser. You pledge whatever you choose for each protester who shows up, we count the protesters, and the more of them there are, the more money we raise for escorts and abortion access. Escorts use this fund drive for legal expenses, training costs, safety supplies, parking fees for patients and other miscellany.

And here are the daily protester totals:

Saturday 7/22/2017: 75 protesters
Tuesday 7/25/2017: 175 protesters
Wednesday 7/26/2017: 100 protesters
Thursday 7/27/2017: 115 protesters
Friday 7/28/2017: 200 protesters
Saturday 7/29/2017: 155 protesters

Which gives us a grand total of: 820 protesters.

Based on the pledges that came in from our dear supporters, that will bring in a total of $13,975 for abortion access in Kentucky! WOOOOW!!!!

Emails are going out to those who have already pledged. If you would like to contribute, you may do so through Paypal using everysaturdaymorning@gmail.com.

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Pledge-A-Picketer Summer of Harassment: For Such a Time As This

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Back in 2010 we began Pledge-A- Picketer as a way to flip the script on those holidays we see increased protester attendance. Events on the Saturdays before Easter, Mother’s and Father’s days have drawn hundreds anti-choice protesters. For the last 7 years we have had great success using this event to raise funds for Louisville Clinic Escorts, Kentucky Health Justice Network and other reproductive justice issues. Escorts decided that if the protesters were going to be on the clinic sidewalk in number, raising money off their heads was a brilliant plan.

And it’s again time to count our abortion hating, not counseling, sidewalk preaching, door blocking protesters. And we need your help!

This year we are adding another event to the schedule. July 22-29 Operation Save America is planning a full week of protests. May 13, 2017 ten OSA participants blocked access to the clinic, refusing to move and were arrested. This action was a test for the upcoming July event.

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The concept is simple. Make a pledge for every protester that shows up. That way the bigger the crowd the more money we raise for abortion access in KY. Historically our community has donated between $.05 to $1 per protester. You can cap the amount of your donation. You can make a block donation regardless of crowd size. And this year we also have a way for you to donate an additional amount for every protester arrested.

To make a donation, fill out the form here. Share the link, ask your friends and family and raise your voice against anti-choice violence by raising funds for abortion access in Kentucky!