Sidewalk Snippet – Donuts

Image

As clinics and states make the news for extreme restrictions and lack of access to abortion, more people across the country are taking notice.

For escorts a simple thank you, or a kind gesture, goes a long way in diluting the hate that gets spewed our way everyday when we guide and allow individuals to be empowered as they make their healthcare decisions at Kentucky’s only remaining abortion clinic.

This morning was a pleasant surprise as escorts arrived to fresh donuts provided by a reproductive justice activist and Every Saturday Morning blog reader from New Mexico.

But as always, you never know what’s going to set off antis into a tirade. This morning it was body shaming escorts and those eating donuts.

It seems their entire purpose is to ridicule and shame individuals in the name of their religion for personal decisions they make, whether it be donuts or abortion.

Sometimes you just shake your head and wonder how anybody has that much hatred. Unfortunately, that’s just a Tuesday on the sidewalk in Louisville Kentucky.

Sidewalk Snippet – Overheard

Image

“Every Tuesday morning” they hissed quietly at the friend walking with them.

“That one right there,” they gestured pointing up the sidewalk.

I turned to see who they were talking about as they walked past.

“Same thing every week, assuming I am going to the clinic. I’m just trying to get to work, I don’t think he’s ever looked at my face.”

As the conversation trailed off I watched as they continued down to the crosswalk.

Sure enough, the preacher with the loudspeaker gets in front of them yet again.

Because he does not see them as a person. Only an individual capable of pregnancy.

Fund Abortion AND Trans Health?

Image

YES! Bodily autonomy is for everyone and Kentucky Health Justice Network’s hotlines support callers facing barriers to care. Want to help them out?

This week an anonymous donor is doubling all donations throughout the entire #bowl19 campaign.Additionally, Kentucky Health Justice Network has the support of a local donor who will double the first $5,000 meaning right now $5=$20, or $100=$400! 

Your gift means so much to KHJN’s callers so we want to be sure you have the opportunity give and to ask friends to join you in supporting this important work. Please donate here, and share Bowl.nnaf.org/KHJN, or your support your favorite team (here is ours!) to help fund direct and practical support to abortion and gender affirming care!

Who are the Legal Observers?

Image

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.

Some good news from EMW…

Image


EMW Women’s Surgical Center and the Kentucky Reproductive Freedom Fund refuse to back down in the fight to protect women’s access to constitutionally protected, safe and dignified reproductive healthcare. As we await the verdict in 3 federal court cases and continue to legally challenge  relentless new legislation, there is an immediate step you can take personally to ease the burdens placed on women seeking care at the only licensed abortion clinic left in the state. 

Current state laws and lack of access to care require many patients to travel hundreds of miles to EMW Women’s Surgical Center. Patients then endure hostility from anti-choice extremists as they enter and exit the clinic for counseling and procedures. In the last two years, there has been an escalation of aggressive behavior towards patients and volunteer escorts.

EMW would like to provide designated parking for all patients seeking healthcare at the clinic to reduce emotional trauma and increase the safety, security, and convenience of patients and volunteer escorts. By making a taxexempt donation to the Kentucky Reproductive Freedom Fund you can help alleviate this additional burden.

Donations may be made anonymously either by check or online. Designate your donation to parking expenses by earmarking your contribution as “EMW parking”.

https://cflfund.net/
netcommunity/ky-reproductive-freedom-fund

CAN I GET AN ABORTION IN KENTUCKY?

Image

Yes. You can.

A great new resource just hit the web! This one stop info source has get info for how someone seeking abortion care in KY can access the care they need. There is so much mis-information out there, seeing this site (chocked full of accurate and helpful info) was  quite refreshing! Check it out and share it in your communities so folks will be able to find this info if they need it!

http://www.canigetanabortioninkentucky.com/

Stepping back for the Bigger Picture

Image

By now if you own a computer, a smartphone or have even walked past a television set in the last 24 hours you have seen coverage of individuals from the Covington KY Catholic School on the news.

I want to step back a little further to cover what many news outlets will overlook.

The reason this individual was in Washington DC is getting lost among the outrage of how he treated Nathan Phillips, Omaha Nation Elder, and Vietnam War Veteran.

The ugly things they chanted to him, the smug entitlement in their faces, attitudes of complete contempt for individuals unlike themselves. All this is so very familiar to me.

Covington Catholic High School students went on a school-sponsored trip to Washington DC for the annual March for Life, held every year around the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.

I am a clinic escort at the only abortion clinic in Kentucky. I have seen this very same behavior day after day for years now from individuals just like Covington Catholic students. The same despicable behavior, bigotry and callous disregard for others.

During the week it’s usually older men and women, representing many church denominations. On Saturdays they bring their young kids, teens. Sometimes large groups of religious families or fundamentalist churches will make an event of it.

Catholic churches and schools in the area organize field trips to Louisville for this purpose often with Archbishop Kurtz in attendance offering full support and encouragement, as we’ve written about before.

Once a month Kentucky Mountain Bible College offers a field trip to the abortion clinic. This allows students to get up close and personal with their harassment. Other churches and extremist groups frequent the sidewalk as well.

They chant, scream, stalk, loom and block individuals trying to make their way down a public sidewalk to a doctor’s appointment. This harassment has been documented, but is often tolerated as well.

Many people of all faiths, plus non believers are dismayed that religion is being distorted so badly to allow and even encourage this kind of hate.

For many, the raw display of racism in the news yesterday was shocking. How could they laugh and film? Where were the chaperones? How did their parents raise them? How could good Catholic kids do this?

That’s just it….

This is exactly what their elders do.

They have learned intolerance and hatred from the very people who raise and educate them.

Are you angry and upset that this type of harassment, verbal abuse and shaming still happen in 2019?

Are you willing to look at this from all angles?

Are you willing to tell others that everyone from all races, ethnicities, and beliefs deserve bodily autonomy?

That regardless of your personal beliefs no one should face this discrimination , intimidation and harassment?

Have you read this far? Then please do me one more favor, ask for a safety zone around abortion clinics to allow folks accessing care a little more physical space than the Covington Catholic students allowed Nathan Phillips.

50458295_2453395781402479_3283908376496439296_n.jpg

 

Not so spooky Pledge-a-Picketer wrap up!

Image

We want to extend a big thank you to everyone who pledged and gave to this year’s Halloween edition of Pledge-a-Picketer! It’s not too late to play along if you too want to support abortion access by giving an amount based on how many extremists showed up at the clinic this weekend. Click the link above for details on how to make your gift.

and now…….

Here are the numbers…..

Oct 26

  • 24 Escorts
  • 34 Antis – 28 adults 6 kids

Oct 27

  • 39 Escorts
  • 50 Antis – 35 Adults 15 kids

Why are we publishing escort numbers?

Well, we have one loyal supporter of access who has been so impressed by the strength of the clinic escorts, they are working on their own personal pledge based on the AWESOME turnout in support of access here in Louisville. Stay tuned for a special post on that in the coming days.

We love our providers. We love our escorts. We love access to care, on demand, and without apology.

Thanks again!

44977581_283379799173940_8362580090164346880_n

Pledge-A- Picketer, Spooky Halloween Edition!! (well, almost)

Image

Here we are again.  Operation Save America (OSA), under the banner of Operation Save Louisville is going to be in town October 26-27th.  You remember OSA?  The group that was arrested and tried for blockading the clinic in May of 2017?   Well, they are coming back to try to intimidate patients, staff, and escorts, tie up the sidewalk, and make a general harassing nuisance of themselves.

Want to help?  Consider Pledge-A-Picketer

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.  Remember, this is also 40 Days For Harassment….ERRRR… Life AND there will be kids on the sidewalk, and you know we count them too!  In fact since it is Trick or Treat time, kiddos on the sidewalk will be a double donation!   So if you pledge a dollar a kid and there are five kids?  The donation is 10 dollars!  Boo!

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!

 

An open letter to Kelley Paul

Image

When a Reproductive Justice colleague, fellow Kentuckian, and friend sent a link to this CNN article featuring an “open letter to Senator Cory Booker” shortly after it hit the web, there were a few layers of irony (and expletives) that we had to unpack before settling on how to respond.

What stood out immediately is this quote:

“Preventing someone from moving forward, thrusting your middle finger in their face, screaming vitriol — is this the way to express concern or enact change? Or does it only incite unstable people to violence, making them feel that assaulting a person is somehow politically justifiable?”

What’s striking to me is that these words could be my own, were I making an argument for why we need a Safety Zone in front of Kentucky’s only abortion clinic. If you read our blog, you know that these kinds of behaviors are common, and protected under a thinly veiled claim to “free speech”. People who value free speech AND reproductive freedom know that while sharing opinions and information might be harmless, there is a line that is crossed when demonstrations escalate and we start to see things like blockades, trespassing, assault, threats, and property destruction. We see these kinds of behaviors regularly on Market Street in Louisville, and are told that aggressive protesters are within their rights, and that the volunteer escorts, patients, and their companions outside of EMW Clinic should expect these attacks.

So I have to wonder: why should elected officials who work hard to earn the votes of their constituents be shielded from this “passionate free speech”, while people going to the doctor are subjected to it without consent, almost daily, as though it’s part of a punishment they must endure? How else can people attempt to hold elected officials accountable when they will not acknowledge messages like #CancelKavanaugh, and #BeBoldEndHyde? We know voter disenfranchisement, fraudulent campaign practices, and falsified elections are not imaginary concepts, so until we can trust the electoral process, it seems like other tactics are in order.

There are laws, and resources in place to allow safe passage of elected officials from say, the airport door to the plane, or the grocery store to their driveway. Shouldn’t everyone on our public sidewalks have the protection of the law when extremists are attempting to deliver a message using words and (potentially violent) actions? Where is the balance between safety and expression? Free speech and autonomy?

While brave people like Dr Christine Blasey Ford risk everything to protect our constitutional rights for decades to come, it only seems appropriate that individuals would want to also use their voices to send a message to Senators. I’m not sure why Rand Paul would seek office if he is unwilling to listen to, and represent Kentuckians.

To be sure, Senators Paul and McConnell, Governor Bevin, and other GOP legislators have no problem creating laws that restrict the freedoms of people wanting to control their reproductive lives.

Perhaps those not willing to fulfill the responsibilities of representing their constituents should have a seat. Plenty of fresh, brilliant, justice minded folks are ready to take over.