The anti-abortion protesters who stand outside of EMW Surgical Center, harassing people who walk in to the clinic, are frequently proclaiming how many “saves” they had. They consider someone that changes their mind about having an abortion a save. It’s pretty difficult to believe that as many people as they claim changed their minds, actually did. I’m sure some of those saves are just people leaving to go home after their appointment. I’d like to tell you about a time recently when I had my own saves…
Last week, while volunteering as a clinic escort at EMW Surgical Center, an incident happened that demonstrates why we as escorts do what we do. I was positioned by the driveway at the fake clinic, next door to EMW. My job was to get EMW clients into the building as safely as possible with the least amount of disruption. When a car stopped, I would ask them if they had an appointment with EMW. If their response was yes, as all of them were, I would direct them where to park and give them instructions on how to safely get into the clinic. While doing this, one of the women who works at the fake clinic started yelling at me and telling me how rude and awful I was. I’m not sure what’s so horrible about getting people safely to the place in which they wish to go, but she was really angry and wouldn’t stop yelling at me. During this time, she said that she and another woman there had abortions and that they just want to counsel and help people who are considering abortion.
Since this verbal assault, I’ve been thinking about her and wondering what it is that makes her think she has the right to choose what’s best for other people.
Maybe she did have an abortion. Maybe she wishes she didn’t have one; however, according to a study by UCSF 99% of people feel they made the right decisions 5 years post abortion. 1 If she actually did have an abortion and does regret it, does that give her the right to choose for all other people facing this decision? What makes her opinion on a total stranger’s reproductive decision more relevant than the person who’s actually in the situation? Instead of judging, shaming and trying to make reproductive choices for another person, when simply trying to access a legal medical procedure, what if she focused that energy inward? What if she used it to make herself a better person and heal her own insecurities? What if all people did that? Personally, I believe the world would be a much brighter place. It would also make for an easier and less emotionally painful walk for a client going into EMW.
So on this day, I saved 2 cars carrying EMW clients from going into the fake clinic. This to me is the real save.
We have been coping with COVID-19 since late January. Almost a full year our lives have been disrupted. The escorts stayed home from April 4, 2020-July 1, 2020. Businesses closed. Jobs disappeared. The Federal government stimulus checks are a fond memory, but disappeared quickly. Those able to draw unemployment have reached their limit. Many people have had their work hours reduced or eliminated. The list goes on for those things that have made this year particularly hard for most of us.
An escort asked recently, “Can we do something?” The answer is, “Yes.”
We are starting a new gift program for active escorts to show our appreciation.
We won’t be able to pay rent, utility bills or even buy a cart full of groceries. What we can do is give a gift of extra cash to spend on a meal, a dessert, donuts for breakfast or other items. The gifts will only be $25 at a time until donated funds run out.
How does Escorts Supporting Escorts work?
Escorts or friends of escorts can donate to the fund for food or other essentials to benefit other escorts.
Minority Report: POC Experiences on the Sidewalk– by Roxanne
I know I promised a follow-up to my piece at the end of January, but y’all know what a giant dumpster fire this year has been. When I wrote my last blog entry, I thought Joe Exotic was going to be the craziest moment of 2020. However, COVID-19, police brutality, and the president collectively said “Hold my beer.”
I am still working on a follow-up piece, but right now I want to take this time to publicly recognize and thank the members of Louisville Clinic Escorts. The solidarity and love I have felt by this group is unlike anything I have ever experienced.
Many people in the reproductive justice community claim to be an ally to the Black community…until things get too uncomfortable. If someone gets defensive when they hear the words “white privilege”, they’re not an ally. It’s downright insulting for a person to declare themself an ally, but get more upset about “rioting” than they do the root cause for said rioting. If their first reaction is to interject with “NOT ALL” when a person of color says “white people”, they are most certainly not an ally.
But not my escort friends. They embody the true meaning of what an ally should be. I have witnessed them call out strangers in comment sections under news articles, which makes me incredibly thankful because people that stand up for you even when no one is looking, they’re the best kind of people. They’ve checked on me from time to time for no reason other than me being a Black woman. They’ve been on the front lines providing medical support, food, serving as emergency contacts to protestors, taking rubber bullets and inhaling teargas for the last several months. They have called and emailed politicians to hold them accountable. I have witnessed them fighting racism and police brutality with the same tenacious energy that they do within the reproductive justice community.
I did not know a single one of these people 18 months ago. However, the genuine care, respect, and solidarity they have shown is immeasurable. Although it seems like everyday brings yet another reason to lose faith in humanity, clinic escorts both in Louisville and around the country continue to show me that there is hope for change. I know without a doubt that members of this awesome community I’m part of will be the ones leading the change. To all of my fellow Louisville Clinic Escorts, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. I am so proud to be part of this group and to have such amazing people in my life.
Kentucky Health Justice Network is proud to partner with EMW to increase abortion access in Kentucky. Any Kentuckian facing barriers to abortion care can leave a message at 1-855-576-4576 and we will be honored to assist them.
I love and appreciate abortion providers because, day in and day out, they show up and provide quality and compassionate healthcare. They are constantly targets of hatred, vitriol, and violence, but still choose to serve their communities. Abortion providers don’t acquiesce to intimidation but rise above it, and I’m thankful for them every day.
The quote by Faye Wattleton; “Reproductive freedom is critical to a whole range of issues. If we can’t take charge of this most personal aspect of our lives, we can’t take care of anything. It should not be seen as a privilege or as a benefit, but a fundamental human right.” sums up the way the staff and doctors at EMW provide reproductive freedom.
The staff and doctors at EMW put so much of themselves on the line to provide abortion care. The sacrifices they make daily to provide this essential care deserves more than any respect I could ever give. Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication!