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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Sidewalk Snippet 07/06/17

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Our local antis routinely shove literature into the hands of clients and random pedestrians alike. Social conditioning and not wanting to appear rude, many people accept the handouts and move on.

Most times it is discarded within a few minutes of receiving it.

Sometimes they just throw it in a trash bin on the way past. Other times it’s handed to escorts and they ask us to please get rid of it. When that happens the antis accuse us of taking the pamphlets to prevent clients from learning the truth.

No, our goal is to keep them from being thrown out randomly littering downtown.

 

Old Friends

You say to a person leaving the clinic, “Hey, would you like for me to walk with you to your car?” And they’re like, “Sure. Did you go to ____ Elementary School?” And you’re like, oh my god do I really look the same as I did in 5th grade? “Yep!” And now there is a protester tagging along, so you can’t remind them of your name or ask their name, but you vaguely recognize them too. And you don’t want to be like, “You’re such a good friend!” or “Are you ok?” or “I hope the harassment wasn’t too bad on your way in,” or anything where you’re making assumptions or making the situation weird. So you just pretend you’re at the grocery store (and there’s a guy harassing you both?) and try to be normal and make normal small talk without acting like they’re a hero or victim or whatever, for whatever reason they are there, which is really no one’s business. And you are very conscientious to not say something mildly stupid like, “Great to see you here!” or “Have a great day!” which might seem a little… unaware. But it’s cool that they even said anything, because you would have never recognized them, and it’s a very Louisville kind of thing, and you’re really glad they recognized you. As they get into their car they say thanks for being there and you’re feeling like, well, I never would have guessed we’d both be here today but I’m glad. And then many hours later their name will finally pop into your head.

Where Would They Go? Part 1 – The Antis

Louisville has anti-choice protestors that have come out 5 days a week for decades. What would they do if they actually achieved their goal and completely removed abortion access in KY? If the clinic staff locked the door for the last time and the escorts put away their vests for good, where would the anti-choice protestors go?

Maybe they’ll amp up their random street preaching. Those who work in downtown Louisville might be familiar with the sight of Operation Save America KY preachers outside the courthouse. The close of KY’s last remaining abortion clinic could provide a recruitment boom for OSA and they could protest downtown every day.

Perhaps their protests would migrate to a fertility clinic. Pro-Life Action League has already staged anti-choice rallies at a clinic that provides In Vitro Fertilization. IVF involves the disposal of unused embryos unsuitable for implantation. It’s a logical extension of the anti-choice mindset to view discarded embryos as equivalent to murder and fertility clinic employees as murderers.

Or perhaps they would start congregating outside your local pharmacy. Abortion is the most controversial form of birth control so society affirms their right to harass and intimidate patients as free speech. Would the same excuses be made when they come for Plan B or monthly oral contraception? Anti-choice groups are also opposed to “The Pill” and could mobilize their members to move outside a CVS or Kroger. Maybe they’ll create “Wanted” posters for pharmacists or managers who refuse to stop selling contraception.

Maybe they’ll go even broader and harass children outside public schools. We’ve already seen this in practice when OSA held their national leadership conference in Louisville in February. Anti-choice groups certainly find the public school curriculum to be too secular. This past week, Governor Matt Bevin signed a Bible Literacy Bill into law, “allowing” the teaching of bible classes in KY public schools. The hardline members of the groups we see every week won’t stop until these classes are mandatory. Maybe they’ll create websites containing the photos and addresses of principals and teachers who stand opposed to their curriculum.

These far-right extremists slowly chip away at rights. Look at the slow rollback of abortion access that has happened in the past 40 years. Post-Roe, KY had 17 clinics performing abortions; now 1 remains. TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) have been incredibly effective at destroying abortion access at a slow and steady pace. If you give these people an inch, they’ll take every mile of road you have. Currently, that KY road starts at the toes of Louisville’s clinic escorts. We’re doing our part to hold space and advocate for abortion access because who knows what the extremists will take next.

Please read Part Two – the Patients, and Part Three – the clinic staff as well.

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Hard Hearted and Homely

Protester to newer escort: Don’t do this, you’ll become hard hearted and homely like the other women here.

Different protester to different newer escort: Young lady, don’t follow these older women down this path, don’t let them trick you into doing this.

Escorts show up independently, for a wide variety of reasons, but never because the older women in our lives are dragging us out there. I do love the concept of a coven of witches leading the escorts, and I get why protesters think the escorts who are older women are the leaders. But escorts have no leaders and are simply individuals who work together towards common goals with a few binding principles. (Meanwhile I find concern regarding the physical appearance of any escort unnecessary and offensive.)

The biggest thing I hear in these comments is… fear? admiration? bitterness? from the protesters towards older women. Throughout my life I have admired and gravitated towards women who are older than me – women a few years older than me and women a few generations older than me (and now women who are not older than me but just seem that way because I think of myself as a years younger than I am). I grew up with a mom with amazing women friends. Women who were midwives, women who worked at abortion clinics, women who taught dance classes at juvenile detention centers. It’s the same characteristics that make older women seem like leaders that draw me toward them. I see actions driven by compassion and respect for others, carried out with a sense of self-assuredness, assertiveness, and self-respect. So yes, sign me up to be a hard hearted, homely, older woman escort if that’s the price you pay for those qualities. You can also sign me up for the secret coven, and give me my crone card. I’m in.

Creating and Affirming Their Own Narratives

Anti’s love to “argue” with escorts and clients, but it isn’t a typical argument.  After the client has gone into the clinic, the anti’s will (using amplification) have an
argument with them.  The anti’s play themselves and the client.  They speak for the client, then knock down their made up client’s concerns with their own ideas.  They
do this with escorts too, since we won’t engage with them (see the Points of Unity).  We aren’t there to debate with anti’s, so anti’s create an escort argument that they
can “win” over. They also get really upset that we won’t talk to them.  “Will you get in trouble if you talk to me?  Why won’t you debate me?  You have no argument against
what I am saying?  Why can’t we dialog and reason together?”.  As if the personal medical choices of a third-party would be up for debate by two strangers on a sidewalk.
Talk about bad logic and reasoning.

Support Access in KY!

Louisville Clinic Escorts are giddy about all the support people are offering us from near and far.

As we’ve mentioned in the statements pictured below, it is not helpful for our supporters to show up at the clinic, BUT other groups have taken the time to be intentional about supporting us in ways that can help community members be engaged in the struggle for access in KY by planning a series of events! Follow these links for more details:

Thursday July 20th – Exclusive FREE Showing of the film Jackson. co-sponsored by EMW Women’s Surgical Center, Louisville Clinic Escorts, and KY A Fund Inc.  ASL interpretation provided!

Friday July 21st – Karaoke with Lady Parts Justice League, ACLU – KY, Kentucky Health Justice Network, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, and more friends!

Saturday July 22nd – LPJL’s Vagical Mystery Tour (with special guests) will be at Headliner’s Music Hall! ASL interpretation provided!

Sunday July 23rd – LPJL, ACLU, KHJN. & PPINK are hosting a Werkshop (registration required) about ways to support existing efforts to preserve and improve access.  ASL interpretation provided!

Saturday July 22-Saturday July 29th – Pledge – Picketer FUNdraiser for Louisville Clinic Escort’s Legal Defense Fund! See details here. In short: the more bullies show up at the clinic, the more $$ goes towards access in KY. Invite your friends to the FB event and make a pledge today!

Hope to see y’all there!!!!

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Fundraising Concert!

Louisville Clinic Escorts is holding a concert fundraiser tomorrow, June 25, in order to raise money for our Legal Defense Fund. The fundraiser will be held at:

The Nachbar
969 Charles St.
Louisville, KY 40204

Since it’s a bar, kids are not allowed (sorry y’all). The weather is supposed to be great so the music will be on the patio.

Music line up:
6:00-8:00 Bridge 19
8:00-11:00 Squeeze-bot

Food from New Wave Burritos will be for sale starting at 6:00.
Boulevard Brewing is doing a tap takeover concurrently with the fundraiser.

Lady Parts Justice League has graciously donated 2 pairs of tickets to their July 22 Vagical Mystery Tour show at Headliners. The escorts will be selling a variety of buttons for $5 and the purchase of a button gets you a raffle ticket for the Headliners tickets. Donating $10 will get you 3 raffle tickets. The drawing will happen at the end of the night and you *do not* have to be present to win.

Invite your friends and use #FundESM on social media.
Twitter: @LouClinicEscort
Facebook: @LouClinicEscrts
Web: EverySaturdayMorning.net

To invite your friends on Facebook, send them to bit.ly/LCEfundraiser

If you can’t make it in person tomorrow, feel free to send us your support on social media and your donations via PayPal. Just send donations to everysaturdaymorning@gmail.com

(Louisville Clinic Escorts is not a 501c3)

The NY Emergency Safety Zone

On June 23, the New York Attorney General’s office issued the following press release:
https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-files-lawsuit-end-persistent-harassment-women-entering-womens-health

Tl;dr: Due to the harassment suffered by patients, escorts, and staff of Choices clinic in Queens, the NY AG has filed a lawsuit under the FACE Act (and a NY state clinic access law) barring the defendants from harassing those seeking or providing healthcare. This lawsuit and preliminary injunction also seeks to create a 16-foot safety zone in front of Choices clinic.

The protestor behavior the AG cites as grounds for the lawsuit is too familiar for Louisville escorts at EMW. As I read through the list of offenses the protestors are alleged to have committed, I thought “check, check, check…yeah, I’ve seen all of those in Louisville.”

Graphic signs identical to those displayed outside Choices clinic are used to intimidate, harass, and block patients entering EMW. As mentioned in the recent June 14 Metro Council Public Safety Committee meeting, signs have been used to make physical contact with escorts. While not shown in the NY video linked above, I have no doubt the escorts outside Choices have suffered similar unwanted contact.

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Unfortunately, the environment in Louisville is one of escalating violence. In January 2017, a 67 year-old escort was knocked to the ground by a member of the local chapter of Operation Save America. A complaint was made to LMPD, but no charges were filed. Then, of course, there was the Mother’s Day weekend protest in which emboldened OSA protestors flooded in from across the nation to block the clinic doors and test the FACE Act. And they’ve already scheduled their return visit.

I’m jealous of the escorts at Choices for one reason: it appears that the NY state government has their backs. Escorts at EMW receive no such state support. We have Governor Matt Bevin, who met with OSA privately in February (immediately after they displayed graphic signs outside a middle school and had to be removed).

It will take an act of courage for the Metro Council to pass a safety zone in Louisville. Any issue even tangentially related to the topic of abortion enters into thorny political territory. But remember: this is a public safety issue. It doesn’t matter what political message is printed on those signs or who is holding them, the signs are still being used to physically harass escorts.

We can’t rely on the Commonwealth to care about our safety. We can only hope the Metro Council cares enough about the threat of national extremists to take steps to protect Louisville residents and visitors.


Louisville Clinic Escorts is currently raising money for our Legal Defense Fund. We will be having a concert fundraiser June 25 at 6PM in Louisville, KY. The venue will be announced 24 hours before the fundraiser’s start time on this blog and at the event link below. Donations can be made in person at this event. The fundraiser will feature music by two local bands, a tap takeover at the venue, and a local restaurant selling food. Event information can be found here: http://www.bit.ly/LCEfundraiser

Additionally, donations can be made via PayPal. Just send your donations to everysaturdaymorning@gmail.com (Louisville Clinic Escorts is not a 501c3)

Sidewalk Snippet 06/21/17

Is bad behavior contagious? Many of the anti-choice protestors that target EMW have been harassing the clinic’s patients for years. However, over the past couple years, new and more aggressive groups have begun targeting KY’s last remaining abortion clinic. The bad behavior of these new groups seems to be infecting some of the older protestors and they’re causing public safety issues.

This morning, one of the “sweet old lady” protestors* crossed the property line to harass a client and her companion. An escort told this woman to step back over the property line and onto the sidewalk. The protestor told the escort that she can do as she pleases. Later in the morning, a different protestor stood in the street while wearing a sign around his neck. He must have stood there for at least 20 minutes. Again, these are older protestors who have been harassing clients for years, but they seem to be getting more aggressive.

After the Metro Council discussion on the possibility of a Safety Zone outside EMW, we’ve noticed some extra LMPD patrols in the area. We’re very appreciative of their efforts but they’re not able to be there every second of every day. A Safety Zone at the clinic is needed to ensure patient safety and to end the blatant trespassing and harassment outside EMW.

*There is nothing sweet about any of these people. This is just the impression they try to give clients at first.


Louisville Clinic Escorts is currently raising money for our Legal Defense Fund. We will be having a concert fundraiser June 25 at 6PM in Louisville, KY. The venue will be announced 24 hours before the fundraiser’s start time on this blog and at the event link below. Donations can be made in person at this event. The fundraiser will feature music by two local bands, a tap takeover at the venue, and a local restaurant selling food. Event information can be found here: http://www.bit.ly/LCEfundraiser

Additionally, donations can be made via PayPal. Just send your donations to everysaturdaymorning@gmail.com (Louisville Clinic Escorts is not a 501c3)