Road Rally a Success!

A great time was had by all at the Kentucky Road Rally for Reproductive Rights on Saturday, November 2nd. On a beautiful fall day, we had a fantastic turnout and an awesome slate of speakers who fired up the crowd in advance of the 2014 legislative session. Truly, we could not have asked for better weather on a November weekend.
Capitol
Many thanks to all our speakers for their thoughtful words.
Road Rally Speakers
Dawn Cooley, minister at First Unitarian Church in Louisville, spoke about the intersection of faith and reproductive rights, emphasizing that the right-wing evangelicals do not possess the morality of reproductive issues.
DerekAndFrede
Derek Selznick (left), from the ACLU of Kentucky really heated up the crowd as he spoke to his experience lobbying for family-positive legislation in the Capitol, the building on which steps we rallied. F (right) spoke movingly about her abortion experience that was rife with hurdles and complications, problems arising primarily from anti-woman legislation.
ClinicEscortatRally
Michelle Kinsey Bruns joined us, who tweets as @ClinicEscort, driving from Washington, D.C. to be a part of the action. Her words about moving from compassion were a beautiful cap on the day.
Mel
We are thankful to have had media coverage from the Lexington ABC affiliate, WTVQ, and from Kentucky Public Radio, whose story can be followed on the Louisville public radio station or WKYU. It is important that our message reach both legislators and like-minded citizens.
Merch
Specifically, in Kentucky, there is an immediate concern of which to keep abreast. A longtime reproductive rights activist, Kathy Stein, has been appointed to the judiciary. Her vacant seat will be filled in a special election on December 10th. Many of our District 13/Fayette County (Lexington) allies were busy knocking on doors on Saturday, in the run-up to that special election. We are following that race closely, as Stein’s vote was often an important one in blocking anti-family, anti-woman legislation in our State Senate.
PreacherAndHerPulpit

What’s Next

Rally attendees were encouraged to return to their homes and speak out about being supporters of reproductive rights. You can join in the next steps, too!

1. Invite two or three friends for coffee or lunch and chat about an article on reproductive rights. RHRealityCheck.org is a great place to find something to talk about, as is ReproductiveRights.org or ACLU.org/reproductive-freedom.

2. From these two or three friends and you, begin an activist club, where you meet regularly to discuss articles, learn about legislation, and keep up-to-date on what’s happening in court dockets.

3. Find out who your legislator is – on the state level and the national level. How are they voting on issues about reproductive rights? Make sure your voice is heard when they have bills to consider that affect reproductive rights.

4. Keep up-to-date on bills in congress. For Kentucky, specifically, you can see what bills have been prefiled or, once the legislature is in session, what bills have been filed, what’s being heard in committee, what is being voted on, who wrote the bills, who else is sponsoring them – in other words, more information than you ever thought you could learn in one spot. By clicking on different subject headings – Women, Public Health, Children, etc – you can keep yourself informed about what our representatives in Frankfort are doing. Better yet, sign up for BILL WATCH, a service that your tax dollars are subsidizing, so, you know, use it!

5. Get involved with a local group! Find a group near you that is working on reproductive rights. The ACLU of Kentucky has an email list that will send out email blasts about pending legislation, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky is a great resource, too. There are many other groups, like the Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, the Unitarian Univeralist Social Justice Network, and others. Many of them sponsored the rally, so be sure to check out the sponsors’ page on the website to find links to their websites.
Sara
Over the coming days and weeks, the rallly website will have a new tab for “What’s Next,” where this information, and more!, will be available. We will be posting resources to keep you informed, and ways you can link into local groups working for reproductive rights.

Let’s make 2014 the year that Kentucky families get the support they need – in comprehensive sex education, affordable and accessible contraception, access to abortion services, and family support programs – because Kentucky families deserve better!

The Last Abortion Clinic

We have been enjoying a great clinic escort blog. It is written by the clinic escorts at Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Jackson, Mississippi. It is titled “The Last Abortion Clinic” and tells the daily stories of supporting clients in the presence of not only local protesters, but some sent by Operation Rescue. Some of us are hoping to meet these escorts in person at their rally on August 17. The people in Mississippi are fighting back!

The States of Refuge Campaign* started January 2012 by Operation Rescue targeted five states with only one abortion clinic. (Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming) Their goal is to have a state with no abortion clinics. They are close to their goal in Mississippi by convincing legislators to pass a TRAP law concerning admitting privileges for the physicians who perform abortions. There is a court order blocking the enforcement of the law, but the Jackson clinic is due in court again soon.

Every day we seem to read about proposed legislation to restrict abortion; pending closings of health clinics that don’t even perform abortions as collateral damage from laws written to “make women safe.”  Two clinics closed in Virginia this month.. The current laws in Texas have a prediction of 37 out of 42 clinics closing if the courts uphold them. The last abortion clinic in Green Bay, WI closed this month. This list could be a long list if I included everything from this year.

What happens when abortion restrictions make it difficult for people to end a pregnancy? Dr. John J. Sciarra offers this opinion in the Chicago Tribune:

  • “No law that has ever been passed and no law that ever will be passed can prevent a determined woman from trying to end an unwanted pregnancy. Society and hospitals must accept their role in keeping women safe in that process.

Where can these determined women turn when they seek abortion help? What do minors do who live in a state without easy access to abortion and difficult judicial by-pass laws? When the cost of an abortion is out of reach for so many, how will they be able to add transportation to another state, lodging, time off work, and childcare to the amounts they were already struggling to find?

They are already turning to unsafe purchases of abortion medications from online sources or flea market vendors, because “Only people with money go to clinics.” Do it yourself abortions will be more common, with the dangers of permanent injury or death Dr. Jen Gunter spells out graphically in her article “Anatomy of a Coat Hanger Abortion.”

Are we going to have to devise our own counseling services network to transport clients from state to state to get clients to the closest open abortion clinic; working like the Jane Network but focusing on transportation to a safe, legal abortionist? In 2008, one-third of US patients had to travel more than 25 miles for abortion services. Now they have to travel further and 87% of US counties do not have an abortion provider. How many miles is to the nearest abortion clinic if the one near you closed?

I fear as women become more desperate to end a pregnancy in the face of rising restrictions and obstacles, they will  turn to self-administered drugs without understanding their instructions or the risks,  like what happened in IN this month. Worse, they may turn to an illegal abortionist because they are less expensive, closer and accessible.

The way it was before Roe vs Wade has been romanticized in books and movies, like “Dirty Dancing” and “Cider House Rules.” There was nothing heart-warming about that time. It was a scary time for an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy. Women had their plans for their future derailed, died or were permanently injured and they will be again if this trend isn’t reversed.

We can never go back.

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*All links to anti-abortion websites have been omitted purposely. Please use Google or message us separately if you would like a citation for sources.

Sidewalk Snippet~by Skeletor {07/29/13}

It was a small group one morning, not many antis and not many escorts. A couple of clients had already pulled into the pay lot, though the clinic doors weren’t yet open, when one client came walking up by herself. There were so few antis that she snuck onto the property with no fuss. I was able to let her know the situation pretty easily, without too many people shouting at her from across the property line. She thanked me and then buried her face in her phone and I stepped back to the property line. This is a common defense mechanism of clients who wait at the door before the clinic opens – and a smart one, I would add. Bring headphones too.

D stepped up beside me at the property line and began talking to the client in her “I’m just a sweet old lady” voice that she invokes at the beginning of many confrontations. The client was going to have none of it and, after repeated requests to stop talking to her, the client wheeled on D and started giving her a piece of her mind. The other escort and I weren’t sure whether to step in and try to distract the client to de-escalate, or to let her go. After all, we really wanted to give her a fist bump and a couple of “Hell yeahs!”

As the conversation/debate/verbal brawl continued, D dropped the little old lady act, as she is often want to do, and took on her very comfortable tone of disapproval and reproach. The client was really giving D a piece of her mind, but it was so carefully thought out and calmly worded that D quickly became flustered. D and the other antis are used to being able to bully clients into dumbfoundedness, but this client had just turned the tables.

In the middle of this tete-a-tete, the clinic doors were unlocked. The other escort and I kept trying to find a moment to interrupt to let the client know she could go on in. When we did catch her eye and motioned to her that she could go in, she finished her thought to D and stormed into the clinic. D was left stunned and, now, she was the one who was dumbfounded.

So many times, the bullying tactics of the antis cause such distress that clients retreat inward. It was pure gold to see a client call out an anti – any anti – but this anti, in particular, for their hypocrisy and shameful behavior.

Sidewalk Snippet ~ {3/18/13}

There are times a client and/or companion is so empowered they instantly gain my admiration.

The companion got out of the car first. E was hovering right behind me ready to start shaming. I was able to explain the vests and offer to escort them before he began his spiel. E handed the companion some literature. When I explained he was a protester, they handed it right back to him.

The companion and I escorted the client down the sidewalk. We were in a line: E, companion, client and me. E started with “Women regret their abortions. Don’t lead her into this place.” The companion waved dismissively at him and said, “Oh, I know all about abortion. I have had 10 already.” There was a pause then E leaned over towards the client and said “You don’t have to go into that place.” The client turned to me and said, “I am not listening to him.” I replied that was best.

We walked to the clinic entrance with E talking the whole time, but nobody was paying any attention to him.

It was great to witness these two completely ignoring the words meant to hurt and shame them. They are just words. The antis don’t know anything about the clients and why they made the decision for abortion. I felt privileged to witness this calm confidence.

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REMINDER:  Kentucky Support Network’s 2013 Bowl-a-Thon is April 19

There are many ways to get involved:

    • Captain a team, set a fundraising goal, and recruit 4-6 other bowlers to work together to meet that goal
    • Join or donate to an existing team
    • Show your support by attending the event
    • Share this information with your friends, family, coworkers, and networks via email, Facebook, Twitter, other social media, or good old-fashioned word of mouth!

However you choose to get involved, know that your support is invaluable in helping people from all walks of life realize their reproductive rights!

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REMINDER: Our annual  fund drive Pledge-A-Picketer is NOW!
The Saturday before Mother’s Day is the biggest protester day of the year.  It also is the date  where we count protesters for donations to support the pro-choice effort and the escorts.  You can pledge a certain amount for each protester showing up that morning. If you prefer, you can also make a straight monetary donation.
Use this form to make your pledge:

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Sidewalk Snippet ~ {2/18/13}

The morning was cold, snowy and the roads and sidewalk were slick. There were fewer antis than we normally see, but there were so many empowered clients I don’t think it would have made any difference.

Fully half of the clients arriving declined our offers to walk with them. With smiles and kind words, they told us “We’ve got this” and “They won’t bother me.” We had several clients thank us for being there, but they just walked past the antis like they were not there; ignoring all the things they were saying.

I thought about Kescort this morning. He recently requested we post stories about the number of clients who are confident and move past the antis with ease. This morning was custom made for his request.

My First Day Escorting ~ by Anonymous

The morning was cold and dark and I was nervous. My partner had been escorting for a few weeks by this time so I had heard some stories, learned some names and I hoped that would help calm me. Then we parked and I saw the number of protesters lining the sidewalk and I knew calm was too much to hope for.

I don’t do well in confrontation, my heart races and I feel shaky and I shut down a bit, so I was very relieved to learn that all I had to do was stand and open the door for clients. I thought I could handle that easily; then a street preacher mounted his box. He was speaking at the top of his voice about god and judgment and the blood of the innocent.

It seemed to agitate people. The protesters started moving around and whispering to each other, the prayer line started chanting ‘Hail Mary’s’ and my heart started racing. In a way the cold helped me because I could hide behind my hat and gloves and scarf, but goodness he was loud and I honestly wasn’t sure this was something I could do.

Then I recognized the preacher’s voice and I stole a glance at him to confirm (I was working really hard not to look at anybody before that). This was the same man who preached and protested at the Zombie Walk for at least the past two years because, I guess next to homosexuals and abortion god hates zombies most. . . or maybe he loves them and hates our mockery of them, I really don’t know the logic. I found his presence at the Zombie Walk ridiculous and that gave me the space to think of his presence on the sidewalk in the same light. I laughed a bit, and with that the anxiety seemed to wash away.

I reluctantly admit I had fun that day. Once I opened my eyes to the absurdity of the preacher I saw it everywhere. The preaching, the dubious “facts”, the pleas that sounded a lot like insults. How could anyone say these things and expect to be taken seriously? Expect to change someone’s mind? Expect to be called on for counsel? It was like the protesters were performing a farce just for me.

When we left to meet everyone for breakfast I was practically giddy, until I heard how horrible the day was for others. Since I was only manning the door I was sheltered from the physical and emotional bullying tactics faced when you walk with a client. I had dealt with this for one single morning, while these wonderful people had been slogging through the muck for months and years. I left breakfast feeling selfish and shallow. How could I find humor when people were hurting?

It took me some days and a few more mornings escorting to realize my reaction was alright. I know my stressful, horrible days are coming. I think that’s inevitable when you do something like this. I’m only human.

Each escort has to find their way to cope on the sidewalk and I’m very lucky that I found out early that my love of the absurd and my sarcastic inner voice are going to help me. They are what I will fall back on when the morning seems especially dark.

Where Do I Park?

The client and companion pulled into the drop-off zone to ask where to park. It was about 30 minutes before the doors of the clinic normally open. We discussed options and I gave them directions to the $3 parking lot. Before I moved away from the car, I warned them about the antis not wearing orange vests and that they may approach them to talk and give out literature.

They were starting to pull over to the lot when D approached their car. She was talking to them when I re-approached the car to let them know she was a protester. D turned to me and said, “You are so rude. You had your turn to talk to them. Now it is my turn. You say you are pro-choice. They need to know their choices.” Since I had said what I needed to let them know, I  backed off and let her talk.

Escorts watched as the car drove down the street and turned the corner, bypassing the public parking lot. I alerted another escort to the fact they might have been diverted to the AWC lot by D. This is a common tactic we see. They offer free parking in their lot, but it comes with a lot of talking about the “right choice.” It is usually easier to pay for parking than hear the words meant to shame and coerce clients into their clinic.

The other escort was able to stop them just before they parked in the AWC lot. The companion told the escort the woman (meaning D) said they would have to pay for an ultrasound at EMW, but they could get it from AWC free. When it was explained to them that they didn’t have to pay extra for the ultrasound at EMW*, the free ultrasound performed at AWC would not be accepted by EMW* and they would just have to have another one, and AWC was an anti-abortion clinic, they parked their car in the public lot as originally planned.

D arrived at the AWC parking lot just as the client and companion were pulling away. She approached the other escort and asked, “If you die tonight, do you know where you are going?”

The companion was really upset when I went over to help them with the payment box. We discussed what had happened to them. They were mad they were lied to by D. I explained we cannot control what the antis say, but agreed it was frustrating.

As I was leaving, I warned them about the antis approaching their car even in the parking lot and suggested they did not need to roll their windows down if they didn’t want to. I told them we would come get them when the clinic doors opened.  Sure enough, shortly after I left the lot four antis surrounded their car trying to get them to roll their windows down. The antis began sticking literature on their windshield without permission.

The companion called the police to report their harassment. Two squad cars arrived within minutes and spoke to the antis. The four antis moved to the corner of the lot and stayed away from the car after their conversation with the officers. We did not hear what was said, but we were able to escort the client and companion without further incident.

When I went into the lobby of the clinic a short while after they entered, the companion asked me why the protesters were allowed to go right up to clients. “There should be a distance they have to stay away. This isn’t right.” I agreed and explained there was no bubble/buffer zone in Louisville. The companion expressed their anger over the whole situation.

I have to agree, lying, shaming, judging and harassment from the antis just makes the day more difficult than it has to be for everyone.

*The ultrasound at EMW is included in the procedure fees. There is no association between EMW and AWC. A procedure done at AWC will not generate a discounted fee from EMW. It will just cause the client to have duplicate procedures.

Fewer Antis

The last weekend in January was a pretty calm one for abortion clinics around the country. The annual anti-abortion March for Life protest, normally held on the anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision, was moved to Friday the 25th. Most of our regular antis were in Washington or on the way home instead of harassing clients on the sidewalk in Louisville. We heard from other clinics around the country who saw the same thinning in the numbers of antis. One clinic even reported no one showed up to protest. Not one anti; the embodiment of wishes coming true.

The antis who were here in Louisville did their best to make up for their lack of numbers with volume. Standing by the door of the clinic, we had a small choral group singing hymns where the soapbox preachers usually set up. Who doesn’t want to hear an off-tune rendition of a hymn when they enter a medical facility?

We had three antis taking turns yelling at the door and window of the clinic.  “You cannot drown out the voice of God. He is calling you to stop and turn from this sin.” “We know this isn’t an easy thing. That’s why we are here. We want to care for you. We want to help you. We want to invite you into our homes.” “Everyone here today has sinned. We pray you see the light. If not, you are going to hell.” “What you are doing is murder. If you went down to the maternity ward of the local hospital and someone was going room to room cutting up babies, you would think that was awful. Well, that is what is going on here today.” What was going on at the clinic was shaming and harassment.

This is what it was like.*

.

Interesting things happen when there are fewer antis on the sidewalk. There is a competitive air among them to be the loudest and most sincere sounding. Any client arriving at the doors is instantly surrounded by a group. Sometimes this really works against them.

There was a faked intervention staged on the sidewalk. They took great pains to disguise their purpose, but the cameraman walking backwards and filming raised suspicions at least in the escorts. A woman walking to the clinic had a camera documenting her steps and interactions with the people on the sidewalk. With tears in her eyes, she allowed herself to be led away from the clinic door by a couple of antis. In fact, she had a whole group of antis surrounding her and pulling on her arms. There were no escorts around her. She had waved us away and we went. That competitive spirit of the antis to intervene undid a lot of the work put into faking the walk. We are not sure what they were trying to accomplish, but antis interfered with them so many times they were a slow moving crowd of people by the time the woman reached the entrance to the clinic. Escorts did not interfere and were just observing. It pretty well nullified the “evil escort” trope. Of course, with judicious editing it could be made to appear otherwise.

When she and the people with her were leaving, they told another escort they were making “just a film.” The escort took photos of them and gave the information to the clinic. Of course, when the escort took pictures they took pictures of the escort taking pictures of them. Photo standoffs are common on the sidewalk. It was definitely a photo opportunity day with many cameras and cell phones documenting both sides.

We didn’t have as many protesters out and few of the regular ones we write about all of the time, but it was far from just another Saturday. I found myself envious of the clinic with no antis present.

* Thank you to escort J for capturing this video.

Blog for Choice Day 2013

Every year this blog participates in NARAL’s Blog for Choice Day on the anniversary of the Roe vs Wade decision. This year’s theme is “Tell your story about why you’re pro-choice.” This year is memorable because it is the 40th Anniversary of the decision. We are honored to participate again this year.

Since escorts in Louisville are a diverse group of individuals, we wanted to give voice to different viewpoints from everyone wanting to contribute. It has become an interesting collection of different stories.

bfcd-2013

FK

I am French but have lived in the Midwest for 6 years.  I had previously spent time in New York, and the culture shock of being in the U.S. was not really felt there.  Only when I came to Indiana and saw anti-abortion protesters marching on the town square, carrying gory, photo-shopped pictures of aborted fetuses, did I begin to realize the kind of environment in which I was living.

In 2007, while in my 1st year as a graduate student at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, I became pregnant and made the choice to have an abortion.  Soon after making that personal decision, I was faced with Indiana laws.  It first hit me when I placed a call to Planned Parenthood and, rather than being scheduled and told how to prepare, I was asked if I wanted to speak to a minister and arrange for an ultrasound, and told that by law I had to wait a minimum of five weeks — long enough for the heart to start beating.  None of it made sense to me; I had already made my decision, after much soul-searching and personal anguish.  I didn’t need help with the decision, nor did I need time to think it over.  I needed medical assistance.

I had also seen the protesters in Bloomington.  Their aggressiveness and ravings were a very real deterrent, particularly since I was feeling so vulnerable.  I had made a very personal decision, and I felt they were trying to make me feel accountable to them for it, to run a gauntlet of shame and guilt just to get to the clinic door — unless you’re lucky enough to have wonderful escorts standing by to help, like the ones here in Louisville.  So, with my very limited finances and the help of friends, I arranged a trip to Chicago, where I was still shown an ultrasound photo but was at least helped without having to clear too many other obstacles.

It was still an ordeal: I opted for mifepristone, or “the pill,” but my uterus never emptied after the misoprostol.  By that time I had returned to Bloomington and began to experience increasing pain.  I needed to visit Chicago again, a task made nearly impossible by blatantly pro-life psychiatric staff in Bloomington who, fearing I was suicidal because of their own preconceptions, locked me in isolation, gave me yet another unnecessary ultrasound, and refused medical treatment, though they were fully aware of my condition and knew that I needed immediate treatment for infection.  Only after friends in Bloomington noticed my absence and threatened legal action was I able to escape the hospital and return to Chicago for a D&C, all the while having missed classes which resulted in my being put on academic probation.

Thinking about this experience still makes me shudder, no less so since in France abortions are now free, and even in 2007, they were cheap and readily available, with no protesters or legal obstacles to cause guilt, stigma, and difficulty.  I don’t mean to glorify my country, but I did take my freedom of choice for granted in France, and only after my ordeal in the U.S. did I realize how dearly I cherish it.  I think also about the gender biases inherent in the whole abortion discussion, and in society in general, about how we glorify the “self-made man,” never leaving room for the self-made woman.  How can there be such a thing when she is required to carry a child, but there is no requirement to support her when she does?

In the end, I feel I was lucky.  Many other women succumb to stigma and pressure from those around them, in spite of their own feelings and misgivings.  I had enough support, and I felt empowered enough, that I was able to take control of my life.  I still plan to have a family, albeit under different, better circumstances, after I have achieved the means and the stability to raise children with all the opportunities they need and deserve.  My life, and my children’s lives, would be much different, had I not had the freedom granted by Roe v. Wade.

Ampelio

Because I believe in democracy.

Kescort

“Pro-Choice”, to me, sounds like “Pro-Gravity.” Self-determination, especially in an arena as personal as parenting, simply IS. Laws can pass, obstacles erected, dogmas cast, social memes evoked. When, if, and how often someone becomes a mother has always, is now, and will forever be, that person’s choice.

I escort at the local clinic, contribute to our local A-Fund, hound my representatives to stop anti-access legislation because safe, unobstructed reproductive health care is healthy and humane. And the State and churches ought to be concentrating their efforts on bigger issues in which their influence may actually bring about some good.

And I am optimistic that this day is coming. Because unsupported beliefs in such things as “one-right-way” fall just as sure as unsupported objects fall to the centre of the Earth.

MMS

There was a confluence of factors that caused me to embrace Choice. Strong women in my family. Vatican II which threw open the doors and windows of the Roman Catholic Church to winds that buffeted the rigid patriarchal dogma and tradition. The righteous, confrontational actions of the Civil Rights heroines and heroes. The writings and speeches of the feminists in the late 60s and early 70s. My partner who supported the evolution of my belief in the absolute right of every woman to determine what happens to her body.

Servalbear

When I first thought about the subject for this year’s Blog for Choice, I started trying to remember when I knew terminating a pregnancy could be an option. It is a subject I have difficulty separating from when I first felt passionately about women’s rights. From my first awareness of the double standard applied to men and women in assessing blame for unwanted pregnancies (woman=slut/bad; man=boys will be boys/couldn’t help themselves) to today, I have constantly reacted with, “It’s not fair.” What is fair is access to reproductive choices for everyone. Only the one with the potential to be pregnant or carrying a pregnancy knows the right decision for them. We need to fight for access to whatever that decision might be..

PG

How could I not be pro-choice?  In 1945 my younger sister was born, and my mother nearly died.  Doctors told her she was not in good enough physical condition to ever have had babies.  But they refused to sterilize her.  What was she to do, a married woman with two young children, terrified she would get pregnant again?   Doctors had no solution for her.  So when abortion was legalized in 1973, I was so glad, and thought it was a whole new world for women and our reproductive issues.  It was good to know my two daughters would have control over their own bodies.   Little did I know that 40 years later we would be fighting to keep these rights for our health and our lives.  We somehow need to make the general public aware of the dangers of women losing their reproductive rights.

FML

I’ve written before here about my reasons – girls I knew in high school, women when I was a young mother.  Yesterday, at an abortion speak-out I heard twenty amazing stories of why women chose to abort a pregnancy.  Each of the stories by itself was a compelling argument for access to abortion.  Combined, it was almost overwhelming.  If I multiply that by all the women who have their own stories, their own compelling reasons,  then it’s clear.  Abortion IS a woman’s decision.  We must keep it legal and safe.

Sidewalk Snippet ~ {1/19/13}

The weekday morning was pretty intense. First, it was pouring down rain; steady and cold rain. Second, there were about 3 antis to every escort.

The antis were carrying umbrellas, huddling up by the clinic entrance and stretched across the sidewalk. Most of the morning was spent walking around their obstructions while trying to avoid being poked by an umbrella. That’s trickier than it sounds. All of the clients were able to enter the clinic with no incidents, even with antis blocking the sidewalk.

On mornings when there are more antis than escorts, the antis always decide to try to engage the escorts. .As one group of antis were leaving, one held up a copy of the DVD “180” in front of me. He asked, “Would you like a free DVD?” I replied, “Are you kidding?” “No, it’s free.” “No, thank you.” “You should watch it. It is free.” “This conversation is ended. I prefer not to talk with you.” “Oh, you don’t want to engage.” “No.” With that I turned my back.

There is one thing I did wrong. The first response should have been no response or, “I do not talk to antis.” I was just so surprised that he would offer that vile* video to an escort that for the past hour he had been blocking and telling clients I was just misleading them. My response just popped out.

The second thing that struck me was the repetition of “free.” Was I supposed to say, “Oh, it’s free. Okay. I love free things. I’ll watch anything if it’s free.” The disconnect on the part of some antis is a constant amazement to me.

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*I have watched the film and this is my personal review.