A little safety and little sanity

This piece was written by an escort who is fairly new to the whole thing, these are her thoughts on what she saw last Saturday.
I started thinking about Afghanistan.  The Taliban.  Southeast Christian Church.

The men at the abortion clinic, the anti-abortion men who were standing there today like sentries; the pray-ers were almost all male today, except for a couple of nuns and a young woman or two.  The Puritan Fathers and their side-kicks; they are the gauntlet, reciting their rosary.  They fling the prayer like darts.

HailMaryfullofgracetheLordiswiththeeblessedartthouamongstwomentandblessedisthefruitofthywombJesus

and I can’t help it, I answer too in my head:

HolyMaryMotherofGodprayforussinnersnowandatthehourofourdeatha men.

But worse than that was Yellow Shirt, he must have been 6’3”, right in front of us, walking backwards, yelling, “Don’t kill your baby, abortion is wrong, abortion is always wrong, it would be wrong for me to rape you, that would always be wrong, for me to rape you would always be wrong, and abortion is always wrong, it’s wrong for you to kill your baby,”  louder and louder, over and over.

It makes me think about all the women who get raped, not just here, but in Rwanda and the Congo and in countries where women count for even less, have less power, than they do here.  Really, it is like he says, I guess, rape is a choice too, and – are we supposed to be grateful that he’s not choosing to rape anyone today?  Or at least not right now?

And if there’s a man with the client, Yellow Shirt says, “Be a man, don’t kill your baby, listen to me brother, men don’t kill their babies, be a man, don’t let her do this, don’t let her kill your baby…”

I think about my friend Mike’s mother, years ago, back in the 40’s,  when she was having Mike, she was in a military hospital, her husband, Mike’s Dad, was a kind of high ranking officer, and he was out somewhere when she went into labor.

So they called him, and he told them “don’t let her have that baby ‘til I get there.”

So they didn’t, you know, they actually tied her legs together so she couldn’t have it ‘til he got there.

It messed Mike up too  – gave him Bells Palsy – paralyzed him on one side, his shoulder and his arm.  When he was 11 or 12 they developed a surgery that fixed it, so he got the use of his arm then.  But you know, they frigging tied her legs together because her husband said, “Don’t let her have that baby til I get there.”

And crazy Mary today, cause it’s not just men, and crazy Mary was so crazy today, leaning on me, pushing on me, trying to get closer to the woman.  And Mary too, chanting, “Don’t do this, it’s wrong, you’ll regret it, look at this, you’ll be sorry, don’t kill your precious unborn baby, just look at this, look at this,…” trying to shove a picture of a fetus in the client’s face.

I never thought I’d be escorting at the abortion clinic.  I have so much ambivalence about abortion.  Kind of like war.  I hate it, wish it didn’t exist – but I wasn’t out there screaming “baby killer” at the soldiers that came back from Vietnam, and didn’t think anyone else should have either.

There was a guy on a bicycle at the clinic today, he wasn’t with any of the regulars, he was alone.  He stationed his bike so it was halfway across the sidewalk, so it would be hard to get by with a client.

And A, who I’ve known forever, was there, and Crazy Mary was there, and A started reading the agreement that the “40 Days of Lifers” are supposed to have signed out loud.

She’s reading it to Mary, and Mary’s just grinning, and A’s reading it over and over, “I will not verbally harass anyone, I will not have physical contact with anyone,” and so on, getting louder and louder, “I will not verbally harass anyone…” and then Mary’s saying, “I’m not, you are,” and laughing and getting louder and louder and finally I say real quietly, “A, I don’t think engaging her is helping right now,” and she looks at me, and laughs, “I guess it’s not,” and stops.

And then she starts talking to the guy on the bike, and she says he’s not supposed to block the sidewalk,  and then he calls her a bitch, and says she needs to shut her mouth, he says something about some people deserve to die, but innocent babies don’t, and he rides off; and then another girl says he was telling her that he’s got guns, that he got a gun license because of things like this where he has to defend himself, and we all thought, oh, shit, and kind of half expected him to ride around the block and come back shooting.

But he didn’t.

And when we told the security guard about it, the guard even seemed concerned and said to let him know if bike guy came back.  Which I’m sure would be a big help.

It was when Dr. Tiller got killed that I started thinking maybe I should escort.  Sure, the “pro-life” people kept saying, oh, no, they didn’t mean that anybody should kill anybody, but it felt like they were thinking something different.   They sounded so innocent, and at the same time there was this undertone that maybe sometimes you had to be violent to save lives. It pissed me off.

Dr. George Tiller

Dr. George Tiller

The guard at the clinic was quite chatty today – he was talking about how when there’s physical contact, if both sides are involved, if there’s contact on both sides, it’s both their faults.  I said it was kind of hard, when Mary came up and started leaning on me, it was hard not to have physical contact back since she was pushing against me, and I’d have to knock into the client to move away from her.

He said that he thinks of the situation as sort of like if a whole bunch of people were waiting to buy tickets for a concert, and there’d naturally be some arguments and people saying, he pushed me, and no, I was here first.

I nodded like I agreed, sure I could see his point, then I mimed thinking real hard and I said, “Yeah, I see, but – gosh, really – we’re not all here for the same reason. Like, we’re not all here to buy tickets.”  And I’m still acting like I’m really thinking, which I guess in a way I was, and I say,

“I mean, the clients are the only ones that really belong here…”  pause, “and they just want to get to the clinic…,”

pause,

“and legally I think they’ve got a right to do that,”

big pause,

“and the protesters are actually trying to stop them from getting to the clinic – and

quickly

I wouldn’t even be here if the protesters didn’t harass them like they do.”

He looks at me with some amazement, and I say with a shrug,

“So, I don’t know…”

He says,

“Well, what I’d like to do is get some of these other people together first thing on Saturdays, you know, them other people, not youall, and just go over with them these rules, you know, just tell ‘em, this is the way it’s gonna be.”

Now it’s my turn to look amazed, and I hope I look admiring too, I say, “Wow.  That’d really be cool, wouldn’t it?”

you walk through that crowd

you walk through that crowd

And then there’s another car in the parking lot, and crazy Mary heading for it, along with some other chasers and just one escort, so I flash a smile at him, and cross the street.

But what really did it for me, got me down here at seven o’clock in the morning on a Saturday morning, was the Catholic church’s response to that situation in Central America, or maybe it was South America, with the nine year old girl.  Did you hear about it?  The little girl had been raped by her step-father, raped repeatedly, and was pregnant, she was pregnant with twins.  She was nine.  The doctor told her mother that she couldn’t possibly carry twins to term, that it would kill her.  So they all agreed that an abortion was necessary to save the little girl’s life.  And the Vatican rose up, in all its authoritarian glory, and said they were all excommunicated – the doctor, the nurses, even the little girl’s mother – they were all excommunicated.  Reminded me of the Red Queen screaming, “Off with their heads!”  But of course lots of other people besides me didn’t like it either, in fact, so many people complained that the Vatican apologized – yep, they came back and apologized, said that they had been wrong.  Said they should have expressed some compassion for the little girl, acknowledged how awful it was that this had happened to her, before they excommunicated everyone.

DSC02018

D’s escorting too, today, and I’ve known him a long time too. Towards the end today, when he realized what was going on with crazy Mary – he said, speaking softly,

“I realized every time she was with a group, it seemed like there were bodies flying,”

and of course there weren’t really, but it does feel like it. So he came across the street and said he was just going to stay on her.

“Where ever she goes, I’ll be there,” he said.

And sure enough, the next client, Mary started trying to move in on the side and Dan was just there, between her and the client, and he’s too big for her to reach around, and too strong for her to shove around, and he’s so gentle and calm that somehow the tension level went way down instead of up.  And I was so grateful, both at the moment and now.  It helps to remember how his power felt warm and reassuring and safe.

And really it’s good to remember just that, when the world starts to feel all too white male dominated, too hierarchical, too Puritan-Father, it’s good to remember that men are also D, and K, it’s good to remember all the others who, you know, use that masculine power for good.  Who aren’t scared of equal and don’t believe control is the only way to go.  Who, together with A and M and A and all of us, are working on bringing a little safety and a little sanity to the clinic.

Every Saturday morning.

October 3rd – Escorting video!

Head count: 15 or so escorts, 45ish prayers, 5 or more chasers, one cop.

After a somewhat strange Saturday last week, today seemed pretty boring, all things considered.

Mary was pushy. Brady was loud and tall. Angela and Soapbox preacher weren’t there so it was kind of quiet. Officer Harper was great as usual (I think he’s getting really fed up with Mary). The guy who stands near the door and says “PLEASE DON’T KILL YOUR LITTLE BABY” was creepy and aggressive (and threatened to push me). It was all kind of same old same old. One new addition to the chaos is lit candles near the statue of the big V (virgin Mary). Potential hazard, right? It’s getting chilly out, which means hats and scarves and stuff. Or I guess we could just stand by the candles for warmth…

So, because I don’t have a lot of interesting stories or anything from this week, I’ll take the opportunity to post a video that I edited a long while ago but haven’t gotten around to posting. It’s a compilation of clips that I’ve taken or that have been taken by other escorts at EMW. I feel like it makes things seem really intense – which can be true. But please, if you are a potential client or escort, DON’T let this scare you off! This is the worst of the worst, the craziest of the crazies. Things can be intense, but this is some of the more intense stuff all edited into a few minutes.

Have a lovely day!

-F

When Shut the hell up is just not enough

Saturday September 19, 2009

Escorts: 17

Protesters: 65

Cops: 1

The person in this video is very pregnant, 38 ish weeks to be more specific. And she seems to be under the impression that by throwing her big belly around she is going to change people’s minds. In the same way it is not ok to use your children as a means of shaming a person seeking an abortion, it is not ok to use your pregnant self as a political tool either.

This anti really does not like having her picture taken. You will remember her as the protester who told a client that had miscarried that she was lying. Saturday, right after I took this video I offered her a great deal: if she will leave clients alone when they ask her to, I will quit videoing her when she asks me too. It seems a fair offer to me but she refused. But I will be true to my word. Any time she backs completely off from a client who refuses her advances, I will respect her right and not video her as soon as she says the word. Until then, it is on.

These are not thinking people

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Escorts: 17

Protesters:  approxametly 80

Cops: 1

This past Saturday was

Off.

The Fucking.

Hook.

We had several cars full of male presenting people from out of state who, mostly prayed across the street in front of Subway, but several of them were chasing with the regular crew.

We met a new chaser who informed us she is 37 weeks pregnant and is having a boy.

Congratulations on a welcomed, happy, healthy pregnancy. I hope you don’t bring your child to the clinic and dangle it in front of clients walking backwards down the sidewalk like your cohort.

But there was one crazy that took the cake. In fact, I will venture to say that the level of inappropriate public behavior we saw this week has not ever been seen here in Louisville.

Observe video A, please keep an eye on the guy in the yellow shirt.

But it was after most of the protesters and escorts had gone home that his truly unhinged, fucked up view of the world showed itself. Here are two accounts of what happened from Escorts D and L who witnessed the majority of the incident.

she's not the one who's preggers 0 01 02-20

Escort D wrote:

I was involved in the White Castle/bathroom incident from the beginning. I saw the young woman, a client’s support person, leave the clinic and listened as L engaged her and asked if she wanted an escort. The young woman simply said she wanted to get out and take a walk, get some air. I suppose she was a bit bored in the clinic waiting room. She really didn’t need anyone to accompany her, but then ‘idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’ started tagging along and harassing her. I caught up with them just to keep an eye on things and hopefully help to de-escalate. But, ‘idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’, just didn’t get it and seemed to take this as a challenge. He hung on the whole way right to the door of White Castle, and after the young woman entered, said “I think I’ll go in and buy a coffee.” Well, this had become a ridiculous situation by this time and I just stepped in front of him and blocked the door of White Castle and told him to give the girl a break and leave her alone. That’s when he started yelling for the cop to say that I was blocking his entrance to a public place. L had followed the woman in, and soon popped out to say that it was ok, she had gone into the bathroom. So, I stepped away, and ‘idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’ went in the restaurant. (Does White Castle actually qualify as a “restaurant?) He was at a bit of a loss for a few minutes, but then went up to the bathroom door and continued his harassment through the door. He did this maybe two or three times. Then, he eventually, actually went to the counter to buy some coffee. I guess that’s because he knew I was watching, and as a Christian, he couldn’t allow himself to be caught up in a lie. While he was putting cream and sugar in his coffee, the woman came out of the bathroom, and L accompanied her out the side door. ‘Idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’ actually stayed at the counter to finish decorating his coffee, and L and I were able to get the woman back to the clinic, but not without further harassment from other idjit newbies {these are the above mentioned male presenting people who came in several cars with out of state plates. There is speculation they are all from Louisville’s own Southern Baptist Seminary, but this is completely unsubstantiated; though several of our most prominent protesters are confirmed SBS student}.

And here is the other account {please note idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’ and Larry David are the same person, but since he is new and we don’t know his name yet we are making it up}

Escort L wrote:

The companion, let’s call her Brave Girl, because that is what she was, had come out earlier when I was on the corner of 1st and Market. She had expressed an interest in walking around then. I told her about Starbucks, but she figured White Castle was close enough and went in there. When she came out again, I spoke with here again, and she stated that she wanted to walk around for while.

Then Larry David came prancing up and going on and on about how she shouldn’t kill her baby. Then D joined us, and we were able to flank her on both sides. I kept moving further away from her to keep Larry David away. So after he figured that out, he was pushing on me really hard. I held my ground, so he started whining about how I was pushing on him. I laughed at him and told him I was walking in a straight line. But he kept on with being a tool.

After we crossed Market and were standing in front of the CPC, I was really upset, so I turned and screamed in his face, “She’s not even pregnant, you stupid fucking fuck!.” Brave Girl told me that she really liked me after that. Larry David continued to natter on about her non-existent baby.

When we got to White Castle, Brave Girl said she was just going to go on in rather than try to take a walk. D stopped Larry David (in a very calm and rational way). LD started screeching for the cop, whining about how D wouldn’t let him into a public building. I went inside to look for Brave Girl; she was in the bathroom. I went into the bathroom and told her that LD was coming in and that I would stay and let her know when he was gone. She thanked me and I went to the front to let D know.

LD came in and went to the bathroom door and started tapping on it and hollering through the door. I think that if we hadn’t been there, he would have pushed the door open. I went to the counter and told them, “Some crazy guy is trying to go into the women’s bathroom.” This happened 3-4 times. Every time the manager came out, LD wandered off. He finally got coffee after the 2nd or 3rd time he went to the bathroom door.

I guess Brave Girl didn’t want to spend the day in the bathroom, so she came out while LD was fixing up his coffee. We went out the side door and headed back to the clinic.

We got about half a block, when LD came running up behind us and started his crap again. D and I got her back into the clinic. I told her that hopefully they would be gone in 1/2 and hour and she could go for a walk then.

After it was over, I was shaking. I got the impression that the other protesters weren’t bothered by it. Just like they secretly admire the assholes that shoot clinic doctors, they were impressed with LD.

About half way back to the clinic, after all of the hoopla in White Castle, I joined the two escorts walking Brave Girl back to the clinic. I got in between D escort and Larry David and began trying to engage him, hoping he would start talking to me and stop yelling at her. It sort of worked and it was not until I got really close to him and caught his eye that he finally heard us telling him that she was not pregnant and began telling her she should tell her friend to come out of the clinic.

After Brave Girl was in the clinic, I lost my temper like I have never done. I rounded on that ass-hole screaming about his inappropriate behavior. I was telling (screaming) him that that following/ trapping female presenting people into bathrooms is what sexual predators do. I rambled on about rape culture and autonomy for several minutes before I just could not manage to look at him for another moment and stamped off still furious.

Across the street in the parking lot were three protesters, they guy on the soap box, the guy who claims his mother tried to abort him 8 times and he survived ( I am not exaggerating, this is how he introduced himself to several of the escorts) and one of the more annoying female presenting chasers. And I lost it on them too, asking (screaming) if they condoned such horrible behavior, and the answer was yes. The annoying girlish one responded that she wasn’t in the bathroom with the support person and didn’t know what had happened, BUT that she knew someone who had had an abortion and it destroyed her, thus justifying any behavior that would prevent abortion from happening.

When I posited (screaming) that preacher dude could never know what it was like to be a woman chased down the street and trapped in a bathroom he said “Yes I do” and “you don’t know what it is like to be a baby being aborted”.

At that point I realized my mistake, I tried to reason (angry yelled reason) with them, but these people have no concept of compassion. They don’t care about people. They are only interested in perpetuating their own ideals of women’s places in society, and it drives them crazy that we might claim our own efficacy, challenging their notions of gender roles.

For years I had very strict rules for myself, refusing to have any verbal interactions with protesters. And over the years, I gradually relaxed this boundary feeling as though there might be benefits to engaging with them, we certainly have escorts who can really humanize themselves and our clients to the protesters. Engagement is a powerful tool to distract antis, while slipping clients past unnoticed. But I am not the one. They make me too angry. All I want to do is make them feel as uncomfortable as they make our clients feel, but in the end it hurts me, and makes me less effective as an empowering force for clients.

And really how do you explain rape culture to some fucked up dude who thinks it’s ok to chase female presenting people into bathrooms?

It has taken me all week to write this because every time I sat down at the computer I began to shake with rage, or cry with frustration. And even now I can’t really get into the kind of analysis of how rape culture effects the milieu on the sidewalk in front of the clinic in the way that I want. But give me a week or two and I will get all my thoughts compiled and organized.

This is an important concept that needs to be addressed. The way we approach people’s autonomy directly affects the kinds of interactions we have with the world around us. And I, for one, am not willing to allow others to hold onto the notion that my personal space is any less deserving of respect than theirs; regardless of one’s opinion of my choices.

And no matter how much you may disagree with me it is not up to you.

SO BACK THE FUCK UP.

thorough article about Louisville’s reproductive access history

http://socialistworker.org/2009/08/26/defending-clinics-in-kentucky

The blog has gotten a lot of positive feed back in the last few weeks and we are very grateful for all of the well wishes. We are very proud of our escorts who went to Nebraska to help keep Dr. Carhart safe and open, as well as the hundreds of others who gathered from across the country to support choice, and thus supporting families.

As hard as it may be battling intolerance and oppression it is inspiring to see and hear so many people dedicated to protecting the right to choose.

We are strong.

Keep up the good work everybody.

Thank your local abortion provider, escorts, abortion funds and allies today.

Trust People

July 23, 2009

Escorts: 3

Protesters: 7, 3 praying, 4 chasing

Throughout the last ten years we have focused our escorting efforts solely on Saturday mornings. Recently however we have seen a dramatic up tick in both the number and aggressivness of anti-choicers showing up during the week. Neither the clinic nor the escorts have felt the need to assist clients Tuesday through Saturday until now.

For the last threeish weeks we have been sending 3 to 4 escorts down to the clinic in the mornings. I had not been able to make it down until this past week and I was not prepared for the difference in attitude it takes to escort other days than Saturday. Take away the group dynamics between escorts and protester, fewer clients and less general chaos, and the atmosphere during the week is PERSONAL. I was blown away at how much more intimate it felt to be out there with so little emotional cover. I was very quickly defensive and angry, and I struggled to keep my cool.

One of the anti-choices caused me more grief than the others. She was a female presenting, 30 something, who told clients that having an abortion would ‘irreparably damage’ them. She adamantly professed the nature of women to birth babies and used the love of her own two children to prove her argument. When I asked her if she had ever spoken with someone who was happy with their decision to have an abortion she told me that person did not exist and that she could not believe them any way, because she could not imagine not wanting her kids.

VID00052

Within the anti-choice community privilege shines through as an indicator of worth. As a culture we do not trust teenagers with comprehensive sex-ed, we do not trust poor people with decisions regarding health care, we do not trust queer people to make decisions about their bodies, even to decide their own pronouns. For a white, college educated (she told me she has at least a Bachelors degree) cisgendered person to believe she has a monopoly on truth, is disingenuous at best. And at it’s worst perpetuates false ideas of normalcy and valid life experiences.

A great example of this occurred two weekends ago, I captured an interaction between a client walking into EMW and one of our protesters. Here is the transcript of the 30 second interaction.

Support person to the protesters: …we just got out of the hospital, you all need to mind your own.

Protester: You could go across the street and get a picture of your baby.

Client: Actually I miscarried last night, before I bleed to death, I need to have all of this taken care of.

Protester: The ER is where you need to go, not here.

Client: I’ve already been to the ER.

Protester: Why did they send you here if the baby is gone? I don’t think you are telling the truth; please don’t take the life of your baby.

The truth of the matter is, that if this woman went to UofL hospital she could not obtain an abortion except to save her life, because Kentucky has a law on the books baring a public facility from providing those procedures.

The truth of the matter is, that she could have been sent away from any hospital without a D&C because the physician or nurse or ER administrator might have objected.

The truth of the matter is that insurance in KY does not pay for an abortion unless to save the person’s life, even if she is miscarrying; even if the fetus is already gone our medical system still stigmatizes abortion procedures, regardless of the health status of the client.

Who do you want deciding what is right in your life? Some one who is not interested in listening because they can not even try to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?

Maybe these anti-choicers should step back and listen to the real experiences of people’s lives, not what they think other people experience. Maybe they should suspend judgment for just one hour and experience what other people must go through. Maybe we should all address our privilege and stop making assumptions about one another and invalidating other people’s lives.

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Escort Training Saturday, July 25, 2009

Our next escort training will be next Saturday, July 25, 2009. We will meet at the ACLU office, 315 Guthrie Street,

Suite 300 after escorting at the clinic.  We will start the training at 9am.

Light breakfast and coffee provided by KY RCRC.

And for the first time ever, we are having an escort exchange! We will be hosting escorts from Cleveland OH here and sending escorts from here up there some time next month.

We are really excited to make friends with escorts from other cities, comparing tactics and stories, creating community and networking with like minded people.

We hope to see you there!

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Additional pictures from Father’s Day weekend

blow horns are an excellent tool for conveying compassion.Blow horns are an excellent tool for conveying compassion.
Lady quit following me.

Lady quit following me.

The clear and unobstructed path to the clinic door, down the gauntlet.

The clear and unobstructed path to the clinic door, down the gauntlet.

FACE act, what is this Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of which you speak?

FACE act, what is this Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of which you speak?

For more information about FACE.

Because the most important person in an unintended pregnancy is the dude. Right?!

Saturday before Father’s day. June 20, 2009.

Escorts:15

Protesters:300

Cops: 1 with extra patrols

I know it has been a few weeks since Father’s Day weekend, but it has been a little crazy around here, and I really wanted to write about the morning. So please forgive the delay.

When we showed up to the clinic around 6:50, there were 30 or so protesters in their usual spots, starting the rosary and in general milling about. About 7:10 or so the Sisters for Life, Angela’s group, marching around the corner. By around 7:30 there were close to 300 protesters outside the clinic.

Most of the protesters stayed very close to the door, creating a gauntlet on both sides of the over hang. Those around the door were singing and praying loudly, Angela was using a blow- horn directing the protesters. With approximately 200-250 protesters on the clinic side of the street, they spilled out into the street.

There were also another 25-30 protesters standing in the parking lot across Market Street. These protesters were mostly people we had not seen before from Sister’s for Life and the usual protesters from A Women’s Choice, the cpc down the street; these are the guys that do the majority of the chasing of clients from their cars to the clinic door.

There was a very different tone around these protesters as opposed to our regular crowd, they were very verbally aggressive making statements like “you will find great pain in the judgment of the blood of the babies on your hands” to the escorts. I heard that one a lot from a very tall, lanky man, wearing the pink Sisters for life tee-shirt. He was holding onto a 3 or 4 foot ‘Malachi’ sign and really yelled at clients getting as close to them has possible. Often we get called ‘deathscorts’ and vultures. We often get preached at and condemned, but I have rarely been so often told of my certain evilness and a complete de-humanization of my fellow escorts.

Another unique aspect of this protest happened at the door. Commonly, the Catholics say the rosary at the door with a person or two stepping out of line to talk at a client coming through, but mostly they stay in line and focus on their prayers. The Sisters for Life group would stop praying or singing to yell as a group at any client walking by. Squeezing into the area in front of the clinic doors, protesters attempted to impede clients walking forward from the street onto the sidewalk. Protesters we also trespassing onto clinic property throughout the morning and Officer R spent much of his morning keeping protesters on public property.

One client came out of the clinic to yell at one of the Sisters for Life protester for calling and waking up her mother to tell her she was at the abortion clinic.

Our escort training encourages escorts to refrain from engaging protesters in most cases. We try to keep lines of communication as open as possible without entering into heated debates or arguments with the protesters. Often escorts have to walk away from protesters as they attempt to engage us. This Saturday we had several protesters who attempted to talk to the escorts well after the escort made clear their desire not to engage. On one occasion, the protester, an older white male, grabbed the elbow of a younger white female escort as she attempted to disengage from the conversation by walking away. She became very upset and turned around yelling at him not to touch her. He immediately denied that he had touched her and began to argue with her about it.  Several escorts intervened and gave her the space to walk away from the protester.

Around 8:15 or 8:30am the protesters began having speakers use the blow-horn to speak to the crowd right outside of the clinic doors. Several men got up and spoke about how the abortions of their partners and wronged them, emphasizing their lack of inclusion in the decision. This all went on until close to 9am, when they marched off as quickly as they arrived, chanting and dancing off to a good old camp style call and response spelling Jesus as they went.

The morning was probably one of the worst I have seen in a while. We were not prepared for the large number of protesters, nor the overall aggressiveness from people we have never seen before. It was a rough one. But as usual, the escorts stepped up, dealt with the situation in front of us and remained as calm and composed as possible.

I continue to be amazed at the positive attitude of the escorts.

Please make sure to read the note a client posted about her experience entering the clinic this morning, posted below.