Rethinking Rainy Days

Rainy days are usually a challenge for escorts. There always seem to be a lot of antis who like to come out and carry their umbrellas. We dodge the pointy accessories as much as we can, but it can involve tricky maneuvering.

It was pouring down rain one morning recently. Escorts had on their raincoats, rain pants and ponchos. It was surprising to see D as the only anti there for almost 30 minutes and she was sitting in her car.

We were able to approach three cars without any interference before 715a. Then we got really lucky and the doors to the clinic were opened early. They were opened as a kindness to the clients so they wouldn’t have to wait in the rain. The added bonus was we were able to bring more than half of the clients for the day into the lobby before the other antis showed up with their umbrellas.

There were 11 antis there without much to do since we had been able to do so much escorting before they even got out of their cars. Of course there were the usual speeches from the regulars, but it was actually funny to watch them lower their umbrellas to stand under the overhang. They grouped around under the overhang talking to each other and trying to engage escorts.

Then they would see a client and raise their umbrellas and start off. We just walked out into the rain and met the clients first.

I may have to revise my thinking about rainy days. They are not so bad after all.

Bad People

We talk once in awhile about how the antis will bring their children out as props. This morning we had a family group of grandparents and two grandchildren under the age of four.

It was one of the cooler mornings we have had this fall, with the temperature around 42 degrees. Of course, it is usually colder on the sidewalk in front of the clinic because of the taller buildings, proximity to the riverfront and all of that concrete.

The grandparents parked halfway down the block and walked the children to the clinic doors wrapped in blankets. One of them was carrying a babydoll wrapped in the blanket with them.

As they passed the clinic entrance the grandfather pointed out the escorts to the older child and said, “These are all bad people.” The child’s eyes got large as they watched us when walking past.

They continued on towards AWC where the other antis greeted them and talked to the children. They are the good people, evidently.

A short time later, the grandfather walked back holding the older child’s hand and stood facing me from about one foot away; trying to stare me down for Jesus I guess because he didn’t say a word to me.  After a minute, the child looked up and saw me. She said, “Uh oh. She’s bad,” while pulling away from her grandfather. He led her away; point made.

They lingered a little while longer until the children got tired and started sitting on the planter box of the clinic.

My heart went out to the child who was frightened by the “bad people.”

Just another day of observing the teaching of intolerance and hatred on the sidewalk.

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REMINDER:
We are standing up for reproductive rights on November 2. That’s one week from today! Are you coming with us? Can you contribute $5 or more to help make it happen?

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/KyRoadRally

Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/158610191007342/

Website: http://kyroadrally.org/

Good Cop vs Bad Cop ~ by Eeyore

Recently I was standing by the door at the clinic when Tim arrived. He cupped his hands to his face, as he is wont to do, and stood for a few moments before starting his spiel (sometimes he’ll stand like that for over a minute – I’ve timed him – with his hands at his face not speaking, I guess waiting for divine inspiration. It’s creepy, like he just turns off for a bit). It went pretty much along these lines . . .

“Mothers, we aren’t here to judge you, we are here to help you. We can help with your bills, we have a beautiful maternity home that you can stay in for three years for free. And men who are in there, you are sitting next to a murderer. You are with a woman who is going to murder her baby.”

Did you notice that subtle shift in message? Yeah, me too. Part of me wanted to walk up and tell him that just because he addressed the last bit to men doesn’t mean women’s ears stopped working. Or maybe he thinks saying men switches everything to a masculine frequency that women can’t hear. Sorry Tim, that’s not how ears work. The woman you wanted to trust in this offer of loving, non-judgmental kindness just heard you call her a murderer in literally the next sentence. See, right there, that’s you judging her. So now she knows you’re a liar and rarely do people look to liars for counsel.

It’s not an uncommon experience on the sidewalk. If a client approaches from a distance and a protestor gloms on, they will often start with the “we are here to help, we just want to love you, god loves you” rhetoric. About half way to the clinic the talk turns to a pleading whimper saying “don’t murder your baby, you know it’s wrong, mommy don’t kill me”. As the client turns the corner to enter the clinic the anti’s frustration breaks and the damnation and shaming spews forth “don’t do this, god will punish you in the fires of hell, don’t make this baby pay for your mistakes”.

The thing is, you can’t play both sides by yourself. That’s why in TV shows where they’re doing the good cop/bad cop routine there’s always TWO cops. Working alone would make a person look insincere at best. The person being questioned by good/bad cop won’t trust him, the audience won’t trust him. All of his words and deeds have become suspect.

I’ve often been amazed that the anti’s don’t see something so obvious and focus on one message at a time.Why not just stick with playing the good cop routine? It would probably have better results. I think that in their minds, though, they’re never playing bad cop. Love and punishment, help and judgment, sex and shame all go hand in hand. To them it’s all the same message.

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REMINDER:
We are standing up for reproductive rights on November 2. Are you coming with us? Can you contribute $5 or more to help make it happen?

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/KyRoadRally

Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/158610191007342/

Website: http://kyroadrally.org/

Sidewalk Snippet ~ {9/30/13}

M decided to move her center of operations to a new area this morning. M has been hanging out on the corner of 1st and Market, but this day she decided to hang out behind the AWC parking lot. She was her usual aggressive self, but had a longer walk to harass clients and companions from this position.

Shoving a client as they crossed the property line, she ended up pushed up against me at the line. The plastic fetus doll she was holding was about two inches from my face; right under my nose. When the client was ignoring her after they crossed the property line, M turned her attention to me as I asked her to stop pushing on me.

“This is a baby. How can you help her murder her baby? See this? It’s a baby.” I replied, “No, it’s a plastic doll.” Of course, she got angry and told me it was a lifelike model of a 12 week baby. I replied, “No, it’s a plastic doll. Please get it out of my face.”

Another escort asked her about the Pope’s statement that there was too much emphasis on abortion in the Catholic Church, with the suggestion she should go home and think about what the Pope said. She got angrier and asked the escort for proof the Pope actually said to stop before she rushed off to harass another client.

Sometimes we just can’t help ourselves from saying something.

We Care About You

This past Saturday morning it was raining really hard early in the morning. I find myself hoping most of the antis will stay away because of the weather, but of course they never do. When I arrived at the clinic there were already a couple dozen of them standing with their umbrellas. Most of the regular antis were there and they were joined by groups of people. We ended up with about twice as many protesters as we normally see on Saturdays. The positive part of this is the rain stopped and the umbrellas came down before the first clients arrived.

This is the view from the clinic entrance.

Saturday 092113 Right

Across the street, a group of about 10-15 Catholics gathered to pray. We assume they were Catholics because they were carrying rosaries and a priest in cassock was part of the group

There was a group from Kentucky Mountain Bible College who came out to display new fetal porn posters and sing. When they first arrived, they lined up on both sides of the sidewalk at the clinic property line to display their posters. Then they moved to the corner of First and Market in front of AWC (the CPC), to sing and pray. They were joined by a prayer leader and alternated between praying and singing. You can see the leader in this video. He is the one in the white jacket. There was a lot of traffic noise so you cannot hear the song, but this time they were singing a version of “Holy, Holy, Holy!”

One escort’s observation about the group’s activities was they could now say they had seen the definition of  “preaching to the choir.”

Even though the Screaming Preacher was there, he left all of the preaching and yelling at the windows to A. A is a regular and is known for his attempts to connect with clients and companions in his approach of ‘I was just like you. I understand you. I care for you.’ This is A.

Andrew

In this video, he is talking to clients and companions waiting by the entrance for the doors to open.

Transcript:

valuable. Because you are infinitely valuable. That’s why we’re here because we, we don’t know you, but we care about you. We care about you. I would love to prove that to you. If, if you would just give me five minutes of your time, I would love to prove to you how much we care about you. Ma’am, you can stand up for life today.

In all of the times I have seen A preaching, I have never seen a client or companion give him those five minutes. Sometimes they will engage with him to correct biblical statements, but not walk away to just talk to him.

A increased his volume after the clients entered the clinic, but his message is always the same. Escorts have heard him so many times, we can recite the story he shares on the sidewalk. ‘I wasted my life until I was 23. Then I read the Bible. My friends said they would find out about Jesus later. One died in a car wreck. He didn’t have time to find out. You never know what is going to happen. You need to find out about Jesus today.’

One of the interesting things about A recently is how he speaks about his wife’s pregnancy. When he first started saying, “My baby is 19 weeks old,” we thought he was talking about a born baby. No, he was talking about his wife’s pregnancy. This morning he let us know his baby was 26 weeks old, adding that the baby recently became legally safe from abortion doctors. An escort observed, “I wonder if he thinks that abortion doctors do drive-by abortions and will randomly attempt an abortion if his wife gets too close to a clinic?”

My question is if he cares for the clients and companions so much, why does he speak words meant to shame and harass them for their decision? I know that is a rhetorical question and won’t be answered, but it doesn’t matter if you scream your words or softly speak them. You are still there to interfere with a legal, medical decision by any way you can.

Sidewalk Snippet ~ {9/23/13}

Some mornings lots of little things add up to lighten the mood of escorts. It does help that we all have a sense of humor, but some days are just hit after hit of comedic gold.

This is a series of statements and happenings one  morning:

D pulled another anti back onto the sidewalk after they had crossed the property line saying, ”I saw the smoke coming off of your shoe.”

“Does she thinks she can say anything she wants over the internet? You can’t lie on the internet.”

“Even satan believes in god.”

A pedestrian walking by the entrance to the clinic pointed at each escort standing there. His pointed finger was accompanied by, “You are going to hell,” “You are going to hell,” “You are going to hell.” It was kind of like Oprah saying, “You win a new car,” but less exciting.

The number one mood lightener came from a companion. As the client and companion were coming towards the door, the companion started talking to the antis and let himself be surrounded by them. While the antis were distracted the client was able to cross the property line with minimum interference.

We could hear him saying: “I don’t know what it is, but when she reached adulthood she started wanting to make her own choices. I don’t agree with her making choices, but she says I have to respect her. It’s like that free speech stuff, you have to listen to it even if you don’t want to.”

The client and others waiting by the doors were laughing at all of the things he was saying and the escorts couldn’t help smiling. He got his point across with perfect deadpan delivery and without ever raising his voice.

Keeping Score

We published an article last September titled “Myths About Escorts.” One of the myths we examined was the one where escorts keep score of clients entering EMW and celebrate a “win” when a client leaves AWC (the CPC) next door. I pointed out D is the one who carries a handheld tally counter daily.

Hand Tally Counter

It still isn’t a sport where points are won depending on the count of clients entering a particular building. Reproductive rights are not a game. The decisions people reach about a pregnancy will impact their lives and the lives of their families. Abortion is just one of the decisions clients may make about their healthcare. Escorts try to make access to abortion easier for clients, but we do not try to persuade anyone to make a decision based upon our beliefs. This is a concept the antis never seem to grasp.

One day last month a client and two companions entered the clinic without incident. Shortly after 8a they all came back out. They walked to their car parked close by at the curb, but before they could reach it the anti MW stopped them. Then we saw MW put her arm around the client and talk to her. They talked for a couple of minutes before all three walked back up the sidewalk and into AWC.

During the approach by the anti and the walk back into AWC, the escorts did not interfere. We just observed what was happening without comment. We respect the client’s right to have a conversation without interference.

We left for the day shortly after they entered AWC. When I got into my car D yelled into my closed window, “You lost one.” Her look was triumphant and volume was loud.

This always gets to me. D had just dehumanized the client by converting them into a score in a game only one side is playing. Her unspoken message I heard was, ‘you lost by one point.’ Even though D keeps a counter at hand to tick off the clients going into the clinic and keeps her own score, it still isn’t a game.

We don’t know why the client left the clinic and neither does D. Maybe their mind was not made up and they needed more time to think about their decision. Maybe they didn’t have all of the paperwork they needed. Maybe….maybe….the list could be long. Only the client knows why they left.

I am not sure why, even though D has witnessed similar scenes many times, she doesn’t realize yet it is all about choice for the escorts. We support any client in any decision they make about their pregnancy. The last thing any escort would want to do is coerce someone into doing something they are not sure about. We realize clients are capable of making their own decisions, including deciding who to talk to about their pregnancy.

We respect and support whatever decision they make.

When Counseling Doesn’t Work, Try Screaming

We write a lot about the “sidewalk counselors” who try to coerce women into the CPC next door to the abortion clinic. They push and shove their way to stand next to a client, reciting their scripts to convince a woman to  “Just take a minute and come next door to find out if you have a viable pregnancy.” “Have you thought about adoption?  Let us tell you about all of your choices instead of abortion.” “Have you gone to a real doctor to get a second opinion?”  “I’ll adopt your baby.” “You can still change your mind. Walk out of that place.” And the ever present, “Don’t kill your baby!”

Many of the antis follow the clients to the property line at the door of the clinic and then remain there shouting at the door and window their messages of harassment. Some of the antis just come to shout and preach at the entrance. Their messages are always filled with condemnation, accusations and attempts to shame clients and companions.

“Those of you who are born-again Christians, you need to come out of there right now,” is heard almost every day from one of them.

Sometimes the shouting is just so mean-spirited it catches all of our attentions. There is a man who comes several days during the week and every Saturday to shame. His messages are always full of judgment and are delivered at full volume. In fact, he shouts so much we have nicknamed him Screaming Preacher.

Screaming Preacher

His messages are always so hate-filled and judgmental, even other antis have moved away from him. One Saturday when the Catholics lined up on the opposite side of the street to pray, he turned his attention to them by shouting, “You don’t need idols to worship God. You are all idolaters and are sinners.” That resulted in a shouting match on the sidewalk between antis as to who of them were following the one “true’ religion.

This Saturday a client and companion arrived before the doors opened. They stood facing the clinic doors, but immediately got the attention of Screaming Preacher. As he started shouting at them, the companion put his arm around the client and escorts tried to shield the message as much as possible. We kept moving right in front of Screaming Preacher. When he didn’t have a direct line of sight to the client and companion, he would move over a little bit. Since that was further away from the entrance it helped, but it didn’t block his words.

This is a video of part of his speech to them. It shows only his feet because I was so close to him I would have had only a shot of his chin if I tried to get his face. This was while we were moving him down the property line.

Transcript:

or out of your stubbornness of your heart, continue doing what you know is wrong. You know it’s wrong. You know this is a baby. You know it is. That woman is pregnant with a child and you’re the cause of that. But today, the call for you to be a man to that child and a protector to that child is there before you. But will you do it, or would you let that child fall into a hole and walk on? ‘Not my problem.’ I tell you if you don’t turn today, that child will be in a worse place than a little hole. They will be cut to pieces and dumped into a dumpster; burned as medical waste. All because you wouldn’t turn the very

These are not words meant to convert. They are words meant to shock, hurt, and shame. “That woman” is how he refers to all women. The thing about the Screaming Preacher that disturbs me is how he preaches only his view of sin and no message of salvation. “You are all going to hell.” His god is a very unforgiving one.

Once in awhile an escort will try to distract him with conversation. He welcomes these attempts to talk to him with a speech about how we are evil and are going to answer for the murders we help commit. This Saturday one escort tried. When the escort moved away to the corner of the block, he continued to scream and point at them. It ended up with him screaming so loud and long that his voice started to break up with the strain.

I personally don’t find him amusing, or even interesting. To me he is just a scary fanatic.

Sidewalk Snippet ~ {9/2/13}

We have an escort who has a scrapbook of anti literature. The other escorts will pick up new brochures and save them for the collector.

There are usually ample opportunities to do this. The clients and companions who have the anti information thrust upon them while walking to the clinic will hand them to escorts, leave them on the flower box beside the clinic door and drop them on the counter or floor at the sign-in desk. We end up getting a lot of duplicates, but once in awhile we get new literature for the scrapbook.

This morning we had a client and two companions who were Spanish speaking. D pulled out her Spanish-language fliers and thrust the pamphlets into their hands. After the clients were all in, there were two Spanish fliers laying on the flower box. When I was leaving, I picked them up.

Another escort looked at one of them before we left and we talked about the collection.  As I was getting into my car, D handed me an English version of the flier. “Here is one in English. I doubt you can read Spanish.”

Have to hand it to her, I don’t.

“Read this one. Maybe you will learn something, but you probably won’t read it.”

Have to hand it to her again. I have no intention of reading anti-abortion propaganda.

Just Stretching?

There are times that watching the antis is entertainment. This Saturday morning a few clinic escorts were standing at the entrance of the clinic. Most of the clients had already entered the clinic and we were waiting for any late arrivals. That’s when anti watching and listening can be fun for escorts. The rest of the time we ignore them.

There was a new anti out. She was standing alone beside the “No Parking” sign. The city has posted two signs that read, “No Parking 6AM-10AM Saturday Passenger Pick-Up and Drop-Off.” The zone blocks two parking meters used during the weekdays.

No Parking sign

Since the signs have been up they have been a real annoyance to the antis. They try to line the sidewalk between the signs to block anyone who might be dropped off. We post escorts there when we can, but we aren’t always successful and the clients and companions using the drop-off zone have to wind their way through the antis.

Unsuccessful attempts by antis to park on Saturdays in the spaces blocked off are always met with several escorts pointing to the signs; on one occasion we had to threaten to call city towing. During a weekday recently the anti T  told an escort they could not park there and said he was going to call the police to have the escort’s car towed. When he was told it was legal on weekdays and was asked a few times to read the sign, he finally  read the sign and said, “You might be right.” I’m sure it was only coincidence that he left immediately afterwards.

Even knowing the history of the signs, we were surprised to see the new anti in a pose that looked like she was trying to push it over. She pushed tentatively with one hand and then put both hands on the pole, braced her feet and pushed hard. The pole rocked a little, but still stood firm. While she still had both hands on the pole, NB came and pushed with both hands one time too. The pole stayed firmly planted. This whole process took less than a minute before they stood up nonchalantly and assumed a position in front of the pole. Soon D joined them and they just stood there quietly talking amongst themselves as if nothing had happened.

Sign pushers

I started laughing. I couldn’t help myself.

Now to be fair, both of those antis could have been stretching the kinks out of their muscles like athletes will do. Standing for so long on the sidewalk can be tiring for leg muscles when your only activity is shouting. They may both have felt the need to stretch at the same time, in the same place, using the same support. The pole was handy there on the sidewalk, so why not?

There was no way they were going to move the sign, so I will go with the more charitable explanation.

It is a good thing the sign and pole weren’t damaged. It would still be a No Parking zone on Saturdays. The city would fine them for destruction of city property. Definitely a major inconvenience for just a muscle stretch, but stranger things have happened on the sidewalk in front of the clinic.