The Saturday Before Easter

If a picture’s worth a thousand, this clip is an entire novel.   Imagine walking through this mess on the way to your doctor’s appointment.

{Remember, orange vests are us, no vest or green vests are protesters…}

Thank you, J, very, very much for making the video.   I’m looking forward to more!

Which leads me to an exciting announcement ~ it’s time, once again for our annual fundraiser ~ Pledge-a-Picketer.  You know how it works, right?  The Sunday before Mother’s Day is the biggest protester day of the year.  On that day, we ask people to make donations to support the pro-choice effort and the escorts.  Of course, you can make a straight monetary donation.  Or, to give it a little more interest, you can pledge a certain amount for each protester that shows up that morning.

It gives the whole day a bit of a positive spin, at least for the escorts.  Periodically throughout the morning, we’ll walk up and down the sidewalk, counting protesters.  The more of them, the better, right?  This baffles them.  That makes us smile.  If they figure out what’s going on?  Well, that’s ok too!  Won’t hurt them to know that one day of the year their presence on the sidewalk contributes to a good cause.

Click here to make your pledge.

If you have trouble viewing that form, you can submit your pledge over here.

Thank you, P, for showing us that nifty form for our pledges!

Sidewalk Snippet – {3/5/12}

M was pressing up against the car as soon as the client and companion were parked. The client got out of the car yelling, “Get away from me. You don’t know me.” M ignored her and kept pressing against her talking. The client swung around and yelled, “I have three children already. You don’t know what you are talking about.” We weren’t even out of the parking lot yet and still had a block to go. It was raining, but there were still M and four other antis surrounding the couple as they walked to the sidewalk. The companion tried to calm the client and the two escorts kept speaking calmly, but the verbal contest continued between M and the client. As we crossed the street more escorts joined in to try to put distance between M and the client, but M kept pushing up against the client and the client kept warning not to touch her. Just before we reached the door of the clinic, the client had enough and turned towards M with her arms outstretched almost reaching M’s neck with her hands. Kescort stepped in between the client and M and kept asking M to back away. The client did get into the clinic. M didn’t get strangled or punched. We don’t want clients to hurt obnoxious antis because of the consequences to the client, but sometimes the clients are able to say and do what we can’t. Why are personal boundaries not honored by antis? Why is “No” such a hard word to understand? Rhetorical questions that I don’t expect answered.

After the client went into the building, Kescort instinctively asked M if she was okay. Another escort asked Kescort, “If I punched my rapist in the balls, are you going to ask him if he is okay?” Another rhetorical question.

Escorts, escorts everywhere!

October 24, 2009

Escorts: 70ish

Protesters: 60ish

Cops: 1 County Sherriff, 3 LMPD patrol cars with lights

This week we expected to be bombarded with anti-choice protesters. The Kentucky Right to Life conference was in town and usually that means an up tic in protester numbers. So we made the call out to our regular Louisville folks, those brave souls who come out on Mother’s Day and Easter to help people navigate their way through hundreds of anti-choice protesters to enter the clinic.

We especially love our friends of faith who come out to show that not all people of faith choose to express that faith through judgment and condemnation.

But what made this past Saturday a little extra special is that we also had a crew of escorts come in from out of state, multiple states in fact. We had escorts from South Dakota, Kansas, Massachusetts, Illinois, Indiana and New Jersey. Many of these intrepid travelers had participated in the defense of Dr. Carhart’s clinic in Bellevue, NB. They met some of the Louisville’s clinic escorts there and thus the national networking of reproductive justice supporters began.

After plane rides and 15 hour drives, we all met for food, drink and a little southern hospitality, before descending into the work of a mini training of escorting tactics for the following morning. And while we are aware of the aggressive climate here it is often hard for people new to the scene to believe what actually happens to women trying to access abortion services.

And after a far to short sleep we were up and ready to go early. Wanting to be in place early, we all showed up around 6:45am. We began to create our walls of escorts to hold the door space around the door from the anti-choicers who like to crowd the clinic entrance. We also created a human door way from the street onto the sidewalk in front of the door to allow clients to bypass the gauntlet of protesters down the sidewalk. And by the time our regular prayers showed up there was a solid block of clinic escorts to provide a little bit of personal space for clients. And we waited for the extra anti-choice protesters to show up.

But they did not materialize. In fact, we had a really small crowd of protesters, fewer than most Saturday mornings. Where we usually see 40-70 regular protesters, this morning’s measly 60 did not impress, especially with folks in from across the state for their annual convention. I suppose one might argue that they were busy setting up for the conference, and maybe they were. But let me tell you, we had more escorts than protesters for possibly the first time in my 10 years.

This does not mean however that it was not a rough morning. With so many escorts and so few protesters our regular chasers were feeling a little under pressure. Mary was especially rabid this morning. She was really pushy approaching cars before clients were able to get out, blocking their doors and really getting up in their ways. It took our most skilled escorts to maintain any kind of personal space for the clients with her in pursuit. Larry David (the guy who trapped a client’s friend in the bathroom at White Castle, banging on the door yelling at her not to kill her baby) was very much his usual unhinged self, chasing clients and shoving escorts.

But over all it was a pretty typical morning at the clinic, escorts escorting, anti-choice protesters screaming and pushing, women making their way through crowds of people yelling at them every Saturday morning.

This may have been a typical morning at the clinic, but this is not normal.

Normal looks like women accessing abortion services just like any other medical services.

Just like regular people.

One of our vising friends writes for World Can’t Wait,  and this is the piece they wrote Zombieland, USA. It’s a great piece and I highly recommend the read.





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.


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…,”


“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


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.


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!


One week after the murder of Dr. Tiller

Saturday June 6, 2009

Escorts: 20+

Protesters: 25-30

Cops: 2 on hand with extra patrol drive bys

In the eternal words of my grandmother, “life goes on”. Everything changes, but then it really just stays the same. I have spent the week almost obsessively reading, watching and listening to every scrap of media coverage regarding Dr. Tiller, the funeral, Scott Roeder and any other related topic I could get my paws on.

I attended a small vigil in honor of Dr. Tiller and listened to local activist  Carla Wallace reference Louisville’s  Unity Rally in 1997.

For those who are not familiar, the KKK decided to hold a rally in the middle of downtown Louisville complete with hoods and banners and such. Many people in the community, including the mayor,  said “ignore them”, “don’t give them the attention”, “they are dangerous, it is not safe to oppose them”, when counter demonstrations were organized. But tons of people would not let it go. And so more than 1,000 people showed up to counter the 35 or so klanspeople. We were loud and determined to make sure everyone knew racism was not welcome.

We understood that not a single lynching was ever averted with silence.

Not one oppressive act was ever derailed because no one spoke.

“Silence is a position”, Carla said. When we fail to speak out against injustice we condone it. When we fail to work towards empowerment and equality, we perpetuate oppression and intolerance.

Laquetta Shepard 2002 KKK rally in Louisville KY.

Laquetta Shepard 2003 KKK rally in Bowling Green, KY.

And Dr. Tiller’s murder is no different. Violence and intimidation will not keep me or my ilk from getting up and helping clients into the doors of our abortion clinic.

And so we showed up. Almost as many escorts as protesters.

I was unsure how our local protesters would respond to the national storm. As physically aggressive as they are on a regular basis, most of our protesters are not interested in this kind of violence, they are bullies, nothing more.  But I just did not know if they would be quiet and not push any buttons or if they would be out looking for a fight.  I saw equal opportunity for genuine humility and sadness for the loss of life or conversely self-righteousness and stepped up agro behavior. And as most Saturdays, the group reaction is not homogeneous either.


It was quiet.

I don’t pretend to know why the protesters were almost tolerable. I don’t have any idea if they were being respectful or simply wishing not to be antagonistic. But I do know that I was damn happy to see a strong show of escorts, who were ready to take what ever fire was coming down the pike. Last week a man was shot to death for showing up and supporting families in really rough spots. James Barrett, a clinic escort, was murdered in 2003 with Dr. John Britton by Paul Hill in Pensacola Florida.

These things, they happen.

In the last ten years we have had a lot of violence in Louisville. An 80-something regular escort was shoved to the ground, an escort’s ankle was broken in a skirmish. Protesters have been arrested for punching client’s friends.  And we have to physically cut a path through a crowd at the door most Saturday mornings.

And don’t forget the Clients.

They have been called sluts, murderers and degenerates. Clients have been described as heartless, and nazi like. They are told they will anguish in pain and depression eventually dieing of cancer after their abortions. They are physically hassled and emotionally berated as they make their way into the clinic doors.

Violence at the only abortion clinic in my city happens every day.

And so with great sadness I mourn the loss of Dr. Tiller. But violence will not work to intimidate us. We need Reproductive and Sexual health care.

And we must speak loudly, clearly stating that abortion is part of our lives and we will have quality access.

May 23rd, 2009

This is essentially an entry from my personal online journal, so if it feels a little casual, that’s why.


Every time that I escort, I am blown away once again by how great people seem to feel about harassing people very early on Saturday mornings.
Think about it: Saturday morning could consist of cartoons, cereal, cuddling. These are the three c’s of things that are more fun than going to an abortion clinic and telling people that they’re doing something wrong. There are a million other better things to do on Saturday morning that start with many different letters (sleep in, for one)! And that’s just getting into the “Don’t you have something better to do with your time?” question – there are tons of other questions I have about the protesters that come to the clinic that I won’t even get in to.

But, today went pretty well all in all. There was a really good ratio of escorts to protesters (about two protesters for every escort, or something like that). I also brought my camera for the first time. During the slow moments, which can be pretty common at certain points, it’s nice to be able to document what’s going on.

Here are some of my pictures: (These are not my greatest works, mind you, just snapshots, unedited, so, you know, don’t expect anything brilliant. Unfortunately some of the more colorful, creative characters weren’t there today.)

This group does NOT seem stoked to be praying for babies.

This group does NOT seem stoked to be praying for babies.

This nun, who I like to think is Mary Mercedes who used to live at the nunnery, fell asleep today. Saving souls IS tiring work, and if I had been sitting down, I certainly would have been napping too.

This nun fell asleep today. Saving souls IS tiring work, and if I had been sitting down, I certainly would have been napping too.

This is the sidewalk (gauntlet) that many clients walk down, being harassed along the way.

This is the sidewalk (gauntlet) that many clients walk down, being harassed along the way.

Jesus hangs out with that guy a lot.

Jesus hangs out with that guy a lot.

I like to call this picture "Gossip Girls." They were gossiping in the middle of prayer time, tsk tsk! This is a woman (Donna, the  on the left) that really frustrates me, and is very obnoxious to deal with. She is usually dressed in red to match her hair, which she says is her natural color. We figure she has a tub of spray tan stuff that she soaks in most days.

I like to call this picture "Gossip Girls." They were gossiping in the middle of prayer time, tsk tsk! This woman (Donna, the one on the left) really frustrates me, and is very obnoxious to deal with on so many levels (see "Cast of Characters: Protesters" for just a few of those reasons). She is usually dressed in red to match her hair, which she says is her natural color. We figure she has a tub of spray tan stuff that she soaks in most days, so that her skin will fit in with the weird color scheme.

And here is Angela. Oh Angela. What a loud voice. The kind of voice that fails to get hoarse, that irks you every time you hear it, that makes you wish you had earplugs. I took another video of her, but she just held her bible in front of her face. For this one, I was just shooting from the hip, as my mom calls it, so she didn’t cover her face. I was having a conversation, which you can kind of hear, but she really drowns it out. She’s so loud and pushy. I can’t imagine having so much so say and saying it so loudly. She should really be an actress or a performer or something and put her energy and loud voice to better use.

What a way to start your weekend. I can’t imagine being a client and trying to take all of this in – it would be dreadful.

P.S. I am new to wordpress, so forgive any formatting issues, etc.

Feb 15, 2009 by andy

Feb 15, 2009

Escorts: 13

Protesters: 90-100

Cops: 1

“The bond that links a true family is not one of blood, but of joy and respect  in each other’s lives;  rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof”

Tales of a Reluctant Messiah

by Richard Bach

I showed up at the clinic Saturday morning and at 7:00am there were between 50 and 60 protesters lining the gauntlet before the clinic doors opened. The weather was almost not cold and I guess the protesters were feeling froggy.


We had a few chasers this morning, Angela being the main culprit, but in addition to her there was a new young couple out getting up in the mix. The guy mostly took pictures and talked to Zen Master D. The young gal on the other hand was very assertive chasing clients from their cars trying to hand out lit and redirect them.

Rick from the Creepy Crew was out lurking as usual in the parking lot.


And sometime around 7:45 am Mary and Mike march up 2nd St and onto Market across from the clinic door with another 35-50 people. They stood around completely blocking the sidewalk for the rest of the morning saying the rosary.


The happenings this morning that stick out in my mind the most however, came from a family of 5 I have never seen at the clinic before. The parents were in the late 20s or early 30s and had three small children ranging from maybe 3 to 7 years old. They stood at entrance to the parking lot and as clients walked the mother would push her children into the path of the client and escorts offering to speak with the client about family.

Now I have seen the protesters use almost every tactic I can think of to persuade pregnant people that to give birth to a baby, but this takes the cake.



They should not be used as props to intimidate, shame, guilt and distract women.

There is nothing wrong with having an abortion.

And instead of dragging children out into the cold on a Saturday morning to use them as happy, white, heteronormative examples of a socially constructed familial paradigms, Stop and recognize that all kinds of families make the decision to have an abortion.

Many people make the decision to have an abortion to preserve their family’s well being.

The assumptions made by these protesters about the family structures of women choosing to have an abortion belie the complex reality we, as whole and unique individuals, exist in.

And until we are able to break through the socially constructed heteronormative family as our default interpretation of family we will continue to miss out on the vast beauty of what family can really be.

Inclusive, supportive, loving, tolerant, real, strong and unconditional.

Again with January 17 and January 24 by andy

January 24, 2009 by andy

Escorts: 14

Protesters: maybe 30

Cops: 1

It was in the low 30s this morning, not too bad over all. And for the most part it was a regular morning, with pushing and yelling. Mary was wound up and being extra preachy at the escorts. She accused us of thinking we know everything. This allegation is silly since it is the escorts that recognize that we do not have enough information to make informed decisions regarding anyone’s choice to obtain an abortion. She is the one that thinks diapers and computer classes will fix every problem pregnancy.


But over all it was nothing special and we had way more escorts than we could have really put to good use. Thanks for coming out everybody. After last week we wanted some back up and we got it in spades.

I am going to write about this week in another post, because I have more to say about last week.

I would like to say again that we got our collective asses run all over the place by the protesters. They were physically aggressive and very intent on impeding the ability of clients to enter the clinic. Mary, Mary2, some semi-regular prayer, both Angelas (Catholic and Pentecostal) and the fake clinic staff were all up in the mix. We had no police support until the very end, and then he escalated the problem.

In the same scrum I wrote about last week, there was another side to the story that I did not tell.

The semi-regular prayer, we’ll call him “Buck”, got his panties twisted into knots so tight he began flailing at clients.

Over my back, around the other escorts, thrusting lit at the client in a manner that can only be described as threatening.

The client’s boyfriend (?) was trying to make space through the mob of Mary and the other 4 or 5 protesters, who were surrounding us and really making the trip from parking lot to door cumbersome.

The father was trying to keep the family together and holding onto the client as we walked.

We finally got across the street and onto the sidewalk, where the cop was standing watching.

As Towanda was being stepped on by Buck, she yelled to the cop “Are you going to do anything about this?” and his response was to hook her by the shoulder, headed in the opposite direction dragging her out from under the protester and away from the pack. He then motioned for Buck to follow. They all went across the street and were lectured.

Buck was shamed pretty well, the cop said that he looked like an upstanding citizen and that he should know better than to act like “that” (an over grown bully).

He told Towanda that she was the problem, that she should not respond to the protesters aggression and that she is too emotionally involved (because the thugs for a loving jesus are paragons of rationality and even tempers).

He threatened to arrest everyone if there was more pushing.


Again we see the status quo perpetuated; women are not entitled to be free from harassment if they are having an abortion. This is a charged issue, we must let the protesters speak their mind, and clients should understand that it is going to be like this.

Bull shit.

Access means more than just being able to get in the door. Access includes being free from judgment and harassment as one handles ones own business. Access includes being treated as a whole person with feelings, thoughts, hopes and wishes as complex and valid as those of the protesters. To be free from intimidation and coercion regardless of the choice being made.

We as a society do not stigmatize anyone as thoroughly as we do people who have abortions. We think there are two types of women, those who have abortions and those who have babies. This is just not the case. The Alan Guttmacher Institute reports that “about 60% of women having abortions have one or more children”; and that about one third of all American women will have an abortion in their lifetime.

With this in mind I contend that abortion is a normal part of our reproductive lives. We as female bodied people are empowered to care for ourselves and our families and we must not tolerate this kind of moralistic fervor. We must stand up for ourselves and acknowledge the realities of our live.

So make some noise.

Take a radical stance.

Empower yourself and others.

Trust each other.

January 17, 2009 by andy

January 17, 2009 by andy

Escorts: 7

Protesters: about 65

Cops: 1

1-17-09-7Jesus, Mary and Joseph it was colder than a witch’s tit out there this morning. It was 6 degrees at dawn with a wind chill of -1, we were out there for almost an hour before the sun came up. And it was as aggressive as it was cold. For the week before the Roe v. Wade anniversary and the week before the inauguration of Barak Obama, the anti- abortion crowd is feeling a little like a cornered animal.

And they are lashing out.

At the women.

Isn’t that christian of them.

I was late of course, with a car full of escorts. When we turned onto Market St. there were two groups of protesters, one on the north side of the street (across the street from the clinic door) and the usual gauntlet on the south side. There were chasers aplenty as the fake clinic had extra people out to as well as Angela (Catholic) and the creepy crew.

Mary and Mary2 were both rabid today, crying and pushing and running and wailing at every client.


We had several young clients this morning and these wackos think if they just scare her enough she will change her mind.

One of the last clients I walked in this morning was a female bodied person with her parents and either partner or brother. This family was completely unprepared for the venom they received from Mary. As they were all getting out of the car and getting their things protesters approached them from the rear of their car with a van next to them, blocking their path. The girl was crying and trying to hide her face from them in her parent’s arms. Her parents were both wide eyed but kept it together.

Mike and Mary

While they were gathering their wits and things about them Mary was yelling at them from around the front of the car. She yelled at the girl that they [her parents] couldn’t make her do this, and that if she wanted help they would help her get away from them. She said the girl would never forgive her parents and they would all hate each other for ever. She admonished the parents not to damage their daughter with this kind of abuse. She called them all abusers and murders. This family held on to each other and put one foot in front of the other through a scrum of shoving protesters, across the street, past Mike wielding his video camera in her face and down the gauntlet past protesters trying to step in her way and yelling at her.

We finally made it into the clinic anteroom, and the girl went straight to the corner and began to sob. Her parents and partner all held onto her and cried. The father grabbed my arm and held on as he held his family. I affirmed the young woman’s autonomy, expressed my faith in their familial strength and tried to offer some kind words.

I have no doubt that this family was going to be ok. They were together and even though this is hard, they had each other.

What an amazing difference unconditional love and kindness makes in a hard situation. My wish for every person who obtains an abortion is to have as strong a support as this family demonstrated.


Instead of these condemning, judgmental, voyeuristic, hateful, busybodies.

Happy Roe v. Wade day every body. Tell the people in your life that have had an abortion that you love them and are proud of them. Tell the people in your life that support other who have abortions you appreciate them. Tell the a-funds, nurses, doctors, escorts, pharmasists, doulas, midwives, techs, educators, and others involved in providing support and access to reproductive health care they are acknowledged, empowered, needed, loved and supported.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.