The Not So Cranky Escort

This post is a potpourri of the things that have happened since my last post about not liking the way I feel at the clinic.  A lot has happened.

First, we got this comment, which you can see here in full.  Cheryl writes about what led her to the clinic and what that experience was like.  I’ve shared it in some other venues, but if you haven’t already seen it, it’s well worth reading in full.  It says, in part:

…What I really remember, though, is the clinic escorts that greeted me, one in particular…”

“…And he stands out in my mind simply because I never for a moment thought there could be a short, white haired man, above the age of 50 who believed in my right to choose. Who would want to be up at a stupid early hour, in the cold, fending off protestors. Yet, there he was, a man that reminded me of an old college professor I had, talking to me as he walked me to the door and explained that the doors weren’t open yet, but that they would be soon and that he just didn’t understand how the protestors could behave the way they do…”

“… that escort was so kind and calming. I thought I could do the whole thing alone, but I’m not sure I could have made it through that gauntlet of protestors had he not been there to shield me and quietly lead me to the door. He was perfect and I hope he is still there helping.”

That really gave us all a boost ~ thank you, Cheryl for the powerful reminder of why we’re therel!!

Then I started working on my part as a presenter at this online conference coming up on Saturday, July 20.  It’s a panel of reproductive rights activists ~ from Minnesota, Kentucky, Virginia and Ireland ~ including another escort from here. We’ll be debunking the whole post abortion trauma syndrome myth.  We’ll refute the protesters’ claim that, “They always regret it.  Women never get over abortion,” with the actual facts of the matter, including some thoughts on how we can help impact the outcome.

The panel will be presented as part of this free, online conference, FtBConscience. Learn more about it at http://www.ftbcon.org  The conference is all weekend ~ our little part is at 2:00 CST (3:00 EST).  There will be a chat room and time for questions, and we’d be delighted for you all to join us.

Then there’s this ~ Talking to Men Who Are Clinic Escorts, on the RH Reality Check blog ~ featuring two of our very own finest escorts.  It made me proud to know that Dan and Ken are my friends.

Plus ~ as if that weren’t enough going on ~  there was a letter to the editor in our local paper talking about how the people outside the clinic have bad attitudes and look angry and how awful that is.  I thought the letter was about the protesters, and was agreeing with him, but apparently the letter writer was a protester and apparently was talking about us too!

I had to laugh.

Sometimes, the protesters will accuse us of being angry, but then if we smile, they talk about how awful we are, laughing while babies are being murdered.  So the letter kind of cracked me up.  I even wondered if my Cranky Escort post had inspired him.

But here’s the thing.  I may feel angry with the protesters, but I don’t talk to them, and I don’t generally look angry, because that wouldn’t be helpful for the clients.  I typically come across as very calm.  On the other hand:

This one amused me too ~ Ron, talking about us escorts being “blood-suckers” and how they “don’t have to let youall have them,” that they “rescue them.”  I guess he’s talking about the fetuses, but I’m pretty sure he’s wrong, they do have to let people go into the clinic.  I have a lot of video from last week ~ I’ll share more another time ~ but last week it was easy to see how ridiculous it is.

And it still doesn’t matter, whatever he says, it’s just Ron talking his same lines.

More importantly, I remembered that really, it’s ok if I feel angry.  I don’t like it when I feel so angry that it’s hard to let it go, but you know, it’s just natural to feel angry when we watch people saying and doing mean things ~ to me, or to others.

I try to remember that:

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

So part of what made me feel better was taking some action.  The conference coming up is exciting, we did a letter in response to the editorial in the paper ~thanks to Maggie and her writing skills, persistence, and patience.  Trying to do a group letter with escorts is totally like herding cats.

And I’ve got some other stuff going on too, but I’ve also got things in better perspective.  I’m remembering not to fight what I’m feeling, but to let the feelings come and go like waves in the ocean.  It is truly an opportunity to practice finding my zen.

And one last thing ~ I saved this for last because it may be the most important part of this post.

Did a so-called “crisis pregnancy center” lie or mislead you about the services it offered, or give you inaccurate information about your options? Did you go to a CPC and feel that something was just not quite right?

As you may have experienced, CPCs have been known to try to shame, confuse, frighten, and coerce women — who are already facing a difficult decision — not to have an abortion. CPCs hand out anti-abortion material and refuse to tell women about their options. They may force women to watch upsetting videos or slide shows. They even provide false “facts” about the safety, availability, and consequences of abortion and birth control.

By sharing your story, you can play an important role in ensuring that women receive honest, unbiased medical care when they need it the most. We understand how difficult it may be for you to tell your story, but your voice makes a difference. We will contact you for permission before sharing it with press and Members of Congress.

Here’s the link for where to share your story, and here too:

http://action.nwlc.org/site/Survey?ACTION_REQUIRED=URI_ACTION_USER_REQUESTS&SURVEY_ID=17620

This is one more way we can make a real difference.

Kentucky Support Network is Bowling!-Guest Post

What do reproductive rights and bowling have in common? (Yes, you read that correctly!) A fundraising event that will change lives: Kentucky Support Network’s 2013 Bowl-a-Thon!

The Kentucky Support Network (KSN), a program of Kentucky Health Justice Network (KHJN), is a community-based, volunteer-driven service that works to connect Kentuckians to reproductive healthcare information and services. Established in 2010, we assist Kentuckians in overcoming barriers to accessing abortion, such as transportation and language access.

Your support is needed now more than ever, as political attacks on abortion access in this state and across the nation increase the barriers to abortion, especially for low-income people and people of color.

This year, KSN is joining abortion funds across the country in celebrating our first local Bowl-a-Thon, which will take place on the evening of April 19 at Vernon Lanes. Our goal is to raise $6,000 to sustain and expand the efforts of the Kentucky Support Network, and enable us to offer financial assistance to people seeking abortion.

There are many ways to get involved:

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

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

Email kentuckysupportnetwork@live.com if you have questions. And thanks in advance for pitching in!

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

Use this form to make your pledge:

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For Your Viewing – um, not pleasure exactly…

i have a video today – it’s divided into two parts, just because it was too long to send all together.  I didn’t take this one.  It was taken one morning a couple of weeks ago when there was a group of clients waiting for the doors to open,

This first clip is the man I call Paul.  I have no idea what his real name is – for all I know, it is Paul, but I think I just made that up.

As you can see, he is trying to make the case that if the Bible refers to a fetus as a baby, it means that God is saying a fetus is a the same as an already-born child and abortion is wrong.  The logical errors in that are big enough to drive a truck through.

In the background, you can hear the trio singing gospel, and the buzz of escorts, clients and companions, chatting with each other.

Towards the end of the clip you hear Andrew.  He says, “This is no light matter we’re talking about, this is your son or daughter…”  and then he argues, “If you had a two year old, if someone tried to harm your two year old, would you not stand up for your two year old??”

Um, yes, Andrew, just for the record, if this were my two-year old, I would certainly stand up for them.  But it’s not.

The second half of the video is here:

Paul says  “Ma’am you cannot block it out.  This will stay with you the rest of your life.  We got people that know – we got people that been through it. These ones who are here talking with you will not be here for you when you’re done.”  That’s the line he used on me that day, the one that made me realize how important it is to have a support system for afterwards.

I went to an abortion speak-out for the Roe v Wade anniversary celebration.  One of the women who told her story was about my age, her abortion was probably 30 years ago.  She told me later that she had never told the story before.

She said it felt good to say it, to lay it out to a group who would be supportive.  I’m glad she did, and it makes me a little sad to think she carried it in silence all these years.

One in three women has an abortion.  One in three.  How many of us are walking around holding that secret, clutching it to ourselves?   But we are creating space for women to speak out now –  to push back on the stigma and shame.

It occurs to me, as I watch this video over and over so I can capture their words – I think, if we keep posting videos, eventually, all the antis will be here.  And they say the same things over and over.  So if you’re going to  the clinic, you can come meet them here first.  Get to know them.

Then when you come to the clinic, whether you’re a client or a companion, instead of being freaked out and horrified, you’ll be like, “Oh!!  That’s Paul – just like the video!!  Oh, that’s Mary!  Yep, look, she’s got that little plastic fetus she’s trying to shove in my face! And there’s Donna!”  You’ll say, “I know these people – it’s just like on the blog!”  And their hateful words will slide off you like water off a duck’s back.

That’ll help until we get a buffer zone. Then they won’t be able to get up in your face to yell at all.

Words Still Matter

A little over a year ago I wrote an article on this blog titled “Words Matter.” Since we have so many new escorts on the sidewalk, I thought it would be nice to revisit this post.

The article was generally giving tips to new escorts on how to approach and talk to clients. It stressed how we say things and that the words we use when escorting are very important. Some of my words have been adjusted a little bit over time and with experience, but the importance of what words we use remains the same.

We have about 30 seconds to identify ourselves and gain consent to escort. We can completely negate why we are there if we approach a client angry or unsure. We can completely undermine our purpose if we use the wrong words.

If we are seen to be in friendly conversation with the antis right before we approach a client, it makes it harder for them to determine if we are separate groups. ‘If you are friendly with a protester, how can I trust you?’ Conversely, if we are engaged in an argument with the antis before, during or shortly after escorting a client it adds to the stress level for clients, companions and other escorts.

We are all strangers to the clients and companions. We can have the best intentions in the world, but that will evaporate if we do not focus on only the client when we escort. After all, the purpose of our presence is to support and create space for clients to be empowered while going to their doctor’s appointment. The client experience is the goal.

Every escort uses the words they are most comfortable with to talk to clients. They tailor what they say to the client and the situation. There is no script. Flexibility and an awareness of the client are what determine what is said.

There are some things we all use with variations. This isn’t an all-inclusive list of tips, but it does include some key points to keep in mind while escorting. The client will have a lot of things on their minds. We need to make our statements as brief and clear as possible.

Tips for Things to Say-

  • Abortion – This is not a dirty word. One of the reasons we are there is to normalize and de-stigmatize abortion services. We can use the word. Some escorts approach clients and say, “Are you going to the surgery clinic?” or “Are you going to the abortion clinic?” Either question quickly establishes you are there to escort them to the EMW Women’s Surgical Center and not the CPC.
  • Anti-Abortion – This is used to describe A Woman’s Choice and the protesters. “This is an anti-abortion clinic” and “The protesters are anti-abortion.”
  • May I?/Would you like?-We always ask for consent to escort when we approach a client. “May I escort you?” or “Would you like me to walk with you?” or some variation of asking them if they want an escort. This is also used to ask permission for other things during the walk, such as permission to jaywalk or move a particular way.
  • Permission to be rude-As you begin your walk, letting a client know they do not have to answer or talk to antis is important. Most people are naturally polite. ‘This is the only place you can be rude and it is ok. You don’t have to talk to the protesters or take their handouts.’ There is a visible relief from a lot of clients when this is said.
  • Protesters – Describing the antis as protesters is clear to the client. We call them antis, but unless the client is familiar with abortion blogs they will probably need an explanation of what we are talking about when we just use the word antis.

Tips for Things to Avoid Saying-

  • Abortionist-This is what the antis call the physician who will perform an abortion. It is meant to be insulting and it is. Using this term implies the surgeon is not a fully licensed OB/GYN physician and only concentrates on abortions.
  • Fake Clinic-AWC clinic is licensed as a Special Health Clinic by the State of Kentucky. It is a fake clinic because they try to lure clients into AWC to delay or prevent an abortion. Any medical information they gather from a client or tests they run are not covered by HIPAA regulations. They don’t tell the truth about their purpose and misrepresent themselves to clients all of the time. The main reason to not call them a fake clinic is because the antis will argue loudly with you every time you say it. This puts the client in the middle of an engagement between an escort and anti. Technically, they are licensed as a health clinic so they are a real clinic. They are an anti-abortion clinic. This is a description that no anti has argued with when said by an escort. They can’t argue with that fact.
  • Liars/Lies/Lying-This is a hard one to avoid. We hear a lot of lies told by the antis about abortion, the clinic, their clinic and escorts. It is best to avoid responding to them. Again, the client does not know any of us. They don’t know the antis telling them, “These escorts are lying to you.” They don’t know the escorts telling them, “All the protesters are telling you lies.” The client has already done their research about abortion and have made the decision to have one. No matter who says what on the sidewalk, engaging in trying to refute statements made by the antis just adds more chaos.
  • ‘We work for the clinic.’ No, we don’t. We are volunteers who escort clients past protesters to the clinic doors.

When you ask anyone who has been escorting awhile, they can add other tips to these lists. They are by no means all inclusive.

All of the above tips can be boiled down to a few statements:

  • Focus on the clients.
  • Ignore the antis.
  • Keep it as simple as possible without having long explanations.
  • Always tell the truth without exaggerating.
  • Always speak softly and calmly.

Why Are They Here?

The companion and client approached slowly on the sidewalk across the street and stopped almost opposite the clinic doors. They stood there just watching the protesters.

After a few minutes,  I went across to them and found out immediately we had a slight language barrier. We managed to communicate enough to find out they were going to the abortion clinic, identify myself and explain the protester presence.

I let them know the clinic was not open yet, but there were other clients waiting by the door if they wanted to wait with them. We crossed the street and they joined the other clients waiting.

For about one minute they stood and listened to the protesters and then they let me know they were going to walk around to wait. The protesters attempted to talk to them as they walked away, but were not motivated to follow them.

The client and companion walked around the corner and stood waiting. I let them know when the doors opened. After signing the client in, the companion came out immediately and stood at the curb just watching the protesters. I was motioned over to talk.

The first questions, “Why are they here? I don’t understand. I am from another country; not American. I am a friend helping a friend. Why are they doing this?” I explained they were protesting abortion.

“This is legal. Why would they do that? What are they trying to do? They aren’t helping these women.” I answered honestly that the antis come to talk clients out of having an abortion and explained they came every day.

The shocked reply was, “Every day! That is not right. You come to help. I am here to help my friend. They are just hurting women. This is not right what they are doing. Why are they here?”

We had to cut our conversation short because another client was approaching the clinic, so I thanked him for being there for his friend.

The companion walked across the street and continued to watch the action of the antis; occasionally shaking his head and looking down.

I did not tell him, but I ask myself every morning when I am at the clinic the same questions he was asking.

Awakening ~ Guest Post Written by MR

“I’m going to volunteer at the abortion clinic soon.” My attention flicked from the smoke rolling off my cigarette to S sitting across from me. I knew about the clinic downtown, and I heard about the protesters in the morning, but never had I really given it much more thought. The more she spoke of  the volunteers in front of the EMW Surgical Center, wearing neon orange vests, “escorting” women to their appointment, the more intrigued I became. I felt a small spark in my heart, and I urged her that we go volunteer as soon as possible.

It was a little after seven that S and I arrived at the abortion clinic. Before I could even step foot out of the car two women, early twenties, bombarded me and S. “Do you have all the information you need to be making this decision? You don’t have to do this. There are other options.”, one of the women spat at me. An older woman, mid forties possibly, caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. The aura about her read confident. She proudly wore an orange safety vest, clearly reading “Clinic Escort”. I turned to the protester, smiled, and said, “I’m sorry, but we’re actually here to escort this morning.”

“Good morning ladies, my name is F, you here to escort this morning?” I admired the calmness she obtained, especially in such a hectic environment. S proudly announced that we were and F replied with, “ Oh good! I’ll let you guys walk up to the clinic like clients first, get a first hand feel on what they experience.”

You’ll know when you meet an escort. Not by how they dress, or talk, their gender or age, but by their vest. Every escort wears a neon orange safety vest with bold black lettering stenciled carefully on the fronts and back of them, identifying themselves to the clients. When F arrived from retrieving our vests, she carried just one in hand. The vest shortage made for an interesting first morning on “the sidewalk”.

I often got approached by protesters assuming I was a patient. Clients were wary of me when I approached, since I didn’t possess the orange vest they had heard about. One woman replied to me asking her if she was going to the abortion clinic, “That is none of your business.” It struck me hard for a moment. I questioned how these “pro-life advocates” could go on morning after morning approaching these women who often lash back with viscious tongue. After I had explained the circumstance, and that I was there to walk with her through the protesters path if she wanted, the uneasy look disappeared from her face. She laughed, and gladly took my offer of walking with her to the clinic doors. The orange vests are what transform everyday people into passionate volunteers helping women seek medical care.

What makes the EMW Surgical Center one of the worst locations for anti-choice protesters is due to the fact that the clinic itself does not have a private parking lot. It forces clients to walk from where they parked to the clinic doors on public sidewalks. The protesters patrol these sidewalks, waiting and watching. The actual clinic doors don’t open until 7:30 a.m., but the clinic tells the clients to arrive around 7:15 a.m., also causing the problem of having women and companions standing outside of the door while protesters talk at them, trying to hand them pamphlets with photos of fetuses on every page.

The first client that showed up that morning was accompanied by her mother. I couldn’t help but put myself in the young women’s shoes. There would be no one else in the world who I would want there for me through such a difficult decision than my mom. About fifteen clients arrived that morning, some arriving alone and strong, some with significant others, and there was even one or two who arrived with tears in their eyes; but the mother and daughter stood out in my mind the most. The love and support this mother offered, these other companions offered, was beautiful to me and showed me that every single one of those companions believe and trusted these women to know what was right for them, to make the right choice for them. No matter what their personal views on it was, they supported these women and that inspired me.

The escorts are a “non-hierarchal group of autonomous individuals”, as they say. I had the pleasure of meeting a few of the regular escorts that morning. Each one approached us with smiling faces. They nurtured us, keeping us under their wings. S and I were the youngest escorts on the sidewalk. C manned the corner of Market Street. He wore a pin on his vest that read, “this is what a feminist looks like” with an arrow pointed upward. I loved it. He struck me as such an educated man, genuine and kind, passionate about his reason for being there. What makes the Louisville Clinic Escorts and the protesters different is that we are there to help people, help women; they are there to hinder women from seeking medical care.

I encountered an entirely new species that morning in front of the clinic, anti-choice protesters. As I stood on the corner of Market, the young women who approached me when I first had arrived that morning approached me again. “What are you getting out of being here?” I had to think about that for a second. I had already gotten so much out of the experience. “I’m here to help women. To support them in a terribly difficult decision in their life. To let them know that they can be empowered to do what is best for them, and most importantly; because I trust women.” She argued with me that “the babies the doctor is killing could be women too,” but I had learned that morning the best way to deal with a protester is to ignore them. She was quick to spit, “You will have the blood of these dead children on your hands,” before she pivoted on her heels and scurried away.

The way the protesters speak to people is degrading. They believe they are entitled to your time and conversation and if you deny them of that their blood starts to boil. The only defense tactic they use is shame. They yell slurs like, “You will have to answer to god one day for this!” and “You’re making such a selfish decision, what about the baby?!”

Some of the script they use is more comical. While I was standing at the clinic’s property line that morning, soaking in the surroundings, a protester steps next to me and begins shouting at the window. “You could die in there! If this facility catches fire you will be under anesthesia and not able to get out. You would die in there just like your baby!”, a regular protester, Donna, belted. My jaw dropped. All these people with their signs readings, “Abortion Kills Children” and their rosaries singing the same hymn over and over again, they are all the same. I thought to myself, how could these people wake up so early in the morning with so much hate in their heart where they feel the need to focus it on people around them? I turned to F and asked if things like Donna had just said is normality around here. She laughed, “I hear that line about once a week.”

The night after escorting I caught myself staring at the ceiling processing what I had been exposed to that day. All the emotions I had felt rushed back through my mind. I realized that the attack on women seeking abortions is an outrageous reality in this country. I saw that these clients need someone there to help them feel empowered. I realized that women aren’t trusted to make their own reproductive health choices. As I lay there reflecting on how this escorting experience affected me I realized my new passion, the burning in my heart, I wanted to help and that I 100% trusted women.

Little Choices

Escorts try to follow our Points of Unity every time we are on the sidewalk. We aren’t perfect so sometimes we follow them imperfectly, but we always try.

FML has been writing thorough articles to break down what the Points of Unity really mean in practice. I have been thinking a lot about the explanations for the first two.

  • Escort must gain consent from every client every time.
  • On a concrete level, this means that every time I approach a car with a client in it, I say something like, “Hi, I’m a volunteer with the clinic.  Would you like us to walk with you?”
  • Escorts are present to support people and create space for them to be empowered while accessing reproductive healthcare.
  • Whatever we say, with our physical presence, and with our words, we create space that helps put distance between them and the protesters.
  • And the point of putting space there, the point of putting space between the client and the protesters, is not to protect, to rescue, or to defend.  The point of putting space is so the clients themselves can be empowered.

The first one of gaining consent to talk and walk with a client is an easy one to always get right. It becomes part of the first things we say when we greet clients. When we are told, “No,” we walk away.

The second point is a little trickier for me. Our presence on the sidewalk creates space, but we try to find the words to say that empower a client. How do you empower clients in just a few minutes walking on the sidewalk past antis wanting to distract?  In my opinion, it starts with little choices.

‘Where do we park?’ is met with two choices. ‘You can park here at the meter or across the street in the public parking lot. You can decide which you prefer.’ We follow up with details of cost and time.

‘The clinic isn’t open yet, but you can wait by the door or you can wait in your car and we will come get you when it is open.’

When we are walking across the street from the public lot, ‘Would you mind if we jaywalk across the street or would you prefer to cross at the light?’

When we are walking clients from the covered parking lot, ‘We can go two ways. We can cut through these buildings or walk around on the sidewalk.’

‘Will protesters hurt or touch me?’ This is always answered, ‘No,’ but then we give the client the choice to talk to antis or not. ‘They will talk to you and try to hand you literature. You can talk to them if you like or you can just ignore them.’

You will notice my examples all contain two choices. More choices become confusing in a stressful situation. If we gave clients five choices, they wouldn’t be thinking about the antis as much but they also would have too much information to process in a short period of time. This can add to their stress and confusion instead of empowering them.

Every little choice adds to the empowerment of the client. It is their appointment with the clinic and they are deciding the details of the visit. It is surprising, or not, how these little decisions will add to the client’s confidence. They add space and empowerment for them.

At the same time we are giving the client these little choices, we shouldn’t be asking them questions all of the time we are interacting. Smiling and talking about neutral subjects are a way to create space for the client. I have been known to talk about traffic, weather, sidewalk conditions, road construction, movies, how much I would like a cup of coffee, city events scheduled for the day, or anything interesting we see on the sidewalk as we walk to the clinic.

Like the article says, “The point of putting space is so the clients themselves can be empowered.”

Sidewalk Snippet ~ {05/16/12}

There were only three escorts and about 14 antis in the morning. The clients and companions were subjected to a lot of yelling, crowding and shaming.

For some reason, 6 antis gathered together around the entrance to the abortion clinic. They were blocking half of the sidewalk for a long time while discussing the open house tours at the CPC down the street.

A companion came out of EMW with a pack of cigarettes in hand and started down the sidewalk away from the grouped antis. The companion was walking at a brisk pace, but I followed. Around the corner I caught up and let them know they could actually smoke on the clinic property just outside of the door area; that is still private property and the antis don’t normally cross the property line.

I got a smile and, “I just wanted to get away from them,” pointing in the direction of the grouped antis. Nodding, I let them know I understood.

When I came back around the corner towards the clinic one of the antis said to me, “Did you ask for a toke?”

Really? Sometimes the antis reach for new insults. Sometimes those new insults are just funny.

Tally ~ Pledge-A-Picketer

The Saturday before Mother’s Day is usually the biggest protester day during the year. Instead of celebrating the weekend with families, antis come out to shame, blame and humiliate clients going to their doctor appointments for an abortion. This Saturday, May 12 saw groups of antis gathered in front of the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, KY.

We take advantage of this day to count protesters for donations in support of pro-access efforts and the escorts. Their turnout helps us to create support and space for clients.

There were 151 protesters present this past Saturday. We had several people counting and comparing numbers to arrive at this number. This is a lower number of antis than we have seen in past years on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, but still a large number of people shouting and praying on the sidewalk.

We also had over 40 escorts helping to line the sidewalk and make corridors for clients to enter the clinic door. We want to thank all of the first-time and occasional escorts who came out early to help. The day was so much better than it would have been without your help. Each of your efforts are appreciated.

We also want to thank everyone who generously pledged to our fund drive. We will be sending out personal emails to each of you today to let you know the amount your pledge tallies to and how to pay. (For example, if you pledged $.10 per picketer your donation amount will be $15.10.)
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For those of you who want to pay before we send our email, we do have a PayPal account for escort donations.  You can just make a “payment” to our email address everysaturdaymorning@gmail.com. We will credit your pledge for any donations paid through PayPal.
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Again, our thanks go out to everyone who has donated time and money to the Saturday before Mother’s Day.
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Sidewalk Snippet ~ {4/30/12}

It was not a busy morning. There were only two antis walking the sidewalk and just a few praying. We had five escorts and there had been no confrontations between anyone.

Just before 8a a car drove by the clinic slowly and parked at the curb. Five people got out of the car and one started feeding the meter. E started handing literature to the one at the meter and talking about AWC. The usual, “What’s the harm in taking 5 minutes to check us out?” He ignored everyone else.

I stood off to the side and quietly asked another passenger if they were going to the abortion clinic, explained about the orange vests and offered to walk with them. She replied, “How did you know?” I told her it wasn’t anything she had done, but when cars move slowly in front of the clinic, staring at the entrance, taking in the sidewalk and then park, it is usually a good bet they are going to the clinic.

We walked to the clinic with E still talking to the companion who had fed the meter. His attention was focused on her. The client walking beside me was buffered from his words and actions by the support of her friends. We were able to just follow peacefully behind E, not really hearing all he was saying.

The client’s plan worked.

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REMINDER: If you are interested in escorting, particularly if you’re willing to hold space on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, don’t forget the training on May 9th at 6:00P.  Training is not required, but it’s helpful.

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

Use this form to make your pledge: