While escorting (been sick for two weeks, so no new fuckery to share, sorries!), two things never fail to break my shriveled black heart:
- A patient bursting into tears due to the harassment
- A patient asking me if there’s anything I can do to make the harassment stop
Number one makes me rage, makes me see red, makes me want to shove those brochures down the lying, pathetic. sanctimonious, bullying maws of our merry band of morons. Number two makes me feel so helpless that I want to cry. I wish I could do something, say something that would spare our patients from the deluge of bullshit and lies incapable of taking “no”, “leave me alone”, or “fuck off” for an answer.
And you know what the fucked up part of it all is? If I was walking downtown and one of those friendly vest wearing hawkers for Save The Children or Amnesty International came up to me and I said, “No Thank You”, they go away. I don’t have to hear them out first, I don’t have to give them a second of my time, I don’t even have to be POLITE about (though I usually am), and they go away. If they didn’t, I could find a cop and say, “This person is harassing me”, and the cop would do something. Talk to the person, if there’s enough complaints, even arrest this person. Downtown, I have the right to not be harassed, no matter how good of a cause they think they are representing to not be harassed.
So, why is it any different when I’m walking into a women’s clinic? Isn’t me saying “I’m not interested, leave me alone” enough of a hint that I don’t want to be followed and or pestered?
Hat tip to Jezebel, San Francisco seems to be taking the first step in the very correct direction to stop the harassment of clinic patients and escorts:
Supervisor David Campos announced a joint-effort with San Francisco’s police department along with Planned Parenthood and the City Attorney’s Office, working on legislation that would act as an anti-harassment ordinance. The legislation seeks to prevent the more aggressive harassment that protesters launch at abortion clinics, namely following patients or clinic employees around. It would give police the authority to temporarily move protesters away from a clinic, allowing them to return.
This is exactly what we need, for every clinic in every city in this country. An anti-harassment law that is aimed to keep patients safe and unbothered by the more pushy and obnoxious elements of the pro-life side. Those who show up to just pray are still allowed (even though personally, I think that’s a form of spiritual bullying), those who show up and just hold up a sign are still allowed, those who even get the occasional, rare patient that will stop and hear them out are still allowed.
What isn’t okay is reaching into cars, shoving papers at someone, following them to the door (or property line), beckoning them from windows, pestering someone while they pay for parking, and all the other bullshit I see every Saturday and that you can have a lookie by following the #notcounseling hashtag on Twitter.
Their right to ‘sidewalk counsel’* ends at the right of the patients to say “NO”.
*And don’t even get me started on what bullshit “sidewalk counseling” is.