Things are ramping up and not in a good way.
The National Abortion Federation has reported that this year has seen a serious uptick in clinic fuckery. The shooting in Colorado got the most media coverage, of course, but threats of violence, more aggressive “sidewalk counseling”, and more dangerous rhetoric coming from anti-choicers are on an increase as well.
It makes escorting more dangerous now, since we’re the faces of the clinic, the first people a patient sees, or in the case of protesters, the only face they see. Some of us wear bright colored vests that mark us as volunteering for our clinics. What I’m trying to say is, if someone got it in their head to do a clinic harm, we may be the first going down.
And that just makes my already anxiety addled mind even more afraid.
I thought that we here in the Twin Cities were relatively safeish, given the quiet nature of our merry band of fools, until two weeks ago. Stephanie documents what happened there, and I can say that every part of me wanted to run into my car and floor it when this dude in question strode past us and into the building.
One clinic is trying to do something about this.
The EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, KY, have always had it much worse that here. Their protester are from different groups, there’s no buffer zone, so they can march right in front of escorts if they want to, there are a lot of them all lined up to harass from the jump, and they’ve been known to push escorts around. Now, they’ve teamed up with NAf to train legal observers to attend these fuckery sessions.
These legal observers are not escorts. They are not counter-protesters. They are just observers. They will be signing strict non-engagement and confidentiality agreements. They will not be talking to escorts or anti-abortion protesters. They will be writing observations, taking photos, sound recordings and videos. They will respect the patient’s privacy at all times. The observers will work in pairs. You will be able to identify them by their red wristbands.
They’re there to document, journal, video and sound record ever single misstep those fucksticks are using towards the patients and escorts. With hope, the shit these fucks are up to will stop. And if not, there will be plenty of proof that all of that sidewalk counseling horseshit is just that.