Boiling Water Attack Update: A Conviction

Homophobic jackass  Martin Blackwell has been sentenced to 40 years for pouring hot water on his girlfriend’s son and his boyfriend as they lay in bed.

All I have to say is: GOOD.  Dude pretty much confessed as he was being arrested, and was facing 80 years.  I’m a little shocked that this happened in Georgia, where they don’t even have hate-crime laws, but I’m saying GOOD all the same.

I hope for further healing for Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert, who still require assistance due to severe burns.

BAD.

The bad guy was caught and justice was served.

GOOD.

Boiling Water Attack Update: A Conviction
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#nerobannedparty Time!

So after the hot garbage fire that was Twitter’s underbelly driving away Ghostbusters star and SNL cast member Leslie Jones off the platform, Twitter was lit the fuck up with people demanding the staff Do Something about the damn hot garbage fire and the one who started it.

One of the hottest most trash dumpsterest fire of them all, Milo “Aryan Youth Blond ‘Do” Yiannopoulos.  They threw his ass off, permanently.

Since then the hashtag #nerbannedparty has been making the rounds, to my ever loving delight.  But, while I’m delighting, it’s not enough.

Twitter, we shouldn’t have to bombard you every time a hot garbage fire of harassment chases someone off your platform.  For all your talk about Doing Something about this shit, you ain’t done enough shit. Judgey Bitch, banned, still pops up with a new moniker.  Notorious fake goth Cathy Brennan has gone through HOW many Twitter handles? People are still getting their mentions blown the fuck up with nonsense.

You’ve proven you can do this.  Now keep doing it. Show us that you give even a smidgen of a fuck about keeping your platform from becoming a total and complete shitshow. Users shouldn’t have to create things like Block Bot to keep themselves and those of like mind safe.  People, celebrities or non-celebrities, shouldn’t have to suffer a torrent of abuse with no way to get help.  It’s unacceptable.

As for the lovely and funny Ms. Leslie, might I suggest turning this mess into a sketch for next Saturday? Which one of your white male cohosts would look decent in a bright blonde wig?

 

Photo by clasesdeperiodismo

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#nerobannedparty Time!

Fear and Loathing in Clinic Escorting

Things are ramping up and not in a good way.

Continue reading “Fear and Loathing in Clinic Escorting”

Fear and Loathing in Clinic Escorting

On the Front Lines

By now everyone’s heard of the rat bastard who held hostages and killed and injured people at a CO Planned Parenthood.  It’s…how do you even start to process that?

It happened last Friday, and I was reloading the local news page over and over, took a nap and went right back to it.  I needed to know when or if they would apprehend this fucker.  And of course they did, alive because white, even though he killed one of their own, but that’s a different rant.

The next day, I went to escort after a long break (I was sick, then Turkey Day, and oh, my father’s been contacting me after like over a decade of silence from me.  Shit’s been stressful as fuck, kay?).  One of the clinic staff checked in with each of us as we suited up, just telling us to be careful, to be aware, and thanking us for showing up even after the day before happened.

20151128_085838
Me last Saturday, failing at proper prep for the cold weather.

 

Now escorting has always been serious business to me, even as I joke and make fun of the merry band of fools.  Each patient is important to me, and getting them into the building with as little harassment as possible is my JOB.  Serious business, folks.

I always known that clinic violence was a risk, but Friday really made it hit home.  Let’s be real, we’re practically screaming “Shoot us first” in our bright yellow vests, standing outside.  To these people, this ignorant jackasses, we’re the handmaidens of Satan – yes even the guys – escorting poor innocent ‘mothers’ into Hell. To someone entitled* enough to think that taking matters into their own hands will do a damned thing, we’re sitting targets.

And on the real, that’s pants-shittingly terrifying. Having to swallow that shit and show up was emotionally draining.  I had so many excuses – allergies, frost on the car windows, now I’m tired from scraping all that damn frost off the windows, now the windows need defrosting because I still can’t see, do I really want to do this?  We’re in Minnesota, the protesters are more annoying than scary.  But it doesn’t have to be a regular, it only needs to be one person.  Can I really do this?

I can do this.

I will do this.

I NEED to do this.

Of course, the accusations of ‘mentally ill loner’ are being thrown about because white and that’s another rant.  Let’s get one thing straight – even if he has a diagnosis of a mental illness, doesn’t matter.  It’s the entitlement that is the issue.  Shit, I’m crazy.  My grasp on reality sometimes isn’t all there.  Some days I’m filled with so much self loathing that I stay in bed.  Other days, anxiety fills me with so much dread that I don’t leave the house for days. Also, I know which end of a gun to point when I want something destroyed, and I’m a slightly less than shitty shot.

But the thought of going up to another human and blowing a hole in them makes me sick.  I could never do it.  Many of us with mental illnesses couldn’t do it either.  Fuck, we’re most likely to BE victims of violence, so please keep that in mind as the same bullshit rhetoric we always hear when a white guy gets murdery is being trotted out.

Please keep the three victims of this shooting and all of the injured in mind.

Please keep the clinics that have suffered violence in mind.

Please keep the fact that the faction that keeps fueling this fire has the nerve to continue to call themselves “pro-life” in mind.

Please keep the security measures clinics and doctors have to go through just to do their jobs in mind.

This shit isn’t easy.  It weighs on my mind every Saturday.

 

*I’m calling it entitlement because, well it is.  It takes a nerve of steel to think that YOU, yes, YOU, you special snowflake you, will be the savior of babies for a day or a week or forever by destroying other people’s lives and/or livelihoods with your gun or your bomb or your vandalism or your wee little hatchet. That is some entitled bullshit right there, especially when your actions will have no negative effect on the fact that ABORTIONS HAVE AND WILL ALWAYS HAPPEN, YOU FUCKING FUCKS! You ain’t stopping shit.  You’re just giving the less violent pro-lifer fodder to secretly wank over while they publicly denounce your fucked up actions.  Fuckers.

On the Front Lines

Helpless

So, while I was at Skepticon, shit was going down in my own town.  Black Lives Matter has been protesting in front of the 4th Precinct in reaction to the death of Jamar Clark by the police.  Some of my local friends have been out there, helping out and being awesome or being awesome allies.

And then last night, shit got worse. Five people shot by cowardly agitators.  They want to provoke their little race war so badly, provoke us to a response just so they can have their war as “self-defense”.  They’re cowards and fuck an entire bowl of them.

I could get on a bus right now and be there.  I could have been part of the response march.  I could be there, supporting those victimized by the police after the shootings with mace and nonsense.

But, thanks to fibro and anxiety, I can’t.  And that shit makes me feel helpless.  No, I can’t walk in a march.  No, I can’t be around huge groups of people, especially with the fear of violence with each breath.

And I feel, again, helpless.

See, back during Secular Women Work, myself and the ever awesome Trinity did a workshop about activism while disabled.  There are things you can do, if you can’t do what is seen as standard “activism”.  And I find myself trying to keep that in mind tonight.

I can retweet information.

I can put stories on blast.

I can write this post.

There are things I can do.  There are things that you, if you sitting here looking at a cane or a wheelchair or your stack of meds or your whatever is keeping you keeping on, can do to help those on the ground.  Got extra blankets?  Or can get to a thrift shop to get cheap blankets/hats/gloves? Can you get them to an occupation?  You don’t have to stay. Can’t get out of the house?  Do you have a friend who can do this for you?

Have access to social media? Share these stories. Share announcements. Given how bullshit the media can be (looks at her local paper and sets it on fire. Passive voice my black ass), social media is where you can get what’s going on and spread the word.

And, most importantly, if it’s too much, you can break away.  You can rest.  This goes double if you CAN show up.  Self-care is a very radical act.  No one is any good when burnt out.

Helpless

*sigh*

Today in “shit I can’t believe I have to say”:

ATTITUDE IS NOT A CRIMINAL OFFENSE!!

Attitude will get you in trouble socially.  Attitude will get you fired.  Attitude will get you detention. Attitude will make you lose friends and gain enemies.

But it is not a crime. For too damned long, it’s been treated like a crime, though.

Recent case in point, the murder of Sandra Bland.  Now there’s video (that may or may not have been edited).  I’m not going to link to the video here, if you haven’t seen it yet, you can make use of the search engine of your choice.  Personally I tire of seeing Black death at police hands broadcast over and over.

According to the video, she was asked to put out her cigarette.  Not a lawful order, she didn’t have to obey. She asked repeatedly what she was being arrested for, and received no answer.  She stated that she couldn’t wait to sue, which is not a crime.  She outright stated that she had epilepsy, and the cop didn’t give a shit (I could write about how dangerous it is to be Black and disabled and having to deal with cops in this society, but that will have to wait for another day).

He didn’t care.  He didn’t get the respect he thought he deserved, and she paid the  price.

Yes, she coped an attitude.  Still not a crime.  But as we see over and over and over again, cops love to treat it like it is.  They act as if someone disrespecting their authority (insert Cartman impression here) is a crime to be punished from a beating up to death.  You know what other organizations treat disrespect as a lethal offense?

Gangs.

We have cops acting like stereotypical gang bangers, walking around openly armed and expecting the people to cower in fear of them and never say a bad word about or to them.  And that’s some bullshit.

What’s worse is that people actually play along with this shit.  We have people claiming that is Ms. Bland had just quietly complied with the cops unlawful and unreasonable requests, she would be alive today.  That coping an attitude with a cops is grounds for a beatdown, to be treated like a criminal when no crime had be committed.  Bow you head, say ‘yes sir/ma’am” and “No sir/ma’am”, don’t make trouble, don’t stand up for yourself.  It’ll be over sooner if you just behave.

And to that I say, Oh Hell Naw.

People get all up in their feelings when we talk shit about cops?  “Being a cops is so hard”, they say. “It’s the most dangerous job out there”, they say.  First of all, it’s not – ask an oil rigger who’s more likely to bite it on duty. Second of all, of course it’s a hard fucking job (so is being a brain surgeon or an air traffic controller).   That doesn’t give anybody license to act like damn fools with huge egos. The point is, they’re not special and we should stop treating them as such when one of them fucks up.

It’s time for the cops to get a goddamn reality check.  You have been given your authority by the People, and they are the ones you need to damn well respect.  I don’t care how many shit talking law enforcement agents you see on TV, here in the real world, giving you a “disrespectful look” ain’t a fucking crime.  It is your job, your duty, to be more responsible than the average citizen, because you have the authority to kill a motherfucker (and get away with it).  Do I need to quote Uncle Ben here?  “With Great Power Also Comes Great Responsibility”?

That mean, yes, if a clerk at a retail shop can’t punch a mean and nasty customer in the face, you can’t either.  Yes, even if they ran and made you run and catch them and you’re pissed off.  Yes, even if they called your momma everything but a child of god.  Yes, even if they make a pig and/or doughnut crack at you.  That means each and every time you strike a perp with hand or baton, you need to be held accountable (frankly, I think if you have to hit a motherfucker that ain’t tried to hit you first, that should be an instant investigation).  That means each and every bullet you fire needs to be held accountable.  That means every time you’re seen acting a fool, you get disciplined. That means remembering that yes, YOU CAN BE RECORDED ON DUTY (like a lot of other people with jobs have to put up with), so you better act right each and every time you go on duty.  We don’t want perfection, we want accountability.  We want to trust you again, and we can’t if we’re scared that the cop coming out of his car is going to be Officer Friendly or Deputy “Got Something to Prove”.

You want to improve the way we see cops?  Make them more accountable.  Toss out the heavy handed motherfuckers, the blatant racists, the homo/transphobes, the ones with a rap sheet full of complaints.  They are supposed to be serving the people, ALL OF THEM, and they damn well can’t if they’re bigots.  Take the wrongful death settlements out of their pension fund, make them feel the burn of each and every wrongdoer.  Stop punishing whistleblowers who are trying to do the right thing by exposing bullshit. Train your people on how to deal with all members of society with respect, including the disabled. END THE WAR ON DRUGS and the fucked up incentives to punish addicts just to fill the town’s “too fucked up to raise taxes” coffers.

I could go on forever, but I think it’s a start.

*sigh*

They Say, You Gaslight: “Sidewalk Counseling” at Its Worst

I’m going to be late for my doctor’s appointment messing around with this nonsense, but this was too good to pass up, y’all.

It’s another one of those “Feminace Rips Apart Some BS Pro-Life Screed”, but this has a special twist – I’m “supporting” local talent.  Yes, cats and kittens, a friend shared a screed, and I read it and recognized the names as being two of THE WORST of our protesters.

It’s a how-to guide about responding to the myriad objections people give when these fuckers start harassing them, and since I’m not allowed to engage while in the vest and on the sidewalk, I’m not going to let this opportunity pass me by.  Oh no.

First, just read this shit.  It’s short, don’t worry. Don’t read while driving, or drinking anything or eating anything less you choke or spill or crash.  Got it?  Good.

Where do we even start?

You can see, pretty clearly (and I’ve heard, pretty clearly), that harassment IS the name of the game.  They have responses for “objections” like:

“Back off! Get lost! Leave me alone!”

“Quit harassing us, this is hard enough already!”

“I’m just here for birth control.”

“I’m not even pregnant.”

“I’ve already made my decision.”

“Leave us alone or I’m calling the police.”

…with everything BUT backing the fuck off and respecting the speaker’s right to be left alone. This is what they train others to do as well.  Keep talking, never shut up, respect, what respect?

There’s also a great deal of gaslighting (that is: creating doubt to the point that your victims cannot trust their own judgement) in some of these responses as well. Check this shit out:

“Back off! Get lost! Leave me alone!”

“Your anger is misdirected. You are angry that you are in a bad situation, but we can help you.”

“Adoption? You think I’m going to carry this baby for nine months and then just give it away!?”

“That’s okay; how can we help you KEEP your baby?”

“I’m just here for birth control.”

“Sometimes people tell us they’re here for something else when they’re really here for an abortion. You can be honest with me. God knows the truth anyway.”

Gaslighting is a pretty insidious tactic, commonly used by abusers to keep their victims always guessing and dependent on abuser’s guidance.  And the fine folks at Pro-Life Action Ministries openly advocate this tactic of treating patients as if they themselves have not the fuck clue what they want.  That they actually want what the protesters want.  Always.  Such respect, Wow.

Then there’s outright WTFery, stuff that when I’ve heard it, made me stop in my tracks for a moment:

“You don’t need to listen to them, they are just protesters.” (from an abortion escort or worker)

“I am not a ‘protester,’ I am a ‘protector,’ a ‘protector of women and their unborn children.’”

Sure thing, sweetheart.  You pass out lit, harass every person who walks by, and wave signs.  Nope, not the actions of a protester.  Not at all.

“It’s too late. I’ve already started the abortion.”

“There’s a good chance your baby is still alive and is healthy! Babies have survived (the abortion pill or the first part of a late-abortion). Let’s call a doctor who can help you right now.”

…nice advice from people who are not medically trained. And the ‘reversal’ they’re currently trying to hype hasn’t been tested enough to be considered a mainstream procedure. Note that the only state that tried to make mentioning it a requirement had its law put on hold, with opponents stating pretty much what I just fucking said. I dunno about you, but I wouldn’t trust a bunch of non-doctors recommending any sort of medical treatment with a fuckton of evidence.

“I could die if I have this baby.”

“If that’s really the reason you’re having an abortion, let’s get you to a pro-life doctor who cares about BOTH you and your baby. Besides, this abortion could hurt you; women have even died from abortions.”

We have had a women collapse in tears in the lobby after being badgered with this shit.  Her fetus was not viable.  A doctor already told her that.  This isn’t just WTFery, it’s cruelty.

“Will you just shut up?” (from a boyfriend outside smoking)

“Okay, I’ll stop talking if you take and read this information and pass it on to your girlfriend. Otherwise, I need to tell you the truth about abortion and how we can help you and your girlfriend and your baby.”

“I will cease harassing you if you do what I tell you to do.”  Yup, that’s not harassment at all.

And now, I’ve had people ask, repeatedly, when I share my stories from the sidewalk “Why don’t the patients call the cops/mace or throw water or even punch a protester? That’s what *I* would do.”  And the fact that I have to explain this answer rankles me…sometimes.  So, here goes.

Let’s say a patient does call the cops for harassment.  That means the patients has to come out of the doctor’s office to talk to said cop and point out who exactly did it.  Now, remember, when it comes to abortions, time is of the essence. The longer you wait, the more costly and complicated the procedure will be.  So, they might miss their appointment window and have to reschedule and frankly, it wouldn’t be worth it to me. Also, now they have/know my name and address if I press charges, because police report.

And what if someone offs and slaps the shit out of a protester?  Oh boy, they can martyr that shit right up.  They can call the cops, the assailant is compelled to come down, and in some cases, the poor hurt protester won’t press charges if the patient just “talks to them”.

See the problem?

And of course, others are proud to inform me that they would happily shut these guys down with the application of either harsh words or increased volume or both.  Trust me, wanna-be warriors, you’d only be wasting your precious vocal chords.  If large angry male companions and loud angry female companions and upset, crying, screaming patients of all sorts don’t faze these assholes, you don’t stand a chance.  Not one.  See this article?  They are trained to be relentless.  Each harsh word is like getting nailed up right next to Jesus, for the unrighteous hating on you is supposed to be a sign of being a good child of God and doing something right, or something.

What CAN you do?  Volunteer.  Escort (it’s really not very difficult. I do not have Job’s patience, but I manage it at least once a week).  Donate money to abortion funds.  Bother your Congresscritters for better harassment laws that don’t put the entire onus on the harassed to make a complaint.

It’s not very sexy, but a lot more effective.

Also, #shutupann

They Say, You Gaslight: “Sidewalk Counseling” at Its Worst

Beating the Sexuality out of Black Girls: Why?

(CW for abuse of all sorts of natures)

I love Tumblr, I really do.  I stay away from most fandoms of shit I like (I’ve been in the game for 20 years – the drama gets old), I follow a bunch of awesome social justice minded people, and if I ever needed to know if two or more men can actually fuck in a position I’m imagining, I just check my Dashboard.

There was this conversation I was following from the ever awesome Source Du Mal concerning something that was really, REALLY a part of my growing up.  And I need to word vomit about it.

Black girls can’t even ASK a damn question about sex without threat of assault by parents who are too busy thinking they are “guilty” of having a sexuality.

Like, sex is fucking everywhere. Are you kidding me? Come the fuck on. And if all you gonna do is beat them for being CURIOUS, then don’t get mad when they find out physically with lil Tyrell behind your back.

I was probably very precocious as a kid, probably because of being raped before I started kindergarten.  I had this curiosity about naked bodies and sex and those loud noises Momma made with her boyfriend or Dad with his new wife.  I never told an adult about my rape.  For some reason, I just KNEW the reaction would be bad.  So did my own research, playing doctor, stealing the dirty novels my Momma did a shit job of hiding, and writing my own laughable attempts at erotica (I still have the stories I penned at 10.  They are cringeworthy as fuck). When I got a bit older and could go to the library by myself, I dove into the puberty and sexuality books to try to understand my growing body and the strange feelings.

Talk to my parents about sexuality? Are you kidding?  If I so much as mentioned a boy that was an actual friend, they would freak the fuck out.  “You gotta boyfriend!?!”  My stepmother found condoms in one of my sister’s bookbag and proceeded to beat her.  While demanding that she answer questions about where babies come from.

“What do girls have?” *WHACK*

“Vaginas!”

“What do your friends call them?” *WHACK*

Worst. “The Talk”. Ever.

If that wasn’t the flashing klaxon that told me my sexuality (and hers) was not ‘safe’ at home, I dunno what was.  Between Stepmom’s abuse and our father rejecting our growing bodies, Sister and I lashed out in different ways; she got defiant and wilder, I became more private and sneaky and keep everything in.  One boyfriend tried to pressure get me to let him in our house for sex and I couldn’t bring that to any trusted adult.  My early explorations online got me exposed to a lot of creepy A/S/L-ness from dudes, couldn’t bring that to anyone.  When a boyfriend in high school kissed me, and I liked it and I wanted to share that joy, who would I share that with.  My first crush on a girl (or my second, or my third)? My decision to not have sex until college? The inappropriate looks and comments about my growing body? When that happened in earshot of my folks, it was my fault.

For existing or something.

According to my Stepmom, wanting to date made me a whore.  My sis started running away and they forced her on Depo shots to make sure she didn’t get knocked up.  I asked for the same, because my periods were murder and I read that it could help, was called a whore.

That I made it to 19 and in college before making my sexual debut had fuck all to do with the environment I grew up in.

I don’t get it, parents. Either little girls are worth guiding and loving or they’re not.  Either they’re just little THOTs and sluts in training that need that urge beaten out of them (literally or physically or both) or they’re not. Girls have those thoughts, at young ages, and it’s your fucking job as parents to nurture (cause it’s fucking natural, and I dare any of you to deny you were the same as a kid), to help her handle that, to answer her questions or help her find the answers herself.  I’m sorry if the fact that your precious little princess having an O-face someday or right now scares you, but this is your fucking job.

It’s a job that should be started when she’s young and should continue until she’s out of your house.  But when you cut off that budding sexuality with harsh words and harsh hands, you are destroying her.  You are ruining her trust of you. If she can’t ask “where do babies come from?” or “What can I do about the scary man down the street who wants me to hug him?”, then can she come to you with “The person I’m dating is pressuring me to have sex.” later?   Not if you fly off the fucking handle the second she hints about having pants feelings.

This shit has wrecked us, and is still wrecking us. When girls act out, we call them nasty names, we humiliate them as punishment, we beat them because how fucking DARE they try to navigate the sexual waves without any fucking guidance.  Don’t they know they should just keep shit quiet and never make a peep and never have a single sexual thought, or fall in love, or have a crush, or leave the house, or have friends of whatever gender they’re attracted to until their wedding day?  That isn’t for their safety, it’s for your fucking comfort. And when you do this shit, I don’t see “That girl deserved it with her fast ass”, I see, “I suck as a parent.  This child will never trust me again, and I’ll probably wonder why.”

“The Talk” isn’t easy.  It’s not comfortable. But it’s necessary.  And it’s so much more than just “Keep your panties up and don’t bring home anything that has to eat” and “Boys only want one thing.” But it’s your fucking job. Dealing with a diaper blow out isn’t comfortable either, but you don’t beat a baby for it or try to make them not shit so much. You suck it the fuck up, break out the tools and handle that shit.

When your daughter is curious about sexuality, you need to Handle. That. Shit.  Love her. Respect her. Give her some privacy. Fucking hug her, Father figures.  Just because she’s maturing doesn’t fucking mean your job as a father is done. Mother figures, quit being jealous of the attention your daughter is getting.  You think that’s comfortable and fun for a 14 year old to have 20-30-40 year old men panting after her? Get over yourselves and fucking parent already.

(And yes, that counts even after your little girl has discovered her O-face. She’s not soiled or ruined.  Hug her. Love her. Guide her to make decisions that work for her. She hasn’t stopped being your daughter.)

Beating the Sexuality out of Black Girls: Why?

Dear Former Clinic Escort,

Blogmaster’s Note: This’ll be a long one, but worth it.  Also, if you come up with some some anti-choice argument BS, have your shit recent and accurate, or you WILL be shown the door.

Wow, when this piece of dreck popped up in a private FB group for escorts, it was universally panned.  I don’t tend to link to the sentient bullshit machine that is LifeSiteNews, but for this opportunity, I made an exception.  So I clicked and read this oh so special letter to us Clinic Escorts.

And the moment the page load, I’m assaulted by an autoplay pledge plea (I know I have Flashblock, so what the fuck?) of two twin douchebags who I’d never heard of, one of which introduces them as “I’m David Benham and this is my twin sister Jason.”

Mmm-mmm, that’s some tasty transphobic humor right there.

Anyway, they apparently lost some house-flipping show on HGTV because they opened their yaps and let the anti-gay, anti-choice out.  Insert commentary about how free speech is actually supposed to work here.

NothingofValue

Well, I was in a mood after pausing that crap video, so let’s get to the actual letter, shall we?

Dear Clinic Escort,

Hi there!

Today I saw you, with your bright orange vest emblazoned with ESCORT on the front and back. You refused to make eye contact with me.

Actually our vests (provided by the awesome folks at The Clinic Vest project) are eye melting yellow, but okay.  And as for ‘eye contact’? We become masters at the Thousand Yard Stare to ignore you and your repetitive and WRONG nonsense.  We’re escorts, not counterprotesters. You’re not owed an audience just because you think you have something important to say.  Not from strangers, not from patients, and certainly not from escorts.  Deal.

I saw your gritty determination as you grabbed arms with that young woman and whispered in her ear, “Ignore them,” you said, “Don’t look at them, they are here to intimidate you, to scare you. I’ll keep you safe, don’t worry.” You walked quickly, head up, steel in your eyes, never letting up your grip on her arm. Her head was down, following your lead, mutely keeping up with your fast trot to the abortionist.

We walk with patients who are terrified and angry at the horde of people who can’t take “no” for an answer, who surround cars and try to shove their crap into the windows. Congrats, you have accurately described our job (though we do tend to not touch the patients unless asked where I am because we believe in strange concepts like “respecting a person’s space”). Pity that will probably be the last accurate thing you will say in this entire ‘letter’.

You ushered her in through the doors and soon emerged, alone, smiling at us triumphantly, a glimmer of malice in your eye, a smirk of arrogance and joy at having bested us – another woman you saved from the anti-choice fanatics. You rejoin the other escorts, laughing and joking, until the next car pulls up, and your face resumes the mask of the militant soldier, ready to do battle for women’s reproductive rights.

Malice.  Militant soldiers. “Another woman saved…”

Oh god.  Hold up, I gotta stop laughing for a minute.  Making up your own interpretation of shit is something anti-choicers are really good at, I’ve noticed.  “Pro-life fanfiction”, I’ve heard it called. That’s not malice, it’s pride at helping patients enter with some dignity. We’re not “militant soldiers”, we’re volunteers done with your shit. They weren’t ‘saved’ from you.  They arrived at their appointments on time with as little harassment as possible. You’re turning it into some weird competition where there is none. But hey, whatever it takes to keep up that martyr complex. It’s just what Jesus would have done.  Or something.

As I watched you I wondered, have you ever been inside the clinic?

Nope.  They never let us inside the clinic.  They just hand out the vests and send us to work.

Oh wait, that’s complete bullshit.  Of course we’ve been inside the clinic.  The inside of the clinic where I escort looks like every other doctor’s office I’ve been in.  Clean, professional.  Only more purple. No charnel house look here.

Have you ever been in the waiting room, filled with the silence of trepidation and fear? Have you listened to the stifled tears?

A some escorts have either had abortions, or have been a companion to someone who has.  We even had a transgendered man volunteer who had one. I know you’re going for this “we don’t know what we do” angle, but we do.  We really do.

And trepidation and fear (and yes, tears) are natural reactions to a surgical procedure.  I felt that before my extensive dental surgery.  I did before my first endoscopy. Some people even feel it before giving birth. It’s natural.  Doesn’t make what’s about to happen wrong.

Have you ever been in the counseling room? This place, where instead of asking questions and listening, the worker masks the truth, or outright lies about the third life in the room, the life growing inside the woman’s womb?

I’m not a counselor, and we fill out patient privacy forms , so my answer will have to be no.  As for the information given, I think you may be confusing that with a CPC. From what people who have had abortions and actual counselors and doulas have shared (and the documentaries I’ve watched, After Tiller and 12th and Delaware), counselors, you know, counsel.  It’s their job to listen.  It’s their job to give ALL of the options.  And if a patient decides to only have an ultrasound, or changes their mind, it’s okay.  No one’s keeping patients trapped until they decide they way ‘we’ want, as CPCs are reported to do. That’s what choice means. Do you get it?

Probably not.

Have you seen her sad and scared eyes?

Yes. Badgering a patient outside of the clinic will do that.

Have you asked her why she is there?

I’m not a counselor, and neither are you. I swear, we get antis, who can’t take ‘no’ and ‘leave me alone’ for an answer, asking this question to complete strangers like they’re owed that answer. This might seem really strange to you, so I’ll put it bold so you get it: It’s none of our business. Not yours, not mine.  That is between the patient, the counselor, and the doctor. And maybe, if the patient is a believer, their relationship with a god.  Not yours.

That said, I have actually had patients, after we get them inside and away from your shit, volunteer that information.  And while you might deem all of these reasons not good enough for you, they are so damned no concern of mine.

I don’t give half a crap why a patient is there. It’s none of my business.

Do you know if she is being pressured or forced into this abortion, if she is safe at home…all the questions she won’t be asked inside the clinic? Does she know about all of the help available to her if she keeps the baby? Does she know how many couples would love to adopt her baby?

Wow.

Just, wow.

bitchyoutriedit

You do know that 9th Commandment is YOUR law to follow right?  The one about “not bearing false witness”?  That’s so much bearing of false witness I’m surprised your back isn’t broken from the strain. Counselors ASK these questions.  They provide help if the patients change their mind.  I’ve seen the brochures with my own eyes. And even if they change their mind, that’s not a victory for YOU, it’s a victory for the concept of CHOICE.

And seriously, adoption isn’t the opposite of abortion. This may shock you, but some people aren’t interested in continuing a pregnancy they don’t want. Fucking deal.

Yes, I know, I’m using filthy words now. That’s what I do when I’m pissed at disingenuous liars. And it’s only gonna get worse.

My dear Clinic Escort, have you been there for the ultrasound, where you can see the fully formed baby kicking its arms and legs? Have you heard the worker tell her it is just a bunch of cells? A blob? A product of conception?

You’re asking me if I’ve seen ultrasounds before?  Why yes.  From parents happily expecting, and from people who have decided on abortion.  The majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester – too tiny to have those kicking arm and legs.  And even if we’re talking second trimester, why does that matter? If someone doesn’t want to continue a pregnancy, they get to not continue a pregnancy.

Have you been with her, holding her hand as she screams in pain, ignored by a doctor who doesn’t even know her name?Have you heard the suction machine, watch as the blood, tissue, and body parts flow from her body into a cold jar? Have you heard the sound of the currette scraping her uterus? Have you seen the body parts – an arm, a leg, a piece of a rib cage, poured into a baggie as though it were scraps of meat?

Christ, are you getting off on this nonsense? While anesthetic affects people differently, they still get it. And yes, thanks to brave people who record and report their own procedures, we get to see how the shit works, sans your overdramatic overdescriptions.

Also, are you sure you’re still talking to us “dear Clinic Escorts”? We don’t go into the procedure rooms during procedures. We don’t go into the counselling rooms during counseling. And if we’re curious, we can ASK.  We can research.  I did an entire talk as a layman to other laymen about basic abortion procedures.  So, yeah, keep on with the drama, you can’t fool me.

Have you sat with her in the recovery room as she stares off into space, desperate to get away from this place so she never has to think of it again?

We’re not doulas or patient advocates, so no. But, since I’ve been trained as an abortion doula, by people who have been doing it for a while, I’m more willing to trust their word on the reactions in the recovery room.  Sometimes, there’s tears.  Sometimes, there’s vomiting, because anesthesia.  Most time, it’s relief.

Don’t believe me? Look up some positive abortion stories.  I’m Not Sorry has been running since 2004.

Have you been with her through the depression and the anxiety that plague her after the abortion? The breakup of her relationship? Have you helped her through her drug addiction, her binge drinking? Have you been there when she is unable to bond with her children? When her marriage falls apart? Will you be there when she attempts suicide? Will you be at her funeral when she succeeds?

LiaraFuckThis

I…I can’t even with this bullshit, but damnit, I’m gonna try.

Firstly, as someone who struggles with depression and the like, go fuck yourself.  It’s people like you who KEEP people with these issues from speaking up, unless they’re willing to join your guilt parade.  Yes, some people emotionally react poorly to having an abortion.  Most (and you can look that shit up yourself) don’t.

Secondly, go fuck yourself, because if this theoretical woman did all of these things, your sanctimonious ass wouldn’t be at that funeral either.

Thirdly, there are support for people going through issues after an abortion that don’t involve the guilt trip.  Backline and Exhale.  Look them up, and go fuck yourself.

Fourthly, and most importantly, GO FUCK YOURSELF.

Dear Clinic Escort, look into my eyes.

*flips both birds*

vtLap8s

They have seen things you could never imagine. Things that have made me scream in the middle of the night. Things that are never discussed in the intellectualized, feminist world of abortion rights.

Some escorts have had abortions. Some escorts have had abortions. Some escorts have had abortions. Some escorts have had abortions.

Because while you see a job well done when you usher her through those doors, her nightmare is just beginning.

Did I mention the going and fucking yourself?  Because you can go do that now.

But before you do, I asked a few fellow escorts to chime in on your bullshit.

Nick V:

WTF is this nonsense? I know our counsellors DO ask those questions. I know our clinic would never ‘encourage’ a women who was unsure to just go ahead and have an abortion. Heck we saved women from boyfriends that were trying to force them to have one. This is horseshit.

Rivka:

I don’t give a rats ass what decision she makes. I don’t have a personal investment if if she stops to talk with you. I don’t get personal satisfaction from people choosing to have an abortion. I am there to let people access health care. I have never grabbed a patient. I have never smirked walking out. I chat with patients. Hell, I sometimes say half my job is keeping the antis from getting punched. Why in the world would you think I *care* how many people have abortions? I don’t care. I just want them to have *access*. It’s not a game where you win or I win.

And yes, I’ve been in the waiting room. I see women who are tired, women who are reading a book, women who are chatting. I have had women tell us that they feel better, I’ve had plenty of women thank me for making the trip to get health care a little less scary for them.

And yes, I’ve gone with a friend when she needed support. For her it was a hard decision. It’s one she has very mixed feelings about, but she’s still sure she made the decision that was right for her. And I stood with her and let her work through that. I didn’t tell her what to do, and I would have supported her whatever she choose.

This isn’t a game where you get saves and I get abortions. My only interest is in those women being able to access healthcare without fear.

Pat C:

One lie that gets me is the, “Ask them to show you the ultrasound. They don’t want you to know the truth,” The clinic will not only show it to you if you ask, they will print a photo for you if you want.

AND

Since I transport many clients home after their procedure, this is not true. All of them say the staff are kind, compassionate and keep asking them if they are in pain. They will stop the procedure if needed to comfort the patient and reapply a local if necessary.

Huxley M:

One: some clinic clients are nervous. They’re typically nervous because they’re about to have a medical procedure, which is worth getting tense about. They’re also typically nervous about the protesters out front.

Two: some clients do have sad feelings, for a variety of reasons – the one I’ve encountered most (I’m also doing volunteer transport now, which means lots more talking than escorting does) is that they do want to talk, to have someone in their life know what’s up. “Hey, this is why I’ve seen stressed lately/seemed sick/etc.” And they don’t feel like they can, because they are afraid they will be treated by loved ones the way they are by the protesters. The overwhelming amount of negative emotion surrounding abortion is what they create – which is exactly what they intend.

Finally, just grabbing a client’s arm? I dunno about everybody, but we don’t even walk with clients without asking if they want us to. I have never initiated physical contact with a client, ever. Protesters make plenty of unsolicited and unwanted physical contact with clients, companions, and escorts, though. Guess they’re projecting?

Thanks guys, you rock!

Dear Former Clinic Escort,