Abortion Clinic Escort
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Yes, but it is rare. There was an article in the NY Times opinion page September 2012 titled "Breaking Up The Echo" that pretty well sums up the impossibility of changing opinions on the sidewalk. Neither side is going to change the other side to their way of thinking. It is not what is said as much as who is saying it that will cause examination of strongly held opinions. We do try to practice non-engagement, so discussion is kept to a minimum between the groups at all times. There was one time about two years ago that a church group came out to see what was happening. They had heard of sidewalk counselors (protesters) changing clients' minds and preventing abortions. The minister of the group got into a discussion with me as we were all leaving the clinic after the clients ...More
Yes. There have been times when we feel there is danger. The dynamics of the sidewalk are so chaotic and volatile, they can spill over into violence very easily. We take every precaution we can. We always work under a buddy system when we escort and never escort alone. We do have the police dispatch number on our phones for quick dialing if needed. There have been escorts assaulted by protesters. There also have been protesters assaulted by clients and companions who are angry with the protesters' interference on the way to the clinic doors. There was one incident last year of a gun being drawn by a companion in a threat to protesters. There is always a potential for real danger, but most of the time it is limited to yelling, harassment and some blocking of the path or shoving. We can ...More
No. Our volunteer group are a diverse group of people. We have escorts who range in age from 18 to 72; they self-identify as female and male. There are generations of family groups who volunteer together. Some have had abortions themselves, but a great number have not. The one thing we have in common is the firm belief that access to abortion and reproductive health care should be without stigma, shame or harassment of any kind.
There are protesters present every day the clinic is open; Tuesday through Saturday. There are a lot of signs, praying, shouting and shoving. We have soapbox preachers and sometimes we have choral groups singing hymns. Saturdays are the most hectic days and there have been some incidents of violence. Escorts try to keep to a non-engagement policy with protesters to minimize any confrontations. Sometimes clients and companions will lash out as well. The situation is always volatile, but rarely violent.
Roughly 3%. Most clients bring a companion with them. Depending on the procedure they are having, they are required to have a driver to take them home when they done.
Good question and one that is complicated to answer. Personally, I have always believed passionately in access to reproductive health care including abortion and contraception for everyone who wants or needs them. Since 1 in 3 women have an abortion in the US, like everyone else I have known several friends over the years who have had abortions. These were personal decisions they shared with me that reaffirmed the need for abortion access. I knew about anti-abortion movements, but Dr. Tiller's murder May 31, 2009 was my wake up call. Because Roe v Wade made abortion legal in the US it didn't mean it would always be accessible. The first time I volunteered at the clinic and saw the harassment clients went through to exercise their right to abortion, I could not turn away from escorting. ...More