I am an escort. I choose to use my body, my voice and my fierce determination so that others may exercise their legal right to obtain abortions.
I’ve tried to describe the scene before but with little success. It’s like some sort of bizarre circus or a hallucinogenic freak show. There are usually 50 or so anti-choice protesters lining the sidewalk holding rosaries or crucifixes and reciting prayers. Interspersed among them, leaning against trees or propped in the back of pick up trucks, are large vivid signs of innocent looking babies, depictions of Jesus accompanied by scripture, or bloody pieces of human remains. But the sign which will forever win the award for flexibility was the one which read GOD HATES and below the word HATES was a strip of velcro, to accommodate the various options. One morning it read GOD HATES FAGS and then on another GOD HATES CATHOLICS (which was rather comical since there was a nun dressed in full habit sitting a mere 10 feet away).
To be fair most of the anti-choice protesters are content to stand outside the clinic and pray the Hail Mary incessantly. Their presence is undoubtedly intimidating but I don’t consider them threatening. Unfortunately, there are on any given Saturday up to half a dozen people who choose to actively badger, menace and scare the women seeking medical treatment. They scream hateful words, accuse them of murder, impede their path and never ever back off. As escorts we attempt to surround the patients with support, provide words of encouragement and stand beside them as they walk the gauntlet.
Fortunately the experience is not as physically aggressive as I initially feared. Occasionally there is bumping, blocking and the stepping on of toes but most of the aggression is verbal. "You’re a fag" "You’re killing your baby" "Murderer" "You’re going to be harmed forever". My past employment includes stints at a psychiatric hospital and correctional facilities so the verbal barrage bounces off of me. It’s obvious though that it impacts many of the women. I watched a woman run a city block, the distance from her car to clinic door, in an attempt to avoid her tormentors. Others will place their fingers in their ears, try to explain their circumstances or on some occasions tear up. From time to time, they choose to walk in the three lane street, preferring to dodge approaching cars than endure the incessant harassment and palpable hatred. Several weeks ago one of the clients turned around on an anti-choice screamer and yelled back, "You’re the meanest Christian I’ve ever seen!" Personally I’ve found that one of the most effective means of distracting the rabid anti-abortionists is by allowing them to proselytize. I’ll simply ask them to tell me about their religious beliefs and while they are explaining my certain damnation, women are walking into the clinic with minimal interference. When all else fails smiling or laughing at them is also effective.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Escort at Abortion Clinic Tells His Story
Posted by Jewish Atheist at 1:39 PM