Monday, January 22, 2007

Escort at Abortion Clinic Tells His Story

Daily Kos:

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.

7 comments:

Chana said...

The sign reading 'GOD HATES' with the strip of velcro allowing for various forms of hatred is an example of the tragic dark humor that composes our age.

This is a very interesting and perhaps unconventional look at the issue. Thanks.

Before Sunrise said...

Interesting post. What I find most interesting about religious people (and this is nothing new) is that they preach forgiveness, understanding, respecting your neighbour, etc., however they seem to be the least intolerant of people.

Before Sunrise said...

I meant to say "the least tolerant of people" not intolerant.

asher said...

How wonderful of this person to tell you how wonderful he/she is. Make a point of being humble.

Skcorefil said...

And pro choicers are wonderful, tolerant, nonviolent people?

http://www.nickvasallo.com/video/PPGG_med.mov

This cartoon that planned parenthood did for children shows the main character exploding peaceful protesters cause they annoy her along with other insults to the dignity of people who disagree with her.

I have been to many many many prolife protests and have yet to see anything other than standing across the street, quietly holding nonhateful signs.

Anonymous said...

Just when the unthinkable happens, abortion starts appearing everywhere. The Daily News, National Geographic channel, JA, etc...oh why?!
I just discovered I impregnated a friend.
The issue isn't wether she will keep it or not (she won't) nor do I feel its immoral at this stage, rather, I feel a surreal emotional turbulence washing over me.
It all just seems so unreal. The thought that I actually have a, a... not even sure what the correct word to use would be. Well a fetus that's made of my seed growing in a woman that I care deeply about but for complicated reasons I'm not in a actual relationship with (which is in itself, a source of "emotional turbulence", as you may imagine.) is carrying this thing that I unwittingly (,I assure you. Guess it goes to show you can never be too careful.) bestowed upon her inner regions.
If only things were a little different! If I had my life together; If I wasn't still struggling to get my life where it should had I not just left a hell of a backwards, disgustingly backwards, community, I would have gladly fathered a child now.....

~XHasid

Jewish Atheist said...

XHasid:

Wow, that's really tough. :-( Hope everything works out as well as it can for you. I found it helpful to see a psychologist when I left Orthodoxy. Sounds like you've got a lot of heavy stuff to work through.

BTW, the reason everyone's posting about abortion now is that yesterday was the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.