What It Means to Be a Clinic Escort - & Picketers vs Patients
For this reason, I now get to spend two mornings a week outside of Chicago clinics helping escort women past unhappy protesters. The picture above is from last weekend, when a school/church in Arlington Heights Illinois bussed in 30+ protesters, including a number of children. This now happens on a monthly basis. Ironically enough, these groups bring posters with giant photos of white babies even though most of the women headed to the clinic are women of color (because of the location of the site). This is only one of many tactics which illustrates the general lack of understanding of the issue on the side of the protesters.
“Women have DIED in there!”
“Abortion is genocide!”
“Jesus doesn’t want you to kill your baby!”
“It’s not too late – we can help you!”
We tune them out, preferring to pretend they’re invisible. It’s understandable; they’re always there. In “big cities,” in rural towns. For us, they are a kind of constant din providing background noise to the work we do everyday. Their signs are ridiculous, their taunts complete lies. Our ability to ignore them makes the work we do possible. We shrug them off because to us they can’t matter.
But they do matter to someone: the patient.
As a clinic escort, I’ve watched the faces of women who aren’t expecting to cross a grotesque picket line to access a legal medical procedure. And why would they? Around 70% of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade and reconstituting the landscape of backalley clinics and wealthy-only access that existed in America for nearly a century.
That landscape is the goal of the forced-birth picketers standing between a woman and her rights at women’s health centers across our country. We know that abortions don’t become unnecessary simply because they are illegal. An estimated 1.2 million abortions were performed annually during prohibition. So, why do the faux-life lie screamers spend their days at clinics rather than doing something useful?