Do My Part
So I haven’t blogged in forever. I know. I’m sorry! Last week was midterms, and despite my promise to myself to blog every day, I had to hibernate from the world for a bit.
But now I’m back! The weather’s great, I’m finally caught up on my work, and ready to blog.
I thought I’d share about something new that I did this weekend. On Saturday morning, I woke up at 6:30 am (after having gotten home at 2 from salsa dancing) and bundled up in warm clothing, hopped on my bike and rode it down town. I stopped at this rather large municipal parking lot, where I proceeded to hang out with a group of really cool people, watching another equal-sized group of people, and trying to protect anyone who might enter the parking lot from them.
It’s called escorting. We were standing outside of a Planned Parenthood. Every Saturday morning they have an abortion clinic, and for the past year or so, every Saturday morning they have had protestors. There are some that arrive later in the morning, and simply stand with signs (one of whose caption is too funny not to share: “You wouldn’t kill your dog would you? Why kill your baby?). It’s the others that we worry about. These people go up to any girls approaching the clinic and try to hand them flyers about how Jesus doesn’t want you to kill your baby, pictures of the Virgin Mary, telling the girl that they will pray for her. Plenty of these girls aren’t even going to get an abortion, since PP has a primary care clinic the same day. But all of them looked pretty uncomfortable being approached by one of the five people that were there that day. Some humor them for a bit, others just say they aren’t even going into Planned Parenthood (the parking lot is shared by other businesses).
So, our job as escorts is to do just that, escort people into the clinic. Once they are in the clinic the protestors cannot follow them. We go up to the woman, tell her that we are a volunteer for Planned Parenthood, and that these are protestors. We tell them that the protestor will just keep talking unless you keep moving, and if you’d like I can walk with you to the door. Sometimes we try to make conversation with the girl to distract her, sometimes she doesn’t seem to need it.
Saturday was my first day, and I have to say that it was a really interesting experience. Having grown up in liberal Marin County, and now living in equally liberal Santa Cruz, I’ve never been surrounded by such religious fervency. And though it may seem silly that these girls need help just getting to the door, I couldn’t help but realize how traumatic it can be having someone approach you like that. Many of them already seemed rather distracted, disconcerted, and to have to deal with these crazy people too, is too much. It was so easy, but I feel like I helped.
I’m planning on continuing, so I’ll keep you guys updated on what I learn, what I see.
In the meantime, a few links that are relevant.
Firstly, Congress is trying to cut all funding to Planned Parenthood, according to this Gail Collins article. All this after they tried to redefine the meaning of rape to only “forcible rape” (meaning that women have to come out with bruises) so that only those women could get an abortion under the condition of rape. Please click on the second link to sign the Moveon.org petition against it.
Ick. Reproductive rights are really taking a hit right now. The least I can do is sit out in a cold parking lot playing cat and mouse with these weirdos so that a few girls can get into the clinic.