Do you remember how I started escorting for Planned Parenthood a couple of months ago? Well, I’m still doing it,waking up early most Saturday mornings and biking down to hang out in a parking lot for a few hours.
It’s pretty strange to me how much time I have spent in close proximity to these protestors–who are almost always the exact same 5-7 people–without ever speaking to them. I mean, I know them, kind of. Us escorts tend to characterize them by certain pieces of clothing that they often wear (one woman always wears a beret) or the way that the approach patients (the most active protestor is a man, and will approach anyone that comes by). I try to walk the fine line between respecting them for their dedication to something–which is a lot more than can be said for some people–and being disgusted and frustrated at what this “something” means for people trying to get into the clinic.
For the first few weeks I was more of an observer, trying to get a sense of how things work. I found that my most difficult moment was a couple of weeks ago, when a Latino family showed up to the clinic. One of the protestors is Latina, and she is very aggressive. She will stick her head through the patient’s car window, babbling away in rapid Spanish forever unless something stops her. As the only Spanish-speaking escort, I felt responsible to do something, but found it incredibly difficult to interrupt her. What if they did want to listen to her? Sure, it was an entire family, which leads me to assume that–like most families–they are going in for primary care, not abortions, but still, maybe they find this interesting. I don’t want to impede on their right to choose what to listen to.
However, she wouldn’t stop talking. And they didn’t look interested, but neither were they saying no. I finally had to literally stick my head in their window as well, and say in Spanish “Hi, I’m a volunteer with Planned Parenthood. This is a protestor, and you do not need to listen to her if you don’t want to. If you would like, I can walk with you to the clinic.” They got out, still smiling politely at the talking woman, and made their way to the clinic, taking the literature that she handed them.
We ask the clients not to leave the literature in the lobby, as it is misleading and often gives false information, so I offered to take the papers if they did not want them, which they didn’t.
I thought I would share what is written on them, to give you a sense of what anti-choice protestors are advocating. Before reading it, I think I should say that in my experience escorting, I have yet to see any woman leave the clinic crying. In fact, studies have shown that the overwhelming emotion felt by women post-abortion is relief.
“We come here to day to pray for the women coming for abortions because we know they are in an unplanned situation. We see every Saturday the women who come upset, troubled and crying and leave crying and emotionally hurt even more. Many women who had an abortion 30 years ago tell us they thought it would all be over that day but they never forgot there babies and always regretted there discision that was made without proper counseling. Some women, after proper counseling, descide to keep their babies.”
“Have you ever wondered if there really is a God. Or have you know God and lost contact. It is like a door and someone is there. If you want to let them in you open it. To open that door all you have to do is say to God, God if you are really there please show me.”
These quotes are copied exactly.