Clinic Defense – One Sad Saturday At A Time

“What’s going on here?”
“These people don’t trust women to make decisions about
their pregnancies”
Sometimes it’s the reactions of those who walk by the clinic
that are the best summaries of the ludicrousness of the situation. Those unscripted moments of shock and frustration that happen when tourists pass by a street littered with ‘sidewalk counselors’ and prayer circles. Us escorts get ‘thank you’s; thumbs up; high fives, and the occasional gift cards for hot coffee during the coldest months. Protestors get an occasional ‘thank you,’ but more often an eye roll or scolding. More often the spectacle becomes a history in feminism: older women walk by with young girls explaining how both of their bodies are apparently suitable for public discourse.
This weekend begins the “40 Days of Life” clinics across the
United States. At my clinic in particular the ‘pro-life’ turn out was meager never quite exceeding 20 bodies. Maybe they were still sleeping off the double punch of Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday? There is a bit of mentoring going on between the various protestors, which isn’t uncommon in any movement. The older man outside of our clinic often twice a week, a man who is tied to Randall Terry and who has been arrested for his efforts models absolutely creepy behavior to the other ‘counselors.’ The newer protestor with a sloppy home made sign now has a practiced stare and holds his sign over by clinic window. I am not sure if a sign is less intimidating than an older gnome like man staring at you as you sign in, but these are not really choices that include ‘a lesser of two evils.’ After all shouting ‘LET ME HELP YOU’ does not model gentle compassion. And it is sad, because this man is so proud of his horrible, lopsided sign. When a group of clearly tourists paused to snap pictures he ran over to make sure his bright yellow sign would make it into their scrapbook. ‘See Timmy, protestors in America really need to apply the rule of thirds to their propaganda.’
The theme of this Saturday where the ice in DC was melting,
and your faithful clinic reporter was too hung over to really appreciate any positive note of being out on such a fine Saturday, was ‘creepy guys.’ After both the old man, and sign carrying fella had tapped danced on my last nerve I decided a quick break was in order. Amid life sustaining coffee run another long-time protestor offered to me and another escort coffee if we would ‘sit and listen to his stories.’ He has a reputation for offering our clinic escorts coffee but what an odd way to try and make friends.

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  • merriemelodyxx

    On Wednesday while walking downtown with my friend’s little girl, we were accosted by antichoice protesters outside of what must have been a clinic or administration office. An older woman (perhaps 40s or 50s) ran up and asked me if I wanted my daughter to grow up in a world where she could get an abortion without me knowing about it. I thought about explaining that this wasn’t my daughter, and asking if she could please leave us alone — I didn’t really want to engage. The little girl asked to be picked up at that moment, and with her in my arms, I realised the proper answer. "Yes, absolutely. I want my daughter to grow up in a world where she has control of her body. It’s my responsibility to let her know she can come to me and I’ll love her unconditionally, no matter what."

    Michelle Bell

  • crowepps

    If the child was young enough to be picked up, then the child was far too young to have a conversation about abortion going on over her head.  It is incredibly creepy that this woman thought it was so important for her to push her issue into the face of a stranger that she ignored the fact it is totally inappropriate to have this kind of conversation in front of a child.

    I didn’t really want to engage

    This is something that I just cannot emphasize enough — most of us do NOT want to engage with creepy strangers who walk up to us on the street and demand our views on public policy.


    How are we supposed to know whether this is one of the ‘unstable’ ones who seem to be attracted to the ProLife cause?  How are we supposed to know whether this person is going to accept our disagreement or pull out a knife and start hacking away?


    Frankly, the whole gross pictures, misspelled signs, vile things screamed at strangers, praying in public because sent by God scenario makes most people figure most everybody on the ProLife side of the issue is nuts.

  • mea

    Something that really irritates me is that these protestors could actually be doing some good by volunteering in neighborhoods where real children need help instead of spending all their time harassing women at clinics. They are noticeably absent in schools and community centers; what a waste.