February 4th, 2010

snakes

(no subject)

I just scheduled to be an escort for the 40 days of Harrassment that are coming up. I enjoyed the volunteer work immensely back in the fall, and I did some more volunteering on MLK day.

That day, about 2000 protesters came down to object to the new Planned Parenthood building that is going up near the University of Houston. It was a bit unnerving, being surrounded by that many people. My job was to ensure that the parking lot was unmolested, and I actually didn't have much to do. I shooed away maybe three people total, but otherwise it was pretty quiet. The massive police presence probably had something to do with the quiet. Still, it was unnerving to be surrounded by so many people who were hostile to what I believe in. On the other hand, I also firmly belive in the First Amendment.

That building is particularly objectionable to the anti-abortion forces. They call it an abortion super-center and have been moaning and groaning about it for months now. I call it a massive cash machine. Seriously, it looks like a cash machine. It's a pretty big building, and the administrative people are jumping over the moon over small stuff, like getting actual offices. And storage space. And obviously, the clinics are going to be upgraded.

What's nice about it is that clients can drive into a secure parking lot that is right on the same property as the clinic, so they don't have to walk past the protesters to receive services. I suspect protesters will try to talk to them as they're driving in, but it's a lot easier to ignore someone if your car window is up.

It's also a pretty big property, so there's room for more expansion if that's ever needed. It's also right off the freeway, so it's accessable to more people and it's sort of a pain in the ass to find a place to park if you're going to protest. Protesters have to stand on a tiny strip of sidewalk between the property and the feeder. I'm thinking about donating some thorny roses or bougainvillas to Planned Parenthood for the part of the property that is currently unfenced. It would be nice to have a pretty garden for clients and staff, and oh? did you hurt yourself trying to get through????

At any rate, from mid-February to late March, a few hours of my Saturdays will be spent helping clients navigate the throng of protesters. I hope that none of the days will be 2000 protestor days, but if so, I'll do my best.