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Escorting--the aftermath

Saturday, it turned out, was a breathtakingly beautiful day. The sun was shining, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and it was about 73 degrees outside.

I got to Planned Parenthood at around 12:45, and as the volunteers didn't know that I was one of them, one escorted me from the parking lot across the street to the building. As we were walking, I explained who I was and why I was there, and he helped me learn the ropes. There was a cluster of protesters, maybe a dozen or so, outside the front gate, and one of them walked to me to explain that I didn't have to go in there and she was praying for me. I told her I was praying for her.

I went into the building and dropped off my purse and put a "Planned Parenthood Volunteer" vest on, and went back outside.

There were about six other volunteers, and we tended to cluster around the gate area. The protesters tended to cluster around there, too. As Planned Parenthood stops taking appointments around 12:45 on Saturdays, I didn't have to escort anyone from the parking lot to the clinic, but I did walk a lot of people from the clinic back to their cars.

By and large it was relatively uneventful. Last week's "Jericho Wall" thing was a one-time-event, though apparently it was quite a sight to behold according to the volunteers that had been there last weekend. There was one guy with a video camera, presumably documenting who we were. There was a car parked next to the fence where the protesters seemed to be congregating. A few brought their kids; little itty bitty ones in strollers. One lady spent most of her time walking up and down the street singing. She was actually the most aggressive, stopping her songs whenever she saw a client leaving the clinic, and following at close range. She'd say stuff like "I pray that you never come here again" and "We can help you get healthcare from real doctors"* and "I'm praying for you." Most of the clients ignored her, and I did my best to put myself between her and the clients. Generally, we'd talk about the beautiful day as we walked to the car, though some clients were curious as to how often the protesters showed up. As the afternoon wore on, clinic staff started to leave, and she'd start telling them, "I pray that you'll quit your job." Back atcha, lady.

The other volunteers were generally veterans. Most had been doing it for years and were pretty good at what they did. As we waited for clients, we talked a little about the protesters, but we also talked about shoes, driving I-5, moving, the general state of the legal profession, and an assortment of other things. I was generally prepared for the worst, and since none of the protesters were hostile, it was fairly easy to ignore them. The only upsetting thing about the afternoon was watching the little kids that were dragged out to do this.

I left at around 2:45, and I promised that I'd be back for the next two weekends to help out until the 40 days of harrassment is over.

*The anti-abortion movement is not only anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-sex and anti-masturbation, but also anti-nurse. I don't know what the nursing profession did to piss them off, but apparently nurse practitioners are bad, bad, BAD.


( 6 comments — Say something )
Oct. 19th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
I suspect nurse practitioners are bad largely because they mean the fundies are up against more people. If there are fewer doctors, that means fewer doctors they need to intimidate into not offering services...
Oct. 19th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
Plus, nurses are mostly ladies, and therefore shouldn't be workin' outside of the house and thinkin' for themselves and the like.
Oct. 19th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
Nurse Practitioners
Oh, their argument for why nurse practitioners are bad is that they're not doctors. Doctors are the only ones that should deliver healthcare. Nurses aren't doctors, and therefore they shouldn't be delivering healthcare.

I go to a nurse practitioner clinic for everything but gallbladder surgery. I get great care and the nurses spend a shit ton of time with me. They listen to what I have to say, and I've never had a problem with them.

Edited at 2009-10-19 05:54 pm (UTC)
Oct. 19th, 2009 08:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Nurse Practitioners
I'm not sure why I expected them to have a real argument, but this one seems less developed than usual. Don't they usually hate doctors, too?

Also, huge kudos for walking the walk! You did a great thing.
Oct. 19th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Even as someone who only had to use a pill to abort what was an anembryonic pregnancy and not, like my friend, someone who had to abort a fetus that developed without a brain, thank you. We had to go to two different pharmacies (and this is why Albertson's no longer gets our business if we can help it) to get the prescription filled.
Oct. 19th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
Good on you for volunteering. You have both my gratitude and admiration.
( 6 comments — Say something )