Yeah fuck that person who thinks this isn’t intimidating for patients.
I do clinic escorting at a local clinic every weekend. We have a fence and the antis aren’t allowed on our property, luckily, but let me just tell you about my experience just today.
- I had a woman ask me for my name multiple times. She knew I worked for the clinic because I wear an apron that says “clinic escort” on it. She kept telling me I didn’t “have” to work for an abortion clinic. This is part of a concerted effort on the part of anti-choicers to harass clinic workers into quitting their jobs. It’s actually called "And then there were none" and it’s pretty fucking disgusting.
- When I walked up to a patient as she was getting out of her car (this is policy, we have to ask if the person has an appointment because the antis try to park on our property all the time), she got really scared at first because she thought I was one of the antis. She told me how relieved she was once she read my apron. This woman had an existing child that she mentioned to me as the antis were screaming over the fence about her “killing her baby”.
- Another woman told me how she was worried I might be “with them” when I walked up, just because the knowledge of how anti-choicers harass people going into the clinic is so commonplace. She was also relieved to have me there. One of the anti-choicers yelled at her about killing her baby from over the fence. She burst into tears.
- These people also yell at and harass the men that come into the clinics with either their partners or their family members. One woman kept yelling out to the men coming in to “protect [his] legacy”.
This was all in one day. One day. I’ve had other experiences on other days when I’ve escorted that are just as bad or worse.
It’s not like these people stand there silently. They are actively yelling at folks and when they can, pursuing them. If an anti-choicer at my place of work can’t get to someone through the part of the fence that overlooks the parking lot, they will push their pamphlets through the parts of the fence that face the doors of the clinic. They are aggressive and totally insensitive to the feelings of any of the patients coming into the clinic.
I haven’t worked at this clinic long, but I have seen the emotional effects that these people have on patients coming into the clinic. So like yeah, in one picture it doesn’t appear that they’re harassing anyone, yelling, or threatening people. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. And either way, who wants people staring at them when they’re going in for a medical procedure? Or when you come out of one, and you’re still so groggy from anesthesia that you need one of the clinic nurses (or even myself or someone else in my kind of position!) to hold you up and put you in the car?
Anyone who thinks the people standing outside of clinics are not doing it with the intent to harass and bully is wrong, and patients deserve to be protected from this kind of bullshit. My clinic has a big fence and the patients that we serve still feel harassed and bullied. I can’t imagine what it must be like for people going into a clinic without that, like what is pictured.
Thank you for the work you do. Clinic escorts are so brave, and so needed.