The blogger at Everysaturdaymorning, a pro-choice clinic escort in Louisville, KY, has posted pictures and video of the latest disgusting tactic from the antis outside their clinic: wearing fake escort vests.
Escorts wear bright orange vests that say things like "Pro-Choice Clinic Escort" in an attempt to clearly identify ourselves to patients. Even so, the space outside a clinic where anti-choicers have gathered can be incredibly confusing for patients, those accompanying them, and even passers by on the street. Some protesters simply stand off to the side and pray. I don't like the atmosphere of shame they create, but it's the antis we call chasers or sidewalk stalkers who cause the biggest problems. They will do almost anything to harass people going in and out of a reproductive health clinic, which is why pro-choice escorts are necessary - we're not protesters, we're just trying to make it possible for women to access abortion and other medical care. Interactions happen so quickly, and the milieu outside a clinic can be so confusing for someone who didn't expect to be harassed by ideologues on her way to the doctor, that we already have to work hard to make it clear who works with the clinic and who is trying to get in a patient's way.
Yes, the vests these antis are wearing say "Life Escort." Which, I am sure, is not an attempt to accurately identify themselves. They know what a baffling mess they create, and they know the word "Life" is unlikely to be read until after they've forced a patient to listen to them, if at all.
I hope this tactic makes it clear to folks that sidewalk stalkers aren't trying to help women make decisions about abortion informed by so-called "pro-life" beliefs. Rather, they are outside clinics to trick and harass women out of seeking reproductive health care, regardless of what the patient actually thinks, wants, and needs.
I look forward to hearing from KY escorts about how they handle this despicable tactic.
To get a sense of what the brave pro-choice clinic escorts are dealing with in Louisville, check out the the video and transcript of an anti verbally harassing a patient after the jump. A warning that it may be triggering, especially to anyone who's not used to hearing this rhetoric.