So, as some of you may know, this Wednesday marked the beginning of the annual "40 Days for Life", which involves ant-choice protesters standing outside their local clinic for 40 days straight in an effort to end abortion through the power of prayer. (Can you see my eye-roll through the internet?).
I was expecting Tuesday's clinic to be a little more intense than usual, but I didn't find it to be too bad. The main difference was that there were already protesters out when I arrived; usually when I get there they are just getting started, so there might be one hard-core old person but never a gaggle. On Tuesday as I was locking up my bike I was greeted with the sight of three women walking shoulder to shoulder towards me; they stood in front of me and prayed out loud the whole time I locked my bike and got my purse out of the pannier. One of them said "good morning" to me, but I don't say good morning to people I don't like. I would make a bad Christian, probably.
A passerby stopped to have some words with the protesters, which hasn't happened in a while and is always welcome. It's good to know when the public is on our side, and it says something about how enraged they must be to stop and "chat" with strangers.
The actual 40 days thing is kind of interesting in a pathetic sort of way. It is an American concept that has been spreading into Canada only in recent years. Our protesters are standing across the street - there is usually between two and seven of them out there at a time. They hold signs that say "Pray to end abortion" and that kind of nonsense. I'm sort of baffled as to what the point of it all is, but apart from that it's nowhere near as obtrusive as their Tuesday morning exploits, so it doesn't bother me. They're not bugging any patients, they're not harrassing the staff, they're just out there in the rain looking kind of sad. That's their right, I guess.
There are, of course, other clinics where it's much more harmful (especially clinics that perform abortions all week instead of just one day). If you're interested in clinic defence where you live, PLEASE contact the clinic first and ask them what they need. Most clinics would much rather have patient escorts than counter-protesters.