It was a gloomy day on Tuesday, rainy and kind of cold. So the protesters didn't show up very early, and it was clear that the weather (or something else maybe, I don't know their lives) had dampened their spirits. Poor Pink Hat's hair is not suited to the wet weather, and it was a surprise to see her not only sans her trademark hat, but with a frizzy white 'fro.
Not much to report on as the clinic went smoothly and the volunteers braved the elements. We had a staff meeting after the clinic and several of the nurses expressed gratitude for the presence of the escorts. One of our nurses said she thinks their job is harder than hers. I think in some ways maybe that's true. Anyway, volunteers: know your work is greatly appreciated and needed! You guys are awesome.
If you live in Fredericton and are around the clinic sometimes you might have noticed the new signs in our windows. We used to have stop sign shaped ones that said "stop blame", "stop shame" and "stop intimidation". We recently took those down and put new ones up that are a bit softer and create a more welcoming atmosphere. They have a flower motif and say "shame-free zone", "blame-free zone" and "intimidation-free zone". I really like them because not only do they address what the protesters do, but they also provide a visual reminder of the values we (the clinic staff) hold in our work. It has been an uphill battle for me to learn to trust women to make decisions about their bodies and not to judge their reasoning, but it is something that is so important in the work that I do. It is as easy now as putting myself in someone else's shoes: I make mistakes (sometimes really stupid ones). But I would be afraid to call to make an appointment because I would think someone would judge me. But we all fuck up, and we all deserve love and understanding and a second chance. I keep that in mind with every patient who comes in.
We also have a stand-up sign that goes outside, which helps to identify us and also to distinguish us from the right to life people next door. Hopefully it will help in reducing the number of people who accidentally go next door by mistake, or who drive or walk right by us. Let me know if you have feedback on the signs - we would love to know what people think!