Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sneak Attack

Clinic was pretty nuts this week. I found out the day before that there would be a reporter from the Globe and Mail coming to check things out - she is writing a piece on abortion access in the Maritimes (I will let you know when it is printed - should be pretty soon). So she came to observe the protesters and escorts, to interview some of them and the clinic staff (me included), and to see if any of the patients would talk to her. A couple of them did, which is awesome. I know it is probably really hard for people to open up about their abortion, especially on the day it is happening, so the reporter was lucky that some women felt comfortable enough to do so.

What I did not know was that the reporter had apparently called NB Right to Life (ie the protesters) the day before to check if they would be out protesting. So of course they rounded up the troops and we had a LOT of protesters out! Which is good from the perspective of the story, in that people will get to see how ahful it can be out there, but bad because the women coming in that day had to deal with the extra people, and it's more work for our escorts.

The result was that we saw some people we haven't seen out protesting in a while, like Peter Ryan, and the Mad Chatter with her "I Regret My Abortion" sign. She is a truly mean-spirited and hateful person, you guys. Just awful. And we had some new protesters as well who I am sure we will never see again. A couple young women, which NEVER HAPPENS. Also a guy wearing a t-shirt that said "Abortion kills children" or some such nonsense. Apparently he came from Moncton. It does lighten my heart a little that even when they put the call out, they can't even get enough people from Fredericton and they have to also bring people in from Moncton and Saint John. And the average age is still I would guess around 55.

They were stepping up the shenanigans, too. There were the usual comments to the escorts (apparently they "only care about women having abortions"), but this week there were also BABIES. Yes, real babies, in strollers, being pused back and forth on the sidewalk outside the clinic. It was, in the words of our counsellor, truly tacky. What really frustrates me about "arguments" like that (if you can count flaunting your baby as an argument) is it totally discounts class and health and financial issues that often go into the choice to terminate a pregnancy. It's all very well to flaunt your healthy white baby around and implicitly promise women that this is what they are giving up, but just because you are privileged enough to be able to keep your baby and support her and feed her and not be judged for your family situation, class, addiction, financial situation, sexual orientation, race, health, and on and on, doesn't mean the rest of us have that luxury.

Anyway, the protesters are jerks. I hope that's the conclusion the reporter reaches too. Regardless, my volunteers are awesome and deserve kudos for putting up with all that bullshit.

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