Friday, March 30, 2007

Father Crazy Goes...Crazy

Ok, so generally I am going to be posting on Tuesdays, but since I did that long post to start off with I haven't really been bothered to actually write about Tuesday's clinic until today.

Volunteering at the clinic is divided into two one-and-a-half-hour shifts. Usually I do the earlier shift, because that is when my ride is going downtown. We get a few protesters and it is never quiet, but I had been hearing crazy things about the late shift so I decided to check it out.

It...was...WILD. On the early shift it's generally all male protesters, but during the late shift the women come and they are NUTS. There is one, her nickname is Crazy Legs, and she loves to yell at the women going into the clinic. She has a really whiny, wispy voice: "Don't kill your baaaaaaby." Argh. There are a couple other women too, including one who holds a big picture of a fetus. Her name is Fetus Lady.

There was a big incident this Tuesday. A big ol' SUV pulled up and parked in the parking lot next door (which belongs to the hearing aid place). It sat and idled for a minute - always a bad sign - so we (the escorts) went over to see what was up. Well, Patient's mom (we'll call her PM) was out of the car and trying to convince Patient to get into the clinic. Patient was crying - not an unusual occurence. We managed to coax her out of the car and guide her into the clinic. The protesters were like seagulls on a french fry; they flocked all around her and began shouting their usual inane rhetoric. Crazy Legs even went after PM, yelling "Grandmother! Grandmother!" but PM was pretty determined to get her daughter inside.

Once we had them inside, the priest who protests every week, (henceforth known as Father Crazy) went NUTS! He started yelling and throwing his sign and carrying on. He had to go into their nuthouse (Mother Child Welcome Center) and chill out for a while. So awesome.

Patient's aunt was still in the car. She wanted to stay parked there in case Patient "bolted" - apparently she (Patient) wasn't so keen on the abortion. I explained that no one would be bolting, and that everyone had to have counselling before undergoing the operation. She was a little more positive after that and went and parked in the SMT parking lot across the street. Later, we saw her out of the car and talking to one of the protesters. That has to be one fucked-up family, and I feel pretty bad for the girl.

A lot of the anti-choice rhetoric revolves around the supposed greed of everyone involved in the "abortion industry" - as if we are all in this to make some cash. First of all, most of the people at the clinic are volunteers. Second of all, our clinic is actually losing money. And thirdly, a doctor can make lots of money doing regular medicine. Why would they risk their career and reputation doing something so controversial? It's certainly not for the money. No one is out there trying to encourage women to have abortions. And EVERY SINGLE WOMAN who comes into the clinic HAS TO have counselling. It's one-on-one, so there is no family member, friend or partner there to influence their responses. They would never perform an abortion on an unwilling woman. This is a total myth made up by anti-choice proponents.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I started volunteering as an escort at the Morgentaler Clinic about six weeks ago. Every Tuesday morning I get up, shower, dress and hop in the car to get to the clinic for 7:30, when the first patients start arriving. Before I get into this, let me just say that of all the volunteer experiences I have had (and I've had my fair share), this is by far the most fulfilling and rewarding. Women's rights is something that I feel very passionately about, and when I am escorting women into the clinic and protecting them from the hateful LIES of the anti-choice protesters, I really feel like I'm accomplishing something for the movement.

So there. I love this work, and if I could get paid to do it I would be the happiest worker in the world.

Also, just to reassure anyone who works/volunteers at the clinic who might be reading this, I will never mention anyone's name unless I have the permission of that person to do so. The last thing I want to do is endanger anyone or compromise their right to privacy. When I refer to my fellow volunteers it will be with an initial, and the patients will always be "Patient". I don't know the protesters' names, but I'm sure humourous nicknames will be applied where necessary.

I want to do this blog because I think it's important to spotlight the policies we have in New Brunswick that are unquestionably AGAINST the Supreme Court ruling on reproductive rights. I also think that it's important to use humour, reflection and open-mindedness in addressing any issue. I want this stupid debate to end, and I want pro-choice and anti-choice activists to concentrate on working *together* to make a world in which women don't need to get abortions. I know that a lot of anti-choicers are intelligent and rational people - it's the nutbars who protest in front of clinics who are the problem. They will never change their minds and what they do is immoral, cruel and misogynistic. I want to show them up for the ridiculous excuses for human beings that they are.

Most of all, I want to encourage discussion and debate. I want to get people thinking about why we have the laws that we do, and about who these women are and why they feel this is their only option. What sort of society have we created that we can feel justified in backing women into a corner, and then condemning them for taking the only way out?

Feel free to comment but be warned - I will not waste my time responding to people who are rude, intolerant or illiterate.