Let’s talk about escorts.
No, not the professional ones that you can track down on Craig’s List. Get your mind out of the gutter for Gosh Sakes. I’m talking about the pro-choice escorts.
I can’t remember when I first heard about these folks who were accompanying women into their local abortion clinic. But I know it was sometime in the early-1990’s, when groups like Operation Rescue, the Lambs of Christ and others were getting hundreds of their followers to block the entrances to abortion clinics. It is hard to believe today, but I recall many demonstrations where anti-abortion folks would just plant themselves down in front of the door to the clinic and sit there. Amazingly, they would usually do this right in front of the local police. And, more amazingly, the police would often just let them sit there and chant and sing for hours, even though the protestors were clearly violating the trespass laws.
Somewhere around that time either the National Organization for Women or the Feminist Majority Foundation started to counter-attack. They began recruiting pro choice activists to help women access their medical services by escorting them through the crowd and into the clinic. Indeed, when the antis suggest that it was the doctors who were luring women into the clinics, I have to chuckle as I remember watching women desperately climbing over the protestors in an effort to get IN to the abortion facility.
So, working with the clinic administrator, the escorts would arrange to meet the patient at a certain spot and walk in with her, the woman often holding something over her head so as not to be identified. While it was a serious and often tense situation, I always had the sense that some of the escorts were really getting into this, that it really got their juices flowing. That was probably because, if I had to stereotype them, I would say many of them were baby boomers, perhaps waning for the days of the 60’s and political causes. Still, whatever their motivation, they were generally most welcome.
At some point, however, things started to get a little strange. In 1994, I visited a clinic in Colorado because I had heard that Operation Rescue was going to be there in force that Saturday. I hadn’t seen OR in action for a while, so – with the clinic’s permission – I flew out to take a look. That Saturday, at 5:00 a.m., I got to the clinic and there were already about 15 escorts gathered in the front. Working with the clinic administrator, they started to put together their plan for the day. We were told that about 20 women were scheduled for the day, beginning at about 9:00. So, the escorts split up the list, walked outside and anxiously awaited for the antis to start pulling up to the clinic.
We waited – and waited – and waited.
At about 8:45, a car pulled into the parking lot and a young woman got out of the driver’s seat. She was on her cell phone as she started to walk up the steps to the clinic. The escorts were perplexed. There were no screaming mobs of antis to climb over or through. Not one. Finally, the escort who was assigned to this particular woman walked up to her, introduced herself to the young lady and accompanied her up the steps, right into the waiting room.
It was totally bizarre.
Then more cars started coming in and the other escorts went through the drill with their assigned patients. They were all well-intentioned, of course, but I found the whole scene downright silly. Finally, when there was a lull, I got everyone together, including the clinic administrator and suggested that we just leave. “The women clearly don’t need us today. Why don’t we leave them alone?”
The escorts were horrified. They said it was their duty to escort the women, no matter what. But the administrator, who was a little more attuned to the mindset of her patients, agreed wholeheartedly with me. She thanked the escorts and politely asked them to leave. They got all huffy, threatened to never come out again and left.
In retrospect, I think the escorts got caught up in the anticipated and lost their focus on the women, who probably didn’t want to see anybody that morning except the doctor.
The escorts meant well. And they still do. It was just interesting to me when there was a mixture of activists and medical people. Sometimes they didn’t see eye to eye.
- Are We Still Fighting the Abortion “War?” (abortion.ws)
- It Sounds a Little Hypocritical to Me… (abortion.ws)
- These Pictures Speak a Thousand Words (abortion.ws)
- Anti-Abortion Fanatic Sued By Government (lezgetreal.com)
- Making Money From Abortion (abortion.ws)