And for the last post tonight- I want to shine light on what abortion patients, doctors and clinic escorts really endure. The New York Times made it seem as if it were all old ladies peacefully protesting… In reality, they are the exact opposite. Below is just one story from a male escort that is far more truthful than anything the New York Times published. I am truly ashamed of the NYT and will no longer be subscribing to it. I know, one person unsubscribing does nothing, but I don’t want their lies anywhere near me.
If reading just a few of the incidents this man has experienced and seen as working as an abortion clinic escort is enough to make anyone with a souls blood boil. This man is a real man, and I wish more men were like him; not afraid to stand up to these sick, religious freaks. (Once more, best description.)
There is a difference in free speech and hate speech which threatens others. When it inflicts emotional and mental turmoil on others that is abuse, and that is where “free speech” should cross the line and be considered abusive. —- And that should not be tolerated.
At least three Saturdays of every month, Chris Hill, 45, shows up at the Philadelphia Women’s Center, a privately funded abortion provider, to escort women past the protesters who assemble there. His job is to make women feel safe. Although there is a barricade in front of the clinic, and police lines that demarcate an area that the protesters are not supposed to cross over, there is no statewide buffer zone law in Pennsylvania. Hill, who has escorted hundreds if not thousands of women into the clinic over the last decade, wishes there were, as he has witnessed incidents of verbal assaults, threats and even physical contact. As a result of his personal experience, shared here, he cannot understand how the Supreme Court — now considering McCullen vs Coakley — could possibly overturn the 35-foot buffer zone law in Massachusetts. The protesters claim that the law violates their freedom of speech, but Hill argues that the protesters violate a woman’s right to know what is best choice for her.
I was 23 when I encountered my first protester. My then-girlfriend was 20 when she got pregnant. I was in college in New Orleans, and we knew it was not the right time for either of us to be parents. We went to a clinic, and after she checked in, I walked outside and ran into another guy who had also accompanied his girlfriend that day. Suddenly, these protesters came at us — they were shouting, and it felt like they were going to get physical. I was ready to start brawling when someone from the clinic intervened. “That’s what they want,” she said, ushering us back inside. I was fuming.
Ten years later, I had moved to Philadelphia and was walking with my then-wife who was six months pregnant. Suddenly, this guys starts shouting, “baby killers!” at us. I had no idea what he was talking about. He got up in my face and continued to shout that we were going to hell. I wanted to punch him, but my wife pulled me away. She realized that we were in front of a Planned Parenthood and that he was a protester. I was so pissed that I called the clinic to say, “What can I do to combat this?” They suggested calling the state attorney to register a complaint — and to consider being a male escort. I signed up that day.
We don’t have a 35-foot buffer here at our clinic, but we do have police rope and a barricade to make a safe space for patients to enter the building without being harassed. The protesters know they’re not supposed to breach either, but they do anyway. And it certainly doesn’t stop them from approaching women on the sidewalk as they show up for their appointments. They try to shove pamphlets in their hands. Some women take them, unwittingly. I’ve collected many over the years, and none of the information in them is true. I’ve fact-checked them myself. One flyer offered free housing for women in need. I called the listed number — it was the cell phone of one of the protesters.
If the women ignore them or say, “no, thank you,” then the protesters start hissing, “you’re a slut” or “baby killer.” They call women lesbians, which I’ve never understood. Or say things like, “That might be LeBron James in there.” They also say the escorts are getting paid to bring women into the clinic. I have no idea how they came up with that one — our escorts are mostly medical and law students from nearby colleges who believe in a women’s right to make decisions about her own body. We all do our best to ignore most of what they say. My job is to make sure the women who arrive on the day of their appointments are safe. I tell them, as they enter the clinic, “Ignore them.” But truthfully, it is sometimes impossible.
I remember once having to jump over the barricade to stop a guy from beating the hell out of a protester who had just got in his girlfriend’s face and screamed, “You’re going to burn in hell.” She burst into tears, and the boyfriend wanted to protect her and pummel him. I said, “I understand the impulse, but you can’t do this.” Another time, my heart broke as I watched a young woman who had just arrived with her mother dissolve into tears.
The protesters were yelling, “Jesus does not want you to do this!” The girl’s mother responded, “We go to church. You need to mind your own business.” Then this one guy shouted, “You’re going to get cancer in your vagina and breasts from this.” That girl’s face crumpled — she was just devastated. We got her inside and told her that what they were saying is not true. It isn’t, but the protesters don’t care.
That’s why I wish all states had buffer zone laws and would add that 35 feet is not enough. If the protesters were just standing there and praying, then I would not have to show up every Saturday. I get so upset that people think these are nice people just trying to get their point across, like that little old lady profiled in the New York Times earlier this week. The majority of the protesters I have encountered are angry white men, most in their 70s or older who don’t want women to have any rights. One even threatened a staff member. She entered the clinic one morning, and he said, “I know where to find you.” This woman is tough, but I saw the comment bothered her. It infuriated me — we both know that people have died doing this work.
I joined the army at 17 because I believe in protecting people’s rights. I believe in reproductive rights, but the reason I do this work is to stop these mostly older white men from bullying women who are choosing what is best for them.
I don’t understand how this issue is about First Amendment rights. This is not about the right to voice your opinions. These people are bullies. They intimidate. They use scare tactics. I just wish the justices could come see what I see every Saturday morning. I think it would help inform their decision.