A Day in the Life of a Clinic Escort

Editors’ Note: Today’s guest post comes to us from Miranda Pennington, a clinic escort from New York City who is in her first year of a Creative Nonfiction MFA at Columbia University. You can follow Miranda on Twitter, and check out her blog.

Saturday Morning, 26 Bleecker Street

What could they have said to her?

What could convince a young, pregnant Latina woman walking up to the doors of Planned Parenthood for a scheduled abortion to change her mind, to walk away with two bikers and the novice nun they pulled away from the rosary procession hailing Mary around the corner?

Was it a persuasive promise of affordable counseling, prenatal care, parenting classes, postpartum checkups, and birth control?

No, wait, that’s what Planned Parenthood offers. [Read more...]

Clinic Escorts Needed!

Calling all activists!  A Woman’s Choice in Jacksonville, Florida needs you. A Woman’s Choice is a private abortion clinic in need of clinic escorts. The clinic is one of only three abortion providers in the Jacksonville area – and they are the target of anti-choice protesters. To top it all off, a crisis pregnancy center is located right next door to A Woman’s Choice. So needless to say, pro-choice activists can make a big difference by volunteering as clinic escorts.

The clinic is open Monday – Saturday. Volunteers can commit to one to two hours shifts. If you would like to volunteer, contact Tiffany Arnold. You can also visit Pro-choice Jacksonville’s Tumblr page for more information.

So let’s do it, pro-choice Jacksonville. Get out there and escort!

 

Clinic Escort Explains Why She’s a Feminist Activist

Feminist Conversations is a new feature at Feminist For Choice. We are sitting down and to chat with fellow activists to find out what kind of rabble they’re rousing in their neck of the woods.Peggy Cooke is a Canadian pro-choice activist. She works as the volunteer coordinator/office assistant at the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and volunteers as a media spokesperson for the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. In her spare time she enjoys feminist gumboot dancing, cuddling with cats, and tearing down the patriarchy. She regularly blogs at Anti-Choice is Anti-Awesome. I caught up with her over the weekend to ask her a few questions about what feminist activism means to her.

1. When did you first call yourself a feminist, and what influenced that decision?
I like to say I was raised feminist. I honestly don’t remember when the word first entered my day-to-day vocabulary, and I had no “a-ha!” moment where I said, yes, I am a feminist. My mother is a feminist and she models that worldview in everything she does. I basically just followed her lead without realizing that it isn’t an outlook that everyone gets in childhood.

Eventually of course I started developing a feminist lens of my own, and my mum and I don’t always see eye to eye on some of the standard stuff that I think divides a lot of second and third wave feminists. Like trans issues, intersectionality, and all that. Not that she isn’t open to it, but it’s a whole educating/passing the torch process. My mum started me on the feminist path, but then my influences were mainly women’s studies classes, and now it is feminist blogs, in a big way. I didn’t know what privilege was, or intersectionality, or how to be an ally, until I started reading blogs. [Read more...]

Thursday News Roundup

mouse_click_270x270Allentown, PA Clinic Needs Escorts – Allentown Women’s Center
When Anti-Choicers Get an Abortion – Planned Parenthood Central North Carolina
Facts on Publicly Funded Contraceptive Services in the US – Guttmacher Institute
PETA Gets Into Bed With Glenn Beck – Womanist Musings

Friday News Roundup

mouse2Dr. Susan Wicklund Blames Protesters For Dr. Tiller’s Death – West Virgina Public Broadcasting
Why I’m a Clinic Escort – Abortion Clinic Escort Blog
New AZ Law Could Limit Access to Plan B – Daily Wildcat
Coming Out in Middle School – New York Times
5 Ways to Save Money on Birth Control – US News & World Report
South Dakota Attorney General Appeals Abortion Ruling – Ms.
Glenn Beck Faces Backlash . . . From the Right – Alternet

40 Days for Life is Coming to a Clinic Near You

clinic escortThe wing nuts are out in force this month. Forty Days for Life and other anti-choice groups are conducting a “prayer vigil” campaign, where they will target Planned Parenthood clinics and other family planning providers, holding protests outside of the buildings and generally harassing patients.

Here’s how you can get involved to stand up for choice: Volunteer to be a clinic escort at a family planning provider near you. To find out which clinics are being targeted by the anti-choice movement, click here. Some clinics are already organizing volunteers via Facebook and other social networking sites. Here are a few clinics that have specifically asked for help. [Read more...]

Why I’m a Clinic Escort

protest3Guest Blogger Peggy Cooke is a feminist, activist, writer, gumboot dancer, and cat-admirer from Fredericton, NB, Canada. She is a clinic escort, and a volunteer coordinator at her local Morgentaler Clinic. She regularly blogs at Anti-Choice is Anti-Awesome. Contact her via e-mail for more information.

How I became a clinic escort is still a bit of a mystery to me. The abortion debate is something that never interested me as much as some other issues in feminism; obviously I understand its importance to the idea of women’s freedom, but it never captivated me as much as, for example, body image and the beauty myth, or the intersectionality of feminism and trans issues. I barely knew who Henry Morgentaler was until three years ago; all I knew was from my dad’s insistent rants that the doctor’s Order of Canada was long overdue.

However, when I came back from a post-university, discovering-myself trip to Costa Rica in early 2007, it was to the news that my mother, a counselor, had taken a position at our local abortion clinic (which is not just our local clinic, but the only private abortion clinic in the maritimes). Until then, I didn’t even know people still protested at abortion clinics! Even in our small city, I had never noticed them. I certainly didn’t know that the New Brunswick Right to Life had their headquarters in the house directly next door to the clinic, where they run a highly questionable crisis pregnancy center. [Read more...]

Escorting Journal: Week 2

Today was fairly quiet as far as clinic protests go – only two protesters showed up. They really only yelled at a few of the patients, although the definitely swooped like vultures whenever a car pulled into the parking lot. We’re not supposed to engage the protesters, but we do have to confront them when they step onto the clinic’s property. So I had to get in the “leader’s” face four times today to remind her not to impede traffic. She retorted each time with, “I’m not blocking traffic, I’m helping people.” Yeah right, lady. Get a job. That would be helping people.

The protesters’ strategy this week was all about breast cancer. “Abortion causes breast cancer!” Since there weren’t many patients at the clinic today, the protesters spent most of the time yelling at us, when they did yell – like I said, today was pretty quiet. “Don’t you think women should be making informed decisions?” What information? The lies you’re propagating? How is that an informed decision? I don’t yell back, of course, because it’s not my job. I’m certainly learning a lesson in patience.

The new doctor started working at the clinic. She managed to get into the parking lot and into the building without even being noticed by the protesters. She was slick. I didn’t even realize she was the doctor until I noticed her name badge as I opened the door for her. “Nice job, Doc.” Very incognito. [Read more...]

A Day in the Life of a Clinic Escort

Sabrina Worsham is a clinic escort at the Hope Clinic in Granite City, Illinois. She is a PhD student who just completed her last semester of course work and is preparing for her preliminary exams and the start of dissertation work. Sabrina is a long-time peace activist and union organizer. These are her words . . .

The alarm goes off on at 4:15 A.M. It is Saturday morning and a bit difficult to crawl out of bed, yet it is a Hope Saturday. After several text messages and calls to ensure that we are all awake, I gather the necessary supplies for escorting. In the winter, I bring extra winter wear, and spring brings the need for sunscreen and water.

We gather at a local parking lot and get set to carpool to Granite City. The vehicles leave at 5:15 A.M. and we head north. After a gas/food stop at a local fast food restaurant, we begin the slightly over two hour drive.

As we drive into Granite City, the smoke stacks of the factories permeate the town and create an ominous scene. We joke with any new volunteers and answer questions about the day. We reach the Hope Clinic for Women at approximately 7:30 A.M. and park in a lot that is a short-distance from the building. The clinic staff greets us as we sign in and don the yellow escorting vests that read “Pro-Choice Hope Clinic Escort.” [Read more...]