Clinic Escorts Discuss Their Work

For over twenty years, volunteers with the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force (WACDTF) have been providing a reassuring and peaceful pro-choice presence for patients and their companions at Washington, D.C.-area clinics. Below, three current volunteers – Bill, Colin, and Rachel – discuss their work. The opinions they express are their own and not those of WACDTF.

When did you first call yourself a feminist, and what influenced that decision?
Bill:
About 1969, when the “second wave” of feminism was sweeping the U.S. A faculty colleague at the University of Minnesota – Duluth invited me to volunteer as support staff at a feminist conference and later to join a CR (consciousness-raising) group. I was a graduate student four years out of college and felt that I’d missed out on much of the civil rights movement of the early 1960s because I had been too focused on studies as an undergraduate; this was my chance to correct that error. Also, in 1964 I’d seen an older friend, a brilliant student who had graduated with honors from Bryn Mawr, forced to attend secretarial school to find a job because few careers were then open to women.

Rachel: I’ve probably been someone who always called herself a feminist. My freshman year I went to Evergreen State College, which was a real hippie school, and I loved the term riotgrrl without really thinking about it. But my earliest memory of being a consciously active feminist was reading coverage of the horrible Woodstock ’99. To me it’s the first definitive memory I have of realizing that the rules are different for girls. I have a framed copy of a 1999 issue of ROCKRGRL Magazine with the title “RapeStock” and the picture is a bare-breasted woman sitting on her boyfriend’s shoulders. A hand reaches from below and grabs her breast. It’s the image that made me want to fight back. [Read more...]

It’s Our Anniversary

Feminists For Choice has been around for a full year. When we launched the site on June 1st of last year, we didn’t know in advance how fortuitous the timing would be. The site had been in the works for a few months. And then Dr. George Tiller was killed on May 31, 2009. Dr. Tiller’s death was certainly a wake up call for many of us. If there is one positive side to his murder, I guess you could say that it motivated many pro-choice supporters to become pro-choice activists.

We’ve had a lot of great posts on the site this year. The top 10 posts in terms of traffic are listed in the middle column. Some of my favorites have been about porn, pro-choice dudes, and clinic escorts. We also hosted choice chats with Gloria Feldt and Carol Adams. We’re hoping to bring you some more in the year to come.

Feminists For Choice has started a new feature called “Feminist Conversations.” We’re talking to pro-choice feminists around the country to find out what rock stars like yourself are doing with your feminist energies. Last week we featured Kamy Shaw, an utterly fabulous midwife from New Mexico who really just kicks major feminist booty. If you’d like to see yourself featured in the column, please send an e-mail to serena@feministsforchoice.com. We’d love to find out what types of activism you’re up to in your neck of the woods.

Well, that’s basically the past year in a nutshell for ya. Many thanks to all of our writers for providing such excellent content for the site. And thanks to all our friends on Twitter for helping us grow. Happy Anniversary, and thanks for reading!

Friday News Roundup

Here’s this week’s TGIF link love for ya!

Clinic Escort Stories – Feministing
Judge Rules Assault Victim Too Hot Not to Grope – The Sexist
Clinton on the Global Fight for Reproductive Justice – Feministing
Protesters Follow Abortion Clinic to New Location – News Journal Online
Women’s Rights Movement No More –

Planned Parenthood AZ Needs Clinic Escorts

Are you a pro-choice advocate with some time on your hands? You should consider becoming a clinic escort. Planned Parenthood Arizona is currently recruiting volunteers to help out at their 7th Avenue location in Phoenix. I caught up with Kate Elliot, the volunteer coordinator for Planned Parenthood Arizona. Here’s what she had to say:

Planned Parenthood Arizona locations have always been a target for anti-choice protesters. Since the 7th Avenue health center opened, staff have offered services to women amidst varying levels of protest activity. There are certainly periods of time where there is at least one protester outside the health center every day it is open. Usually protesters are in small but vocal groups. Sometimes protests are large, with over 150 protesters at one time.

Some protesters are relatively quiet, and spend their time outside the health center praying or holding a sign. Other protesters try to convince patients to leave the health center by bribing or shaming them. Sometimes protesters offer free help, including sonograms, to patients to lure them away from the health center. When the protesters don’t think they can convince a patient to leave the health center they may say things to scare the patient, including frightening and untrue claims about the medical providers who work in the health center. The protesters offer patients written information that is at the least wildly inaccurate, and at worst advises patients to take steps that are not medically advisable. Much to the dismay of local businesses, patients, the guests of patients, and the people living in the residential neighborhood near the health center, protesters are often loud, carrying large, inaccurate and inflammatory signs. Protesters are often as disruptive as possible, but generally stay within their legal right to protest. [Read more...]