The protesters outside the clinic are seldom the mild-mannered “sidewalk counselors” that the anti-abortion movement insists they are...
They’ve been kind enough to give us some of their literature, all of which includes either debunked and unscientific information or lots of Bible verses. As escorts we distract protesters, so we’ve spent hours listening to anti-abortion arguments that involve ahistorical statements, hardly theologically sound beliefs, classism, racism and heteronormative ideas about gender...
Purposeful miseducation persists among them. Abortion comes with risks involved, but with proper care taken by both the provider and the patient – care that’s easily done with little effort – it’s by far one of the safest medical procedures anyone can undergo. It’s also several times safer than pregnancy and childbirth, but they’d never mention that if they cared...
We’ve held back friends and family from beating the protesters after slurs and insults have been hurled at them. The clinic director has been stalked. Our cars’ plates have been photographed and tracked. I’ve been pushed into the highway...
However, we can’t count on the police for help; when they drive by, they often honk in support of the protesters. Protesters have filmed both us and the patients. Protesters have dressed up like escorts (we wear bright safety vests) and flag down cars on their way in to shove anti-choice literature at them...
These people aren’t concerned with the well-being of the fetus or the person carrying it. They holler about available help, but none of them support measures such as comprehensive sex education, Head Start programs, immigration reform, universal health care that emphasizes reproductive health, foster care and adoption reform or increased funding and fewer restrictions on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. (Yes, we’ve asked.)
These efforts would encourage peace of mind about raising a child, create a safer environment for pregnancy and childbirth and make it less burdensome for lower-income families to do these things. They responded to these arguments with disdain, dismissal and lots of shaming.
Anti-abortion protesters rely on intimidation, emotional manipulation and bullying. They do little more than harass the clinic staff, escorts and patients. None of them are truly pro-life. They seem to only be for forced births.
Some consider this issue to be one of free speech. It’s not. No one stops any anti-abortion protesters from standing outside clinics. However, it’s absolutely necessary to preserve the privacy and maintain the safety of the patients...
- There is nothing "unscientific" about information that can be found in biology and embryology textbooks. This information is also affirmed by abortion advocates who take science seriously: -->“Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a ‘moment’) is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.” (Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Muller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd ed., New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001, p.8.) --> “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo).” (Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th ed., Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003, p.2.) --> “It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens.’ Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.” (Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, pp.85-86.) --> “Perhaps the most straightforward relation between you and me on the one hand and every human fetus on the other is this: All are living members of the same species, Homo sapiens. A human fetus after all is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development.” (David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003, p. 20.)
- What proof does Ms. Johnson have that anyone affiliated with Bama Students for Life or 40 Days for Life has ever made "ahistorical statements, hardly theologically sound beliefs, classism, racism and heteronormative ideas about gender"?
- Why didn't Ms. Johnson mention the West Alabama Women's Center's racist "Adopt an Anti" campaign?
- The Alabama abortion industry is remarkably unsafe.
- No one affiliated with Bama Students for Life or 40 Days for Life has ever "hurled slurs and insults" at anyone. Praying the rosary or holding signs that read "free help," or "you are loved" is not insulting anyone.
- What evidence do you have that Gloria Gray, the director of the West Alabama Women's Center, has been "stalked"?
- Just as abortion workers photograph Bama Students for Life and 40 Days for Life participants on a regular basis, we photograph and document events outside the West Alabama Women's Center.
- What evidence do you have that abortion supporters' license plates have been "tracked"? What exactly do you mean by that?
- Who pushed you into the highway? When? Do you have any proof of this?
- No one affiliated with Bama Students for Life or 40 Days for Life has ever pushed anyone into the highway.
- Claiming the police are on your side is absolutely absurd given the action that Life Legal Defense Foundation is taking against the city of Tuscaloosa for allowing the West Alabama Women's Center to break the law.
- Yes, Claire and Amy of Bama Students for Life have worn orange vests before. We have the freedom to wear the clothes we wish, just as clinic "escorts" have the right to wear a jock strap and fishnets in the freezing cold (and we have the photos to prove it).
- The "comprehensive sex education, Head Start programs, immigration reform, universal health care that emphasizes reproductive health, foster care and adoption reform or increased funding and fewer restrictions on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits" of which you speak have nothing to do with the fact that the child in the womb is a human being--a whole, distinct, living human being from his or her beginning at fertilization. Nothing in your litany of political desires has anything to do with the fact that abortion kills the aforementioned whole, distinct, living human being.
Anthony Berry of Bama Students for Life responded, explaining:
...Bama Students for Life and the 40 Days for Life campaign outside the West Alabama Women’s Center, the largest abortion provider in Alabama, represent a large portion of people who realize that abortion hurts both the child it dismembers and his or her mother. Just as Ms. Johnson believes that “escorting patients from their cars to the clinic’s front door is one way” she expresses her belief, we have the right and societal duty to offer women alternatives to the devastating decision of abortion.
We do this peacefully and respectfully but with the urgency of knowing that we are the last sign many women look for if they are wavering on their decision. Last semester, in fact, six mothers didn’t go through with their abortions because of our 40 Days for Life campaign.
Despite Ms. Johnson’s erroneous claims, none of our literature includes “debunked and unscientific information or lots of Bible verses.” On the contrary, our packets contain information that women have a right to know before they make such a life-changing decision. There is nothing “unscientific” about providing women with vital details, such as the fact that their developing child has a heartbeat at three weeks, and at 20 weeks’ gestation, a fetus can feel pain...
Furthermore, Ms. Johnson’s claims that “[abortion is] by far one of the safest medical procedures anyone can undergo” ignores the reality that abortion is never safe for the whole, distinct living human being it kills, nor is it safe for the scores of women who have been killed, rendered infertile or otherwise maimed by dangerous abortionists like LeRoy Carhart and Bruce Norman. I challenge anyone who thinks abortion is “safe” to watch a video of a late-term abortion. The overwhelming majority of people will find it violent and extremely disturbing...
Statistically, my chances of being aborted were very high due to being both African-American and a third conceived child, but thankfully my mother chose to give me life instead. She never lets me forget how much she is glad I am a part of her life and how much joy I give her. When my friends and I go to the West Alabama Women’s Center, we do so because we value life. Consequently, we value and defend the lives of others. This means trying to save the most defenseless members of the human family – those in the womb – while also supporting their mothers. Those of us involved in the anti-abortion movement are motivated by love and compassion for mothers and their children, and our actions outside the West Alabama Women’s Center reflect this.