Anyone here go to protests at abortion clinics? I ask because I read this article (about a court case over buffers around clinics) today that said...
I've never been to such protests, so I'm wondering if these are extreme examples or if they are typical of what goes on.Protesters "wore Boston Police Department hats and shirts and stationed themselves, carrying clipboards, at the garage entrance," demanding that patients give them personal information. Protesters would attack clinic escorts with umbrellas. While the prior law disallowed directly approaching patients, anti-choicers would follow them around screaming invectives, often through bullhorns. When cops were called, the protesters argued that they were just following, not "approaching." The police department itself suggested a stronger buffer zone around the front door.
Michelle Kinsey Bruns, a Virginia-based activist who has volunteered in clinic defense in eight states, told me that she's seen plenty of patients who come to clinics "in fight mode," worried about being bullied by protesters. "That's what clinic harassment and violence have done for the experience of going to a gynecologist's office: Patients know it's going to be a gauntlet, and they approach it like a combat zone.” And Lori Gregory-Garrott, an escort at the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, wrote on Slate about the daily battle that is just trying to get patients past a wall of hostile protesters, even if the patients are just picking up their birth control prescriptions.
Even with the current buffer zone, things can be hard for clinic workers. One counselor named Megan, who works at an independent Massachusetts abortion clinic, described her situation: "Despite the 35-foot barrier, I have to walk through the protesters to get to the front door. Each time I walk to work, no matter how many times I have done it, my heart starts pounding when I see them." They yell the typical accusations of murder and tell her she's going to hell. "I'm worried that dangerous situations in other parts of the country will become life-threatening if buffer zones are taken away," she adds.