Dear Former Clinic Escort,

Posted: March 21, 2015 in clinic escort stories, fuckery, Repro Justice
Tags: , , , , , ,

Blogmaster’s Note: This’ll be a long one, but worth it.  Also, if you come up with some some anti-choice argument BS, have your shit recent and accurate, or you WILL be shown the door.

Wow, when this piece of dreck popped up in a private FB group for escorts, it was universally panned.  I don’t tend to link to the sentient bullshit machine that is LifeSiteNews, but for this opportunity, I made an exception.  So I clicked and read this oh so special letter to us Clinic Escorts.

And the moment the page load, I’m assaulted by an autoplay pledge plea (I know I have Flashblock, so what the fuck?) of two twin douchebags who I’d never heard of, one of which introduces them as “I’m David Benham and this is my twin sister Jason.”

Mmm-mmm, that’s some tasty transphobic humor right there.

Anyway, they apparently lost some house-flipping show on HGTV because they opened their yaps and let the anti-gay, anti-choice out.  Insert commentary about how free speech is actually supposed to work here.

NothingofValue

Well, I was in a mood after pausing that crap video, so let’s get to the actual letter, shall we?

Dear Clinic Escort,

Hi there!

Today I saw you, with your bright orange vest emblazoned with ESCORT on the front and back. You refused to make eye contact with me.

Actually our vests (provided by the awesome folks at The Clinic Vest project) are eye melting yellow, but okay.  And as for ‘eye contact’? We become masters at the Thousand Yard Stare to ignore you and your repetitive and WRONG nonsense.  We’re escorts, not counterprotesters. You’re not owed an audience just because you think you have something important to say.  Not from strangers, not from patients, and certainly not from escorts.  Deal.

I saw your gritty determination as you grabbed arms with that young woman and whispered in her ear, “Ignore them,” you said, “Don’t look at them, they are here to intimidate you, to scare you. I’ll keep you safe, don’t worry.” You walked quickly, head up, steel in your eyes, never letting up your grip on her arm. Her head was down, following your lead, mutely keeping up with your fast trot to the abortionist.

We walk with patients who are terrified and angry at the horde of people who can’t take “no” for an answer, who surround cars and try to shove their crap into the windows. Congrats, you have accurately described our job (though we do tend to not touch the patients unless asked where I am because we believe in strange concepts like “respecting a person’s space”). Pity that will probably be the last accurate thing you will say in this entire ‘letter’.

You ushered her in through the doors and soon emerged, alone, smiling at us triumphantly, a glimmer of malice in your eye, a smirk of arrogance and joy at having bested us – another woman you saved from the anti-choice fanatics. You rejoin the other escorts, laughing and joking, until the next car pulls up, and your face resumes the mask of the militant soldier, ready to do battle for women’s reproductive rights.

Malice.  Militant soldiers. “Another woman saved…”

Oh god.  Hold up, I gotta stop laughing for a minute.  Making up your own interpretation of shit is something anti-choicers are really good at, I’ve noticed.  “Pro-life fanfiction”, I’ve heard it called. That’s not malice, it’s pride at helping patients enter with some dignity. We’re not “militant soldiers”, we’re volunteers done with your shit. They weren’t ‘saved’ from you.  They arrived at their appointments on time with as little harassment as possible. You’re turning it into some weird competition where there is none. But hey, whatever it takes to keep up that martyr complex. It’s just what Jesus would have done.  Or something.

As I watched you I wondered, have you ever been inside the clinic?

Nope.  They never let us inside the clinic.  They just hand out the vests and send us to work.

Oh wait, that’s complete bullshit.  Of course we’ve been inside the clinic.  The inside of the clinic where I escort looks like every other doctor’s office I’ve been in.  Clean, professional.  Only more purple. No charnel house look here.

Have you ever been in the waiting room, filled with the silence of trepidation and fear? Have you listened to the stifled tears?

A some escorts have either had abortions, or have been a companion to someone who has.  We even had a transgendered man volunteer who had one. I know you’re going for this “we don’t know what we do” angle, but we do.  We really do.

And trepidation and fear (and yes, tears) are natural reactions to a surgical procedure.  I felt that before my extensive dental surgery.  I did before my first endoscopy. Some people even feel it before giving birth. It’s natural.  Doesn’t make what’s about to happen wrong.

Have you ever been in the counseling room? This place, where instead of asking questions and listening, the worker masks the truth, or outright lies about the third life in the room, the life growing inside the woman’s womb?

I’m not a counselor, and we fill out patient privacy forms , so my answer will have to be no.  As for the information given, I think you may be confusing that with a CPC. From what people who have had abortions and actual counselors and doulas have shared (and the documentaries I’ve watched, After Tiller and 12th and Delaware), counselors, you know, counsel.  It’s their job to listen.  It’s their job to give ALL of the options.  And if a patient decides to only have an ultrasound, or changes their mind, it’s okay.  No one’s keeping patients trapped until they decide they way ‘we’ want, as CPCs are reported to do. That’s what choice means. Do you get it?

Probably not.

Have you seen her sad and scared eyes?

Yes. Badgering a patient outside of the clinic will do that.

Have you asked her why she is there?

I’m not a counselor, and neither are you. I swear, we get antis, who can’t take ‘no’ and ‘leave me alone’ for an answer, asking this question to complete strangers like they’re owed that answer. This might seem really strange to you, so I’ll put it bold so you get it: It’s none of our business. Not yours, not mine.  That is between the patient, the counselor, and the doctor. And maybe, if the patient is a believer, their relationship with a god.  Not yours.

That said, I have actually had patients, after we get them inside and away from your shit, volunteer that information.  And while you might deem all of these reasons not good enough for you, they are so damned no concern of mine.

I don’t give half a crap why a patient is there. It’s none of my business.

Do you know if she is being pressured or forced into this abortion, if she is safe at home…all the questions she won’t be asked inside the clinic? Does she know about all of the help available to her if she keeps the baby? Does she know how many couples would love to adopt her baby?

Wow.

Just, wow.

bitchyoutriedit

You do know that 9th Commandment is YOUR law to follow right?  The one about “not bearing false witness”?  That’s so much bearing of false witness I’m surprised your back isn’t broken from the strain. Counselors ASK these questions.  They provide help if the patients change their mind.  I’ve seen the brochures with my own eyes. And even if they change their mind, that’s not a victory for YOU, it’s a victory for the concept of CHOICE.

And seriously, adoption isn’t the opposite of abortion. This may shock you, but some people aren’t interested in continuing a pregnancy they don’t want. Fucking deal.

Yes, I know, I’m using filthy words now. That’s what I do when I’m pissed at disingenuous liars. And it’s only gonna get worse.

My dear Clinic Escort, have you been there for the ultrasound, where you can see the fully formed baby kicking its arms and legs? Have you heard the worker tell her it is just a bunch of cells? A blob? A product of conception?

You’re asking me if I’ve seen ultrasounds before?  Why yes.  From parents happily expecting, and from people who have decided on abortion.  The majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester – too tiny to have those kicking arm and legs.  And even if we’re talking second trimester, why does that matter? If someone doesn’t want to continue a pregnancy, they get to not continue a pregnancy.

Have you been with her, holding her hand as she screams in pain, ignored by a doctor who doesn’t even know her name?Have you heard the suction machine, watch as the blood, tissue, and body parts flow from her body into a cold jar? Have you heard the sound of the currette scraping her uterus? Have you seen the body parts – an arm, a leg, a piece of a rib cage, poured into a baggie as though it were scraps of meat?

Christ, are you getting off on this nonsense? While anesthetic affects people differently, they still get it. And yes, thanks to brave people who record and report their own procedures, we get to see how the shit works, sans your overdramatic overdescriptions.

Also, are you sure you’re still talking to us “dear Clinic Escorts”? We don’t go into the procedure rooms during procedures. We don’t go into the counselling rooms during counseling. And if we’re curious, we can ASK.  We can research.  I did an entire talk as a layman to other laymen about basic abortion procedures.  So, yeah, keep on with the drama, you can’t fool me.

Have you sat with her in the recovery room as she stares off into space, desperate to get away from this place so she never has to think of it again?

We’re not doulas or patient advocates, so no. But, since I’ve been trained as an abortion doula, by people who have been doing it for a while, I’m more willing to trust their word on the reactions in the recovery room.  Sometimes, there’s tears.  Sometimes, there’s vomiting, because anesthesia.  Most time, it’s relief.

Don’t believe me? Look up some positive abortion stories.  I’m Not Sorry has been running since 2004.

Have you been with her through the depression and the anxiety that plague her after the abortion? The breakup of her relationship? Have you helped her through her drug addiction, her binge drinking? Have you been there when she is unable to bond with her children? When her marriage falls apart? Will you be there when she attempts suicide? Will you be at her funeral when she succeeds?

LiaraFuckThis

I…I can’t even with this bullshit, but damnit, I’m gonna try.

Firstly, as someone who struggles with depression and the like, go fuck yourself.  It’s people like you who KEEP people with these issues from speaking up, unless they’re willing to join your guilt parade.  Yes, some people emotionally react poorly to having an abortion.  Most (and you can look that shit up yourself) don’t.

Secondly, go fuck yourself, because if this theoretical woman did all of these things, your sanctimonious ass wouldn’t be at that funeral either.

Thirdly, there are support for people going through issues after an abortion that don’t involve the guilt trip.  Backline and Exhale.  Look them up, and go fuck yourself.

Fourthly, and most importantly, GO FUCK YOURSELF.

Dear Clinic Escort, look into my eyes.

*flips both birds*

vtLap8s

They have seen things you could never imagine. Things that have made me scream in the middle of the night. Things that are never discussed in the intellectualized, feminist world of abortion rights.

Some escorts have had abortions. Some escorts have had abortions. Some escorts have had abortions. Some escorts have had abortions.

Because while you see a job well done when you usher her through those doors, her nightmare is just beginning.

Did I mention the going and fucking yourself?  Because you can go do that now.

But before you do, I asked a few fellow escorts to chime in on your bullshit.

Nick V:

WTF is this nonsense? I know our counsellors DO ask those questions. I know our clinic would never ‘encourage’ a women who was unsure to just go ahead and have an abortion. Heck we saved women from boyfriends that were trying to force them to have one. This is horseshit.

Rivka:

I don’t give a rats ass what decision she makes. I don’t have a personal investment if if she stops to talk with you. I don’t get personal satisfaction from people choosing to have an abortion. I am there to let people access health care. I have never grabbed a patient. I have never smirked walking out. I chat with patients. Hell, I sometimes say half my job is keeping the antis from getting punched. Why in the world would you think I *care* how many people have abortions? I don’t care. I just want them to have *access*. It’s not a game where you win or I win.

And yes, I’ve been in the waiting room. I see women who are tired, women who are reading a book, women who are chatting. I have had women tell us that they feel better, I’ve had plenty of women thank me for making the trip to get health care a little less scary for them.

And yes, I’ve gone with a friend when she needed support. For her it was a hard decision. It’s one she has very mixed feelings about, but she’s still sure she made the decision that was right for her. And I stood with her and let her work through that. I didn’t tell her what to do, and I would have supported her whatever she choose.

This isn’t a game where you get saves and I get abortions. My only interest is in those women being able to access healthcare without fear.

Pat C:

One lie that gets me is the, “Ask them to show you the ultrasound. They don’t want you to know the truth,” The clinic will not only show it to you if you ask, they will print a photo for you if you want.

AND

Since I transport many clients home after their procedure, this is not true. All of them say the staff are kind, compassionate and keep asking them if they are in pain. They will stop the procedure if needed to comfort the patient and reapply a local if necessary.

Huxley M:

One: some clinic clients are nervous. They’re typically nervous because they’re about to have a medical procedure, which is worth getting tense about. They’re also typically nervous about the protesters out front.

Two: some clients do have sad feelings, for a variety of reasons – the one I’ve encountered most (I’m also doing volunteer transport now, which means lots more talking than escorting does) is that they do want to talk, to have someone in their life know what’s up. “Hey, this is why I’ve seen stressed lately/seemed sick/etc.” And they don’t feel like they can, because they are afraid they will be treated by loved ones the way they are by the protesters. The overwhelming amount of negative emotion surrounding abortion is what they create – which is exactly what they intend.

Finally, just grabbing a client’s arm? I dunno about everybody, but we don’t even walk with clients without asking if they want us to. I have never initiated physical contact with a client, ever. Protesters make plenty of unsolicited and unwanted physical contact with clients, companions, and escorts, though. Guess they’re projecting?

Thanks guys, you rock!

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Comments
  1. So, so good. I especially like, “And even if they change their mind, that’s not a victory for YOU, it’s a victory for the concept of CHOICE.” It’s like they view themselves as the star of an epic battle scene, instead of the tedious, predictable trolls they are.

    There is one thing I would add, though: an extra bonus GO FUCK YOURSELF. You know, just to be sure there’s enough GO FUCK YOURSELF. Wouldn’t want to come up short.

  2. […] with each other to provide support, and we’re talking about it.   Just today, I found this wonderful article, which is a response to a letter purportedly written by someone who used to work […]

  3. Reblogged this on Feminist Uppity and Black and commented:
    Not only am I a former escort-I’m the mother of a teen who had an abortion, an abortion funder and an abortion doula.

    I NEVER “grabbed” patients or even walked with them without asking them if it was ok first.
    Not only have I been in the waiting room but many of the patients at the clinic I use to escort at arrived early and would sit outside and talk to us before and sometimes after their procedures. So yes many of us know why they are there and it’s no ones business but their own.
    Yes I’ve been in the counseling room (which is done as a group at the clinic I was at before talking to the doctor alone). I listened to the counselor and doctor answer EVERY question from every patient with FACTS. Every patient was offered information packets about all of their options and told all of their options. The doctor talked to my daughter by herself to make sure I wasn’t forcing her to get the procedure. Then he spoke to us both to answer questions.
    My daughter said the doctor asked her was she sure she wanted to have the procedure before he began. He also talked her through the entire surgery and when she was briefly in pain the nurse wiped her tears while holding her hand and helping her take relaxing breathes. No screams of pain or over the top drama.
    Yes I’ve been in the room for a 2nd trimester abortion. Yes I heard the machine yes I saw the abortion and no I’m not horrified. I am glad I was able to support the woman who needed me to be her doula that day.
    I have also sat in the recover room and helped women talk through their emotions of relief and sometimes a bit of grief (all valid).

    As an escort I talked to a few women who changed their minds after coming to the clinic and I gave them referrals for support. I didn’t mourn them not having a procedure as a reproductive justice activist I want to do everything possible to support that decision and her right to parent.

    As someone in my community who is known to support abortion rights I regularly have women tell me their abortion stories years after their procedure. Sometimes as many as 20 years later because they’ve felt they never had anyone they could talk to. They all pretty much echo the same thing. They don’t feel they made the wrong choice but they have felt judged and shamed by people’s views about abortions. Like the other escort said many don’t talk to family thinking they will react like protesters. So they carry a secret that shouldn’t be shameful.

    So I agree with the author GO FUCK YOURSELF! Quickly and with efficiency!

    See it seems that the author of this ‘letter’ has escorts confused with antis. We who have and do escort do it so people can receive healthcare without being harassed. We don’t have an agenda to push regarding what choice patients make that’s an anti thing. I know for me I just want patients to have a supportive non judgmental fact based space to do it.

    Sidewalk shamers don’t provide that.