Netiya Shiner and Maria Gomez are Shimer students participating in the Shimer Internship/Mentorship (SIM) Program. They regularly post updates about their internship experiences.
This post is from Netiya, who is interning with the Illinois Choice Action Team.
Hi all! Today I'm going to talk about an issue I am all too familiar with: anti-choice scare tactics. As a clinic escort, I have had significant first-hand experience with anti-choice protesters and the tatics they use to try and intimidate people going to clinics.
The most common scare tactic used by anti-choice advocates is to propogate outright lies, both vocally and with literature. Week after week I hear anti-choice protesters yell lies at patients in order to convince them not to go into a clinic, even though patients may be entering the clinic for such simple procedures as mammograms or post-natal check-ups. Sometimes they say that countless women have died in these clinics, even though that is patently false. The sad thing is that while spouting these lies, anti-choice activists ignore the many women throughout history that have died because of limited access to safe abortions. They also lie about a supposed link between abortion and breast cancer, even though the scientific community has denounced this theory many times. One of the most common lies about abortion is the post-abortion syndrome myth. Again, despite numerous objections from the scientific community, these lies are spread rapidly in order to scare people out of obtaining medical attention.
Another common (and particularly despicable) anti-choice scare tactic is to film clinic entrances in order to try and shame women out of recieving healthcare. I have witnessed children filming clinic entrances in recent weeks, with no regard for the consequences of their actions:
While it can be argued that these boys have no idea the damage they're causing, I believe this does not excuse their actions. I see them in front of clinics in Chicago week after week, harrassing people entering (and leaving) these healthcare facilities.
If these images aren't disappointing enough, there are also statistics to support the many claims of anti-choice violence and intolerence (often in the name of religion). For instance, "In the U.S., violence directed towards abortion providers has killed at least eight people, including four doctors, two clinic employees, a security guard, and a clinic escort." And that's murder alone. The stastics for arson, bombings, and other property damage against clinics and abortion providers is astounding. Luckily there are amazing organizations such as the National Abortion Federation and the National Organization for Women which document these horrifying statistics.
However, there are some bittersweet laughs to be had in addition to all these overwhelming statistics. For instance, one of the least effective scare tactics - literally shoving religion into people's faces - can be so ridiculous that it's actually amusing on some level. See this fourteen foot Jesus placed just feet away from a clinic entrance:
In the meantime, clinic escorts and other pro-choice activists will continue fighting the good fight. We will not stop until women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies! After the recent assaults on women's rights (and the democratic process) in Texas, Ohio, and North Carolina, it is clear that now is the time to fight back.
Lastly, if I haven't yet made it clear that now is the time to get involved in the pro-choice movement, well, there's no time like the present. If you're in the Chicagoland area and you want to join us, don't hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on events and clinic escorting!
Until next time,