I have become the keeper of women’s abortion stories and literally used my body as the shield between people who shame and intimidate women when they access legal medical care in a country that guarantees freedom and privacy.
When most people drive past a clinic they may see people standing outside possibly with big bloody signs. Perhaps they notice people praying or singing while holding pamphlets out to patients. To most they seem awkward, maybe obnoxious, even righteous, annoying but not menacing, certainly benign.
Yet if you take the time to sit outside the clinic for even a moment you would see a different scene. You would see anti-choice protesters shouting at patients, stopping their cars in the street, following them and yelling into their ears as they walk. Calling them murderers, telling them they will never be the same; that the clinic wants to kill them and their baby.
You would see grown men stalk women all the way to their vehicles after being asked to leave them alone. You would see protesters scream as if they are being stabbed to supposedly mimic the screams of babies. It never stops. They are there to shame and demean women whose only offence is accessing legal medical care.