My clinic escort buddy recently posted reasons why clinic defense is a crummy volunteer gig, and why he does it anyway. His main points:
- You have to listen to racist jerks yell baby killer epithets at you and patients. Further reading: Our local antis created a handy manual on how to harass women on the street who might be “abortion-minded”
- It’s boring and you risk sunburn/inclement weather/racist jerks
- Clinic defense best suits volunteers with an even keeled temperament, so it’s not for everyone, and
- If you don’t have an even keeled temperament, you’re better off doing other pro-choice work like lobbying or campaigning for progressive candidates, since clinic defense is just a band-aid for a bigger problem.
But we continue to volunteer because it is generally the most meaningful and rewarding reason to wake up at 7am on a Saturday. Really, clinic defense is my favorite volunteer activity and I encourage everyone who’s pro-choice to try it. In addition to the general warm fuzzy feelings you get from volunteering, consider:
- It’s 8:30 am. Sleepiness often trumps crankiness at antis.
- You get to socialize with cool people you might not ordinarily meet. I’ve met pro-choice bloggers, Hill staffers, dog walkers, federal contractors, college kids, and legendary local escort Phil. Far better than okCupid or networking happy hours.
- You can have a really productive Saturday when you wake up early. Counterpoint: When you go out that evening, your friends will be perky and you will fall asleep in the bar, if you’re me.
- There’s no minimum time commitment for volunteering with DC area clinics. Commitment-phobes welcome.
- No paper cuts.
- It will make you even more pro-choice. Even if you just go to a short volunteer training, you’ll feel smarter and angrier about clinic harassment.
If you are in the DC area and want to become a clinic escort, contact the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force. If you are elsewhere, join our Adopt-a-Clinic campaign and email campusteam (at) feminist (dot) org for help finding a provider. Comment below and let us know how you’re supporting your friendly local abortion provider!