As I arrived at the clinic Saturday morning a lot of things came back to me, like the sinking in my stomach as I drove up to the clinic, not knowing if it would be quiet, or if dozens of protestors would greet me with hatred and sign waving. Not a lot has changed in the two years we have been defending Family Reproductive Health; the antis still harass the defenders and patients, and they still stop cars in the driveway as they are coming in or out.
I was very grateful to all of the wonderful clinic defenders that came out on Saturday; we had over thirty people join us in showing our support for the doctors, staff, and patients. OSA was not out in their full force, and I think it gave some of us a false sense of comfort.
Unfortunately, the next day the extremist group targeted one of the doctor’s homes, carrying large signs and wanted-style posters with the doctor’s name and information on it. This was very surprising to us all since these types of intrusive and harassing tactics are what led Flip Benham to being charged and convicted of stalking that same provider.
Needless to say, we weren’t in such high hopes as we arrived at the clinic Monday morning with the knowledge of the lines OSA crossed the day before at the doctor’s house. And as the vans full of children arrived, we felt a sense of dread that we carried throughout the day. They did have a lot more people on Monday than Saturday, and they seemed a lot more fired up. I had a close friend from high school come defend with me that day, and although she doesn’t identify as a feminist (just yet), she was astonished at the way these anti-choicers were able to turn the place into a complete zoo. She immediately exclaimed, “I can’t believe this is legal.”
The only thing that kept us defenders going was each other, and the fact that we were really needed out front of that clinic to provide some sort of buffer for the women driving in to the clinic under these horrible circumstances. We heard from the staff that many patients were thankful to have us out there to support them, especially as anti-choicers were yelling at them swarming their cars.
Although I knew what to expect, since I had been out there many times, I always seem to forget how much hatred and hell fire you feel outside of that clinic when OSA is there. It still blows my mind that they are allowed to swarm cars, scream at patients, and infiltrate neighborhoods without any repercussions. Because of this, it is essential that we have defenders out there trying to defuse the situation and show support for women’s decisions.
We really need a large presence in Charlotte this week to show both the women and anti-abortion extremists that we will not stand for this kind of extremism, and we will continue to defend Charlotte clinics. Join us at the clinic the rest of the week, and please tell your friends! If you have any questions you are welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you on the front lines!