It’s Ida B. Wells’ birthday, and she would be shocked. If she was alive today I’m sure she would say: this is still happening? She had a strong voice, but for some reason, we’re still screaming.
I am surprised there is so much upheaval and mountains to climb in regards to women’s rights. Montgomery is the birthplace of the civil rights movement and the population here will not be silenced. I was born and raised in Montgomery. I went to school here. I don’t really have much family, but this home for me. These are where my roots are. I am a junior at Auburn University Montgomery, majoring in History with a minor in Theater. I work four jobs and volunteer for other social justice efforts in the community.
My name is Madison, and I am a clinic escort for the only abortion clinic in Montgomery, Alabama. Even with my busy schedule, any free moment I have had has been spent at the clinic to escort and support its patients as they make their own choices. This week, Operation Save America, an anti-abortion extremist group, has descended upon Montgomery, and I could not stand back and let that happen. And so, I went to work.
Yesterday, over 50 protesters came out to stand in the way of choice. They clamored all around the clinic overstepping on private property, yelling obscene, shaming, racist commentary.
I saw the stark contrast: one side violently screaming these painful things, and we on the other side non-engaging, being strong and resilient, and helping these women. I kept thinking about the women coming for their appointments and how terrified they must have been to have so many accusing them and condemning them. I let them know: You are not wrong. This is okay. You have this right.
And I saw a lot of memories. I used to be a part of a very strong religious organization. Looking at OSA, I felt angry and sadden because we, the escorts of students and community members, are here promoting what they, OSA, think they’re doing, which is love. I am well-versed in the scriptures they were quoting. I know I am on the right side of history.
As a pro-choice activist, sometimes I feel overwhelmed, like I am part of this minority whose voice is constantly shut out. But we in Montgomery will not be silenced. Most revolutions don’t happen overnight. It can be intimidating, but also encouraging, to know there is still a lot of work to do. The more I involve myself in this work, the more I see there are people that support that work. I see there are more of us. I see other people pushing for choice, for freedom. It’s why I do this work, and it’s why I’m launching a Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance on my campus next year to get more folks on the ground alongside me.
Yesterday, patients at the only abortion provider in Montgomery, were seen. And with the help of the pro-choice community, they exercised their freedom of choice.
Support the FMF’s efforts to keep all clinics safe and open by giving today to the National Clinic Access Project. Half of your donation will go directly to protecting Montgomery, Alabama’s last standing abortion clinic.