Paul LeBlanc, CNN
Wed January 11, 2023
When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Planned Parenthood made a vow. “It is a dark day for our country, but this is far from over. We will not compromise on our bodies, our dignity or our freedom,” the organization said in a statement.
But with more than a dozen states enacting complete or partial bans on abortion following the Supreme Court decision, abortion clinics, like those operated by Planned Parenthood, and the protests they attract have become an even more potent symbol of the country’s deep divisions over reproductive health.
A volunteer and a legal scholar take you into a job that is about to become much more dangerous.
a. l. Dawson and J. Shoshanna Ehrlich
June 30, 2022
All across the country, with its wildly uneven distribution of reproductive health services, anti-abortion protesters continue to wage a war of attrition against abortion access—often transforming the public spaces in front of clinics into hostile zones that clients must navigate in order to access essential care.
It will only get harder now that the Supreme Court has gutted Roe with its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. While abortion access has become increasingly difficult in recent years, particularly for marginalized communities in abortion-hostile regions, we will soon face the grim reality that abortion most likely will be banned in at least 25 states. (Oklahoma didn’t even bother to wait for the Supreme Court to institute such a ban, which the governor signed at the end of May.) At the same time, abortion clinics that still remain are anticipating more protests by emboldened and potentially more aggressive anti-abortion activists who are seeking to transform the nation into a unified abortion wasteland.
To win back abortion rights, Democrats need to learn how to fight the moral battle being waged by anti-abortion theocrats—something clinic escorts do every day.
By Elie Mystal, The Nation
May 16, 2022
We now live in a country where the government cannot force you to wear a mask on a plane during a pandemic but can force you to carry a pregnancy to term against your will. It is a country where the government won’t ban certain kinds of assault rifles but will ban certain kinds of medical care. We live in this country because five justices in thrall to a fundamentalist Christian orthodoxy have taken control of the Supreme Court—and because the majority of Americans who reject that orthodoxy have too often ceded the moral ground to the monsters who claim to have legitimate, enforceable interests over women’s bodies.
Women’s rights organizations and advocates have been in the trenches, fighting this fundamentalist sect, at literal physical risk to their lives, for decades. They’ve been fighting in the streets and fighting in the courtroom, but their alleged allies in Congress, in the media, and in the boardroom have rarely had their back.
April 6, 2022
Story by Rachel Crumpler
GREENSBORO — On this Saturday, two groups of people stand watch in the 20-space parking lot of a Japanese steakhouse, each staking out their own territory.
When a car pulls in, often with a woman driving, each group springs to action.
Those wearing rainbow-colored vests motion in the direction of the abortion clinic, guiding drivers to the proper place to park. Others, dressed in navy Sidewalk for Life hoodies, wave, smile and put their hands in a praying position. Some wield signs, such as one reading “God loves you and your baby. We can help.”
BY LAUREN RANKIN
APRIL 5, 2022
“You cannot block the car,” I told the bodies amassed in front of the cab. “That is against the law!”
“We don’t have to listen to you!” a man yelled back as he elbowed past me. “You’re not better than us!”
By that bright August morning in 2015, it had been more than a year and a half since I began volunteering as a clinic escort at Metropolitan Medical Associates clinic in northern New Jersey.
April 5, 2022
By Eleanor J. Bader
“ABORTION IS ABOUT someone’s future, their dreams, their lives,” Lauren Rankin writes in Bodies on the Line: At the Front Lines to Protect Abortion in America (Counterpoint Press). “When abortion is reduced to a mere political fight, we miss this, and we miss the very real stakes when access is denied.”
Those stakes, of course, have been enormous, with access to abortion limited by legal restrictions such as parental consent and notification requirements for minors; mandates that separate counseling from the actual procedure; and by the denial of insurance coverage by Medicaid and other plans. In addition, protests outside clinic doors have been ubiquitous for nearly five decades. In fact, picketers typically accost patients — often screaming at them as they thrust photos of bloody fetal parts in their faces — in an effort to dissuade them from ending their pregnancies. What’s more, anti-abortion violence, including the murder of 11 doctors and escorts since 1993, has had a chilling impact on the number of available providers.
“You never know who’s going to show up when you call 911. Nothing has ever come of it.”
Nicole Fallert, BuzzFeed News Reporter
Posted on October 16, 2021
Christine is used to being called a witch. As a volunteer escort at EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, Kentucky, she’s accustomed to crowds of anti-abortion protesters shouting the word at her while she accompanies patients into the clinic. “Devil” and “Nazi guard” are also frequently used.
Christine, who has been an escort for eight years, said patients are never prepared for the harassment that awaits them as they attempt to enter the building.
Thu, June 10, 2021
JACKSON, Miss. — Asia Brown doesn't expect subtlety from the protesters who congregate outside the Jackson Women's Health Organization, always with the same goal in mind — to stop those heading inside from having abortions.
She watched this year as a woman with a license plate for one of the state's public universities pulled up to the pink-hued facility, the sole abortion clinic in the state.
Abortion-clinic escorts and defenders serve as human shields protecting patients from angry, aggressive protestors. Now, with emboldened extremists and the COVID crisis, they face more danger than ever before.
By Garnet Henderson
Jun 2, 2021
Shelley, an abortion-clinic defender at Clinics for Abortion and Reproductive Excellence (CARE) in Bellevue, Nebraska, had a bad feeling on the morning of September 25, 2020. One of those gut bad feelings. It had been a volatile summer. Warmer months typically bring more anti-abortion-rights protesters to clinics, and the groups had been even larger than usual in 2020, likely due to high unemployment rates. By September, the crowds had begun to thin back down to the clinic’s 12 to 14 “regulars.” That morning, one of the regulars was camped out in his usual spot at the base of the clinic’s driveway.
LAST UPDATED JANUARY 15, 2021
Last week, the world watched in horror as a pro-Trump mob, urged by the President himself, attacked the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Thousands of angry people, rushed the Capitol building, overwhelming the law enforcement officers who were staged outside. They smashed windows and broke down doors; thousands of them flooded into the Capitol building itself. For several hours, they occupied congressional offices and triumphantly paraded through the House and Senate floors, wreaking havoc and calling for violence against and death for politicians and police officers, alike. By the end of the seditious melee, five people were dead.
One of the people there was John Brockhoeft, who posted online about his presence at the Capitol. Brockhoeft isn’t just any Trump supporter. He’s also a convicted anti-abortion terrorist.