I made a deal with myself and the universe this morning. If the pro life protesters didn’t negatively affect MJ today, then I wouldn’t let them affect me. After all, she’s the only one who matters right now. It’s not time to be selfish, it’s time to do whatever it takes to make MJ happy.
When we drove up this morning, my blood boiled immediately. There were more of them today, on each side of the street. And this time they had an increased number of signs and banners. One said “99 Babies Saved Since 2009.” Another said “God is Pro-Life.” One guy had a picture of a fetus that said “Is This a Child or a Choice?” I took deep breaths and put my arm around MJ. When they spotted us walking toward the door, they started yelling.
“YOU’RE KILLING YOUR UNBORN BABY!” was the most offensive of the remarks I heard.
I turned toward them ready to unleash every ounce of fury, but I remembered MJ. So I glared at them for one more second and reluctantly walked inside. We were searched (because some anti-abortion protesters have been known to go postal and shoot up a place or just bomb it) and finally seated. I took a deep breath and felt my blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.
But when I looked at MJ she was in tears.
Those self-righteous assholes had gotten to her. Without knowing one solitary thing about her or why we were there, they inserted themselves directly into our nightmare and made it that much worse. So now my wife, who was already nervous as hell prior to surgery, is near hysterics. Me not being allowed in there with her only made it that much more painful.
I was seething and glaring out the window at a woman holding a picture of Jesus across the street. Then MJ asked me what I was going to do for the next couple of hours. I looked at her, then looked out the window, then back at her. I asked permission with my eyes, never uttering a word. And as they called her name she nodded and gave me a kiss.
Here’s the result:
Hands down, my favorite part of that video is when the lady on the right asks me if I’m recording and then turns away. This is a woman who stands out in public all day long yelling awful things at complete strangers, holding offensive signs that are seen not only by the women at the clinic, but also the countless people (and kids) who pass by. Yet when I’m recording her she turns away to hide her face and calls it “ridiculous.”
I was on a public sidewalk, same as her. I was shouting things at her, just like she does to others all day long. But even though she’s in plain view of everyone, she balks at someone recording her (which is perfectly legal by the way). And that showed me something very important. It showed me these people are, at least a little bit, ashamed of themselves and ashamed of what they’re doing. Why else wouldn’t you want to be recorded? You’re already making a public spectacle of yourself, but all of a sudden you’re upset when someone else turns the tables?
And then she threatens to call the cops on me (more on this later). And for what? For standing on a public sidewalk and verbalizing an opposing viewpoint. I was never threatening and I never used foul language. I did nothing wrong and I was well within my rights to be there. She thinks her First Amendment rights should be upheld because she is on “God’s side,” but mine should be squashed because I’m of a different opinion.
Look, I’m not pigeonholing all pro life people. I know plenty of people and have dear friends and family who are pro life. Ardent pro lifers actually. And while I disagree with them wholeheartedly, I respect their opinions.
But I do not respect any person who stands outside a clinic and harasses women when they are at their most vulnerable and frightened. This is a perfectly legal medical procedure. It’s unfortunate, but necessary. And furthermore, none of these religious nutjobs have the right to control what another woman does with her body. And because they lack that power, they turn into bullies who pick on the weak and try to guilt them in despicable fashion.
And I realized today that no one really stands up to these people. When I approached them today they had no idea how to react. I’m sure they’ve had some run-ins before, but for the most part people are afraid of the protesters. And they capitalize on that fear.
Yesterday I discovered just how cowardly these people really are. They didn’t respond to a single one of my arguments. They had no salient points and could only fall back on their rehearsed rhetoric. They could be volunteering in the schools or youth programs to try to fix the problem of teenage pregnancy at it’s core. But they aren’t. Instead they take the coward’s way out, picketing and putting on a shameful public display that, in the end, accomplishes nothing.
That woman held a sign that said “99 babies saved.” But I wonder, how does she know that? I assume she’s saying 99 women have changed their minds or been scared away by protesters. But these protesters have no idea what happened to those babies. Maybe they went back to the clinic on another day. Or maybe they were born. Born into families that didn’t want them, and only had them because some woman called her a “baby killer” after she had finally worked up the nerve to make the right decision for her.
I know the protesters are very religious because they were holding pictures of Jesus and they had a sign that said “God is Pro-Life.” First of all, I don’t know about any of you but I won’t even put words in my wife’s mouth. Yet these people picketing on street corners are speaking for God??? Even if I believed in God I certainly don’t buy the fact that a supreme being would pick such lousy representatives to spread his word.
So in making the educated guess these religious protesters lean right politically, that means they are probably fiscally conservative. Mention the welfare program to these guys and they nearly have a heart attack. Which is hilarious because the only way some of these moms-to-be can make it with a kid is to sign up for taxpayer-subsidized social assistance programs. So that means the same people who protest to bring these children into the world are the first ones to cut them off at the knees in terms of care.
Or in other words, these protesters don’t give a shit about these babies once they’re born.
I’m not sure if nutjob lady protester actually called the cops after I left, but there was a squad car there later in the afternoon. They never questioned me or anything, but the protesters all packed up and left shortly after the cop’s arrival. But the fact remains I had every right in the world (as do they) for being there and there was nothing they could’ve done to shut me up. I can’t prove they called the cops because of me and I don’t know why they decided to leave. But MJ (who is doing well and recovering now) told me she was proud of me for standing up to them. And for the first time in a long time, I was genuinely happy.
So if you’re against abortion, that’s cool. Don’t have one. But when you decide to protest and scare people and make total strangers feel horrible, then you become trash. Human garbage. Excrement. And it’s my sincere hope that more people will stand up to these bullies in a non-violent manner and let them know what they’re doing is not OK.