Surrounded by Hate

Has there always been this much intolerance and bigotry out there, or am I just more attuned to it after my run-in with the anti-abortion protesters?

The timing is uncanny, but HBO just released a new documentary called 12th & Delaware. It’s about an abortion clinic in Fort Pierce, Fla. (where MJ’s parents used to spend their winters) that sits directly across the street from a Crisis Pregnancy Center run by ardent anti-abortion folk. The documentary takes a very up close and personal look at both camps, focusing on several women who go into both establishments. It is eye-opening to say the least.

What I saw from the pro-life zealots made me physically ill.

And this goes beyond the reprehensible act of the usual protesting and shaming of vulnerable women. That shit is child’s play compared to some of the other stuff these wackos pull. First of all, this isn’t just standing out on the street corner yelling. Oh no no. It’s so bad the doctor who performs the abortions has to be driven in by the owner to the building’s garage with a sheet over his head to protect his identity. These people don’t just protest clinics, if they find out who the doctor is they picket outside the man/woman’s house. And, as we all know, anti-abortion protesters have a long history of bombing, shooting and killing doctors.

Frustrated by the lack of a face or name, one crazy guy gets a tip on where the clinic owner picks up the doctor. So he sets up a stakeout in a Wal-Mart parking lot for hours and waits. Finally he gets what he’s looking for and learns the doctor’s identity. His plan is to get a picture of the guy and blow it up on huge sign for all to see, with the guy’s name and personal information listed.

Nevermind the lunacy behind such a plan, but think of safety issues. He’s opening this guy up for random attacks, robberies and if the doctor has a family he puts those people at risk too. But hey, they don’t worry about the living. Only the unborn.

Then we learn the abortion clinic was there first, but less than 24 hours after the building across the street went on sale the pro-lifers snatched it up and opened their own “medical facility.” The only problem is, there aren’t any medical professionals giving advice. Just the loonies.

And because they opened right across the street, women often get confused and the women who opted for an abortion mistakenly enter the lion’s den. Once there, the woman in the documentary openly admits she sometimes employs a tactic of trap them in the room as long as possible. Women are shown graphic videos filled with blood on the operating floor. They are given false medical “facts” such as abortion greatly increases the risk for breast cancer. This, of course, is complete bullshit. If you don’t believe me, believe the National Cancer Institute and their in-depth medical research.

But the sickest thing they do is to tell women they aren’t as far along with their pregnancy as they really are.

One woman went to the anti-abortion clinic first, where they performed an ultrasound and told her she was 7 weeks and 2 days. But when she went to the abortion clinic, she learned the truth. She was more than 10 weeks pregnant. The reason they do this is to make the women believe they have more time than they do, in the hopes they’ll anguish over it and put it off until it’s medically too late.

I don’t care what your views are on this topic, giving people false medical information just to serve your political and religious purposes is one of the most despicable things in the world. Those people aren’t just awful human beings, they’re criminals in my opinion.

Then there was the woman who said she didn’t want her baby because her husband was abusive. They already had one kid and she accidentally got pregnant again. But because she was trapped and her husband was verbally abusive to her, she didn’t want to bring another child into that environment. So what do you think the woman at the pro-life center said to her?

She told the woman that for all she knows, having another baby would help improve the husband’s behavior.

At that point I wanted to reach through the screen and stomp this woman to death. Telling an abused woman her husband would suddenly stop torturing her if she just keeps the baby is horrendous. Not only is the advice patently untrue, it’s irresponsible and dangerous to lie like that. And it proves beyond the shadow of a doubt these people think of nothing — NOTHING — except the baby. They don’t care about the woman or her existing kid who is already suffering. They’re perfectly happy to keep them in harm’s way as long as the unborn baby is not aborted. Sick.

And the documentary ends with a half dozen protesters ganging up on a woman who decided to have an abortion on her way into the clinic. The woman pauses long enough for them to get their hooks in her. And like sharks smelling blood in the water, they start to circle.

They sense her hesitation and vulnerability. They spot their in. And then they make every promise under the sun.

They promise to pay her rent. They promise to clothe her existing children. They promise her free medical care. And eventually she falls for it. She crosses the street and succumbs to promises which will no doubt fade away as soon as it becomes impossible to have a medical abortion. And then she will be left with a child she didn’t want and couldn’t afford. And she’ll be wondering where all those nice people went who offered to pay her rent and feed her family. But they’ll be busy working on their next victim. Because they only care about the unborn. The living can be tricked and lied to as long as they get their way.

Abortion isn’t pleasant. I don’t consider it a victory if a woman terminates her pregnancy. This isn’t a contest. All I care about is that women and their significant others get correct and accurate medical information. I care that they are told the truth, with no fairy tales of benevolent do-gooders who will pay their rents and grocery bills for all eternity. I want them to have all the information and make the decision that’s best for them. And I want them to be able to do it in as much peace as possible under the circumstances.

If you’re against abortion, then don’t have one. But leave the rest of the population the fuck alone and stop forcing your warped morals and religious beliefs down the throats of the rest of us.


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20 thoughts on “Surrounded by Hate

  1. I just don’t get it. It’s like homophobes and racists who use the Bible/God to justify their hate-based beliefs. What is Christian about that? The comment about them telling the woman her husband’s behaviour may change makes my blood boil too. Anyone with half a fucking brain knows that more often than not, an abusive man will either become so during pregnancy or if the abuse already is ‘in existence’, pregnancy often serves to escalate it.

    I agree with you 100% (in case that wasn’t already obvious).

  2. Thank you! I watched the documentary as well, and having had gone through an abortion myself, after getting as much information as I could personally, I was sickened by what they did in the Center. Seriously, how is medically misinforming someone justifiable, ever? Meddling in those womens’ lives does nothing to help them, and I am so glad that the clinic that I went to was set up so that the protesters couldn’t even come in to stand in front of the doors; they had to stand on the street while the patients drove around the back. But the security precautions that clinics have to take as a result of such zealous pro-lifers is ridiculous. You don’t see pro-choice people stalking and bombing protesters. Just mind-boggling.

  3. I love you for this post. Thank you for introducing this to me.

    How immoral can you get? Why would you doom a child to life with an abusive father? I’ve reported child abuse before. It is heartbreaking. To see a child cower in fear as he mentions that his brother got burned in the “campfire”. To see him wince when you ask if you can ask his mother how his brother is doing. To hear the fear in his voice as he says “no. Don’t say anything to mommy. Promise me you won’t say anything to anyone.”

    I can’t. I can’t believe they say that. To do that to a child. How dare they.

  4. The whole thing makes me so sick and wish I could do something to help these women who are sucked in by the insanity of the pro-lifers. Its unreal the things these people can get away with and there is nothing that can be done to stop them.

  5. I agree with the underlying philosophy of the pro-life position. Unborn children represent a human life and as such, have the right to live. Since they are still in the womb, someone has to represent them and stand up for their rights. That being said, I don’t agree with how the pro-life segment goes about doing it. I think there are other ways to get their message across that include education, awareness, and the legal system.

    Sure, we can go round and round about whether or not an unborn child represents a human life at that stage. And on and on about the moral and ethical viewpoints. And of course, the rationale behind wanting to abort the pregnancy. This debate has raged on for years, and there will always be opposing views.

    It’s only my opinion, just as you stated yours.

  6. Well-written post, Aaron. I haven’t watched the documentary, so I can’t comment on that, but I can say that not all pro-lifers go about things as those in the film and outside the clinic you & MJ went to. At my church, we had several teens get pregnant in a span of 2 years or so. On their own, they decided to keep the babies, so our church started up a ministry to help them out with a few things, e.g., childcare every so often, some help with rent, etc…the other aspect of the ministry is to provide emotional support for those who have had abortions. While we don’t believe abortions are right, we see no sense in condemning or chastising a woman who is already in such a torturous/fragile emotional state.

    Admittedly, some pro-lifers are focused solely on preserving life with little focus on improving quality of life. If they would take Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, who went out of his way to help someone he was supposed to hate, to heart, I think the world would be a better place.

  7. I truly appreciate your post. I appreciate how passionate you are about this topic, and having followed your story I completely understand WHY this is so important to you. I commend you for taking steps to correct the injustice you and MJ eperienced.

    I have not seen the HBO report, and I will make a point to do so. My basic problem is this: like Pop said in his comments, not all pro-lifers are like those you saw in person, or those shown in the documentary. I can say with 100% certainty that what those people are doing in NOT acceptable in anyway. But they are representative of an extreme. They do not, IN ANY WAY, represent even the majority of pro-lifers.

    I am pro-life. That means I am for the lives of EVERYONE, not just the unborn. I commend women (and men) who have had to make such impossble decisions. I hurt for those who have done the best they could within their circumstances and I do not accuse/blame/demonize anyone for their choices. I refuse to be judge/jury/executioner for anyone.

    And it hurts me to see that when people hear the words “pro-life”, what they will think of is the HBO documentary and (if they’ve read it) your experience. That breaks my heart.

  8. I told your dad about the documentary after I watched it just last week. I couldn’t believe the timing as well knowing what you and MJ just went through. Your column sums it up very well and sharks circling the last woman featured (who by the way already had 6 kids and didn’t look a day over 30!) was an on point description. The tactics this group uses……scary stuff. I would really like HBO to do a follow up to find out how that last person’s situation turned out. Did she later believe she made the right decision, did they actually help in her any way? I like to believe the good in people and if they are all talk then that makes them even more conniving then they already appear to be.

  9. I had an abortion many years ago. For me, in my circumstances at the time, it was the right decision. It wouldn’t be the right decision for everyone. I absolutely take the point that most pro-life people do not behave in these despicable ways but it still concerns me that some – although again by no means all – would support by non-violent, non-confrontational means legal measures to outlaw or severely restrict access to abortions performed by qualified medical people. This should always be a matter of individual conscience and choice. In addition, all the evidence is legal restrictions do not reduce abortions – merely make them more dangerous for the women involved.

  10. Bottom line – there are no PRO abortion people, if there are then that is kind of fucked up.

    Having an abortion is probably one of the most traumatic things a person can go through. My body SELF aborts. With no help of a doctor. Then I HAVE to go to a doctor of course. I have stopped that process long ago, but still.

    None of these protesters know the shoes that the women they are screaming at are going through. And weird, women that go in for birth control are yelled at too, they ASSUME that there is an abortion going to be had.

  11. Actually, some of these protestors DO know the shoes of the women they’re screaming at…and that makes their position so much more ugly.

    (The website is of an adult nature, but the article is not)

  12. The thing about not all pro-lifers being like that? I couldn’t care less. If you’ve never even thought about protesting, it doesn’t matter. The term pro-life is a smokescreen. Pro-lifers aren’t pro-life. They’re anti-choice. The reason there is an abortion debate is that your average pro-choice person believes in the freedom to choose. The anti-choice segment of the population then uses some sort of fallacious debate-judo and says something like, “I agree we should ALL have our CHOICE of opinions, and I wouldn’t dream on infringing on your rights or breaking the law, I just think we should examine what should be legal, blah, blah, blah, advocating for the voiceless, blah, blah, blah, no one believes abortion is good, blah, blah, blah, we should at least think about these things…”

    Here’s the thing. A pro-life legal position always TAKES AWAY THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE. There’s no such thing as changing your rights without taking them away. You can’t change my life status to deceased without killing me in the process. If you don’t believe in telling someone else that they can’t decide what they’ll do with their own body but would like to find ways to reduce the number of abortions (improved adoption systems, community building, or gee I don’t know- sex education and increased access to birth control), then you’re pro-choice and anti-abortion, a perfectly consistent set of beliefs.

    When I speak of pro-lifers, I feel perfectly justified lumping them together. It’s not the means I despise (though those can be a horror in their own right), it’s the ends. I don’t care if you lie to some poor unsuspecting teenager in a pseudo-clinic or attempt to mislead the entire country into passing anti-abortion access legislation with false dichotomies and fear tactics in some speech. The result would be the same. Don’t get me wrong, pro-lifers have a right to that speech and their opinion. But that doesn’t make them less wrong- and neither does being clever and polite.

  13. I’m pro life. However, I have never been involved in any protesting or persuading or what not. I have been supportive of three of my closest friends having abortions. And they would tell you that too. I am offended that a previous poster ‘lumps’ all of us pro lifers in the same category. I don’t believe that attacking vulnerable women and girls gets anyone anywhere. It’s actually kind of funny that I can agree with the same poster who ‘lumped’ me into the same category as a bunch of lunies, that the changes to reduce abortions need to begin in our society. Better sex education, better services for low income families, better adoption services, and help for women in abusive relationships, etc… The change needs to begin with our attitude first and foremost. As a young, single mother, I feel that our society is way too judgmental of unwed, young mothers with unplanned children as well as women who have abortions. It is shameful either way. Only after we lose the stigma, can we begin to tackle the issue.

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