Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Dear Clinic Escort,
Today I saw you, with your bright orange vest emblazoned with ESCORT on the front and back. You refused to make eye contact with me. I saw your gritty determination as you grabbed arms with that young woman and whispered in her ear, "Ignore them," you said, "Don't look at them, they are here to intimidate you, to scare you. I'll keep you safe, don't worry." You walked quickly, head up, steel in your eyes, never letting up your grip on her arm. Her head was down, following your lead, mutely keeping up with your fast trot to the abortionist.
You ushered her in through the doors and soon emerged, alone, smiling at us triumphantly, a glimmer of malice in your eye, a smirk of arrogance and joy at having bested us - another woman you saved from the anti-choice fanatics. You rejoin the other escorts, laughing and joking, until the next car pulls up, and your face resumes the mask of the militant soldier, ready to do battle for women's reproductive rights.
As I watched you I wondered, have you ever been inside the clinic? Have you ever been in the waiting room, filled with the silence of trepidation and fear? Have you listened to the stifled tears?
Have you ever been in the counseling room? This place, where instead of asking questions and listening, the worker masks the truth, or outright lies about the third life in the room, the life growing inside the woman's womb? Have you seen her sad and scared eyes? Have you asked her why she is there? Do you know if she is being pressured or forced into this abortion, if she is safe at home...all the questions she won't be asked inside the clinic? Does she know about all of the help available to her if she keeps the baby? Does she know how many couples would love to adopt her baby?
My dear Clinic Escort, have you been there for the ultrasound, where you can see the fully formed baby kicking its arms and legs? Have you heard the worker tell her it is just a bunch of cells? A blob? A product of conception? Have you been with her, holding her hand as she screams in pain, ignored by a doctor who doesn't even know her name? Have you heard the suction machine, watch as the blood, tissue, and body parts flow from her body into a cold jar? Have you heard the sound of the currette scraping her uterus? Have you seen the body parts - an arm, a leg, a piece of a rib cage, poured into a baggie as though it were scraps of meat?
Have you sat with her in the recovery room as she stares off into space, desperate to get away from this place so she never has to think of it again? Have you been with her through the depression and the anxiety that plague her after the abortion? The breakup of her relationship? Have you helped her through her drug addiction, her binge drinking? Have you been there when she is unable to bond with her children? When her marriage falls apart? Will you be there when she attempts suicide? Will you be at her funeral when she succeeds?
Dear Clinic Escort, look into my eyes. They have seen things you could never imagine. Things that have made me scream in the middle of the night. Things that are never discussed in the intellectualized, feminist world of abortion rights. Because while you see a job well done when you usher her through those doors, her nightmare is just beginning.