My short bio: I am an abortion care clinic escort in the Deep South. Ask me anything! eta: Thank you for the gold!

My Proof: http://i.imgur.com/lZ53hom.jpg http://i.imgur.com/8vJzMwj.jpg

Comments: 579 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

revanon129 karma

I'm a Christian pastor with deeply conflicted feelings about abortion. I first would like to apologize to you for the sheer amount of hate and intimidation you must endure on a very regular basis. That is not treating you or the women you escort with dignity and respect, and whatever else the circumstances may be, that is wrong.

My question is, how has your work as a clinic escort affected (positively, negatively, a lot, a little, not at all, whatever) your feelings about organized religion and/or God, and what can us Christians do to help, rather than harass, the women who come to you?

Edit: Thank you for the gold!

uber-blonde133 karma

Thank you for the apology.

My fellow escorts and myself have discussed how the religious right could better help and there are several parts to that answer.

  1. Offer sex education, birth control, and stop the shaming.

  2. Offer support services for AFTER the babies are born. Support laws and policies that benefit children and families, such as free lunch programs and social services.

  3. This is especially important as you are a pastor- PLEASE, PLEASE, teach and practice how to WALK IN LOVE rather than looking for outliers to attack. Teach woman AND men to be repsonsible, caring, loving adults.

Thanks for your question.

revanon38 karma

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I've long felt that contraception and sex ed are two of our biggest allies in making abortion as rare as humanly possible, and it grieves me that they are opposed by so many religious organizations.

And just to clarify--I do not, nor have I ever, identify with being a part of the "religious right." Not all pastors do. In fact, many do not!

uber-blonde25 karma

Ok, got it and thanks. :)

To me, it's simple- don't like abortions? Offer birth control.

Also consent education! I forgot to mention consent in my original reply.

MathLiftingMan-18 karma

Why would you apologize for people you don't represent?

revanon17 karma

For the same reason Pope Francis just said that Christians--not simply the institutional church, but the individual Christians who make up the church--need to apologize to, and seek the forgiveness of, GLBTQ people. Asking for forgiveness is an important part of reconciliation, and there is definitely a need for it when it comes to the church and many women who have had to seek the services of an abortion provider.

Put another way: even if I don't feel personally responsible, there is still merit in apologizing as a means of starting reconciliation. I cannot tell you how many times a gay or lesbian acquaintance has told me that they appreciate hearing someone, anyone, representing the church simply say sorry for the treatment that they have endured at the hands of the church, even if the pastor making that particular apology (like me) was not individually responsible. There is spiritual value in that sort of catharsis.

uber-blonde1 karma

Yes, it is a step in the right direction to apologize. Thank you for that.

tesformes29 karma

Does it ever get dangerous doing your job?

uber-blonde57 karma

Yes. There is always a potential danger.

And sometimes the protesters will get so worked up they threaten us with violence, they push and shove us as we try to get the cars in safely, or they block the cars from entering the driveway, or the clients will get into escalating arguments with the protesters. We call the police pretty much every day, but the police simply tell them to settle down and that's about it. They have been threatened with assault charges and I know one was convicted of trespassing.

Diggy-Dog-517 karma

Yes. Her job is VERY dangerous for babies...

It's a sick world we live in when people publicly proclaim that they escort world women to get abortions....

And to claim a higher moral ground because you are protecting women from religious people who MAY cause some kind of harm while you are assisting mothers to do harm.

How many babies have been killed compared to the number of adults killed by so-called religious people?

clive_dexx163 karma

More actual babies are diseased and starved to death by God every day.

uber-blonde47 karma

Yes, this.

jhenry92212 karma

Since you feel all high and mighty about this, why don't offer to adopt some children?

uber-blonde34 karma

This is kind of my thought, why aren't the pro-lifers out adopting kids instead of harassing our clients?

lilmissRoja20 karma

What is the most positive experience you've had working at the clinic?

uber-blonde42 karma

By far, the gratitude and relief of the women we are escorting in for abortion care when we shield them from the religious hate and propaganda.

funtimesforalltimes19 karma

Thank you for doing this. I don't live in the deep south but even still I know that if I'd have to make that tough decision, I'd have to deal with at least a small crowd. I'm sure it's a terrible choice no one ever wants to make, but thank you for being there to make it easier during this difficult time.

uber-blonde22 karma

Glad to help. And happy for today's SCOTUS decision. :)

Zecark4 karma

It's been said before, but I just want to thank you for doing that. I have no doubt that it means the world to them when you do. Thank you again.

uber-blonde3 karma

Glad to help, and thank you so much.

rockstarmouse14 karma

How do you deal with the protesters? Do you try to talk to them? Ignore them and focus on helping clients in?

uber-blonde33 karma

Ignore, ignore, ignore! They want attention, so we ignore them. We are there for our clients anyway.

beeinzombieland14 karma

I'd first like to say thanks for everything you do. I live in a place where abortion is funded by the government so I can't say I know anyone who's dealt with such hatred at such a sensitive time.

Have you ever seen someone, confronted by the protesters, change their mind about going in/getting an abortion all together?

What's the worst thing a protestor has done or said? What do they normally do?

uber-blonde38 karma

The worst thing? They have body cameras, they record our clients and post their pictures on Facebook and on websites trying to shame and punish the clients.

Of course they post pictures of us too, but we don't care about that.

No one has ever changed their mind in front of me. They are welcome to do so, we don't stop anyone who wants to talk to the protesters. Our clients are at the clinic because they have already made up their minds.

uselessdegree30 karma

They have body cameras, they record our clients and post their pictures on Facebook and on websites trying to shame and punish the clients.

That is like 20 different kinds of fucked up. I had no idea those assholes had taken to doing this. Ugh, rage.

uber-blonde17 karma

Yeah, it sucks. Like I said, I expect them to do it to me, but can you imagine if you were accidentally pregnant, seeking abortion care, maybe upset, and you run into someone who yells and screams and tries to shame you then posts your picture on a website for "babykiller" picture sharing? :(

That_Noob_You_Pwned1 karma

Isn't posting images of people without their permission also illegal?

uber-blonde9 karma

Not if they are in a public place.

That_Noob_You_Pwned6 karma

I think that if they are giving out personal information or condoning harassment, you could make a case against them, but unfortunately I don't think it would help. Much.

Keep doing what you're doing. I'm sure it means the world to those you escort that someone is willing to stick up for and stand by them.

uber-blonde3 karma

Thank you. :)

aggie13917 karma

I have a similar story from my old clinic. They would write down license plate numbers and then run them to get addresses. They would then send them graphic abortion photos and send letters to their neighbors that so-and-so had an abortion. They stopped for awhile, but shortly before it closed (2011 funding cuts, although HB2 would have done it too) they started up again taking down license plates.

uber-blonde3 karma

Yeah, that happened with us.

One of our volunteers is a teacher and they sent letters to all her kid's parents telling them what the teacher did on the weekends.

clomjompsonjim1 karma

I also live in a place where abortion is government funded and generally socially acceptable, but yet I have experienced abuse by medical staff on two occasions because I sought medical care.

Don't forget the battle isn't won yet, because we have legal rights.

beeinzombieland2 karma

By medical staff? Really? Isn't that against their oath or something? Seems like they should be the last person to pass down judgement on a medical procedure like that.

clomjompsonjim1 karma

Unfortunately it did happen. I went to the media about it because they effectively tried to deny me medical treatment through manipulation.

uber-blonde1 karma

Here to support you, and I'm sorry that happened.

mistermocha12 karma

This must be a mentally and emotionally taxing thing to do! Do you find that you build up stress from the experience? If so, what do you to let it go? If not, can you expand on that? Do you just get a positive sense of self for your actions?

uber-blonde13 karma

Sometimes it's stressful.

When the clients are upset or crying and the protesters won't stop yelling at them, it gets very stressful.

For me, just seeing I tried as best as I am able, to help as much as I can, is enough to make it worthwhile.

69username699 karma

Are your devil horns visible? /s

I hope you have a good life and save alot as well.

uber-blonde3 karma

Thank you, I appreciate that. :)

jordaniox6 karma

I imagine this is a very difficult job due to the emotional distress related with abortions. How do you cope with the strains of your day to day job?

uber-blonde13 karma

It's not too bad. I am happy to help with the women. Helping them makes up for the abusive language from the protesters.

boculjan6 karma

Hope it's not too late!

Is this a full-time gig, and if not, how can I get in on this? I would love to do something like this when I can.

uber-blonde7 karma

Contact your local abortion care clinic and ask them who handles their volunteer work.

You can also get in touch with NOW or Planned Parenthood.

TruePoverty5 karma

Do they prefer women to be escorts? Or are men encouraged to volunteer as well?

uber-blonde12 karma

They take warm bodies of all types. We have trans escorts too. :)

wearemadeofstars_5 karma

what was your worst encounter with a protestor?

uber-blonde12 karma

We had to call the police when one of them kept assaulting the clients and other volunteers. Lots of yelling and shoving.

Te police almost took him to jail.

LowRune3 karma

So they are pro-birth/life, yet they assault pregnant women, which in turn could injure/kill (low chance but still) the baby?

uber-blonde3 karma

They are mostly pro-birth. They only want to harass, shame, and blame the women for not wanting a pregnancy.

What's strange is they never say bad things to the men who come with the women. They will sometimes plead with the men "don't kill your baby" but they never harass the men with guilt and shame.

In my opinion, a lot of the protester's abuse is rooted in sexism and misogyny.

BackstrokeBitch4 karma

1 Thank you.

2 Have protesters ever become violent or hurt you or a woman you were helping?

uber-blonde3 karma

Don't mention it, glad to do it. You're welcome.

They have body slammed us, while they are trying to get to a car.

No seriously violent incidents yet.

Kabisi4 karma

Why most of the people who are against abortion are people you wouldn't wanna fuck in the first place?

uber-blonde26 karma

In my experience it's mostly men who want to tell women what to do. That's just my experience.

dz108712 karma

Why is that, you think? I'm the father of two wonderful daughters and I would like nothing better than for politicians, especially male politicians to keep their laws out of my daughters' uterus!

uber-blonde9 karma

In a nutshell, I personally believe politicians care less about actual people and more about scoring political points for themselves, by any means possible.

And we as a country have a long history of marginalizing women and their needs.

Glad you are thinking of what's best for your daughters. :)

Wild_Hunt3 karma

Are you ever told what to do of protesters get violent? Have you ever wanted to punch one?

uber-blonde5 karma

Yes, we are trained to always ignore.

No, I just ignore them. I grew up in a toxic household and I learned to ignore hate from an early age. It really doesn't bother me, other than a chuckle or two.

HideAndSheik3 karma

Thank you so much for bringing this AMA here. For years I have thought of going on my own to the local Planned Parenthood clinic and escorting women; I am also in the south and there are ALWAYS protestors camped up there to block women in need. I will be sure to look and see if my local clinics have volunteers set up.

My question is, do you have a lot of volunteers that haven't had abortions? I've never had one myself but fully support the right to get one (and would have one in a heartbeat if the fetus were life threateningly deformed or disadvantaged). Can I still relate to the clients? I feel like I would just be saying empty words since I haven't experienced it...

uber-blonde2 karma

Thank you so much. I brought this AMA to raise awareness on what women go through to receive basic, protected health services.

Our interaction with the clients is brief. We just shield them in between the clinic and the sidewalk.

We have many men and trans volunteers, so having had an abortion is not a prerequisite.

HideAndSheik2 karma

That's amazing and encouraging to hear. Have you ever had women reach out to follow up with you as a thank you? Do they also get escorted from the clinic back to their cars? Do you have someone waiting at all times?

uber-blonde2 karma

Many of the clients say thanks at the time. The men and families thank us too. Often they cry and tell us they just want to be able to make their decisions in peace, and thank us for shielding them. They also thank the clinic, and the clinic relays the message to us.

We escort them back out, and we have volunteers in place as long as there are protesters. :)

peepjynx3 karma

The largest demographic of women to get abortions are married women. Do you find yourself escorting couples or just women?

uber-blonde2 karma

Most clients are married and have at least one or two children already. We have so many men in the parking lot waiting on their wives, we have to send them off-site to wait.

We have many faiths as well.

etherealcaitiff3 karma

So what exactly do you do? Are you there just to have a hand to hold or are there strategies for helping people in certain emotional states?

uber-blonde3 karma

The volunteers like myself are there to shield the clients from the protesters.

We use our bodies to physically block and we work to distract the clients from what the protesters are saying. We walk with the clients to their cars and escort them off the sidewalk and in to the clinic.

etherealcaitiff3 karma

Are there typically multiple volunteers for 1 client? I'd imagine you'd want someone on each side. Do you guve the client headphones or anything like that to distract from insults?

uber-blonde3 karma

On weekends we have up to 12 escorts. During the week we try to have 2 escorts at all times.

We talk to the clients to distract them. We ourselves wear headphones when the insults get bad.

andre_3003 karma

what is your worst experience with protesters?. and how did you handle it?

uber-blonde8 karma

Mostly they are condemning and say mean things to the women.

We ignore them completely, which drives them crazy because they are attention-seeking.

Boonaki3 karma

Did you get your concealed carry permit? If so what kind of gun to you carry?

uber-blonde8 karma

No, but our security guard has a gun permit and he carries a gun at all times.

eta: spelling

Boonaki3 karma

Any incidents?

uber-blonde16 karma

Lots of attempted break-ins and trespassing after hours. No gunfire ever and hoping we will never have any.

Our guard sleeps on-site because of people trying to climb the fence, etc.

psychicmisscleo2 karma

In the beginning, what made you decide to be an escort?

uber-blonde4 karma

I got involved as a way to feel like I'm making a difference in the fight for human rights.

yellowdeath2511 karma

First of all, thank you for being an amazing human being. Secondly, what made you decide that you wanted to be an escort for an abortion clinic? Also have you encountered anyone you knew that was protesting?

uber-blonde1 karma

I must have missed replying to this yesterday, sorry about that!

I wanted to help advance women's rights and raise awareness on TRAP laws.

I have wondered f I will eventually see someone I know (my conservative crazy aunt or my stepdad) but so far it's all new people.

There are a lot of anti-abortion folks who love to get up early in the morning and go harass women. I can't believe they have nothing better to do to help the world, but there you have it!

gutabo34fr0 karma

How many pregnancy weeks is an ethically acceptable limit to perform an abortion?

uber-blonde9 karma

The law is somewhere around 20 weeks, except in exceptional cases such as harm to the mother or child.

jtm19945 karma

Wow! It's only 12 weeks here in NZ (aside from as you said exceptional cases like medical issues etc).

uber-blonde7 karma

Yes it differs. The 20 week point has been somewhat discredited, but that's a whole other discussion. Personally I am fine with 20 weeks so long as the clients can actually get an appointment in time. Part of the problem is we are so busy they sometimes get right up to the 20 weeks before they can schedule, take off work, maybe find a babysitter (most of our clients already have at least one kid), get the money together, and get to a clinic.

Is abortion care covered by the government in NZ? It is very expensive here.

ThePulseRifle-1 karma

Would you continue to volunteer escorting folks if you weren't wearing the rainbow vest and laminate paper badge?

uber-blonde18 karma

Sure! We wear the rainbow vest and laminate badge so the clients know who we are and don't confuse us with the protesters. Eta spelling

mirabiledrums-4 karma

Does this mean I don't have to wear a condom?

uber-blonde3 karma

Nope. Wear condoms and do everything you can to prevent pregnancy so no one has to make the difficult decision of getting abortion care.

mhscout-20 karma

Pro-Choice people tend to argue that they are pro-women's rights and that they are for women.

Isn't the SCOTUS ruling troubling? On one side it does allow for greater access to abortion, but on the other hand it does allow clinics to continuing running with sub par safety standards.

Instead of spending a boat load of money on fighting the law, why didn't clinics spend money upgrading their facilities?

The law was intended to limit abortion, which admittedly I wish had succeed in doing. However it also had the potential to raise safety standards.

My question is how to you balance these two aspects of the ruling. 1. Abortion is now less limited. 2. Safety standards that could improve the lives of women are now considered illegal.

quakerlaw15 karma

The "safety" argument was a total strawman. There is exactly ZERO evidence that any of the struck down requirements would have had ANY statistically significant effect on safety during and outcomes following abortions. Zero. None. Zilch. So any perceived benefit is A) false, and B) even it were true, FAR outweighed by the negative benefit of millions of women being denied reasonable access to medical care.

uber-blonde2 karma

Have you seen the excellent documentary Trapped? http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/videos/trapped-full-film/

It is a well-documented account of the harm the TRAP laws have caused women in several states. I know several of the providers in he film.

Thanks for being supportive! :)

uber-blonde13 karma

It sounds like you have been given some misinformation. For more information on "TRAP" laws, please watch PBS documentary: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/videos/trapped-full-film/

mhscout-1 karma

I know the intent of the law was to limit abortion, and I fully support its intent. However, its intent does not subtract from the fact that these laws would increase safety standards.

These laws would be perfectly legal if it was any other "medical service".

uber-blonde2 karma

Sorry, that's simply not correct.

Abortion is ALREADY safe. It's safer than wisdom teeth extractions and it;s safer than liposuction.

They don't need to improve safety standards so women can take a pill in the presence of a medical doctor, or have surgical level equipment for a simple D & C.

Again, I must direct you to the PBS documentary (http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/videos/trapped-full-film/) which clearly describes TRAP laws. These laws are designed to block abortion access in states with conservative agendas. The TRAP laws actually force women to DIY abortions, making abortion MORE dangerous. That's part of the reason the Supreme Court struck down the Texas TRAP laws.

More articles:

http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/what-is-choice/fast-facts/issues-trap.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-a-grimes/how-safe-is-abortion_b_6391460.html

"In 170,000 first-trimester abortions, the complication rate was 1%."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/06/27/the-supreme-court-rules-against-texas-and-for-science-in-abortion-case/?tid=hybrid_collaborative_1_na

eta: punctuation, extra article

mhscout-1 karma

A TRAP law does not force women to do DIY abortions. They can choose that, but your logic is like saying making weed illegal forces people to buy illegal weed.

Fun fact: abortion is the most dangerous medical procedure. Near 100% death rate.

uber-blonde2 karma

Methinks you just want to argue. :(

I hope you take the time to watch the PBS special and maybe view the links I provided.

Best to you.

100kmaust-35 karma

[deleted]

uber-blonde40 karma

We support each woman's choice to make her own decision and possess bodly autonomy.

Personally, I am not fond of abortion- but I will fight all the way to ensure YOUR right to choose.

Don't like abortion? Fine, don't get one. And respect other women who make that very difficult decision for themselves.

Hope I answered your question! :)

DramDemon8 karma

I am curious, you yourself are not fond of abortion but you help people who want one? Is it just a "I would never get an abortion but if others want one they should be able to get one" situation? Regardless, that is very admirable and Im glad there are those that take such a stance. Thank you for helping fight the good fight.

uber-blonde36 karma

I've had an abortion.

I wish I had not had to make that decision, but I did and I have never regretted it. Not once.

I feel sad for the women faced with such a difficult decision, and I support their right to make their own choice.

stepdoe-3 karma

Can you talk more about how you wish you hadn't made that decision, but you don't regret making it?

BG198624 karma

I'm not op, but I've had an abortion. I wish I hadn't been in the situation because it's scary, it's painful, it's expensive, the protesters are rude, if you've had any kind of religious back ground there is guilt.

I'm glad I did it because I was so depressed I wanted to kill myself, I was not financially ready, my husband didn't want the responsibility, and in my special case there was no fetus, no heart beat, only an empty egg so it made it easier, but it was 3 weeks of hell before that. Every day seemed like forever, I already have a bad back and had pelvic griddle pain with my first child. I was not even 2 months and I could bairly walk. People have their reasons and they are all valid.

uber-blonde15 karma

Thank you for commenting with understanding.

I hear valid reasons and stories of heart wrenching situations daily. I can't understand why the protesters are willing to discount all the reasons and instead spend time trying to guilt and shame our clients.

I just keep my chin up and escort them safely and that's why I'm there.

BG19867 karma

Like others have said thank you for your service, I wish there were some like you where I live.

uber-blonde3 karma

Don't mention it, glad to o it. I'm sorry to hear there are not any escorts near you. You can ask your local clinic how to put together a volunteer group. :)

uber-blonde10 karma

I wish I had not had to make that decision. In other words, I wish the birth control had not failed, putting my bf and I in the position of making that choice.

I don't regret it at all because I wasn't ready to start a family, and certainly not with then bf.

I am now happily married (to someone else) with one child.

russianj21-46 karma

It should not be "ok" either way. Abortion is a difficult decision that should affect a woman who gets an abortion. Killing a person outright should also affect the killer. At no time, should either action be like walking across the street. There are legal and moral definitions in play.

A woman removing a piece of tissue from within herself should be given the opportunity and choice to do so, whether it be a zygote, a tumor, or a fetus. However, I hope she would feel the weight of removing a potentially viable life and consider all options before making that choice. This is based on personal morality in my opinion and the choice should not be made by anyone but the woman herself.

However, someone making that decision for her, knowingly or unknowingly, should be held to the same weight by a jury of his or her peers. When I say that, I mean to say whether a pregnancy is brought to term or not by forced surgery or other methods. Would the child have survived? Would the mother have gotten an abortion if given the chance? Each case is different and should be weighed by the legal system when a choice is taken away.

The fact is, if abortion were illegal, every death of a pregnant woman would in my mind be an automatic double homicide due to morally being decided for everyone and being trumped by law. As that is not the country I live in, I defer to the legal system and the people within it.

uber-blonde23 karma

Like you say, it's an individual choice for each woman.

I work hard to support their choices, whatever they may be.

MathLiftingMan-47 karma

One-third of all conceived babies are aborted. Abortion is horrific. Do you feel at all responsible for encouraging abortion in contrast to taking on the challenge of motherhood or do you feel guiltless?

uber-blonde19 karma

I can't presume to decide for other women.

If they want to keep the pregnancy, they can do so.

If they choose to seek abortion care, I am there to shield them from the protesters harassing them.

I don't care what choice other women make. I am simply here to support them if they choose to seek abortion care.

I'm not "encouraging" anything. We don't solicit abortion care. We simply protect the women who have already made their decision.

eta: punctuation

Riversongspoilerss17 karma

The fact that people even need escorts... thats just sick. Im not american, in my country there are different opinions but not this radical, quite shocking. Im a christian and thus not pro-abortion in general, but these women need support, not judgement. As you said, they have already done their choice. Thank you for the work you do.

uber-blonde4 karma

Don't mention it, glad to do it. :)

Yes, let's walk in love with people's choices.

Unapologetic_Patriot-52 karma

If a person kills a pregnant mother, they can be tried for a double homicide. In order to take life, there must be life there...but it's ok for the mother to choose to take the same life?

ilikekingdomhearts6 karma

You know, I was undecided about what I would do about my pregnancy, but reading your comment pushed me over the edge. I'm definitely aborting. Thanks for the motivation.

uber-blonde5 karma

Here to support you in whatever decision you make. :)