Dispatches from the Sidewalk — Clinic Defense (Chicago) 02/08/14

Trigger warning: sexism, racism, verbal abuse, NSFW, DV, sexual assault in the Vine posts

Note: This is what I do now, full-time. I’m completely committed to changing the face of clinic access in this country. If you can, consider supporting my work so I can do more of it by clicking HERE and making a one-time or recurring (just click the box) contribution. All the funding goes to equipment, travel to other conferences/clinics/meetings with pro-choice legislators/training new escort programs and supplies. Thank you!

I was visiting in Chicago for a family trip; I can’t go home without spending time at an ICAT clinic. This is the group that training me and still keeps me grounded, motivated and supported. My mentor is a force of nature. Please check out and “like” her Clinic Vest Project page which supplies vests and training materials to new groups all over North America. She runs it by herself and is single-handedly changing the face of clinic defense. Those who’ve been asking how to get involved, help, etc. can find resources and connections there.

A bonus from my New Jersey clinic, which had a lighter week. Most of our 25-40 aggressive Abolish Human Abortion crew were at the Queens clinic. In fact, go see Rachel Goldfarb’s Storify from Saturday and remember this is New York: Clinic Escorting at Choice’s Women’s Medical Center (2/08/14). We still had a presence, including this door-blocking banner:

AHA NJ 20814 blocking door

…and a compilation/”best of” from one of our organizers:

AHA NJ 20814

This week’s Storify (which WordPress won’t let me embed — apologies for the new page open):
Clinic Defense (Chicago) 02/08/14

See you next week! And if you are an escort and want to join in, the posts come from all over the country using the #ProtectTheZone hashtag. We need as much material as we can get ahead of the SCOTUS decision on the MA Buffer Zone. xo

Recap of why I’m posting the videos, comments, tweets, and anything else I can get my hands on:

To aid in sidelining them, I will continue to post from in front of the clinics where I escort. My Vine feed is exclusively (with the exception of the occasional dog video because CUTENESS) devoted to documenting the reality of accessing clinics. You don’t need to subscribe or sign up; it’s a public website with a series of captioned 4-second videos. I mainly use the captions to include quotes and rants that don’t fit in the Vines. I also post through Twitter; if you don’t use that medium, you can read my feed right here, on this website over to the right side of this post.

I’m doing some website construction so I can have a tab with all the clinic defense posts, storifys, and other content. I want to link to other escorts who are doing similar documentation, so it won’t be up immediately. I’ll be including background on clinic escort programs — i.e. why they’re needed, how they were created and what makes them an important component of reproductive justice in the current hostile climate. Thanks for your patience while I work out the details of formatting and in the mean time, follow the #ProtectTheZone hashtag that NARAL helped kick off the day SCOTUS heard MA’s Buffer Zone challenge. I thank them for reaching out to those of us who spend time on the sidewalks and using our quotes/pictures.

If you found this post informative, entertaining, helpful, etc. you can subscribe to the Katie Speak Weekly Mailing which has all my posts, radio segments and activism info. You can also click SUPPORT to keep me speaking and follow me on Facebook and twitter. Thanks!

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Categories: Clinic Defense

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9 replies

  1. Katie, Please keep doing what you are doing. I am not sure why others are confused by your post other than the fact that they are not aware of anti-choice assholes (I mean picketers) who BLOCK and HARASS women who are trying to exercise her right to CHOOSE. I was lucky and I did not have to deal with people harassing me when I went into a clinic almost 9 years ago but it breaks my heart for all of the women who have had to deal with this non-sense. We need more people like you in the world. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  2. kate is is not clear to me what you are saying…

  3. You’re physically blocking access to clinics? And what qualifies you to obstruct another citizen’s right to enter or exit a building, simply because of your own personal beliefs? Are you a security guard?

    • This is the sort of logic used by anti-choice picketers. Escorts are invited by the clinic to walk patients past the vitriol, harassment and lies. Somehow, this means we are “blocking access” to something. Usually we are accused of blocking pedestrians. Our NJ picketers have video narrated with “See, they won’t let me through” as the escorts he’s walking up to step aside, allowing him to pass.
      There is no logic, there is no debate, there is no engagement. They yell at us for not talking to them as though that is disrespectful. We are not there for them. We are there for picketers. And we are intelligent enough to understand that comments like these and their lack of logic are the norm — engaging is a waste of time.

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