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View Diary: My First Morning (Of Many) As A Clinic Escort (136 comments)

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  •  Escorting Is Very Rewarding... (7+ / 0-)

    ...and your diary demonstrates it. Thanks for posting it.

    I've escorted weekly at a PP clinic in Pennsylvania for over seven years and the schtick and ploys that our protesters use are the same that you describe. But we lack the luxury of a fenced parking lot. Our parking is strip mall style compelling escorts to patrol a 130 foot perimeter. Getting cars in and out can be daunting, especially if a protester decides to dawdle in the path of a car, block a driver's vision with a large sign, or generally harass a patient and her companion(s) while the driver is trying to drive. In aiding drivers, we escorts do have to periodically speak to protesters, usually to ask, always politely, to move lest they be run over. Most do, but some are very, very slow to move. Polite, of course, is not a word that fits most protester behavior, such a view being alien to them. And given the long perimeter, we often find ourselves on the public sidewalk with the protesters, which can lead to efforts on their part to precipitate physical confrontations, especially shoving matches; but we studiously avoid those, if at all possible.

    But for people who  claim to be "sidewalk counselors" they engage in an awful lot of insults, efforts at intimidation and scare tactics—all liberally laced with outright lies. Escorts develop tough hides (or start with them) but patients often arrive in extraordinarily vulnerable moods, which, if evident to the protesters, induces the latter to salivate like hyenas going after wounded gazelles. It is not pleasant.

    Given that I've now known some of the protesters for all those seven years, I do talk at times with a couple of them, but only when no patients are present. Those couple are civil, respect me—and usually the patients—and basically agree to disagree. I maintain those relationships primarily to counter the protester caricature that PP staff and escorts are evil, mean, nasty people. But the rest can go to Hell for all I care, especially the Hell they describe for my fellow escorts and myself.

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