40 Volunteers Shield Patients From Anti-Choice Protesters

On October 3, 2015, approximately 40 pro-choice activists came together in the rain to support the last remaining abortion clinic in Northwest Ohio. This clinic, Capital Care Network, is maintaining a practice of professional care and services in the face of extreme controversy.

On this day, a Catholic organization made the decision to march from their church to the clinic in order to surround the building with hymns and prayer in protest. Other anti-choice protesters who frequent this location shouted at patients and tried to hand out anti-abortion literature to patients as they walked from their cars to the building.

Support and care was provided by volunteer safety escorts and counter protesters to patients who had appointments that day - not only to give a sense of security, but to uphold the individuals' right to anonymity. Many escorts were guards, forming human barriers around the building, either facing their backs to the patients and quieting the protesters calls, or guiding the patients up to the door.

These clinic patients, who are already dealing with a difficult event in their lives, receive excellent reproductive care inside the building; they also deserve to be treated with respect and care while outside the building. The escorts that day provided necessary, compassionate care so that patients felt safe inside as well as outside.

The anti-choice church protest lasted less than an hour. However, the spirit of the escorts lived on throughout the afternoon as they waited for the remaining patients to attend their appointments and shielded them from the few anti-choice protesters left wandering around. The escorts kept warm in the wind and rain by making up songs and dancing with enthusiasm. One woman bought hats and gloves from the local dollar store and handed them out to the escorts as they sang out these verses: “This is a song about pro-choice, yes I'm allowed to use my voice, some people think that I should not choose what is best for me, but I will choose if and when I have a baby!” These verses were sung to the tune of “This Is The Song That Never Ends." This was the fun and warmth the escorts brought to the clinic that day.     

The cold, rainy weather made it difficult to take clear photos, but the enthusiasm of the volunteer activists still shines through the foggy camera lens.

The cold, rainy weather made it difficult to take clear photos, but the enthusiasm of the volunteer activists still shines through the foggy camera lens.

Patients from the left wing of the building could see out of the window and into the parking lot as the escorts smiled and danced. One woman told the staff that this brightened her experience and comforted her to see people like her supporting her choice. Seeing such great numbers of people show up on short notice to support the clinic was heartening, and the vast difference in ages between us all left me feeling confident that our generation will be present to make sure that the future will be one that respects a woman's autonomy.

Written by: Taylor Scribner