Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Well, my first year at the Morgentaler Clinic is drawing to a close. Yesterday it was fantastically cold, and I only stayed for the morning shift because otherwise I probably would have dropped dead. There were only two protesters out in the morning (Peter Ryan and Mr. Mumbles); perhaps more came later, but I doubt it. Seriously, it was freezing.

It's been a pretty exciting year here, I must say. And for anyone who is the least bit passionate about choice, volunteering at your local clinic is such a rewarding and fulfilling thing to do, for such a minimal commitment of energy and time. I have met some wonderful people and hope to meet more in the coming year. In fact, being a volunteer here has led to not only new friendships, but also a job! This is good and worthwhile work and I am pleased to be a part of it.

Wow, the last blog of the year is getting all sappy! Hehehe. I should probably finish here, and wish you all a happy winter break. I will be back and blogging the first week of January, and later that month I'll be in Ottawa for the 20th anniversary celebration of the Morgentaler decision, so it'll be interesting blogging for the next little while!

Best wishes to all of you, and thanks for your support.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chilly Toes

Inside again today - boy does our lovely receptionist travel a lot! Lucky her. :)

Actually I was quite glad to be inside because evidently it was VERY cold outside. We broke out the toe warmers for the first time this year! Such fun. Nothing much of interest to report. As SL has pointed out in her comments, the protesters are becoming gradually tamer as they try to present themselves as "not a public safety risk". That means, thankfully, no shouting, no bloody signs, and no Crazy Legs. They aren't letting her out at all anymore, which really works out well for everyone - even though it deprives the escorts of a valuable source of entertainment.

Peter Ryan wrote an opinion piece in the Telegraph Journal (the Saint John paper) on Saturday, and today my response was posted. Hooray! That's one out of at least three letters (that I know of) in opposition, but at least they're trying.

The other night I tortured myself by watching "Unborn in the USA: Inside the War on Abortion". It's a very well put together documentary about the pro-life movement in America. They explore a variety of players, from young people learning to be empathetic pro-lifers at the Focus on the Family college (yes, they have one) to various members of Army of God talking about how little sympathy they have for the widow and fatherless children of Dr. Slepian. It was extremely depressing, all told, but at least it exposed every aspect of the movement's ridiculous hysteria and total lack of logic. I recommend it, but be warned: it will make you weep for humanity.

On a brighter note, I stumbled across this poem on the internet today and it made me laugh. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snow Angels

There was a huge snowstorm on Monday night so we cancelled yesterday's clinic. So normally I would say there isn't much to blog about, but I am sitting here in the clinic among the flurry of rebooking and whatnot, and outside my window there are five people standing, staring silently into the clinic. They are silent because they are wearing red tape over their mouths, each piece having "life" written across it. Sigh.

I'm sad that the weird, creepy anti-choice tactics made popular by American fundamentalist Christians have made their way here. If you saw "Jesus Camp", you know exactly what I'm talking about. What makes me especially sad is that it isn't the usual protesters who are out there; it's young people. They look about my age, maybe a couple years younger. I just want to throw open the window and yell "think for yourselves!". But that would be making a huge assumption, because maybe they do think for themselves, and the conclusion they came to is that a great way to spend a Wednesday morning would be to stand in the snow with electrical tape over their mouths, in protest of something that makes no difference whatsoever to their lives.

It takes all kinds, right?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mothering Mary

It is getting progressively colder (and darker) outside every week. Yesterday was particularly gloomy, and it rained during the later shift. It seemed to keep the protesters inside, anyway. There were only a few of them out, and only two of them wearing the bright yellow rain jackets we love so much.

It makes me sad to go so many weeks without seeing Crazy Legs. I miss her fun outfits and wacky antics. Earpiece Charlie wasn't out either; nor was Father Grim. I feel like I haven't seen the Anger Twins in months. What is going on, people?

But you know who is always reliable? Peter Ryan. What a great guy. He might not be out every week, and he never has a sign, but you always know he's there, just next door, thinking his thoughts and dreaming his dreams. Some weeks, if you're lucky, he will go out on to the front step and speak to his faithful protesters; sometimes even stoop to walk among them. What a hero.

This week, Peter Ryan wins the prize for best gimmick ever - that's right, even better than the miniature plastic "fetus" he pulls out of his trenchcoat pocket to show to patients. This week he had the waist-high Virgin Mary statue with which he prays by the clinic on non-clinic days, but he was carrying it in his arms like an infant, and it was wrapped in a baby blanket. !!!

When the other escorts and I first saw this visual treat, we couldn't stop laughing. After some discussion it was decided that there must be several strange issues at play in Peter Ryan's psyche to have decided that this was the best way to dissuade women from having abortions. The cold, hard statue of a grown woman doesn't elicit as much sympathy as a baby, after all; even a fake baby (like a cheap plastic baby doll from the Dollar Store) would have made more sense. Secondly, the identity of the statue raises all kinds of questions. Why would Mr. Ryan cradle the virgin mother as if she were his baby? That would make him very old. I feel like there's a weird Oedipal aspect to the whole thing.

I think the most interesting imagery is of the head protester holding a statue of a grown woman as if it were a baby. Maybe this is Peter Ryan's way of telling us what he thinks of women (and their decision-making skills). Mary, the most revered woman in the Catholic Church, had only one claim to fame: being Jesus's mom. Women should aspire to be virginal baby-makers (???) with the intellect of children. Come on gals, stop thinking so hard about your own bodies!

Am I reading too much into it? Maybe someone else had the baby doll that day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Back in Blue

That's right, I was back outside this week! Much as I like working reception, I love love love escorting and it was good to have people to chat to during the slow periods. And of course I was thrilled to see my old protesting friends - Father Grim was out, and Mad Thad, and Earpiece Charlie, but sadly no Holy Ghost or Crazy Legs.

So it's probably worth mentioning that while I do volunteer at the clinic on Tuesday mornings, I also work there part-time during the week. On Monday I was there working and discovered (props to RS for pointing this out) that Peter Ryan and Mad Thad were outside praying. Obviously since the "women's care centre" is right next door to the clinic, they could really be out praying at us any time, but as far as I know this is a recent development. They were out on the ramp side of the clinic, clearly visible from SL's office window, with a waist-high Virgin Mary statue between them. They were just standing there, praying. Weeeeiiiiirrrrd. Perhaps they are praying for our souls. Or for all the aborted babiezz. Hard to say. Just another plateau of madness, I suppose.

Anyway, back to Tuesday. We had a pretty busy day, especially out back, but thankfully most of the patients were in good spirits. The protesters stayed mostly to themselves, although Mr. Mumbles had some prayers he felt the need to mumble aggressively. A woman getting out of her car in the parking garage called across to the protesters "thank you for protesting!". That made me a little sad; she might as well say "thank you for deciding for me what I can do with my body. I would never be able to make up my mind; I'm just a girl!". Luckily, shortly afterwards a different woman drove by blaring her horn and giving the protesters the finger. It all evens out.

I wish I had more to write about this week, but without the wonderful fashion statements/hijinks of Crazy Legs, it can get pretty slow. Hopefully she will be back in action next time.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

New Stuff

As you may have noticed, a few things have been added to my blog. That's because I started fiddling around with the settings and it turns out that I'm not as incompetent at this stuff as I thought I was. So, here are some new features I have added:

1. I learned to post pictures in my posts! This actually happened a couple weeks ago. It means you will be seeing more of the pretty sky we sometimes have, and the snowmen we sometimes build. It also means you will sometimes see some hilarious protester shots.

2. I added some links of blogs I read. Most of them are fun and not related to abortion in any way. They are all definitely worth a look.

3. Polls! I will try to put up a new poll every couple weeks. Please vote in it.
Polls are fun.

You might have also noticed some older page elements. I encourage everyone to take a look at some of the blogs on the blogroll I've added (the one of non-partisan Canadian bloggers), and I especially encourage people to check out the abortion information links if you are looking for more resources on the topic at hand.

So yeah, just thought I would point those things out. If you have an awesome blog you want me to read/link to, let me know about it in the comments section. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A 40th Post Treat

I worked inside again today, on reception. Don't worry, next week I will be back on the front lines. It was actually a bit crazier today inside than out; I think the weather makes people a bit buggy. It certainly restricted some traffic from Saint John, because the numbers of protesters were way down. Hoorah!

So since I don't really have anything much to write about, I thought I would post a little reflection I was writing in my journal earlier. I was thinking about how I need to write more, but all I can ever think to write about is abortion. Is abortion all I think about?? I mean I know I work in (and volunteer at) a clinic, and also troll a lot of abortion blogs and Facebook message boards like a coke addict in the bathroom at boom!, but it's just weird that abortion takes up so much space in my brain. Especially since I've never had one. So here's what I came up with; enjoy.

Feminism is my curse. It prevents me from watching commercials without cringing, reading magazines without violently flipping through pages of perfumed advertisements, and watching movies without decrying the lack of a strong leading female who does not dress like a crack whore playing beach volleyball. It disrupts my daily life, and yet I love it, I cling to it with the hopeless embrace and vacant stare of an addict. I love you, feminism. You give me life.

Feminism informs my other views. It shapes my socialism, powers my empathy and inspires my quest for social justice. It even contributes, in the sweetest and smallest way, to my vegetarianism. Feminism is not just an “ism” to me. It is who I am.

There is nothing more dangerous than such passion focused on one tiny aspect of our culture. But there is one such aspect where the majority of my feminist energy goes; one area of our society that holds such a deep fascination for me that every time I get on the internet, I am drawn, as if by magic, towards more blogs and message boards whose focus it is. I love it, I am appalled by it and intrigued by it, it is the air I live and breathe. It is the abortion debate.

It is strange that I would hold such stakes in a topic that really should not concern me (except of course in my womanhood and my feminism). I have never had an abortion, nor have I ever been in the situation where I would have to consider it. Neither my mother nor my sister, as far as I know, has had one. None of my close friends have had one, although a few acquaintances have (not that we have ever talked about it). Anyone I know who is directly involved in the abortion debate is someone I met after becoming involved myself. What could attract me to such a divisive, and often explosive (sometimes literally!), debate?

I suppose it is the polar opposition that does it. Once you begin to consider the debate, it is impossible to be on the fence. Either you are for legalized abortion, or you oppose it. There is no middle ground.

How can a debate have no middle ground? How can there be no shades of grey, no room for compromise? Absurd! And yet…I know that some will argue that the two sides do have common goals, but really, in general – have you ever met somebody who was in between pro-choice and pro-life? What would that opinion look like?

And thus I am drawn to my sweet, elusive abortion debate like a vulture to carrion. I love the polarity of it. I love the vitriol that spews from either side, the way that none can convert the other. I love that it incorporates all our favourite vices: sex, religion, politics, death, control, and of course, feminism. I love Dr. Morgentaler; but equally I love the middle-aged men who protest outside our clinic. I love these sweet, ridiculous players in the ongoing play, the battle that will never be won. Because there will always be someone on the other side. We are never going away, and neither are they.

It is silly, this thing that, at first glance, seems so serious. There are so many terrible things going on in the world, and here we are, still struggling to retain this one thing that we thought we had won. Why won’t they let us be complacent? Why can’t we concentrate on more pressing feminist emergencies? Because we live in a silly, topsy-turvy world where the things that should be unimportant are the things that consume our lives. And so I am consumed by this debate, because I have to be. Now that I am directly involved, my feminism won’t let me escape. Damn you, abortion debate! You will never end, and I am stuck in you forever, doomed to reflect upon my own part in this absurdity until the end of time.

Seriously, people. Some days the blog is the only thing keeping me sane.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Et tu, Earpiece Charlie?

JB is still away, so I was on reception again this week. It didn't seem like there was too much going on outside, so it's nice to know I didn't miss much; although I do like to have something to blog about.

SL thinks we need a new name for Earpiece Charlie, something that reflects how mean he is. Because it turns out he's really mean. He's always staring in the windows, which is freakier than when Glare-y Mary does it because Charlie is scarier looking. Plus, he is quite obviously trying to glare the patients into feeling guilty. When they are in SL's office he stares meanly at them the whole time. Normally I sort of think of the protesters as lovable kooks, but this guy is a bad human being. So we need a new name for him that reflects that. Put your thinking caps on!

Father Grim is back - I know you were all worried. I guess he's recuperated from whatever was keeping him away from sweet, sweet judgement.

While the protesters were no more numerous than usual, they sort of seemed more nasty. For example, there was one patient who called from her car for directions, and she sounded fine. But then when she got to the clinic not five minutes later and came inside, she was visibly shaken and upset. The protesters were really givin' 'er (as we say around these parts). The right to life conference in Moncton must have recharged their batteries.

It's funny, when you do this (escorting that is) every week it starts to become normal, and you stop really processing what's going on. But this week when I was inside and watching the protesters, I started to reflect on how absolutely absurd it is for them to be out there. I mean they are encircling the property so that women cannot get into the clinic without passing them. That's more than just protesting. If they wanted to protest, they could do it anywhere. They could do it in front of their own building, or at City Hall. They are there on Tuesdays so that the staff and the patients know that they are being judged.

I think the protesters would argue that their purpose in being so visible to the patients is to offer "sidewalk counselling" and let them know that there are alternatives. But that's ridiculous. Women aren't stupid, they don't need someone coming up to them on the street to tell them there are options. They can see the sign for the CPC, they can look it up in the phone book (it's right there on the same page as our clinic, after all), they can use the internet. My thinking is that if you have to stand outside another business to lure their customers into your business, your business probably isn't that valid, and certainly not that urgently needed. It's the equivalent of a naturopath hanging around outside the hospital, trying to convince people to try holistic medicine instead. People can figure this stuff out on their own!

Anyway, that's my little rant for the day.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

C'est l'Halloween!

Hey ghouls and boils. Hahahahaha. Happy Hallowe'en/Samhain/Celtic New Year to everyone! Who doesn't love Hallowe'en, right? Fun costumes, adorable children prowling the streets (to be replaced later in the evening with less adorable drunken idiots), revelling, candy, drinking (when you're too old for candy), leaves a-fallin', and so on. Good times.

So yesterday the idea of escorts wearing costumes was discussed, but ultimately rejected as there was some concern that it might be a bit offensive. It was a good day anyway, despite the lack of costumes. And the snowfall (!!!). I was working reception, and thankfully so because by all accounts it was quite cold outside. A couple of escorts built a little snowman (I will put the picture of it up later today). And one of our escorts, TH, who wasn't scheduled to volunteer, dropped by anyway with cupcakes for everyone. What a sweetheart.

There were not very many protesters out yesterday, especially during the early shift. Father Grim is still MIA. Earpiece Charlie continues his attempts at conversation, remarking to EO about the snow and suchforth. It just feels so weird not to talk to people when they are just being polite, and I know the other escorts feel weird about it too. But there are rules, and the number one rule is DO NOT ENGAGE. And it's there for a reason, so we have to follow it.

Anyway, obviously I don't have much to talk about since I wasn't actually outside, and it wasn't really a very eventful morning. Hopefully next week I'll have lots of juicy protester gossip for you (although there's a possibility I might be on reception again, so I'll have to put my best spy escorts outside, he he he). In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful Hallowe'en and give out lots of delicious treats to all the kiddies. Or put on an awesome costume and go get drunk. I will be having dinner out like a civilized person (it's our anniversary! well it was yesterday) but I will be revelling with you all in spirit.

Here's our little friend:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Meet Beard-o

Better late than never! I wish I had had the time to blog on Tuesday, as it was a pretty fun day and now I don't know if I'm going to remember everything. Such is life.

It started out really slowly. Father Grim hasn't been out for the last couple weeks, and this was no exception. For the first half of the first shift, there were only four protesters! It was strange. A new guy was out, though, so that was interesting. He may have been a priest, actually, but sometimes it's hard to tell. He is an earnest looking fellow with a beard, and he had a big wooden cross around his neck, a rosary, and (best of all) a little plastic fetus. AWESOME! At one point he was on his knees on the sidewalk, praying the rosary. It's fun to have new people because they are so eager.

Crazy Legs didn't even come out until after all the patients were in - I saw her outside on my way out, in her fetching grey coat. Poor dear missed all the fun.

What could be going on, I wonder? Where are Father Grim, the Anger Twins, Sad Suzie (who hasn't been around for months), and all the other characters we know and love? I know that October is a big month for pro-lifers so maybe they're all busy planning something special. Or perhaps they are travelling; today, after all, marks the start of the 2007 National Pro-Life Conference in Moncton. Anyway, I sure hope they're all back in full force next week, to combat the extra evil of Hallowe'en.

Oh yeah, we need a nickname for the new guy, because I've just been calling him Beard-o. Any ideas?

So the clinic is across the street from a parking garage, which is where we usually encourage patients to park. When you come out of the clinic, the parking garage entrance is on the left, but unfortunately the street is one-way, to the right. So you have to go around the block to get to the parking garage. Well, we had TWO people on Tuesday go the wrong way on the one-way street to get to the parking garage. Always unnerving, but luckily they made it. Still, I wish people would learn to listen to directions.

We had a gorgeous sky on Tuesday morning. Check it out:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Hi faithful readers! Sorry I am so slow on the update this week. I was going to write in the blog tonight but my pop culture expertise is needed on a trivia you'll all have to wait until tomorrow I'm afraid!

Yours in pie,
The Pedgehog

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Some Days it's Hard to Think of a Title

Back outside today! Man is it getting cold. Almost time for toe-warmers *excitement*. I wonder if the protesters have toe warmers.

Lots of stuff to write about today. Mr. Mumbles was talking about the end times in his prayers; he actually used the words "wailing and gnashing of teeth". Apparently it's going to be "a horrible time". Personally I'm looking forward to these losers getting raptured up so women can get their abortions in peace.

Hero of the day: a woman (let's call her KH) pulled up out back and rolled down her window. I was a little confused because it was just her in the car, and patients aren't allowed to drive themselves. But she just wanted to know where she could park for a few minutes so she could go talk to the protesters, because she was "sick and tired" of seeing them every week. So we let her park in the clinic parking lot, and she marched right out front and up to one of the Anger Twins. I couldn't hear much of what she was saying because I was out back, but she eventually started to raise her voice and the gist of it seemed to be that women coming in were faced with a difficult decision and the protesters were just making it harder, and that they must think women were stupid, and they had no right to pass judgement, and essentially everything that we would say if we were allowed to engage with the protesters. It was amazing. I applaud your courage, KH. You are an awesome feminist and an example to the rest of us.

So yeah, that was pretty cool. The Anger Twin was without his other twin today, but he did get to hold the big sign depicting a fetus in the womb. He was really aggressive with it too. I feel like maybe he put in a certain amount of protesting hours and thus graduated to the big sign. Congratulations Anger Twin!

Father Grim was not out this week. :(

The protesters are always tricking us into engaging by saying good morning. They are a crafty bunch (okay I know they're not really trying to trick us, they are probably just trying to be nice people). When someone says good morning to me, I sort of automatically respond in kind, without thinking. Then I feel gross for talking to them. Then I feel like an idiot for having to think about acting like a decent human being. It's funny because some of the escorts feel the same, and others won't respond on principle. Some days the escorts' reactions to the protesters are as interesting as the protesters themselves.

For those of you who felt there was more crazy in the air than usual this past weekend, it was because of the Life Chain on Sunday. It basically involved the anti-choicers holding their signs in a big line along the road in two locations: downtown on Regent Street at the corner of Brunswick, and uptown on Regent by the hospital. I went and checked out the downtown one, but it was pretty boring. They didn't leave any roses or other crap around the clinic, which is always a win.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Inside Looking Out

This week I was working reception and thus was unable to take in all the crazy shenanigans of the protesters, except through my little window. Luckily my escorts keep me in the know on occasions such as these.

It seemed to be "stare at the receptionist day" out there, actually. Earpiece Charlie spent the better part of his morning staring in at me. I know he can see me, too, because when I waved to one of my escorts she waved back. What are you up to, Earpiece Charlie? When he was done with that (perhaps he got tired of me smiling cheerily back at him), Mad Thad took over. Thad has a really good stare because it's got some of Earpiece Charlie's anger/intimidation, but it's also mixed with a healthy dose of sadness for the bayyyy-beeeees. So that was amusing. Although it is really weird to just be working, and every time you look up there's someone staring in through a window at you.

There is a guy who mumbles prayers all the time while he walks back and forth. Do we have a name for him? If not, it's up to you, faithful readers, to suggest one. Anyway I guess his prayers were occasionally audible this week, and the escorts inform me that he was praying for "all the little babies who will never get to laugh and run and play" etc. etc. ad nauseum. A touching sentiment, really, but you know he just spoke that part louder as he was walking past the escorts, to make them feel guilty about being the cause of such a lack of running, laughing, playing babies in the world. Never mind the stabbing, smoking, raping babies. If this guy loves babies so much, why isn't he home with his? Sometimes I wonder if all these old men are just dealing with some kind of extreme empty nest syndrome.

Crazy Legs fashion update: she may have been shopping! She was wearing black pants and a lovely black sweater with embroidered roses. If you want to get Crazy Legs's look, my sources tell me that she does indeed shop at Value Village! And apparently she is always very polite. Don't forget to overdose on the bright red lipstick and goopy mascara for that special Crazy Legs touch.

Oh, another excellent snippet of overheard conversation between protesters: "If people want to stop breast cancer, just stop abortion." Riiiiiiiight. In case you are a protester yourself, or you missed that freshman logic class, here's why that is not going to work:

1. Abortion does not cause breast cancer. For more on this, do some research.
2. Most people who have breast cancer did not get it from abortions (see above).
3. Thus, stopping abortions will not affect the breast cancer rate in the slightest.

Good effort, protesters, but maybe you should stick to discussing whether or not Revelations is supposed to be taken literally. (Hint: no).

One last thing: Dr. Henry Morgentaler is going to be on The Hour on CBC tonight (Wed. Oct. 10) at 9pm (outside of NB, I suggest checking your local listings).

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

October Blues

The cold weather is drawing nearer, faithful readers, but that will not deter our protesters from their unhappy destiny. In fact, it seems to make them more determined; but perhaps that is less about the cold than about October itself, a notoriously heavy month for anti-abortion activism. The month of the upcoming "Life Chain", of the National Pro Life Conference (this year being held in New Brunswick - lucky us!), and of the anniversary of the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian (most Canadian abortion providers seem to get shot in November). What a happy month!

Oh well, we have fun. There were quite a few protesters out today, and they were quite aggressive, even during the early shift. The Holy Ghost was out first thing, which is unusual for her, and she made an attempt to talk to every single patient. It kept us very busy, and I was glad to have three escorts out back.

Crazy Legs came out a bit earlier than usual too, and since I received such a positive response to my descriptions of her dress sense, I will tell you, gentle readers, that she was wearing a fetching grey coat (with shoulder pads, of course) and black pants that were slightly too short for her. Excellent. Peter Ryan was also out doing his rounds, as was the brutish Earpiece Charlie.

The Tenor was in top form. He didn't sing (sadly) but he did make a remark (to me)about fooling all of the people some of the time. Implying, I suppose, that I like to fool women into having abortions. Would that I were so devious. Because obviously as a volunteer, I get commission for every woman that comes in. <--- sarcasm!

The excitement of the day was that the junior high behind us was having an emergency preparedness drill. The police were all out front of the school, so we couldn't see them, but it scared the crap out of two women (friends of a patient) who had come out to smoke when the school principal came over the loudspeaker and announced that the school was now in "lockdown". They didn't realize it was a drill. It turns out that they were a bit spooked anyway, as on the drive to Fredericton they had hit a bird, and almost hit a moose. Rough morning.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Returns and Retreats

Once again, a fairly uneventful Tuesday morning. Crazy Legs wasn't even out, which was a disappointment because now I have escorts requesting the second shift just so they can see her in all her glory. Where were you, Crazy Legs? Please come back to us!

It is becoming apparent that Peter Ryan might be back into the protesting swing of things. He has been progressively more visible over the past couple weeks, emerging from the house at the slightest hint of an incident to speak reassuring words to his troops. Yesterday he was out almost all morning, walking up and down. No sign, and I didn't see his legendary plastic "fetus" although there are indications that it might be back in play. The problem with Peter Ryan is that he is more aggressive than his male colleagues in terms of actually speaking to the patients. I'm not sure if he caught any going in, but I saw him try to talk to at least two women leaving. Lord knows what he's telling them. As long as he's not whipping that horrible plastic thing out of his pocket. I'm curious to see whether he will become a regular fixture.

It's funny, the way the different protesters deal with women coming out as opposed to women coming in. It's like once they've had the abortion, they (the protesters) don't know if they should condemn them, forgive them, or try to scare them out of having another one. I feel like it's something they haven't discussed at their meetings, so they all take kind of a different approach. Peter Ryan uses his little plastic buddy to try to make them feel guilty. Glare-y Mary doesn't care; she glares at them as they go in, and glares at them as they go out. I think the Holy Ghost is the most interesting, as she seems the most conflicted. As they go in she often tries to "save" them; she tells them there is help for them, that they could have money, etc. and basically tries very hard to get them to go next door. But then when they come out, it's as if she's given up on them, but she has to give it a go for appearances. So she says something like "there's help for you" in her horrible ghostly voice, but then doesn't even wait for a reply. She just turns and keeps walking her vague patrol. WEIRD.

I've found that a lot of people (patients, escorts and staff alike) are really freaked out by the guy with the earpiece. I forget if I've given him a name or not (I really should have a reference list) so I'll just call him Earpiece Charlie. He's a big, bald guy who wears one earpiece. He's probably listening to music but it makes him look like he's in the secret service or something. Anyway he's a big guy and he doesn't look like a lot of fun, and it doesn't help that he usually carries the "Belive the lie and babies die" sign. So people find him intimidating. Which is understandable, but I bet he's just a big teddy bear at heart. I would love to go to a cocktail party with these people some day and see what they're really like. I think it would be fun. Crazy Legs drunk? Watch out!

In other news, God Boy and his mom haven't been back. I hope she's found something more fun and normal for him to do. We're pulling for you, God Boy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Cast of Thousands

Gee, I don't put the blog up until Wednesday and I have people all over me! I had no idea I had such a dedicated readership. :) Thanks gang.

Yesterday's clinic was not too bad. The Anger Twins were back, so I guess they don't go to school (at least not on Tuesdays). By the second shift, there were tons of people - almost the whole cast of characters. The only people missing were God Boy and his mom, and the new priest (Socks and Sandals).

So I love Glare-y Mary. She is just so hilarious. I feel a bit bad for finding her so funny because I suspect she might be mentally unbalanced in some way, but I just can't help it. She glares and glares at everyone, and the only person she can't glare at is SL, our clinic manager. SL will look at Glare-y Mary through the window, and Glare-y Mary just can't meet her eyes. She keeps looking away, and eventually she leaves. It's so weird! Sometimes SL comes out to chat with the escorts, and it makes Glare-y Mary all nervous and squirelly. What is her deal?

Crazy Legs was wearing something wonderful yesterday. She wears these tailored suits that look like she is trying to appear professional but only shops at Value Village. All her suits are sort of 80s and scruffy. Yesterday, for example, she was wearing a fairly normal blouse, but then a black tailored jacket (not tailored to her, mind you) with shoulder pads and a mismatching grey pencil skirt. And heels. She always looks like a fashion challenged female lawyer from the 80s - her hair is even crimped. I love her so much. It's as if she puts all this effort into looking like a professional counsellor, but then she spoils it all by chasing women down in the street.

Father Grim mumbled at me a bit today when I was standing in front of him, but I don't know what he said. Father Grim, if you're reading this, speak up! I need to hear your pearls of wisdom.

Until next week then.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Happy 30th Post!

Well, it's fall. The weather is getting a bit chilly and all the kiddies are going back to school. One of the delights of escorting on the late shift around back is listening to the announcements from the junior high school behind the clinic. We listen to them talk about intramural sports, birthdays and new rules and reminisce about our own inevitably hellish days in junior high. Fun.

Fall also means a bit of a shift in escorts; some leaving us (going away to school or not being able to fit their class schedule around volunteering, or simply being too busy) and some coming back (from summer job placements or vacations), and some entirely new faces. Very exciting time of year.

It also seems to make a difference to the protesters, too, as it means a higher concentration of older ones. Their two token young guys, the Anger Twins, were not protesting today - could it be they are off edifying themselves at one of our fine institutions of higher learning? One hopes so, while at the same time experiencing some doubt as to whether it would make a difference, when the students in question don't think the Supreme Court's rulings affect them, and habitually discuss the possibility that Revelations is supposed to be taken literally. I weep for the youth.

So yesterday was fun, despite those absences. The gentleman who sometimes passes by, and who once dropped his coffee out of frustration and anger with the presence of the protesters, passed by and tried to smile at us, but it turned into more of a grimace at the protesters, whose presence seems to make him physically nauseaous. We shall henceforth name him Cool Guy.

A young man came by and started snapping pictures of the protesters at one point. Judging from his style and expensive camera, I would guess a photography student. The protesters were all in a huff about that, and Peter Ryan had to emerge from his cave and sort the fellow out. Really he just asked him what he was doing. I wasn't close enough to hear the guy's reply but Peter Ryan didn't seem very pleased about him being there, and the photographer soon left. After that the protesters felt it necessary to huddle together and discuss in urgent whispers these new developments.

Another thrilling week at the abortion clinic, such as it is.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Anger Twin's Big Day

Back in the trenches this week. Anger Twin #1 was on fire, stirring up all kinds of trouble. I love trying to listen to what the protesters are talking about because I just wonder if they talk about us, or if they discuss their ordinary lives, or whatever. I can't usually hear them though, and I don't want to be completely rude about it. Anyway I heard one conversation while I was out there yesterday - Anger Twin #1 (the more aggressive but less creepy of the two) arguing loudly with one of the MAM (middle aged men). They were talking about what parts of Revelations are symbolic and which parts are literal. I thought it was all symbolic, personally (how much more obvious can you get than the four horsemen named after bad things? Do people really think it'll be guys on horses?) but really, how can some of it be symbolic and some literal? Pick a side, buddy.

The other thing that happened was something I didn't actually witness, but EO told me about it afterwards. I guess there was a guy going into work at the junior high right behind our clinic (we'll call him Teacher Guy), and he knew Anger Twin. Teacher Guy asked Anger Twin what he was up to and Anger Twin pointed out that he was protesting MURDER. Obviously. And Teacher Guy suggested he find something more worthwhile to do with his time. Yes! I hope this makes Teacher Guy rethink that friendship.

We got a new priest today, a fellow wearing socks and sandals and a t-shirt that said something about becoming a saint and the next revolution or something equally zealot-y. So that's a total of three priests today, and at one point they were standing in a clump out back. Clump o' priests.

Crazy Legs was in top form, just like I love her. Chasing down women, crowding them as they tried to get out of their cars, etc. It's nice to be back out escorting, although the weather is starting to get a bit chilly. Soon time for toe warmers. Lovely.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Familiar Faces

So it's been pretty slow here at the ol' blog, since last week I was in Ottawa and didn't get to experience the joy of another clinic day here in Fredericton. Sigh. I hear that nothing much happened, although one of my escorts tells me that at some point there was a guy with a light sabre arguing with the protesters. A light sabre! That should get the point across (?).

This week I was inside, filling in on reception. I spent a lot of time watching what was going on outside though, and was pleased to note that Glare-y Mary spent a lot of time glaring. She is so awesome. It should also be noted that Peter Ryan was out protesting today, which is a rare occurrence (at least since I've been at the clinic). It looked like only God Boy was out today and not his little friends - very uplifting. SL thinks he looks like he doesn't want to be there, but knowing God Boy, I could see how he would enjoy it.

We had a couple criers, which is always sucky, because it puts other people on edge. Although it wasn't too bad today. People just get really freaked out by the protesters so that by the time they get inside, they're really worked up. It sucks. No one should have to feel that way about a personal decision.

I did have a surprise on reception - a girl that I knew. Not someone I know well, just someone I went to school with. I wasn't prepared because she has a different last name now, so when she came in it was all "oh. Oh. Hello." ie my normal awkwardness in situations I'm not prepared for (you should hear the messages I leave on answering machines). It was fine though, either she didn't remember/recognize me or she's just not as awkward as me (very likely), but she didn't seem to care. It's not so much that I care that people I know are having abortions (if I thought less of people for that, I obviously wouldn't be doing what I do), it's just that you never know what someone in that situation is going through and how they're going to react to seeing someone they know. There are some women that want to wait in a separate waiting room (riiiiiight) and don't want anyone to talk to them. Then there are others who don't care who knows it. So you never know.

Anyway, next week I think I will be back on the front lines, so I'll probably have more interesting stories. Yay.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Madness of Glarey Mary

This week I was inside on reception, so I didn't get to see a lot of the fun goings on outside that I love so much. There were a looooot of protesters, or maybe it just seems like more from the inside.

We did discover the true madness of Glarey Mary though. SL, the clinic manager, went outside to stand with EO as she was all alone. Glarey Mary was doing her usual routine of walking back and forth and stopping to glare. She's like a horrible school teacher really, because if you talk too loudly, or laugh, she has an extra long glare at you. Anyway she seemed especially disappointed with SL's behaviour, because she shadowed her, walking wherever she walked and glaring all the way. SL even came in to put sunglasses on so she would look "more intimidating". Sometimes we have fun with them, because it's the only way to cope.

God Boy had friends today - there were three little kids protesting. That makes me really sad. Since when is it acceptable to parade your kids around as a billboard for your cause? Or to use them to make other women feel guilty about a personal choice? I've seen these pictures of other abortion clinic protests where women push babies in strollers, and the strollers have signs taped to them ("Thanks Mom - For Life!"). I mean come on, the baby can't even hold the damn sign!! It's just wrong. I know that God Boy is a smart kid and I'm really hoping that one day he comes to the same realization his sisters did and gets the hell out of there.

Not too much to report other than that. I don't know if I'll be blogging next week, as I won't be at the clinic on Tuesday - I'll be on my way back from the Ottawa Folk Festival!! Maybe I'll blog that instead, ha ha.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Nothing Much

No clinic yesterday. I went to the clinic anyway to do some work for SL, and was delighted to see the protesters there as well, protesting their little hearts out. Such dedication! Who cares if no one is having abortions? Let's try to talk them out of it anyway. Good times.

So obviously there isn't much to write about. I just wanted to also mention that I saw Father Grim driving later in the day, and you'll all be pleased to know that he has a "Choose Life" license plate frame, a dashboard crucifix, and enjoys eating ice cream while driving (although strangely he still looked rather grim). It made my night.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Pants and....yeah, that's it.

Yesterday's clinic wasn't too interesting, which might be why I put off blogging about it until today. Oh well. I brought my boyfriend, EN, along for his first shift as an escort. It was a good day for a first shift, since a lot of the regular protesters were there. Father Grim looks like he might be on the brink of another breakdown if you ask me - today he said something (I don't know what) to one of the patients and he has been looking angry and exasperated lately. I hope he catches it himself before he freaks out again.

One of the patients came out to have a smoke and we started chatting with her. She was really funny and friendly, and she had the greatest pants I've ever seen. They looked SO COMFORTABLE. I think she might have bought them outside of Canada though, so that sucks. I would love a pair of those pants.

Crazy Legs was in top form today. I love how when she comes out, she attempts to hold a sign for a few minutes, but then always gives up and hands it to someone else. She just can't stand still long enough for that. Glare-y Mary was back again, so it looks like she might become a regular feature. She likes to take a few steps, then stop and glare at us or at the clinic, then repeat. It's like a silly walk. She doesn't try to sway the patients by talking to them, the way Crazy Legs and the Holy Ghost do; she just glares at them.

No Sad Suzie today. I miss her big ol' exploded fetus sign. And that guy in the car never came back with the Supreme Court decision. I hope things pick up a bit next week!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Someone Bold, Someone New, Someone Sexy Dressed in Blue

This morning was full of excitement. Even though there weren't as many protesters as usual (no Crazy Legs or Sad Suzie), a lot of stuff happened to keep things interesting.

There was a new protester this week. She is an older woman, short, with white hair. She's basically another Holy Ghost, because she doesn't carry a sign and she just walks back and forth - in fact when the Holy Ghost showed up the two of them walked around together. The new woman carried a rosary and a little statue of Mary. She glares a lot. I need a nickname for her - any suggestions?

A car slowed down and the driver started yelling at the protesters - it might have been the "my intelligent friend" guy from a few weeks back. He was talking about women's rights and such, and the two young guys, the Anger Twins, were telling him they would pray for him. He told them he would be back next week to bring them the Supreme Court decision of 1988 for them to read, and they said they would as long as he read some of their literature. The best part was after he left, when one Anger Twin turned to the other and said "Why would he think we care about what the Supreme Court has to say?" It made me want to beat my head against the wall.

A woman walking by stopped to tell us how frustrated the protesters made her every morning, and how she wanted to tell them to go eff themselves. So I told her if she wanted to, we weren't going to stop her. She was funny.

One of our escorts, AD, came in a superhero costume of her own design. We decided her super power would be separating church and state.

A couple of lovely women who were there with their daughters came out to have a smoke and chatted with us for a while. They were very good-natured and couldn't give a toss about the protesters.

The best event of the morning was when the police showed up. They pulled into the back and I went out to meet them; I was a bit confused since I hadn't called them for anything and SL and JB didn't tell me they were coming. It turned out they were just checking things out, making sure it was ok. They stayed out back for a while, because the main cop was hitting on LS - he even gave her his card. Then they came out front. They sat in their car and watched the protesters for a while, then got out and asked the little boy (we'll just call him God Boy) if his mother was there. She was (protesting of course), and they went to talk to her for a while. Then they went and talked to Peter Ryan, and the cop was writing stuff in his notepad. Then they left. Afterwards Peter had the protesters all gather around and he talked to them for a while. Exciting stuff.

It rained, and the protesters went inside. I'm still sad about God Boy being there. He had a rosary today, and a sign that said "Thanks Mom - For Life!". Every time I looked over at him he was praying. I just want to hug him and take him away somewhere less...crazy. Poor kid.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Small World

This morning was pretty normal. Nothing out of the ordinary. Apparently a gentleman walking by got so mad at the protesters that he dropped his coffee in frustration - he later emailed the clinic manager to let her know and to commend us for the job we do. That's always nice.

We thought Crazy Legs wouldn't be out today, but she did make it. She was in top form, wearing one of her best silly little vests and approaching people left right and centre. She promised one woman $900 a month to keep her baby. I have no idea where she thinks that money would come from. If I could get $900 a month, I'd get pregnant right now. That's more than I make working two jobs.

I had a weird experience today; the first time since I've been an escort that I've escorted in someone I knew. I was prepared, as I'd seen her name on the appointment list, so that was good. And it isn't someone that I know particularly well or that I even think would recognize me, so it wasn't awkward or anything. It's just one of those things that's bound to happen, I guess. And I really couldn't care less - obviously I am ok with abortion - but I feel bad for whoever it is, because that sucks. There is such stigma with abortion, most people would really prefer to remain as anonymous as possible. And in a city like this you're obviously likely to see someone you know, and they're likely to tell people they saw you. So it sucks.

I guess I'm pretty awkward about social situations anyway. I never know how one should react to seeing a casual acquaintance in public - I will smile and say hello, but sometimes people want to talk and then sometimes they really don't. And then you add in the fact that they are coming to have an abortion and it's just...weird. Because I really don't think it's that big a deal, but I know that for some people it can be really traumatic, especially with the protesters and everything. So it's a strange situation.

Honestly though, I think it's cool that I saw this person. Because she's always struck me as a strong, smart, funny person and it's one of those "it can happen to anyone" type of things. Which is good to know and good for other people to know, because even pro-choicers make assumptions. We never really know what kinds of bias we have until we suddenly run right into it.

Oh, another small world story - JF came up the steps while I was chatting with the clinic manager, to tell us that the protesters had a kid out there. I checked to see, and it turned out to be a kid I knew; a friend's little brother (he comes from a very Catholic family). That made me sad, although not surprised. I hope he doesn't become a regular.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Judgement for Breakfast

So much for blogging on Tuesdays, eh? Oh well. This week nothing much happened at the clinic. We ended a bit early so the late shift knocked off early. We must have confused the crap out of the protesters, because we all sat around on the steps without our pinneys for a while before taking off for breakfast. Poor Holy Ghost got out too late to creep out any patients. And Sad Suzie, Crazy Legs and Father Grim weren't there at all! Where are they??

So I noticed something today that I find a little ridiculous. I have often contended that the protesters' sole purpose in being out there is to judge and condemn women for their choice. I am certain that the protesters would argue that they are trying to show the women the truth, and to help them make informed choices by luring them into their Welcome House. However, I noticed today that the Welcome House didn't actually open until nine. And I find that the men (who are there early) tend to just wave their signs and sometimes say things like "this is what you're destroying", etc. But the women, who come later, often say "we can help you" and try to lure women into their house. So....could it be that the men are there to judge, and the women really do think they are helping? Or could it be that they're all there to judge, and once the Welcome House opens they can pretend they are helping, as well? It's just funny that before the Welcome House opens, there's only judging going on.

Shout out to everyone who walked by and smiled/said good morning, everyone who drives by in their car and gives us the thumbs up or the protesters the finger, and this week in particular, kudos to the guy on the bicycle who told the protesters to go home. It takes guts to tell someone off while you're on a bike.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

An Old Friend Returns

Father Grim is back! And he's multiplying...there was another priest out protesting this morning. Priests on the attack! Fun for everyone.

The Tenor was there this week as well, although he didn't sing for us. He has a cool t-shirt that he wears - it says "Endangered Species" and has all these pictures of endangered species, and then a picture of a baby. Riiiiiight. On the back is a bible quote, and it says GOD in big red letters underneath it, just so there's no mistaking who said it. So cool.

The women weren't out this week - only the Holy Ghost. Where are Crazy Legs and Sad Suzie (formerly known as Fetus Lady)?? I miss them so. Mad Thad called us Satan's servants, that was nice. Plenty of praying. JB made delicious muffins. All in all, a good time.

When there were still three patients left to come, all the protesters went inside. That was very unusual, as they generally stay until after we go in, presumably to accost women coming out. Anyway, we were sure they were plotting something, but no - they never came back out again. Very strange. Perhaps there was some sort of crisis in the Welcome House. I wish they would comment on my blog more often and let us know! :)

Things are a bit crazy for me at the moment, so do forgive my lateness in blogging. I should be all done the craziness by this weekend so expect to see the blogs up on Tuesdays from now on!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Short Shift

Sorry I'm a bit late this week - I know my rabid fans are going through withdrawl, ha ha. Anyway, yesterday was pretty good. I only stayed for the first shift because I had a workshop to go to for my other job (the most full-time of the three) so I had to leave early. Luckily for me, they brought out the big guns early. Fetus Lady in particular was in top form.

I was out front most of the time and things were a bit slow. I went around back to chat with some of the other escorts, just in time to see Fetus Lady get bitched out. A woman driving into the school parked her car, got out and walked back to Fetus Lady (who was standing in the back of the clinic right between our property line and the school). The woman asked her politely not to show her sign right there, as her child could see it (not to mention other junior high kids going to school). The sign in question was the exploded fetus. Fetus Lady, who always has a creepy, dead look in her eyes, spouted some bull back to her. The woman was really frustrated as she walked away, and we could see that her daughter was quite small - probably a younger sibling to the one in junior high.

That was the only mildly exciting thing that happened. Oh, and there were two June bugs on the ramp, which was causing quite a bit of squealing and hopping about.

I didn't see Father Grim this week - that's two weeks in a row he has been MIA. Considering he is usually the most dedicated of the protesters, the one who is always there at 7am, I am seriously wondering what has happened to him. Maybe it was all too much for him - he has freaked out before. Maybe he spends all his time working in the "Mother and Child Welcome House". Where are you, Father Grim??

For those of you who haven't already, I invite you to go on Facebook, join the Great Canadian Wish List group, and add your support to the second-place wish: "I wish Canada would remain Pro-choice".

Sorry it's not too entertaining this week. I promise that next week I'll be on top form, and many crazy and amusing things will happen. :)

Write to TJ Burke!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cops and (no) Sobbers

Man, scheduling is hard. I had an absolute gaggle of escorts on today because I just scheduled everyone who was available. I have to avoid doing that in future. Otherwise I think it gets a bit intimidating for the women coming in, not to mention there's not much to do for most of the escorts.

Today was fun. The protesters have another new sign. This one says "In memory of all the babies aborted here" and has a cross made of flowers. Very pretty.

We had a few funny passersby too. A fellow on a bicycle (who shall remain nameless) yelled "choice rules!" at them on his way by. Very gutsy, heckling from a bike. There was a woman who drove by with one hand blaring the horn, and the other in a one finger salute to the protesters. But the most exciting was a guy that slowed down not once, but TWICE to argue with them. He stopped his car right in front of the driveway next to the clinic and started talking to the protesters. They clearly weren't interested in arguing (perhaps they are taking my suggestions about not being aggressive) and started walking away. The guy yelled "Don't walk away, my intelligent friends!" hahaha. Then he continued to drive, but couldn't help himself and stopped again, this time in front of the CPC (the house next door that they own) and talked to the other group of protesters. Sadly, they didn't want to argue either. Oh well. Props to you, drive-by angry guy. You are awesome.

I escorted one young woman up the ramp and she started talking about the protesters. At first I thought she was upset because they were staring at her, but then she said "they can watch my ass walk into the clinic", ha ha. And she had some choice words for them on the way out, too. Awesome. Mainly I was just happy that nobody cried today! Yay!

The morning passed without much more excitement until the very last minute. All the patients were inside and the other escorts and I were taking off our vests and getting ready to go, when the police showed up. I went to talk to the officer and it turned out that Science East had called them, because they were concerned about the kids walking by and seeing the graphic signs. Two minutes later, ANOTHER cop showed up. Turns out George Street school had called as well - I'm not sure if that was about the kids seeing the signs, or about the protesters crossing their property line. Anyway, it was good times, because the first cop said he was going to go reason with them, and went straight to Crazy Legs. Ha ha, good luck buddy. I'm not sure what the outcome was because I didn't feel like hanging around, but JB got some pictures. Hopefully I'll find out from SL when I go to work tomorrow, if it was anything exciting. I will let you all know.

P.S. Father Grim wasn't there today!! Where could he be...?

Friday, June 15, 2007


I am so excited, I get to post my first retraction! Ha ha. It turns out that I was given some false information, and that Father Right isn't really who I thought he was. The gentleman who writes into the paper (his name is Thaddee Renault) actually is one of the protesters, but he isn't the priest. So from now on Father Right will be going by his established nickname of Father Grim, and Thaddee will be known as Mad Thad. That is all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Signs and Saviors

Lots of excitement at the clinic this week. We had four new volunteers, thanks to my awesome recruiting skillz (actually I only recruited two of them). The protesters got a new sign. And, we all found out that our souls are being prayed for. I feel pretty good about that.

So the new sign is awesome. It is two-sided, with TWO different pictures of Jesus (one on the cross and one where he is kneeling in a white robe). It has some sort of rhyming advice about not killing your baby, so to get the whole message you have to read the front of the sign and then walk around to the back of it. Super awesome. Next week I will try to take some pictures.

Three of us were standing out front when someone noticed one of the protesters was obviously praying, and pointed it out. Sort of like, "look, he's praying". One of the young guys (I need nicknames for them!!) turned to us and directly addressed us (which, thankfully, rarely happens). He said that the guy was praying for our souls, and maybe we think that's funny, but one day it might be the only thing we have. I don't really think it's funny when someone prays for my soul. I'm a little sad about them wasting their energy, but I do think it's nice when someone puts in the extra effort. However, I don't like being patronized. There is a difference between someone praying for me because they truly want my soul to go to a good place, and praying for me for show because they want me to know I'm a sinner and I'm wrong. I know it's not charitable of me to assume I know the guy's motives, but considering that he spends his Tuesday mornings passing judgement, I think I'll give myself the benefit of the doubt.

Later I was out the back with a couple other escorts, including a new one, LR, who had never seen Fetus Lady's sign before. It was quite a shock to the eyes, I have to say. Anyway, LR was curious as to whether it was real. She was asking us, but of course Fetus Lady took the liberty of responding. According to her, it is real. Surprise. LR was with me when the young guy was talking about our souls, too - something about her must attract confrontation. Oh well, it keeps life interesting.

A reminder to all you pro-choicers in New Brunswick: write letters and send emails to T.J. Burke to show your support of the bubble law!

Centennial Building
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB
E3B 5H1

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints...

Well, fun times at the clinic this week! I showed up rather early and was surprised to see that there were no protesters – not even Father Right! There were no women in the waiting room either. I think I was just earlier than I thought though, because soon afterwards things continued as usual. It was a bit wet out today so the protesters were out in their matching rain jackets; so adorable.

The first shift was pretty unremarkable. It seemed a bit busier than usual, but nothing out of the ordinary. I stuck around for the second shift, and I’m glad I did because it was a lot more interesting.

A guy driving by slowed down to tell the protesters that they shouldn’t be holding their “aborted fetus” picture up for kids to see. He ended up pulling over to discuss it with them, because they all flocked over to his car to engage him in a heated debate. I don’t know where the aggression started – in all fairness, it could have been the guy who started being unpleasant, and they just answered him in kind – but I really think it would benefit their side to have some concise, polite replies to rude passersby. It would be a lot more effective than aggression. You catch more flies with honey, and so on.

There was a very amusing fellow joining the protesters today. He was a big, loud guy. I have never been personally judged (out loud) or condemned by the protesters, although I have heard of it happening to some of the other escorts (personal favourite epithets include “little lesbians” and “Hitler’s henchmen”). Well, this loud guy (hereafter known as The Tenor) was way into the judgement. He called us “vultures” and accused us of only caring about profit. This strikes me as especially funny when addressed to the escorts, and not just because we’re volunteers. I can accept that he might not know that. However, if we WERE paid, surely it would be hourly, and not on commission? So it really wouldn’t matter to us if women came in or not. (I can’t speak for the other escorts, but it actually DOESN’T matter to me personally if a woman comes in or not. It matters to me that if she does want to come in, she shouldn’t be harassed).

Anyway, The Tenor’s amusing diatribe was keeping us entertained, when he decided to be the greatest anti-choice protester of all time and SING. That’s right, he sang. He had quite a nice voice too. It was some Jesus-y song about how we’re all going to hell. I kind of wanted to come back with a rousing chorus of “Only the Good Die Young”, but unfortunately I can’t sing very well. Perhaps that’s God’s punishment for being a baby-killer.

Eventually The Tenor left. He made sure to tell us that he wouldn't be back, because, as he so eloquently put it, "I can't stand the sight of yas." Charming.

I have to say, I often forget how intimidating the protesters can be – mainly because I see them every week and I find them kind of amusing (you have to, or you go crazy). But today I went way down the street to walk one woman in (she was on her own), and walking back to the clinic, facing all those people with their signs, staring at you, and Crazy Legs and The Holy Ghost wailing at you about your baby…..eep. It’s scary.

Good to see the men getting a bit more active and vocal though, that was exciting. Perhaps they read my blog about how much less intense they are than the women, and decided to step up to the plate. Honestly, I really hope they get this bubble zone underway soon, because this is really getting ridiculous.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Names and Gender Games

Today was fairly uneventful. The protesters had lots of their big signs out – three or four, which is more than usual. A couple of just normal fetii, and then the one big exploded one. Lovely. Luckily there weren’t a lot of patients this week, and they mostly went in the back.

I’ve been thinking about names a lot lately, as last week a new volunteer, LW, and I were discussing the nicknames we use for the protesters. He thinks it’s a bit out of line to refer to them as “Crazy this” and “Crazy that”, and I’m starting to think he has a valid point. I certainly don’t know any of their personal histories, plus it is offensive to use the word “crazy” in such a haphazard and derogatory way. So I’ve been rethinking the names, and here are some of the regular characters we get, with explanations so everyone is clear on what the names refer to:

Crazy Legs – the blonde woman who chases after patients. I think this nickname is still acceptable because it refers to the movement of her legs and not her mental state. If you could see her run, you would agree that she has crazy legs.

Fetus Lady – the woman (I think it is Peter Ryan’s wife, but I’m not sure) who is most often holding the picture of the fetus. Pretty self-explanatory.

Glare-y – a man who spends a lot of his time glaring at us. Again, I think this is accurate.

Glare-y Jr. – a younger, more intense version of above; may or may not be related.

The Ghost – I call her this because she reminds me of one. She wanders back and forth, no sign or anything, just a rosary. Like she’s haunting the place. Her voice is monotonous, whispy and yet insistent, and all she ever says is “it’s a baby”. She creeps me out.

There are lots of others for whom I do not yet have names, because they don’t really stand out to me (most of them look the same – middle-aged white men). But you may have noticed one glaring omission from my list: Father Crazy. The reason is that I need a new name for him, because that one really is offensive and assumptive (is it a word? If it is, I hope it means what I think it does). However, I just recently found out his true identity – he is a person whose letters to the editor of the Daily Gleaner I read with great interest and amusement. I really do think he is crazy – intelligent and articulate, yes, but crazy. His ideas and opinions…well, I want to say they’re out in left field, but I think it would be more accurate to say right field. Far, far right field.

Regardless of this, I still think it is mean-spirited to refer to him as Father Crazy. Perhaps Father Right would be better – I like how it works on at least two different levels. So that’s what he’ll be from now on. I guess I could refer to him by his real name, but I like the nicknames, they’re fun. Sometimes I wonder if the protesters have nicknames for us, or have picked up on any of our weird traits; maybe they don’t even register anything about us except that we are there. Maybe thinking of nicknames would be unChristian (sort of like judging people...wait a minute...).

Another thing I wanted to mention was the gender divide. I haven’t really made up my mind where I fall on the whole “no uterus, no opinion” thing, but I do find it telling that so many anti-choicers are men. What I (and the other escorts) find very strange is the difference between male and female protesters. First of all, for the first shift they are usually all men. And they are generally quiet and peaceful. They hold their signs, and they seem more concerned with changing the minds of passersby than going after the patients themselves. However, when the women show up, not only are they (the women) more aggressive, their behaviour influences the men. They start to get riled up as well. Isn’t that strange? I can’t figure out why they change like that when the women come out. Theories, anyone?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Catching Up

Ok, better late than never. Tuesday morning was great, we had a couple new volunteers (both guys, which is awesome - good to get a more even mix) and the protesters were fairly quiet. We did have one incident where one of our escorts had to pretty much chase a girl down, because Crazy Legs got to her first and was herding her towards the "welcome centre". Luckily she was intercepted.

The rest of the morning went without incident. Is it too much to hope that the protesters really are settling down? Of course, as long as they stand there with their signs - even if they are silent - we'll be going after the bubble zone. The signs themselves count as harrassment if you ask me. I am not trying to go against freedom of speech, but there is also such a thing as inciting hatred. And why else are the signs there, if not to condemn the clinic staff and patients? To save the innocent babies? Yeah, that's been real effective.

I do have to say a quick word or two about the rally last Wednesday. We had a great turnout, way more people than I expected - even in the rain. Some anti-choice protesters did show up (in their matching rainsuits!) but they were quiet and respectful. Meanwhile, we chanted, marched, listened to speeches and basically just had a good time. Hopefully we got our point across. At least we received media coverage.

I just want to touch on one thing that annoys me. Sometimes at rallies (I'm sure pro-choice ones as well as anti-choice, but I would guess more often the latter) you see people with their kids. That's fine. But frequently the kids are holding signs or wearing slogan t-shirts. I find it really disgusting when people use their kids as billboards for their own political beliefs. It really ticks me off. Thoughts?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Sorry about being a bit slow with this week's post (and the lack of coverage of last week's rally). Things have been a bit hectic as I was in Ontario for a wedding this weekend and have just been catching up on things the last couple days. I will try to post tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rally Tomorrow!

My last week as the temporary receptionist - it's back out on the front lines next week. I am excited. I love being a receptionist, but the protesters have been getting really riled lately and I feel helpless being inside. Not that there's much I can do as an escort, but I like just being out there.

The tarp has proved to not be very useful, as the protesters obviously just move their signs. It's been fun for us, but not practical to keep chasing them around. There has been an issue with the escorts making comments, as well. Our number one rule is not to engage with the protesters, but lately it has been a bit too tempting and a couple of our escorts have been mouthing off. So we have to get that under control, since it doesn't reflect too well on us in our quest to get the bubble zone.

Tomorrow is the big rally out in front of the courthouse - feel free to come down and support us! 12:30 to 1:30. I am excited. What I am most excited for is when the hearings are over and the actual trial starts, because I'm hoping that Dr. Morgentaler will come to town for it, and I really want to meet him. I think that would pretty much make my life complete (I know I said that about meeting Stephen Lewis, and also seeing Romeo Dallaire. And Sue Johansson. I get excited a lot).

Probably starting next week I will have pictures on the blog, since I will be out escorting and I have a camera now. I figure, since the antis can go up into the parking garage and film each other (yes, we've noticed you, and I really hope you aren't recording the women going into the clinic), then I can take some pics of them and their awesome signs. I'm pretty excited.

I just finished reading the chapter of Morgentaler's biography where he opens the clinic in Fredericton. I have also been reading about Dr. Slepian, Dr. Tiller ("Tiller the Killer"), and other abortion doctors that have been shot/wounded/killed. I'm really glad that this seems to be a phenomenon largely confined to the United States, and anti-choice activists in Canada are not usually violent (although it has happened). Working inside the clinic and seeing the security system, using the camera, buzzing people in, and knowing the location of the panic button has made me think a lot more about safety while there. I think there's always a risk, and that's scary. But honestly I believe that if something happens, it won't happen in Fredericton. This place is just too small, too passive, too quiet. I hope.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Tarp and Needle

We started early at the clinic this morning. However, so did the protesters. I get a ride with the clinic counsellor, D, and usually when we get there at around 7:20 there is only one protester out - Father Crazy. This morning when we pulled in at 7:15, there was already a whole posse. They were in a *very* heated argument with a passerby, who had stopped his truck across the driveway to get out and argue. When he saw that he was blocking us, he got back in and drove away. Good thing, too, because it really did look like it was going to come to blows. D and I were both a little shaken.

It was my second week as receptionist. Things went pretty smoothly - we had a lot of patients booked but had two no-shows. The police were called twice; once just to inform them of the argument, and the second time when one of the protesters (Glare-y Junior) was creeping over the property line. The police put me through to dispatch that time so a cop actually showed up. He informed me they were allowed to protest (I already knew that) and there was nothing he could do. He did talk to Glare-y Jr. about his proximity to the fence, though, so that was good.

I bought a tarp over the weekend in case Mrs. Idiot decided to bring her ugly sign out, but she didn't. The escorts used the tarp to block Glare-y Jr.'s glare instead. One of the escorts found a syringe out on the sidewalk, so we had to dispose of that (JS did it with a rubber glove - there is a box for them in the clinic. You know, because all of us baby-killers are heroin addicts too).

One of the patients asked me how one becomes an escort. At first I thought she wanted to volunteer, and I got excited, but she is from out of town and was just curious. She was very good with the protesters; every time she went out to smoke and they started with her, she basically told them where they could shove it. Good to see women being assertive about their right to choose.

All in all, not a bad day - way less crazy than it could have been. I'm going to start getting the escorts to come earlier than 7:30, and I'll probably have to schedule more than four on each shift, too. I'm hoping the crazies are just riled up because of Mother's Day, and their upcoming March for Life (anyone wanna counter-protest with me?), and that they will settle down a bit once Dr. Morgentaler's court case is out of here next week. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

New People, New Responsibilities

It’s been pretty exciting in pro-choice land this week, at least for me. L and I met on Friday and she officially handed over the position of Volunteer Coordinator to me, although she will still be here for the next two weeks. There is a LOT more than scheduling involved. But I think I can handle it.

Today I started my three-week stint as receptionist while J is away. It went really well. S, who runs the clinic, was there to walk me through the process and everything went smoothly. It is very different being on the other side of the glass, I have to say. I miss the excitement of escorting, as well as the immediate feeling of doing something useful. But in general I like to organize things and I’m more of a thinker than a doer. I love being an escort, but I think the work inside the clinic is where I could see myself building a career.

Things were pretty crazy outside today – I could tell even though I wasn’t out there that it was getting nuts. The number of protesters was up, for one thing, and lately they have taken to spreading further down the street. Also, at one point they were up in the parking garage with a video camera. I called Fortis to let them know. S put a call in to the police too, because the protesters were having a pretty heated argument with a passerby and she was afraid it could turn violent. Thankfully it didn’t.

The other big news is that Peter Ryan’s wife (we’ll call her Mrs. Idiot) just got her big, bloody, fake aborted fetus sign back. It is so god-awful. Of course she was out waving that around – made me think of those Show the Truth people (I really hope they don’t show up again this summer). I think it was that sign, in combination with the number and intensity of the protesters, that was really upsetting the women coming in. Thankfully we had only one who was really upset and crying, and she sat in S’s office with her partner until she felt better. I just wanted to hug her. As if the decision to abort isn’t hard enough.

L has asked me to write a rebuttal to an Op-Ed piece by William Forrestall in the Telegraph Journal (yesterday’s issue). I have put one together but it’s too long, so I have some editing to do. I fear that my efforts will not matter anyway, since, as I mentioned last week, the Gleaner will not publish my pro-choice letters. L told me she knows of at least five others who have written since the Heather Mallick event, and have not been published.

The good news is that we had three new volunteers today and when I talked to them afterwards they all seemed keen to come back. One of them in particular was very feisty – she couldn’t believe what went on but she was very keen to stop it. Gotta love the new blood.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Free Speech My Ass

So there was more in the Daily Gleaner today about the bubble zone legislation. The Gleaner decided to let Peter Ryan, head of the local Right to Life group, tell everyone what he thinks about it. Apparently the law would hamper his right to "freedom of speech". What about the women's right to access medical treatment without being verbally abused and harassed? I wish the Gleaner would make more of an attempt to get both sides of this. There was a brief statement from J, but that was all. Plus, I have written two letters to the editor on the subject and neither has been published. I wrote another one today. We'll see what happens.

It's not that I have any illusions as to the Gleaner (all the provincial media, for that matter) and on which side their bread is buttered. I would just love it if they would print every intelligent, articulate pro-choice letter that comes their way. I have a feeling we would be seeing a lot more letters.

Also, Peter Ryan commented on the incident earlier this year, when the police were called to the clinic (this is before I was a volunteer there). He said that all that happened was one of the protesters went to retrieve his hat, which had blown on to the clinic's property. Ha. Actually, the escorts told the guy that they would get his hat (as the protesters aren't allowed on the property), and in response the guy shoved one of the escorts. But of course no one from the Gleaner bothered to get our side of the story.

I am really hoping this bubble zone law doesn't get squashed by the very influential powers who are opposed to it. Even though there are a lot of pro-choice people who are motivated and driven in this province, as evidenced at the Heather Mallick talk, I fear that influence and money will win out, as it always does in New Brunswick.

Speaking of Heather Mallick, she did a great column this week on abortion rights in NB - check it out here.

No clinic this week. I hope the anti-choicers didn't know, and went down at 7am to protest anyway. Mwahahaha. I am reading "Morgentaler: A Difficult Hero" by Catherine Dunphy and I highly recommend it. Morgentaler's next court date here is May 16th. He probably won't come in person but I intend to go anyway, as do a lot of clinic staff and volunteers, to show our support. I am excited for this trial to finally get underway.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hail and Bubbles, Part Two

Ok so I have some good news that I wanted to mention - it's sort of more personal than anything but I'm really happy about so I wanted to bring it up here. When I first got to the clinic yesterday J, the receptionist, asked me to come talk to her after my shift. So I did, and it turns out she is going to be away for three weeks and wants me to fill in for her! I am so excited! I'm just new at escorting but I guess because I took the initiative on the scheduling, they figured I would be trustworthy enough to do this as well. I'm mainly hoping that this sort of thing will lead to an actual job - even career - in the field. The thought of doing something for a living that I'm really passionate about is so exciting!

So yeah, just thought I'd share that.

The other thing I wanted to expand on from Part One of this post is the bubble-zone law. A bubble zone is basically an area around the clinic where the protesters aren't allowed to go. Right now they are not allowed on clinic property, but they cannot be legally stopped from standing on the sidewalk right outside and harrassing women coming in. In Vancouver the Elisabeth Bagshaw abortion clinic has a bubble zone with a 50 metre radius. There is also one outside the homes of the doctors who perform abortions there.

Recently in New Brunswick, following pressure from NAF and ARCC, T.J. Burke has expressed interest in finding a similar solution to the problem of the Morgentaler clinic protesters. There was a story in the Daily Gleaner a couple days ago saying that he is looking into trying to get a bubble zone law passed here in Fredericton - both for the Morgentaler clinic and for the doctor's house. This is very encouraging news for the clinic staff (especially the doctor, who is a wonderful person, and who has already been driven out of her practice) and for the women who come from all over the Maritimes to access abortion here in Fredericton.

If you are pro-choice, I encourage you to write to T.J. Burke and show your support for this initiative. It's definitely a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hail and Bubbles, Part One

Well I'm sorry I ever complained before about shitty weather for standing outside, because today was the worst. Cold, freezing rain, slush - that's what I just love to see (and stand in) at 7:30 in the morning. Of course I wore my sneakers instead of boots, because I am an idiot. Also the longest pair of pants I have, which were immediately soaked to the knee. At least on my way out the door, Mum reminded me to bring an umbrella.

We had a bit of an escort shortage today, which meant we had to split up so that one person was always standing on their own (usually in the front, since most of the escorting happens out back). It also meant that me and N had to stay a little later because the people on the second shift were delayed because of the weather. What a crappy day. A lot of the women coming in told me that it was nicer in Moncton, PEI, etc. - so at least their driving wasn't as bad as it could have been. Still, I had to walk a couple people back through the slush to their cars as they had parked in the school parking lot and would probably be ticketed - and they were pretty cranky about that. Hey, at least I shared my umbrella.

Just one incident worth remarking upon today. N and I were out back, and a patient (herein known as Patient) and her mother (herein known as PM) came outside to wait for a ride and have a smoke. The doctor had just arrived so I was surprised to see that they were out already. However, none of my business, so we just made small talk while we waited. The crazy protesters (ie the women) had just arrived though, and once they saw us out back with a young woman who had obviously been crying, one of the crazies (Rosary Lady) started saying, very loudly, "You don't have to do this," and such forth. Well, PM very snarkily replied "We're not." Rosary Lady then tried to get them to go next door to the "Mother Child Welcome Centre" but PM told her, in an unimpressed tone, that they had already been. That was when their ride showed up. Before they got in the car, PM turned to me and said, in an explanatory way (as if she owed me an explanation!) that Patient was too far along in her pregnancy and that's why they hadn't been able to get an abortion.

It was a strange experience. First of all it was the closest I've ever come to crying at this job, and secondly I think it's the maddest I've ever been at a protester. She should have stopped her bullshit when she heard that they weren't going through with it. She's not having the abortion - what more do you want? Do you have to try to brainwash her as well? Also I found it strange that the mother felt she had to tell me why they weren't having it. As if I was going to judge the patient for not going through with it! I guess when abortion is treated the way it is in this province, and having to walk through a bunch of crazy fundamentalists yelling at you on your way into the clinic, it's natural to think everyone is judging you - the protesters for "killing your baby", and the clinic staff for not having the guts to go through with it. It is so disgusting how we make women feel like bad people just for making one decision or the other in a difficult situation.

There were two camera crews at the clinic today - one doing a story on stem cell research (I have no idea why they were at the clinic for that, except to film the crazies, who are undoubtably against it), and the other doing a story on abortion and specifically the recent discussions on the bubble law. I am so excited that they are talking about that. (I will blog about it more in-depth later). Anyway check out the CBC news tonight for some footage of crazies being crazy. I like that they did this today because the crazies were all wearing matching yellow rainsuits.

This is a long post and I have a couple more things to discuss, so I will continue it later.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rally of Awesome

So I just have to say how inspiring it was to see so many people come to the Heather Mallick talk tonight. Sometimes it can be a bit depressing, living in New Brunswick and being intelligent. You get lonely. So it's very uplifting to see that there are others like me in this province, and that they're energetic and motivated.

Heather Mallick gave a great talk and the other panelists were fantastic as well. I really hope that everyone is now going to write to the paper - because I know that I am. (Suprise, ha ha). Also, L told me that she got tons of email addresses of people interested in being volunteer escorts. So great!

I really feel quite enthusiastic about this - I think that there's enough support in this province that we can actually change these policies and yank New Brunswick out of the black hole of the 1950s it seems to be stuck in.

Adeste Fideles. Bona Fortuna!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Slow Day

So today was pretty slow at the ol' baby-killing factory (ha ha). I was out back all shift and only escorted a few people. The protesters were quiet and well-behaved, and the women coming in were fine; no cryers or anything.

I did want to take this opportunity to point out that tomorrow night (Wednesday, April 11) is the Silent No More: Speak Out for Choice event at the law school. This event is open for everyone, is free, and people from either side of the debate are welcome. The guest speaker is Heather Mallick, and the topic is New Brunswick's (and Canada's) reproductive rights policies (or lack thereof). It's at Ludlow Hall (on the UNB campus) at 7pm. Spread the word!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Yelling Day at the Clinic

So much for thinking I wouldn't be standing out in the cold again for a while. Damn you snow!!

This morning I was back on the early shift. There were a lot of protesters - they just seem to keep multiplying! When I first started it was mostly middle-aged men but these days there are two young guys and a young woman. I don't know where (or how) they do their recruiting but it must be working.

It wasn't too eventful today. Me and T started out front, and the "moron" guy drove by quite early. He's this guy who drives by almost every week and shouts "You guys are morons!" at the protesters. When E showed up I went out back with her. None of the protesters were shouting or anything so that was good. However, we could hear yelling coming from out front so I went out to see what was up. I asked A and T where the yelling was coming from but they didn't know.

Later, the four of us switched places and the yelling started again. I couldn't hear what the guy was saying. I walked down the street and found that next door to the Mother and Child Welcome Centre (the anti-choice propaganda factory right next to the clinic), there was a house divided into apartments. Well, there was a guy shouting from the window of one of the apartments. He was shouting at the protesters. I made out a couple things that he was saying, including "we all went out and multiplied, now it's time to take some fucking responsibility!" and "I'm losing my voice yelling at you assholes!". So that was pretty funny. It certainly made a cold, snowy shift more enjoyable.

In other news, I got a biography of Dr. Morgentaler out of the library so I'm excited to read that. There were only six or seven books on abortion in the public library, and a couple of them were just "so you're thinking of aborting" type books. Maybe the school library will have some more. I want to have a more informed opinion on this as well as to be able to argue my side more effectively.

If anyone ever feels like buying the escorts some hot chocolate, we would really appreciate it. But not as much as we appreciate people who come and yell at the protesters, because it's fun to live vicariously through them.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Father Crazy Goes...Crazy

Ok, so generally I am going to be posting on Tuesdays, but since I did that long post to start off with I haven't really been bothered to actually write about Tuesday's clinic until today.

Volunteering at the clinic is divided into two one-and-a-half-hour shifts. Usually I do the earlier shift, because that is when my ride is going downtown. We get a few protesters and it is never quiet, but I had been hearing crazy things about the late shift so I decided to check it out.

It...was...WILD. On the early shift it's generally all male protesters, but during the late shift the women come and they are NUTS. There is one, her nickname is Crazy Legs, and she loves to yell at the women going into the clinic. She has a really whiny, wispy voice: "Don't kill your baaaaaaby." Argh. There are a couple other women too, including one who holds a big picture of a fetus. Her name is Fetus Lady.

There was a big incident this Tuesday. A big ol' SUV pulled up and parked in the parking lot next door (which belongs to the hearing aid place). It sat and idled for a minute - always a bad sign - so we (the escorts) went over to see what was up. Well, Patient's mom (we'll call her PM) was out of the car and trying to convince Patient to get into the clinic. Patient was crying - not an unusual occurence. We managed to coax her out of the car and guide her into the clinic. The protesters were like seagulls on a french fry; they flocked all around her and began shouting their usual inane rhetoric. Crazy Legs even went after PM, yelling "Grandmother! Grandmother!" but PM was pretty determined to get her daughter inside.

Once we had them inside, the priest who protests every week, (henceforth known as Father Crazy) went NUTS! He started yelling and throwing his sign and carrying on. He had to go into their nuthouse (Mother Child Welcome Center) and chill out for a while. So awesome.

Patient's aunt was still in the car. She wanted to stay parked there in case Patient "bolted" - apparently she (Patient) wasn't so keen on the abortion. I explained that no one would be bolting, and that everyone had to have counselling before undergoing the operation. She was a little more positive after that and went and parked in the SMT parking lot across the street. Later, we saw her out of the car and talking to one of the protesters. That has to be one fucked-up family, and I feel pretty bad for the girl.

A lot of the anti-choice rhetoric revolves around the supposed greed of everyone involved in the "abortion industry" - as if we are all in this to make some cash. First of all, most of the people at the clinic are volunteers. Second of all, our clinic is actually losing money. And thirdly, a doctor can make lots of money doing regular medicine. Why would they risk their career and reputation doing something so controversial? It's certainly not for the money. No one is out there trying to encourage women to have abortions. And EVERY SINGLE WOMAN who comes into the clinic HAS TO have counselling. It's one-on-one, so there is no family member, friend or partner there to influence their responses. They would never perform an abortion on an unwilling woman. This is a total myth made up by anti-choice proponents.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I started volunteering as an escort at the Morgentaler Clinic about six weeks ago. Every Tuesday morning I get up, shower, dress and hop in the car to get to the clinic for 7:30, when the first patients start arriving. Before I get into this, let me just say that of all the volunteer experiences I have had (and I've had my fair share), this is by far the most fulfilling and rewarding. Women's rights is something that I feel very passionately about, and when I am escorting women into the clinic and protecting them from the hateful LIES of the anti-choice protesters, I really feel like I'm accomplishing something for the movement.

So there. I love this work, and if I could get paid to do it I would be the happiest worker in the world.

Also, just to reassure anyone who works/volunteers at the clinic who might be reading this, I will never mention anyone's name unless I have the permission of that person to do so. The last thing I want to do is endanger anyone or compromise their right to privacy. When I refer to my fellow volunteers it will be with an initial, and the patients will always be "Patient". I don't know the protesters' names, but I'm sure humourous nicknames will be applied where necessary.

I want to do this blog because I think it's important to spotlight the policies we have in New Brunswick that are unquestionably AGAINST the Supreme Court ruling on reproductive rights. I also think that it's important to use humour, reflection and open-mindedness in addressing any issue. I want this stupid debate to end, and I want pro-choice and anti-choice activists to concentrate on working *together* to make a world in which women don't need to get abortions. I know that a lot of anti-choicers are intelligent and rational people - it's the nutbars who protest in front of clinics who are the problem. They will never change their minds and what they do is immoral, cruel and misogynistic. I want to show them up for the ridiculous excuses for human beings that they are.

Most of all, I want to encourage discussion and debate. I want to get people thinking about why we have the laws that we do, and about who these women are and why they feel this is their only option. What sort of society have we created that we can feel justified in backing women into a corner, and then condemning them for taking the only way out?

Feel free to comment but be warned - I will not waste my time responding to people who are rude, intolerant or illiterate.