Women's Rights & Jericho Horns
I recently joined the Montgomery, AL chapter of NOW. I've never really considered myself a feminist but decided that my involvement was needed when our infamous, idiotic, dunderhead Senator Hank Erwin introduced an anti-abortion bill that replicated South Dakota's. Referring to the bill's ban on abortions where the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest, Erwin said:
"I don't think you need to penalize the unborn child when something like that happens."
As if growing up a retarded, deformed, incest victim in Alabama isn't punishment of the most cruel variety. What planet are these goofy bastards from anyway?
I asked myself then "What business does this MAN have making decisions about a womans reproductive rights?" The answer of course is NONE WHATSOEVER. Even if he opened "Hank's Home for Alabama's Inbred" and funded the entire thing from his own deep Christian pockets he still would have NO SAY in the matter. So, being a girl of action, I signed up with NOW.
I attended my first monthly meeting last Saturday during which we discussed the escort service that NOW provides to the Womens Health Clinic. I volunteered for a turn and my first assignment was on Wed. July 12, 2006.
As always, I arrived early and no one was there yet. At first, I parked in the clinic lot but decided that was probably a bad idea for what should be obvious reasons. So, I cruised the block a few times and waited for someone else to show up then joined my fellow escorts on the grass in front of the clinic. They gave me a brief run down of how everything works and a sign to hold for shielding the patients. They said it was best not to speak to the anti-choice protesters other than perhaps to say good morning. I found that extrodinarily difficult to do as you will see.
We spread out and take our accustomed spots and wait. The air is charged with a weird kind of electricity and it dawns on me that this is serious stuff.
A few minutes later a most bizarre sound rents the peaceful morning air. I had heard about Jericho Horn woman at the last meeting...but nothing can fully prepare one for such a sight.
I look down at the corner and see an old woman, who looks like she might dance with snakes on Sunday morning, blowing a horn that looked like it was wrenched from a Satanic goat on steroids in some epic battle. It made a sound like a rutting bull elephant. Gawd what a racket!! It appears our protesters have arrived and their mission is to blow down the walls of the womens health clinic with that horn. This should be fun to watch.
Along with Jericho Horn Woman there is a young girl (teens) with a violin. They set up shop on the sidewalk in front of us (they aren't allowed on the grass where we are) and the young girl begins to play songs like 'Jesus Loves the Little Children' and 'Jesus Loves Me'. It was a very sad and mournful sound and part of me kept hoping she would crank up the tempo a few notches and make that violin into a fiddle. Would have been cool to hear the bluegrass versions of those old hymns. Anything sounds good in Bluegrass. Jericho horn woman just stands there and holds up a small red piece of cloth with the word JESUS in white.
Pretty soon a patient arrives and I decide to try out this escort thing. I walk out to the car and introduce myself. I tell them that I am with the clinic and that there are protesters here today so I will be escorting them to the door. I tell them that the protesters may try and hand them information and that they do not have to take it if they do not want to. I also tell them that for security measures no bags, purses or cell phones are allowed in the clinic. Then we make our way towards the door.
As soon as we get near the protesters one starts asking, "Are you here to have an abortion? I'd like to help. Jesus loves you. There's hope." I felt like telling the protesters, "Ya know if any of these ladies wanted your help then chances are they would have called you before they made an appointment here....did you receive such a call?"...but held my tounge...mainly because snake-dancer, Jericho Horn woman looked like she might be able to kick my ass if it came to blows....the goat she ripped that horn from probably didn't fare to well and the horn gave her a definite advantage.
If the patient was African-American the protesters would say "They kill more black babies than any other kind."
One patient made it to the door with her cell phone in her pocket. We told her she would have to leave it in the car due to security reasons. One of the protesters said in a sweet, soft voice full of righteous indignation "What kind of people are these...they don't even want you to be able to call for help." What the hell...do they have Karl Rove writing the one liners for anti-choice protesters in Alabama these days? I came very close to saying, " The reason they don't allow cell phones in is because freakazoids like you use them to blow up places like this." It was a very close call which resulted in a sore tongue.
These scenes repeated throughout the morning. One protester walked up and down the sidewalk. Perhaps she was the accompaniment to Jericho Horn and thought if she walked that sidewalk enough and Jericho Horn woman blew loudly enough that the walls would come tumbling down as they did in the bible story.
And they say I'm stoned! I'd really like to know what kind of drugs these people are taking so I can be sure to avoid them in the future.
A TV camera suddenly appears on the scene and sets up across the street. Our group leader goes over to inquire about this new development. When she comes back I ask her if the News usually covers this circus and she tells me no, that this is actually the first time and that she didn't know they were coming. The camera seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time aimed in my direction and when I saw the 5 pm News piece it appeared I was in every shot save the one where they interviewed the protesters. I had posted on my blog a few days before that I would be acting as an escort in MTGY on that day and, being who I am, I tend to think the News showed up to get footage of a Gubernatorial candidate escorting women at an abortion clinic. The camera man asked to interview me at one point but I deferred to the group leader because I am new to this group and not familiar enough with their policies to be doing interviews. The news never identified me as the LP candidate and since I was in a T-shirt, corduroys and sun glasses with my hair pulled back I am not sure any viewers picked up on the fact that it was me. I am in no way ashamed of helping at the clinic and it would be perfectly ok with me if they publicly identify me the next time around.
While our group leader was being interviewed I heard her asked the following question, "How do you feel personally about abortion?" What an odd question I thought. My answer to this question is this;
This is a medical procedure and the only people with any rights to feelings on the matter are the woman and her physician. Politicians and Christians who are against abortion do not ever have to have one if they choose not to and they have absolutely no right to prevent the rest of us from obtaining a medical procedure based on their personal feelings. I think it is also important to point out that these very same people protesting abortion are the same ones who vote Republican and bitch about "welfare n****** havin' babies one right after the other so they get bigger welfare checks" and one of their favorite and terribly unoriginal lines is "Well if they can't afford to feed'em then they shouldn't be a havin'em." DUH! That is what the abortion clinic is for you dumbass. Don't you just love their circular logic?
I felt very sorry for the patients who came that day...having to battle their way past the Jesus freaks yelling all that emotionally charged horseshit. I wondered what situations led them here. Were they raped by a stranger, a family member or were they just not at the point in their lives where they felt they could properly care for a child? I, being a mother, can't really imagine what it would be like to have to make that decision. It can't be easy...not by any stretch of the imagination. Such a personal decision should never be used as a political football. How traumatic and unnecessary.