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Clinic Escorting Training Was…WOW

You may have seen my call for volunteers in the Twin Cities area to take part in last Saturday’s clinic escort training in Minneapolis. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of inquiries I received and by the number of people who said they wanted to attend, to the point where I set up a Facebook event to track the numbers of “maybes” and “yeses” so that the coordinator could plan for an appropriate number of visitors.

All in all, last Saturday was an outstanding success.

That morning I was running late to the training due to heavy snowfall from the night before, and when I walked in to the break room where everyone was gathered, I almost lost my breath. There were people who I knew from different social groups, from Minnesota Atheists, from my old job at Barnes and Noble – including a B&N coworker’s daughter who had found the invite through her mom! Plus there were people who had heard about the training from other escorts and the clinic’s volunteer coordinator. It was really inspiring to see so many people come together from all of these different places to stand up for access to reproductive healthcare and destigmatization of abortion.

There were a total of 16 people who showed up to escort on Saturday. We ran out of vests! Six of us were regulars, but I don’t think the other 10 had ever done any escorting. And they came out on a day when the temperature started at -6°F.

Screencap of Robin looking astounded and the text "Holy support for Reproductive Healthcare, Batman!"

Robin is astounded at the outpouring of support at Whole Women’s Health last Saturday.

As for protesters, it was really slow. The cold kept many of the regular sidewalk prayers away, but a few of the more vocal harassers couldn’t resist showing up. Being so outnumbered is a novel thing for them and I think they were a little miffed. Because there were so many of us, and because this was the first time many people had escorted, there was new adventure excitement in the air. And since there are really only two main entrances into the clinic, we tended to congregate in large groups where we shared stories and did stupid-looking dancing and hopping around to keep the blood flowing! And the giggling and outright laughing – oh, the protesters HATE that. It’s a very serious situation, you know – wimmin killin’ babies and all. And us just giggling as if all that was happening was some people going in to their doctor appointments.

Group Shot - five smiling clinic escorts huddled in blankets and heavy winter clothes

Five of us smiling and bundled up in winter clothes and blankets!

Me and Tara

Me and a friend who came down to volunteer. I haven’t seen her – literally – in years. I had a happy.

Five clinic escorts bundled up and sporting bright yellow vests that say "Clinic Escort"

Five intrepid clinic escorts brave the Minneapolis chill to offer support to clinic patients.

For anyone who wasn’t able to make it last week, we will be at Whole Women’s Health at 7am – 10:45am this Saturday 12/14/13. Come on down!

Whole Women’s Health
825 S 8th St #1018,
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Map of Whole Women's Health and surrounding streets

It’s a tall glass and brick building called “Meadowbrook” on Chicago Ave between 8th and 9th Streets. The entrance to the building is on the side by the tennis courts, parallel to Chicago, but one block up – it’s technically 9th Avenue/9th Street because 9th street does this weird wrap around thing. There is a lot of parking on the street, although the spots along 9th Street are only $0.25/hr vs. 8th Street where it’s $1.25/hr. The ramp is $2/hr.

And here are the usual offers: If you’re in the area and would like to volunteer, but are lacking in some resource that you think I might be able to provide – e.g., a ride to the clinic, help with directions or bus routes, warm clothes – let me know. If you think you might be interested, but want to ask me some questions beforehand – ask! If you can’t make this week, but would like to attend at a later date, shoot me an email and we’ll work out an alternate way to get you trained in. I can be reached at [email protected]

Comments

  1. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Awesome. Good to hear it all went so well.

    (Robin cartoon really works too – hope it gets used again.)

    I’d help out if I weren’t living on another continent – where this isn’t quite so much an issue or problem.

  2. says

    Go you! I’m an escort at PP16 in D.C.! We’re getting a much higher turnout lately as well. I’d be more happy about it if it weren’t probably a result of the (most) recent scary court decisions/State laws, though.

  3. says

    I wish I lived in the area. I’ve escorted in Cleveland quite a bit, but I no longer have transportation for the 45-minute drive. It’s awesome to think of the antis being outnumbered, though. I bet it blew their minds. And yes, I love to sing and dance in between cars.

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