Pages

Monday, October 4, 2010

Newbies

So, last week was actually a pretty good one for sidewalk counseling. A triathlon closed down most of the road in front of the clinic, which made it a lot harder for people to show up. We only had half as many women come. Also, one woman came specifically to talk to us and show us her beautiful 4 month old baby. Last year she was scheduled for an abortion, but changed her mind after she saw our signs. It’s really encouraging to remember that even if they don’t come and talk to us, our mere presence can make a difference.

Currently 40 Days for Life is going on, which draws a different crowd. We haven’t been able to do 24 hour coverage or anything, but I think that there’s someone out on our patch of parking lot during business hours at least. I sometimes have my qualms about this. Usually, when you get new sidewalk counselors, you only get one or two at a time. They tend not to say anything at all for the first few weeks until they get comfortable with the whole thing. This helps to get newbies comfortable with the rules of counseling. However, 40 Days brings out many fresh faces who are left out there by themselves, without a more experienced counselor to show them what they should be doing. For the most part, 40 Day-ers seem to just stand around with signs and pray, so I’m not too worried about them. But the more active of them do try to sidewalk counsel, which I don’t always agree with.

Sidewalk counselors are nice, normal people. Anyone who lasts 3 months is pretty sane. But sometimes we get crazies. 2 weeks back this woman shows up. She used to be a patient of Dr. Payne (the abortionist) back when he sometimes delivered babies alive. He did an ultrasound and found out that her child had a congenital defect (non-life threatening) and told her that she needed to get an abortion. She refused and demanded to see another doctor. Her son is 30 and he is severely mentally retarded, but they’re both happy. We were all very glad to hear her story and talk to her for a bit. But, while this woman is there, a teenager walks out of the clinic with her parents. It’s obvious that she just had an abortion. And the woman we’ve been talking to starts yelling something awful at the poor girl. Immediately, we stopped her and explained that this was not what we do. She didn’t get a whole sentence out, but this incident really worried me. If something like this can happen while we’re standing right there, what can happen when we’re not?

Don’t get me wrong, I trust the people in Tuscaloosa who organize 40-Days. I’m sure that everyone’s been told just to pray, to not cross this line in the ground, and to make sure that the people in the road can see our signs. Not a single one of them has done anything wrong or weird so far as I can tell. I’m hoping a few of them will turn out to be regulars. But these are my admonishments to newbies:

• For the first few weeks, you’re there to be seen and not heard. Your presence will change more minds than any words you have to hurl across a parking lot any way.

• If you do have to talk to someone, find your compassion. People facing these decisions are going through mental and emotional turmoil. Calling them murderers or damning them to hell isn’t going to do anyone any good.

• Know the resources in your area. Know where they can get free or reduced clothing, sonograms, medical care, housing. When you tell people you can help, you better be able to follow through.

• Try not to be cruel to a woman who just had an abortion. By this I mean, put down your heart beat sign and your happy living fetus signs and remember to tell her that there are still counseling services willing to help her.

• Don’t break the law or encourage others to do so. Don’t joke about violence. Crazy people bombed an abortion clinic or two back in the day. We’re still trying to recoup our reputation from back then. Don’t ruin our hard work by showing off your crazy.

13 comments:

Yonmei said...

Also, one woman came specifically to talk to us and show us her beautiful 4 month old baby. Last year she was scheduled for an abortion, but changed her mind after she saw our signs.

I wonder if you're lying about that, or she was?

Probably a bit of both.

Sidewalk counselors are nice, normal people. Anyone who lasts 3 months is pretty sane.

Wow. It's not so much interesting that you bullies define yourselves as "pretty sane" - but it's interesting that even pro-life bullies like you realize that the "40 days" people are true nutcases.

And the woman we’ve been talking to starts yelling something awful at the poor girl. Immediately, we stopped her and explained that this was not what we do.

Interesting. So you see no point in bullying them after they've had an abortion: you'd have no problem yelling awful things at the girl when she was going in, as you have made clear in past posts.

secularprolife.org said...

"I wonder if you're lying about that, or she was?"
Because nobody EVER changes her mind in pro-abortion land...

Amelia: It must be very difficult for someone whose child was targeted for abortion to keep her cool in front of an abortion center, especially given the abortion industry's attitude toward babies with disabilities. In my opinion, she should not be there even to engage in silent protest, let alone to sidewalk counsel. I'm not impugning her character here-- I'm just saying that she is (understandably) going to have extraordinarily high emotions.

As you said, compassion has to be at the heart of sidewalk counseling, but that alone isn't enough. Everyone should get training, whether formal or through older and wiser advocates.

AmeliaLinne said...

//In my opinion, she should not be there even to engage in silent protest, let alone to sidewalk counsel.//

Oh, she wasn't a sidewalk counselor, she just saw us out there and stopped to share her story. She was with us maybe 10 minutes? But it would look to the people coming out of the clinic that she was one of us.

//Everyone should get training, whether formal or through older and wiser advocates.//
Most definitly. I don't think that I've ever counseled someone by myself. We have people who've been doing this for more than 15 years and we usually work in pairs when we actually get to talk to someone.

After a couple of weeks of watching, you can usually figure out what to call out to people though. There's a basic script we follow and we don't change it up too much.

Yonmei said...

Because nobody EVER changes her mind in pro-abortion land...

Because when a pro-life propagandist comes up with an example that "proves" their case, looking into the facts more closely invariably proves that the basic facts are against them. Pro-lifers lie.

If you recall, a pavement bully posted on this blog not long ago claiming that the pavement bullies outside the clinic had "saved her baby" (I forget whether she actually used that phrase or not). In fact, because she talked about it at more length, she was uncertain about having an abortion at all: all the pavement bullies accomplished was turning her back from the clinic where she would have received counseling and domestic abuse advice. She didn't want to have the abortion so no one would have talked her into it - because everyone inside the clinic would have been pro-choice.

Unlike the anti-choice bullies outside.

Yonmei said...

Amelia:
After a couple of weeks of watching, you can usually figure out what to call out to people though. There's a basic script we follow and we don't change it up too much.


Bullies get very good at knowing just what to say. I've never known other bullies admit to having a script, but they were close to it.

If there were more of you you'd be as dangerous as coydogs....

Yonmei said...

SP:
Amelia: It must be very difficult for someone whose child was targeted for abortion to keep her cool in front of an abortion center, especially given the abortion industry's attitude toward babies with disabilities.


Literally the only person who could have targeted that young man "for abortion", if he was 30 years old, was his own mother.

The "abortion industry" is a pro-life myth. (The adoption industry, for healthy babies, on the other hand is no myth at at all but a solid pro-life industry built out of maternal misery.)

Her anger at a young woman who did have an abortion is pretty definite proof that, after 30 years of caring for her son, she's got a lot of unexpressed rage coming out at the young women who made a different choice from hers - indicating, sadly, that she's not altogether happy with the choice she made. She needs therapy to honestly discuss how she feels about it, and sadly, it looks like she's becoming another psychiatric casualty of the pro-life movement's lies - because no one ever changes their mind and wishes they had had an abortion in pro-life land.

Nulono said...

PRCs make ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY from adoption (they don't even do the adoption themselves usually), and everything is volunteer-run. Compare that to Planned Parenthood, making hundreds per abortion and receiving taxpayer money to boot.

But it's not surprising you'd rather see a child torn limb from limb than see them placed in a loving family that wants, but can't make, children.

> "Literally the only person who could have targeted that young man "for abortion", if he was 30 years old, was his own mother."
> "He did an ultrasound and found out that her child had a congenital defect (non-life threatening) and told her that she needed to get an abortion."

She's angry because in America there's an unborn child's life being snuffed out every 23 seconds.

We're trying to save lives and offer abortion alternatives. Bullying does not come into it.

Yonmei said...

PRCs make ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY from adoption

So they claim. Wonder what the donation/funding patterns would show? They're shoestring operations, obviously, as they provide no medical care and no real services: but the rent's got to be paid. They are all strongly tied into coercive adoption agencies, rather than any socialist welfare movement for ensuring that single/low-income mothers get to keep their babies.

Compare that to Planned Parenthood, making hundreds per abortion and receiving taxpayer money to boot.

Planned Parenthood is a non-profit. Fantasy claims by pro-lifers aside, it appears pro-lifers do not understand the concept of a non-profit that does not run at a loss. And provides actual useful public services, unlike the crisis pregnancy centers.

Yonmei said...

But it's not surprising you'd rather see a child torn limb from limb

Violent pro-life lying rhetoric makes you sound like a terrorist, Nulano. Are you?

than see them placed in a loving family that wants, but can't make, children.

I'd always rather see a mother get to keep her baby. Pro-lifers, with their utter indifference to women's feelings and women's lives, actively rejoice over the coerced removal of a baby from the mother - and ignore her trauma. It's a class thing as well as a gender thing: celebrate the feelings of the couple who is unwilling to adopt an older child in need, and ignore the utter agony and misery of a mother who lost her baby.

Yonmei said...

She's angry because in America there's an unborn child's life being snuffed out every 23 seconds.

If she were actually angry about that, she'd be doing something practical about it - supporting Planned Parenthood or other effective abortion prevention agencies.

No, that kind of screaming anger comes from something deeper. She knew she could have had an abortion - her remembered version of the doctor's words is undoubtedly twisted, but he probably did tell her that she should consider abortion as one of her options, since planning to devote your life to a mentally-disabled child is something one should choose to do, not be forced into.

She chose. She wanted her child. An admirable decision, but perhaps in the end something she picked because she felt she ought to, not because she wholeheartedly wanted that life; and seeing a young woman who had chosen another path, whose life will be very different from hers, caused her to scream with rage - not so much at that woman, but at herself. A person who was genuinely content with her choice would not have such rage inside her.

Michelle said...

Yonmei - I think it is you that are filled with rage, based on your comments. Can you back any of your statements up with data/examples of how crazy pro-lifers are in-line with the mainstream pro-life movement? It seems this site is dedicated to reasoned approaches to debate, so I was just curious if you are capable of dialoging on that level...

Yonmei said...

Michelle: Can you back any of your statements up with data/examples of how crazy pro-lifers are in-line with the mainstream pro-life movement?

Certainly. The standard line of the mainstream pro-life movement is that in clinics where abortions are performed, doctors are "killing babies".

This standard line is the justification by the pro-life terrorists of their violent acts.

Pavement bullies are a threat because while most pavement bullies stick to verbal harassment and relatively non-violent mob blocking of access to the clinic, they are using the same justification for their actions against healthcare as the more violent pro-lifers do for their terrorist acts against life and property.

Yonmei said...

Now it's true, most mainstream pro-lifers understand that the claim that abortion "tears children limb from limb" as Nulano claims above, or "kills babies", is pure rhetoric - it's not intended to be taken seriously. Most pro-lifers neither believe it themselves nor expect others to take it literally.

But anyone at all familiar with the pro-life movement's violent history knows that the less sane pro-lifers have taken violent rhetoric like Nulano's seriously and literally - and acted accordingly. Which is why health clinics which perform abortions need high levels of security, pay high levels of insurance, and often need teams of volunteers just to ensure the patients can safely get in and out.