Hey kids, what do you want to do this hot, summer morning?
Hang out at the neighborhood pool?
Go to a nice, cool museum in town?
I know! How about if you stand in the blazing sun, holding medically inaccurate signs yelling things like, “you are cursed to hell for eternity” at the women and staff going into the local Planned Parenthood?
You betcha!! That sounds like the perfect plan for helping me grow up to become a well-adjusted adult. I’ll grab the poster board!
That was the narrative that played out in my mind as I scanned the crowd of protestors out in front of the local Planned Parenthood this morning to witness the Summer of Normalcy. #KnowWhatsNormal #NN16
There were about 30 protestors gathered in front of the clinics, but what was shocking was that about half of them were small children.
None of this shocked the clinic escorts who were also gathered to help the women safely access the clinic. The clinic escorts were familiar with the protestors and their chants.
“There are regulars who are here every Saturday. They do a lot of yelling at us,” said Paige a clinic escort who was volunteering for a two-hour shift.
Michael, who has been volunteering for over three years, does it for the same reason he feels everyone should get involved.
“I don’t like women being harassed.”
Such a simple concept and yet such a powerful statement.
Then, I met Bob. Bob is not an official escort. Bob rides his bike with a Planned Parenthood sign on the front of it by the protestors every Saturday. He has been doing it since 1985 at different clinic locations around Kansas City. He is not an official volunteer for Planned Parenthood, but does it because he feels it’s the right thing to do.
“Things aren’t as violent now as they used to be back when I started. It’s like they know they aren’t going to win the fight to outlaw abortion. When we started, they (the protestors) felt like they just needed one more Supreme Court Justice and then abortion would be illegal, but that never happened.”
I spoke with another group of escorts who had gathered to greet patients next to the protestors.
“The escorts become a community and friends. We are in this together for reproductive justice,” said one escort.
One protestor handed me materials as I was driving away. Looking at them, I was comforted in knowing that their materials were as old and outdated as this fight.
This post is dedicated to all of the escorts during this Summer of Normalcy, but especially Bob. Sometimes all it takes is one person, a bike and a sign to stand up for what’s right.
Ride on Bob….ride on.