A woman from the radio station across from the Whole Woman’s Health abortion facility yelled over to me from the driveway across the street a few day ago and said that abortion was “15 x safer than childbirth” then walked away. Today she was walking across the WWH parking lot and began a similar tactic. This time I pretended that I couldn’t hear her and walked closer to her so she would stop and talk to me instead of blabbing and jetting.
She said “60% of women who have abortions already have children.” She’s full of stats ain’t she?! Anyway I nodded and said “yes, I’m aware it’s around that percentage.”
J: Well it’s not right for you to be out here shaming women. It may not be morally right for some women to get an abortion but it is for others.
Me: I have information about a plethora of other safer places for women to go and I’m here to share that with them in a calm and loving way. How is that shaming?
J: Well, what other places are you talking about?
Me: this brochure shows a few pregnancy centers close by, plus there are 20 in the central Texas area. They have all free services [etc etc] plus there are healthcare clinics that have low cost care for women AND their families. This place, as well as all other abortion facilities, have limited services and have failed health inspections multiple times.
J: Not this place though, this is a good clean place.
Me: No, in fact they failed their last inspection in July. And when they were open before they failed inspections on a regular basis.
J: What are some things they failed? How do you know this?
Me: this is public information anyone can see by requesting it from the state, you don’t have to take my word for it.
They’ve had violations like unsterilized instruments, rusty suction machines, all kinds of gross things. I think women deserve to know that information, don’t you?
J: Ok so if a woman wants an abortion where in Austin can she go that’s a clean place?
Me: Every abortion facility in the state has failed at least one (most multiple) inspection over the last few years. Again, public info. I’d never refer a woman to an abortion facility.
J: Ok but I just think it’s wrong when people share false information about abortion and the risks, especially since there are hardly any risks at all.
Me: There are significant risks. For starters there’s always a dead baby at the end of it, so it’s NEVER safe for a baby. But for women, there are many risks as well [I wanted to say that while there may not always be high physical risks there are emotional and psychological but didn’t quite get to that]. We really do care about women and want to help them.
[I also wanted to tell her that many of us on the sidewalk have experienced this personally, and some have even worked in the abortion industry, so we know what we’re talking about. Didn’t get to that point either. ]
I forget exactly what she said after that, but she started to walk away and I told her my name, held out my hand and thanked her for talking to me, that she could say hi and talk anytime she saw me here. She gave me her name, gave a slight smile and shook my hand then walked across the street.
2 other women from the radio station came out and they all immediately started talking about what just happened. I’m not sure how honest or charitable “J” was to them about our convo, but hopefully seeds were planted and her heart was softened to us.