Miss. abortion clinic owner stands firms amid battle | The Columbian http://ow.ly/raTeC
from a guest blogger...
I have not escorted lately. I have been in school and I have been completely wiped. However, the clinic has not been wiped from my mind, and all but one of my English papers was about some aspect of Choice in Kentucky. My last project was supposed to be a remix of one of those papers. I had written about the protestors and how they are a community problem.
The new documentary short Roe At Risk made as part of the group Alliance for Justice First Monday film project discusses the current state of emergency around reproductive rights and features activists in Mississippi and Texas as well as national leaders. There are interviews with JWHO clinic director Shannon Brewer, Provider Dr. Willie Parker and several clinic escorts can be seen in the footage. If you want to help support the clinic you can learn more about how to do that here or join us as for events Nov. 1-6.
By Laurie Bertram Roberts
She could barely stand she was so sick that day. Every step seemed to take so much effort just for her to get to the door of the clinic. As we walked with her and her family we heard bits and pieces of her story. She wanted to be pregnant. This pregnancy was toxic for her and it showed in her face and her movements. She had went to 3 doctors only to be told they couldn’t help her. So here she was. We walked, she walked, and the street harassers yelled at her and her family as if they knew about her and her life. She owed no one an explanation. We listened, to her and her family. We talked, to her. For that woman on that day the #Pinkhouse, as we affectionately call Jackson Women’s Health Organization was a place of refuge.
Since the JWHO clinic defenders started in January we have walked with hundreds of women. Women of various ages, income levels, and races/ethnicities. Each had a story, each had a reason to be there that was her own. No one reason was more valid than the other. For each one the last abortion provider housed in the bright pink building on a hill was a place of refuge. Yes, I said a place of refuge just as defined by the dictionary- a noun- “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble”.
Operation Save America/Operation Rescue, I mean Operation Oppress, is coming to town next week as part of their “States of Refuge” tour. It is odd that an organization that employs terrorists and spends it’s time going around the country harassing patients and trying to intimidate abortion providers would talk about providing refuge to anyone.
It is clear that in their minds they believe that they know what’s best for the women of Mississippi. Only they can provide them the “help” they need. Only they have the spiritual guidance we need. We choose to TRUST MISSISSIPPI WOMEN! We will continue to support the doctors and staff of the clinic who put their lives at risk to provide a safe and legal medical procedure. If or when the time comes that a woman in Mississippi or the surrounding area needs abortion care JWHO and it’s supporters will be here. The clinic is A PLACE OF REFUGE and it will continue to stand as a bright pink beacon of reproductive freedom.
Please join us Nov.1-6th as we show our support for OUR state’s last abortion provider. If you can’t come in person please consider making a donation either at the address below or Mississippi NOW’s reproductive freedom fund via Paypal (put in the memo what you want the money to go for clinic defense or abortion funding). I urge you to support the local people who are on the ground doing the work here in MISSISSIPPI everyday! Thank you!
Donations can be sent directly to
Jackson Women’s Health Organization,
2903 N State St, Jackson, MS 39216
in the memo: Escort activities/events
Sudden violent death creates concentric ripples which spread ever wider washing and crashing over the immediate family on to extended family, friends, and colleagues. Those ripples ebb back to the deceased’s family. Sometimes, what rolls back is sympathy and genuine compassion. In other instances, a dangerous rip tide threatens to pull the family back into gothic familial deep water where the recently aggrieved find themselves struggling to maintain their footing and keep from drowning in those passive aggressive human voices whose motives are more self-centered than benevolent, more angry than comforting.
LiberalAmerica.org | 5 Ways Abortion Protesters Can Improve Their Message – LiberalAmerica.org http://ow.ly/pOLRy
Eighty protesters this week. Most of the regulars were there, and about 25 extras from Kentucky Mountain Bible College. The Bible college folks broke into two groups. Half of them stayed down at the end of the gauntlet, where one dark haired woman in particular pleaded with clients, companions and escorts alike to "please read this, just read this, please," thrusting the pamphlet at us as we passed by.
by Laurie Bertram Roberts
Wednesday September 25th was the kickoff of the anti choicers 40 days for life campaign. I like to call it 40 days of judging and shaming women or 40 days of lies. This is a great time for people to show how much they support the last remaining independent abortion provider in Mississippi.
People frequently ask us how they can help the escorts do what what we do at the clinic so here is a list of things we could use to make our job easier. Of course we always take good old fashion money our paypal account is accessed using mississippiNOWprez@gmail.com if you donate via paypal please specify whether you want your donation to go for abortion funding or clinic defense (donations are being handled by the Mississippi chapter of NOW and ALL funds donated go to clinic defense or abortion funding NOT other chapter activities).
Just to make things interesting we will be tweeting a count of the protesters at the clinic on the days we are there so you and your friends can pledge to send a dollar or fifty cents for every protester that we have during the largest protest day. Your help is needed and appreciated.
If you are in our area and/or have these items please contact us.
external hard drive or large flash drive
hand held digital camcorder
16 or 32 GB memory cards for cameras (for legal observing)
Umbrellas (the big sturdy kind)
rain ponchos (big ones and smaller ones)
We are always in need of cases of water we use A LOT of water!
If you post messages of thanks and support for the doctors and staff we will be sure they get them.
We greatly thank all of you for your support.
You are forever talking about what you know is right for women, what women want, and what they really need. You’ve even told clinic staff, doctors and nurses that you know they could do better in another line or work. With your particularized notion of moral righteousness, you’ve lodged complaints with police about what you know are your rights to free speech at abortion clinics.
This is a message we received via Facebook today from a woman named Marni. She wants to share her abortion story. Contrary to what the anti abortion side shouts every woman does not regret their abortion. 1 in 3 women are not the walking wounded. This is what Marni sent us unedited -
“I think the work the escorts do at JWHO is amazing, and following your blog has compelled me to share my own abortion story.
Thank you for all the amazing work you do. I don’t live in Mississippi, but if I did I would be a very enthusiastic volunteer escort at JWHO. Keep up it up!
Marni Switzer (my story is below).
To the protestors everything is black and white. Either you have the baby, or you don’t. That simple.
Unfortunately nothing, absolutely nothing in life is black and white.
This is my story; the story of a healthy 32-year-old woman who decided to terminate her pregnancy.
You may ask why as a woman in her thirties I chose not to go ahead with the pregnancy and keep the baby, and that is a valid question. There were no health issues with regards to my pregnancy; the fetus probably would have grown into a healthy child, and there were no risks with regards to my own health. There was no trauma associated with the pregnancy; the sex was consensual and with a man I had been dating for some time and cared a great deal for.
For those who are pro-life, there are no excuses for me having an abortion. But they are only looking at me from the outside, as a vessel for a fetus, and not as a person with my own doubts, fears and feelings of any kind. I am sure that in their imaginations, the baby would have been born into a loving family, cared for and given every opportunity, loved and cherished, and lived a wonderful life. That is all they see. They do not consider the fact that I simply could not afford to raise a child. I have a hard enough time making ends meet and supporting myself – feeding myself, paying rent, putting clothes on my back. I have worked hard to maintain a life that I want for myself, to work a job that doesn’t pay much but is fulfilling to me in ways that money could never compare to. I love my work as a writer, but financially there is no way I would be able to support a child through the first year of life, let alone all the years that follow. I would not have been able to buy diapers for my child, or formula, and if I did it would be at the sacrifice of keeping myself fed and healthy. I would literally have been giving up my own life for that of the child. In the protestors eyes it appears that life of the child is of more value than the life of the person who conceived it. Would they have been there to help me support the child? Would they have been there to look after the child so I could continue to work so I could support both myself and the baby? Would they have raised the funds needed for doctors appointments during my pregnancy and to help pay the hospital bill after I had given birth? Above all this, I would not have been there to see my child grow, because in order to give it any kind of life, I would probably have needed to work more than one job to support not only myself but another person as well. I would never know my child as it would never know me, because in order for it to live I would have to live to work, not work to live.
I am sure in the protestors heads that every child is born into a happy family. That the father would have played a significant role in the baby’s life I do not know. The relationship was too new, too fresh to contemplate having children. We hadn’t even spoken words of love to each other yet, and hadn’t spoken of our future, whether we would still be together in a week, a month, a year. Having a baby is life-altering, and I was not emotionally ready to make those changes, and nor was I willing to force those changes on another person as well.
For those against abortion, they would probably claim that it is my own fault that I got pregnant, and that I should have expected to get pregnant after having a night of fun, “unprotected sex”. Would they actually be willing to listen to my situation? Birth control is effective, as are condoms, but nothing comes with a 100% guarantee, and accidents do happen. When our accident occurred, I did not just leave it up to chance, cross my fingers behind my back and hope for the best. The morning after I went to the closest pharmacy and got emergency contraceptive. I took every precaution I possibly could have while still remaining sexually active, and I still got pregnant. Somehow in the intervening hours between sex and emergency contraception, my egg was fertilized. It is not because I am a slut, or because I chose to be stupid. Let me repeat: nothing in life is guaranteed.
The final argument the pro-lifers would probably make is that I could have carried the pregnancy to term and given the baby up for adoption. I don’t know if a single anti-abortion protestor has ever spoken to someone who has given up a child for adoption. We always hear the stories of how women who have had abortions end up traumatized by their decision and regret it for the rest of their lives. Convenient fodder to use against those of us who have made the decision to terminate our pregnancies. Do they understand how hard it is for someone to give up a child? The grief after placing a child for adoption can be all-encompassing and can lead to feelings of guilt, loss and shame. Sound similar? These are the same feelings that some women can feel post-abortion. The grief is the same, as is the loss. I knew I could not have this baby so I chose an abortion.
I have no regrets about my decision, nor to I feel any guilt or shame over it. I knew it was the right decision for me, and after all, as it was my life that was about to change, isn’t it right that I made the best decision for me?”
We thank Marni for sharing her story and for her bravery in standing up to abortion stigma and shaming!