Clothing inventory from the inside out, assembled 3am last night, for 6:30am wake-up and 6:52am bus:
- Camisole, tucked in to preserve warm air barrier (I learned that from otters). Originally purchased as sleep-wear.
- The Lair of the Bear (Berkeley alumni family camp brand) long underwear.
- “I Stand with Planned Parenthood” pink t-shirt (which I got at a pro-choice rally in Pittsburgh)
- Carnegie Mellon scarlet sweatshirt, with hood (keeping my head warm is the best way to keep all of me warm).
- 3/4 length Land’s End black winter coat (originally bought for a trip to Central Europe in February 2005, but equally appropriate for winter in Pittsburgh)
- Jeans, ratty, (able to stretch over long-underwear when it’s 5 below).
- Belt (to make sure layers 1-3 are always tucked in, to protect the aforesaid air bubble).
- Two pairs of socks, one of them my partner’s (to keep my feet warm and stable for 3 hours of standing in the cold).
- My Mom’s hiking boots from the 1990s, one size too big (thus the two pairs of socks of (warmth) holding).
- (Not shown) Planned Parenthood jersey, in Steelers black and yellow, so clients know we’re not protesters.
In case you have no idea why Planned Parenthood has volunteer escorts, it’s simple: pro-life protesters show up outside of many clinics which offer abortions to try and convince women not to go inside. They do everything from praying the rosary, singing hymns, handing out pamphlets, to waving rubber fetuses, following women down the street whispering at them, yelling “Mother! Don’t kill your baby!”, to screaming with bullhorns, firebombing clinics (which happened as recently as days ago) and assassinating doctors.
As an escort with 5 years of experience at my downtown clinic, my job is to be a friendly face for clients who are sleepy and nervous and unprepared to publicly defend their private medical decisions to frustrated and occasionally abusive strangers. I escort because I don’t believe anyone should scream at women and intimidate them, for any reason. In 5 years, I have never seen a woman turned back by protesters.
For more on escorting and protester-behavior, you can read what I’ve written, follow some of my fellow escorts on Twitter or through their blogs, or read this chilling profile of the second assassinated Florida doctor, written before he was shot and killed by a pro-life protester (his murderer was rightly and roundly denounced by nearly all pro-life organizations).
“About 61% of abortions are obtained by women who have one or more children.”–The Guttmacher Institute Factrs on Induced Abortion (Jones RK, Finer LB and Singh S, Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients, 2008, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2010.)