Dear Former Clinic Escort,

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Not only am I a former escort-I’m the mother of a teen who had an abortion, an abortion funder and an abortion doula.

I NEVER “grabbed” patients or even walked with them without asking them if it was ok first.
Not only have I been in the waiting room but many of the patients at the clinic I use to escort at arrived early and would sit outside and talk to us before and sometimes after their procedures. So yes many of us know why they are there and it’s no ones business but their own.
Yes I’ve been in the counseling room (which is done as a group at the clinic I was at before talking to the doctor alone). I listened to the counselor and doctor answer EVERY question from every patient with FACTS. Every patient was offered information packets about all of their options and told all of their options. The doctor talked to my daughter by herself to make sure I wasn’t forcing her to get the procedure. Then he spoke to us both to answer questions.
My daughter said the doctor asked her was she sure she wanted to have the procedure before he began. He also talked her through the entire surgery and when she was briefly in pain the nurse wiped her tears while holding her hand and helping her take relaxing breathes. No screams of pain or over the top drama.
Yes I’ve been in the room for a 2nd trimester abortion. Yes I heard the machine yes I saw the abortion and no I’m not horrified. I am glad I was able to support the woman who needed me to be her doula that day.
I have also sat in the recover room and helped women talk through their emotions of relief and sometimes a bit of grief (all valid).

As an escort I talked to a few women who changed their minds after coming to the clinic and I gave them referrals for support. I didn’t mourn them not having a procedure as a reproductive justice activist I want to do everything possible to support that decision and her right to parent.

As someone in my community who is known to support abortion rights I regularly have women tell me their abortion stories years after their procedure. Sometimes as many as 20 years later because they’ve felt they never had anyone they could talk to. They all pretty much echo the same thing. They don’t feel they made the wrong choice but they have felt judged and shamed by people’s views about abortions. Like the other escort said many don’t talk to family thinking they will react like protesters. So they carry a secret that shouldn’t be shameful.

So I agree with the author GO FUCK YOURSELF! Quickly and with efficiency!

See it seems that the author of this ‘letter’ has escorts confused with antis. We who have and do escort do it so people can receive healthcare without being harassed. We don’t have an agenda to push regarding what choice patients make that’s an anti thing. I know for me I just want patients to have a supportive non judgmental fact based space to do it.

Sidewalk shamers don’t provide that.

Seriously?!?

Blogmaster’s Note: This’ll be a long one, but worth it.  Also, if you come up with some some anti-choice argument BS, have your shit recent and accurate, or you WILL be shown the door.

Wow, when this piece of dreck popped up in a private FB group for escorts, it was universally panned.  I don’t tend to link to the sentient bullshit machine that is LifeSiteNews, but for this opportunity, I made an exception.  So I clicked and read this oh so special letter to us Clinic Escorts.

And the moment the page load, I’m assaulted by an autoplay pledge plea (I know I have Flashblock, so what the fuck?) of two twin douchebags who I’d never heard of, one of which introduces them as “I’m David Benham and this is my twin sister Jason.”

Mmm-mmm, that’s some tasty transphobic humor right there.

Anyway, they apparently lost some house-flipping…

View original post 2,488 more words

It’s Easy To Be ‘Pro-Life’ Until…You Need An Abortion

Abortion

Originally Posted on Defending The Last Clinic  August 20, 2013 It contains a few edits (this appeared on my old blog)

The sun was beating down through the car window, my mouth was dry and my legs felt like lead.  I was trying to figure out how I ended up here. In my mind I knew how- I was a bad girl I was stupid and careless. I kept telling myself all those things. How did I let this happen?  I couldn’t be pregnant now. So there I was 22 years old mother of 5 about to do something I thought I would never do. Have an abortion. See I wasn’t like those other women, you know the ones, the irresponsible ones who didn’t “own their life choices”. The reason I had 5 kids is I owned my “mistakes”.

Abortion had never even been an option for me when I found out I was pregnant at 16. In fact the first place I called to go for a pregnancy test wasn’t Planned Parenthood it was Birthright a anti choice organization that offered services much like a Crisis Pregnancy Center. I couldn’t go to Planned Parenthood when I was 16 because everything in my upbringing had told me they were evil and I had believed them.

As a little girl sitting in the dark stained wooden pews of our fundamentalist Baptist church I often had questions. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t wear pants when I was younger and then when we switched churches God magically changed his mind and I could. Only I still had to always wear skirts to church ALWAYS! That always made me wonder what would happen if I didn’t would God come down and smite me? I mean I was only one little girl in Wisconsin -I always figured God had better things to do.

I often wondered why women couldn’t be church leaders or speak in church except during “women’s events”. I was always full of questions. It was never ok to question the good book and the teachings of God. So even though I was a questioning type I never really thought twice about my church’s stance on abortion or all the things I learned as a child and adolescent about abortion and sex. I did mention I was raised fundamentalist evangelical Baptist, right? Think Jerry Falwell,  (except oddly my grandmother strongly disliked him) John Hagee and Pat Robinson kinds of ideas.  There were lots of rules about life, especially sex and well women we don’t get a say.

Rule one-was sex is BAAAADDDD I mean it bad! It was dirty and bad, until it magically became good when you found the right God fearing (same race) man and got married. Then sex and babies were great- actually required.  In fact if you couldn’t have babies you weren’t suppose to be too shocked if your husband wanted a woman who could provide him children. (that is a whole other post) Rule two- If you were a girl who was dumb enough to get raped or slutty and tempted some good man to have sex with you or weak enough to let some bad man tempt you and you got knocked up- tough cookies for you. Abortion was NEVER an option. Not for rape, not for incest, and especially not for slutty girls who should have heeded God’s will and kept their lady parts to themselves (By the way NO masturbation either y’all if you’re horny just PRAY). Hormonal birth control is abortion and abortion is murder.

I am a child of the 80s. Anti abortion rhetoric was very popular in my church then. I heard often about the holocaust being committed against the unborn. How I should be proud as the mulatto child of a single mom that she owned up to her sin and had me. I really couldn’t thank people enough for calling me a black bastard baby on the sly. I was 12 when my mother experienced a stillbirth it was one more reason to demonize women who get abortions. How dare they throw away the chance she would give anything to have back. What ungrateful people they must be. I heard over and over how only selfish women chose to destroy the life God had blessed them with. This was usually paired with the story of some good Christian family who was just waiting to adopt but couldn’t. Of course it was because of abortion they couldn’t adopt. More than anything I heard how Planned Parenthood injured, maimed, and killed women (lies). That they didn’t provide real health care and were only out to make money. The accusation that always stuck with me was that they would give you an abortion even if you weren’t pregnant.

I grew up hearing those things until I was 14 and they were still with me as my friend and I walked past protesters who called me a murderer, told me to “be responsible”, they would “help me love my baby”  and yelled at me not to “kill my baby”. They didn’t know or understand that I had 5 babies at home to care for, one under a year old and a doctor who had warned me not to get pregnant for at least two years or it could kill me.  I didn’t want to be there but I NEEDED to be there.  I hadn’t wanted to go through the state mandated 24 hour waiting period, the informed consent lecture by phone or the stupid video of what an abortion is. Not because any of it made me feel guilty it all just seem like an insult to my intellect. It just drew out the inevitable. I knew what I was there for and my mind was made up before I arrived.

I sat in the waiting room looking around at the other women thinking “I wonder what her story is”? They all looked different. Some were calm, some scared, some tired and none of us looked like we wanted to be there.  Some of them may have been “good girls” who would go back to church on Sunday and act like abortion is evil. I held my friend’s hand and I waited. They finally called me back for my ultrasound. The technician, who had been chatting with me, got strangely quiet and then called the doctor in. The doctor introduced himself and said “Ms. Roberts there is no heartbeat and it seems the embryo stopped progressing several weeks ago. You are going to have a miscarriage. You should go home and contact your regular doctor especially if you don’t start bleeding in a few days. If you don’t have a regular doctor you can follow up with us. We will refund your money on your way out” He smiled at me gently and patted my hand. My mind was blown! They were suppose to be giving me a back alley abortion procedure right then and there according to everything I was ever taught.

I had already began to question my views but this meant I had been lied to flat out for years! The morning I got up to go and get an abortion I still considered myself pro-life. I was one of those people that said I would never have an abortion but what you do is your business. That was a big step for me from abortion is always murder and those women are going to hell. Still for me I was not one of them. Those women were irresponsible I had a medical reason that made me different, right?

The truth is, it was that day that I realized I wasn’t different than “those women” and although I was sent home that day I am no better or worse than the 1 in 3 women who will have an abortion in their lifetime. Had they not sent me home I would have had that abortion and several days later when my body spontaneously aborted I was relieved to no longer be pregnant. I will never apologize for not wanting to be pregnant or unwilling to take the medical risk at that time to have another child. In all the years since I never mourned the loss of that pregnancy the way I did my other miscarriage either. That was a different time in my life, different emotions and different circumstances.

I left that clinic the same mother, daughter, employee, and citizen I was before. No better no less. I wasn’t dirty I wasn’t a bad person. I went to the doctor like other women before me and other women since.

That day I learned far from being crazed money hungry boogie bears abortion providers are compassionate health care providers (not saying there are never bad ones there are bad docs EVERYWHERE).  Planned Parenthood took good care of me. They were kind and patient. The exact same things I see every week at Jackson Women’s Health Organization. They also called and followed up with me everyday until I miscarried. They didn’t have to do that. I wasn’t really their problem anymore. After I had almost died during a miscarriage from lack of care at a Catholic hospital this level of care and concern was refreshing and shocking.

The biggest lesson I learned is it’s easy to be pro life (anti choice) until you are the one who needs or wants an abortion. It’s easy to tell other people what to do when you can never get pregnant. It is easy to project your feelings of wanting a child or having lost a child onto another woman’s pregnancy experience (as I did when my mother experienced a stillbirth) when it’s not you who needs one.  At the end of the day none of that matters for the lives and choices of individual women and families.

Families just like mine.

Help When It’s Needed

Classism, Income Inequality, Reproductive Justice

By Laurie Bertram Roberts

This was originally published in the Jackson Free Press on Oct. 2, 2013 and was posted on my old blog

Years ago when I was a young mother, I worked two, sometimes three, low-wage restaurant jobs. This was not easy work. It was extraordinarily taxing—not only on my body but my mind. Wait staff have a lot of tasks to complete. Plus, they have to smile and be pleasant even when customers and management serve up a big old side of mistreatment.
Working those kinds of jobs always involves much more hard work than money, which is why I had two and three at a time. But even when I worked two full-time and one part-time job, I still couldn’t make ends meet.
Recently, fast-food workers across the country went on strike. They asked for something fairly simple: a living wage. Make no mistake: The multinational companies that employ these workers can afford to pay better. But many from the right-wing political sphere called striking workers greedy, lazy and un-American.
Fast-forward to the congressional debate over food-stamp benefits (or SNAP), which has the potential to affect many of these same workers. I keep hearing from conservatives—and even some liberals—that “those people” just need to work harder. If only “they” would do that, then the collective American “we” wouldn’t have to take care of “them.” The problem with that thinking is that many people who receive SNAP do work.
Surprisingly absent from the broader discussion of responsibility has been the topic of corporate responsibility in the matter. When companies pay their employees fairly, people who work don’t need food stamps. I find this disjointed thinking odd and non-congruent. It seems as if, in the eyes of some, the working poor are wrong no matter what they do.
In all my working years—on and off public assistance—I have contributed to the community. I am raising epic, awesome kids (yes, I am biased). I resent it when others imply that because people need assistance to put food on the table, they are drug addicts, lazy or worth less than other people.
Every person on assistance has a story. Some may have stories you approve of, and some may not. At the end of the day, I would like to think I live in a country that believes even people we don’t like deserve to eat, one that is willing to feed people in need even when we don’t approve of every food choice. I want to have faith that I live in a country that believes providing free school lunches to hungry children is a good and moral thing to do.
I hope my country shows me I’m right.

Welcome To My New Blog

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Warning: This Blogger Writes While Black, Smart & Poor-Sarcasm & Sharp Critique Of Oppression Expected

Welcome to my new blog! I hope to post far more regular content on here than I did on my previous blog The Intelligent Statistic Speaks (I’ll be reposting some of the posts from there). Let me introduce myself I’m Laurie I go by the smartstatisic. I’m a black, queer, disabled, feminist activist, writer, doula and low income mother of seven living in Mississippi. I do several other things if you hang out here I’m sure I’ll write about them.

The point of this blog is pretty simple. It’s me commenting about the world using a black feminist reproductive justice lens. You probably won’t like my blog if you’re a TERF (Trans Exclusive Radical Feminist), if you think intersectionality is too much work, if you don’t like talking about classism and if you don’t like talking about racism or oppression. I write about those things A LOT. I also write about the “a word” often; abortion, abortion, ABORTION! I’m not scared of it or ashamed. So if you are this isn’t the blog for you. If you’re squeamish about sex and sexuality you might want to leave now as well. On this blog unlike my old one I will be exploring sexual topics a lot more. Basically if it’s a topic that can be considered a feminist or reproductive justice issue I will likely write about it.

If none of those things bother you, in fact if they are your kinda of thing and you’re not adverse to the word fuck (I almost forgot to add I curse often and creatively) please join me!