From an African American abortion clinic escort who is a “faith leader in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church”
“Every Friday, a group of people gathers outside the Planned Parenthood clinic where I volunteer, holding signs that shame the women who visit with slogans like “Your mother kept you” and pictures of babies that say “I want to live.” These signs and their presence may seem peaceful because the protesters don’t (typically) threaten or physically assault visitors. But their very presence is violent, their words often cruel, and their motives are to intimidate and scare away people seeking health care.
When I was at the clinic last month, the protesters were mostly Black and from one church in Raleigh. They held signs that said “Fetus lives matter” and “The most dangerous place for a Black child is in the womb.”
As a Black woman, seeing those signs made me angry. They make it seem as if Black women do not make our own decisions, that we are simply pawns in America’s racist society….
The leader of the protesters targeted me toward the end of their demonstration. I was one of two Black women volunteering as clinic greeters. He said, “I want to talk to the young sister over there. You are on the wrong side with those White people.” Then, addressing the police officer standing near me, he said, “We respect the cops. Blue lives matter.”
Of course, he couldn’t tell that I too am a Christian, and a minister… I didn’t need to look like a faith leader to demonstrate my faith. I am a clinic greeter because of my faith, which teaches me how important it is to provide care for my community. For me, that means ensuring that women have safe access to their health care facilities.
Ironically, at the clinic, I am not only under threat of violence from shooters — I am also threatened by discrimination from the faith communities to which I belong.
EMMA AKPAN “Defunding Planned Parenthood Is Just Another Form of Racism” Bustle Dec 14, 2015
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