Words DO matter.

So, obviously I care about this issue, but.

Check out this article from the L.A. Times. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-goldberg-planned-parenthood-killer-20151201-column.html

My response is this:

Your argument is chock-full of false equivalencies. “Batman” and “Zeitgeist” and video games are fictional forms of entertainment.

The pro-life rhetoric is NOT fictional. It is real (whether or not the facts are). That rhetoric is incredibly violent, and, if taken seriously, the logical conclusion for many people would be violence. Think about it this way. Here’s some of the rhetoric I hear on the sidewalks:

–“You’re a baby-killer”
–“Don’t kill me, mommy”
–“Don’t be an escort of death/deathscort”
–“You’re killing an innocent person”
–“Jesus will judge you, sinner”

Now consider Carly Fiorina’s disproven statement about the (totally irrelevant) videos released by David Daleiden: http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/05/politics/fact-check-carly-fiorina-anti-abortion-videos/

Let’s reframe the terms.

Imagine we turned these phrases around to talk about someone of a different race or ethnicity. Maybe a religion?

Hell. We don’t even have to change the terms. People are doing it for us:

“[Clinic doctor murderer Paul Hill’s conduct was justifiable defensive action. There are many examples where taking the life in defense of innocent human beings is legally justified and permissible under the law.”
–Troy Newman, who recently endorsed Ted Cruz

“And now we are called into this incredible Holocaust of our own in America.” –Mike Huckabee, presidential candidate

“During slavery, a lot of slave owners thought they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave, anything that they chose. And what if the abolitionists had said, ‘I don’t believe in slavery, but you guys do whatever you want’? Where would we be?” –Ben Carson, presidential candidate

“Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to Black lives than the KKK ever was.” –E.W. Jackson, former candidate for VA Lieutenant Governor

“If a woman has [the right to an abortion], why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t [usually] result in anyone’s death.” –Rep. Lawrence Lochman, ME state lawmaker

“Hillary Clinton… believes in the systematic murder of children in the womb to preserve their body parts.” –Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey

Tell me, folks: If you truly believed that what these politicians are saying is absolutely accurate, you would be furious. You might start a war– heck, we’ve started wars for less. When you compare the Holocaust and slavery (both of which we fought wars about) to abortion, you are inviting violent responses.

This isn’t fiction. Language has power, and the people misusing it have a lot of power too.

Violent rhetoric leads to violence. PERIOD.

ETA: This is really great info:

“Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.”

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/12/heres-how-far-right-christians-incited-stochastic-terrorism-at-a-colorado-springs-planned-parenthood/

I’m a “Deathscort” and I’m proud of it.

Yesterday, I was a clinic escort at a women’s medical center here in New York City.

What’s a clinic escort?
A person who literally walks with a patient to the entrance of the clinic.

Why do we need them?
Because protestors use their right to “free speech” to hold up horrific signs, yell vicious lies, slander others, and get right up into the faces of women and men who are just trying to get healthcare while telling them that they are “murderers.”

My experience is best laid out by this woman, who escorts at the clinic I worked at yesterday:
http://the-toast.net/2014/07/02/abortion-clinic-escort-stories/
But here’s some of what I experienced:

Honestly, it was just deeply strange. I’ve seen this kind of stuff in documentaries and I guess maybe on the street, but it was a whole other thing to stand there for four hours with these people. When I told A about it, he couldn’t believe that what they were doing was legal. Emotionally, I felt just fine, since I was so sure that these people were in the wrong. The whole time, though, I really felt for the women and men coming into the clinic– they are forced to walk down a sidewalk crowded with people holding enormous, gruesome signs and swarming around them. No one wants that. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.

A few things that didn’t surprise me:

  • The crazy fundamentalist rhetoric. They brought slavery in within about ten minutes; the Holocaust came about five minutes later.
  • All of the escorts were women. The main leader was an older woman, around your age, who the protesters loved to call a communist. The rest of us were in our mid to late twenties. All of us were white, and all of us were really passionate.

And many things that did surprise me:

  • They got SO CLOSE to the patients. Literally, right up next to them, touching, arm to arm. We literally had to push ourselves in between the protestors and the patient, which involved a bit of very forceful “Excuse me” on our part.
  • How much they just YELLED. I was exhausted just ignoring them.
  • How many there were. There were about six escorts and at least twenty five protestors from just ONE church, not including the catholic church of about twelve people that spent an hour across the street singing and praying.
  • It was “peaceful,” I guess, but the language they used was so inflammatory, even when no patients were coming in or out. I was called more horrible things yesterday than in the rest of my life combined. Some favorites: “deathscort” “accomplice to murder” “wicked,” and those were just some of the most obviously hurtful.
  • The longtime escorts were totally familiar with most of the protestors; they come every week from one church. We weren’t permitted to use anyone’s name (even first names) while outside the clinic, because the protestors have tracked down and harassed escorts at their work and home.
  • How locked down the facility was. I have never seen a doctor’s office… heck, any office… with that much security. There’s a security guard outside, two inside. The walls of the waiting room are soundproofed so the patients can’t hear the screaming outside. You have to be buzzed in TWICE by a nurse in order to even get to the waiting room. It’s a fortress.

And what’s most sad about that is that the clinic is beautiful. It’s brand newand is growing every day. We were able to take a quick tour. The OB/GYN and pre-natal area was lovely and filled with light. Whenever we saw a patient with a nurse, they were both smiling or laughing (what a contrast to outside). We didn’t get to see the surgical area, though we did peek into the recovery room. It was so lovely and bright. The head OB/GYN nurse talked to us for a while in the conference room, telling us what the clinic does. There was a lot of information, but basically it’s just a great place for women to get HEALTHCARE. Imagine that. They even have special programs to help women who don’t have papers.

One of the Pastor’s daughters brought her husband and their TWO YEAR OLD CHILD. She held this child as she stood in our faces, telling us that we were murderers. They pushed the baby in a stroller all around the block where the protestors were, huge 4×4′ posters of “aborted” “fetuses”. It was horrific.

Honestly, one of the things the protestors said was true: “One side is the side of darkness, and the other is the side of light.” And know which one I’m on.

Where my vote is in November.

Somewhat off topic…

But my friend’s mom wrote this amazing letter for Pres. Obama’s campaign. I will disclaimer that I voted for Obama in ’08, I’m a devout liberal, and I had no doubt I’d vote for him again over just about anybody. I saw him speak before the ’08 election and I have never been so moved and touched and inspired.

BUT, even if you’re not an Obama fan, here’s a REALLY solid reason why you should take a step back and recognize what he’s accomplished for us in the last four years. Obama saved my best friend’s life. Read on, and judge.

FEATURED LETTER, MAR. 12, 2012

http://www.barackobama.com/news/entry/letter-of-the-weekmarch-12th-2012?source=tweet_btn

I am writing this sitting next to my daughter’s hospital bed at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Our daughter L is 23 years old. She graduated from XX University with double majors in acting and directing last May. She has been living and working in New York and getting some paid acting work while looking for a “survival” job to help pay the rent—nothing very unusual in any of that.

But just a few months ago, on the same day she received a job offer from a retail store, L was diagnosed with a non-Hodgkins T-cell type lymphoblastic lymphoma. Cancer. L’s world was turned upside down. All her dreams—the dreams we would like every young person to be able to live out—were either crushed outright or put on indefinite hold. Within 48 hours of diagnosis, L had been admitted here at Sloan, and was receiving chemotherapy.

Her cancer is highly treatable and responds well to chemotherapy. L began her treatment on November 18th. It will be a long road—24 months of active treatment—but there is a good chance that she will be cured. Not a guarantee, but a chance. A chance that we would do anything in our power to give her.

But L turned 23 on January 9th, 2012. Before the Affordable Care Act the President proposed and was able to get passed, L would have lost her health benefits through my employment on that date. And with her diagnosis, before the Affordable Care Act, she would never have been able to buy insurance at any price. The cost of her care is huge; and even though we are fortunate to enjoy a high annual job income, we are basically a middle-class family with a mortgage, and paying for that care personally would bankrupt my husband and me.

Because of the President, our daughter will get the treatment she needs. Because of the President, L gets a chance to save her life. L voted for Barack Obama in 2008, the first national election in which she was eligible to vote. She had no way of knowing then how critical that election would be to her personally; but she believed in Barack Obama then, and she believes in him now, more than ever.

The treatment to cure L’s cancer is harsh and painful. I watch my daughter struggle daily with bone pain, nausea, chills, constipation, hair loss, skin rashes … it is an ugly litany of indignities and varying degrees of discomfort, overlain with the gnawing fear that the chemo won’t work. But each day she struggles on, fighting for the life that she wants to live. And every day we thank Barack Obama for giving her the chance to do so.

In a few months, we have been told that the most intensive and difficult part of L’s treatment will be over.

Our family has made contributions to the President’s campaign efforts ever since he became a national candidate. We have already contributed this year and today made a monthly commitment for the 2012 election. We do that because we think America needs the President. And we do so out of gratitude for our daughter.

Thank you for listening.

—Bonnie, Connecticut