Clinic Escort Series: Emma Mosby – Montgomery, Alabama
I don’t talk too much about my volunteerism outside of the small circle of my fellow volunteers. I have always felt that if a person has to brag about doing good, they’re doing it for the wrong reasons. But things are happening for the umpteenth time that really have me bothered. For those of you who don’t know, I volunteer at a health care center in Montgomery, AL that provides reproductive services such as birth control and abortions. Abortion is a difficult word. When pronounced, it sounds ugly and harsh. The stigma attached to it is worse. My role as a volunteer is to serve as a buffer and a face of kindness against the protesters who seem to relish in bullying and berating the patients and their companions.
The thing that keeps getting stuck with me is the total lack of compassion shown by the protesters as they scream sing Christian hymns and yell Biblical scripture. Women seek out the clinic for many reasons that are theirs alone but it’s not uncommon for women to have planned their pregnancies only to face crisis level complications that force their abortion. Numerous women have told the protesters and me that they are fighting cancer and must terminate their pregnancy to begin chemo. This confession seems to make the protesters even nastier. They’ll ask women why their lives are more important. Some women, victims of rape have said they feel they are being victimized all over again. Nearly every woman who enters the clinic for an abortion is frightened. The screaming and bullying protesters only make their situation that much harder. This is not the face of Jesus or the legacy he intended.
It is not hyperbolic to say that, especially in the south, women’s healthcare and lives are being further endangered by legislation that places unnecessary restrictions on clinics that could lead to forced closures. Right now in Alabama, House Bill 183 proposes such legislation. The bill seeks to deceptively establish personhood with language like “Abortion is a tragedy that involves the taking of a human life” and “Every year tens of thousands of viable unborn children are aborted for no other reason than a minor physical disability or the small inconvenience which would be involved in placing that child in a loving home.”
Due to Alabama’s current 48 hour waiting period, women seeking an abortion must first make an appointment for the initial counseling session and pre-procedure lab work. Only after that can she schedule her abortion. As is typical at any physician’s office, there are fees associated with lab work that are paid by the patient at the time of service. Likewise, fees for the abortion are due at the time of service. HB183 seeks to bankrupt clinics by prohibiting ANY payment at the first visit. Clinics would be required to provide counseling sessions and lab work free of charge. “No abortion provider may accept payment, nor may the abortion provider legally or otherwise bind a woman to make a payment, for the performance or inducing of an abortion prior to the expiration of 48 hours from the abortion provider’s fulfillment of all of the provisions of subdivision (a)(1).”
I have chosen to highlight but two troubling points of HB183, but there are many others. In numerous ways this bill is more severe than the TRAP laws. What will happen to women like the ones I mentioned earlier if these clinics close? Women, we deserve better. Our daughters deserve better. If we don’t make a move, our rights will be gone and our lives endangered. Vote, volunteer, speak out, make a difference.