Sunday, September 13, 2009

A summer of clinic defenses

I was going to try to summarize the summer of clinic defenses, but there was too much to say. Here's what happened yesterday (and maybe others can fill in other stories).

There's this creepy monk who isn't content to just pray at us like the other monks. He yells at patients and walks right up to escorts and asks us about our souls. Yesterday, he walked right up to escort Z like he was in a trance, and then jumped at her like someone's little brother trying to scare them. He walked around in a trance for most of the morning. What a joke!

An older woman was hanging around near the front entrance for a while then went to the door and walked in. We weren't sure if she was a protester or what. Then she came from around the block having come out the back entrance. She stood around some more, and then asked us what kind of insurance the clinic accepted. We told her she'd have to ask inside. She said she'd already been inside and had forgotten to ask and didn't want to go back in because she'd have to pass by the monks out back. So I offered to walk her through. She was just looking for someone to get a Pap smear, and when the monks had gone after her about her "abortion" she just yelled back, "I'm 67! I've been through menopause!" Inside the clinic, we found out that her blue cross/blue shield plan doesn't cover pap smears for women over 50. Who knew? As we walked out together, she said, "You know, I don't know why anyone would want to bring a kid into this work in this economy. These men have no business telling women they have to have a kid."

One of the Spanish speaking protesters was out today, and we didn't have any Spanish speakers on our side, which meant we really couldn't counter whatever lies she was telling. If you're reading this and you speak Spanish--we need you.

The protesters really only managed to talk to one English speaking patient today. And it was an accident. A woman and her mother? aunt? older friend? walked right up to them to ask where the clinic was. We told them that the protesters were trying to shut down the clinic and that they could come right in. The protesters of course yelled after them to save the "baby" and about all the choices they have. It's amazing, in all these weeks, they've never stopped anyone from going into the clinic. The only people who stop to talk to them for any length of time are old ladies walking by on the street (and as it turns out not even all the old ladies want anything to do with them). Maybe it's time the pack up and leave the South Bronx alone.


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