So it was before 10:30 am this morning that I was speaking to a cop who was threatening to arrest me. And I was screaming at him.
I woke up really early this morning because I figure that I’m sick of feeling like a pathetic girl from one of Tennessee William’s plays. I walked the dogs with my dad, then we went over and voted (I am a good citizen). I then decided to head over to the gym and knock out my run early. The adrenaline must have hit me because I kept running and running, despite the fact that my four mile mark had passed without me feeling tired. At one point I remember thinking “Ok, I should stop now” but then I had a flash of Peter’s face in my head and I kept going.
I finally left the gym, but the adrenaline was still pumping through my body. It was like I couldn’t stop twitching. The drive home from my gym is a fairly long stretch, on which there’s a Women’s Health Center. I never usually look at it, but today I couldn’t ignore it. There were women with posters. Posters with pictures. You know the kind that I’m talking about. There was blood, there were bodies. There were biblical quotes. At the red light I finally wrenched my glare away from them to notice a child in the car next to me. He was staring, huge eyes gaping at the pictures while his mom was talking away on her cell phone.
I threw on my blinker and got into the next lane and pulled into the clinic’s parking lot. I must have been red in the face, but two women looked past that and came to meet me at my car. “Are you here to abort a child, or are you here to join us?” They smiled so sweetly, as if asking whether I wanted brownies or cookies at the bake sale. They must have seen my eyes flash because their smiles sat fixed.
And then I started screaming, started telling them how inappropriate it was to show such pictures, where children were watching. “Well hopefully one day they won’t have an abortion then,” one of them said to me. These children are hardly old enough to know what sex is, let alone what an abortion is. “Women who abort are killers and should be placed in jail,” the other said. They were trying to hand me papers, pamphlets with more pictures. I turned around and headed back to my car, where I opened the trunk. Found a cardboard box full of uniforms and ripped it. Took a permanent marker, wrote “It’s a woman’s right to choose” on the white side. I joined the women, stood in front of them. Held my sign in front of the crude pictures.
The nurses inside must have been watching, must have heard me screaming. A few of them came outside on the front steps to watch, to clap. But one of the anti-abortion protesters must have called the police, who were there within a few minutes. The next think I know, I’m being pulled aside and being asked if I had been physical with any of them. The women said that they felt fearful of me, that I was threatening him. The cop said that if it came to that I would be arrested, tapped the handcuffs on his hip.
Another cop car pulled up, the cop pointing out that traffic was slowing because everyone wanted to watch what was happening and that it was a potential danger. The best solution was to disband all of the protesters. One of the nurses grabbed my wrist while I was walking back and thanked me. I told her that it’s not that I believe everyone should have abortions, or that I think that they are always the solution, but that I think every woman should have a choice to whether or not she would if the situation arose. And it wasn’t that I thought the protesters weren’t allowed their own say- but that it was inappropriate to show images where children would see it, where women who chose to have an abortion were seeing it. To have women already going through that, and then having to face it on their way out.
When I was in my car, one of the protesters approached the window of my car. My jaw was set, the way I look when I am livid. She tells me that she hopes I can find God, that I obviously have a guilty conscience and that I need to sort things out with God before I can move on with my life.