We will Keep Fighting!

My Apple watch flashed on the news in the middle of the conference, and right in the middle of me trying to figure out all the flight changes. I didn’t blog about it yesterday, because of all the other things going on, but this was the worst news of the day.

I said before that I am sorry to miss these warm summer days in Chicago, but what I really miss now – is not being able to march with others, and not being at the Federal Plaza yesterday. I just saw Igor’s pictures, and I am glad that people turned in instantaneously, but OMG… I did not believe SCOTUS will do it for real! Igor’s pictures below:

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March along Ida B. Wells Drive

Roe/Wade, Abortion Rights, And All Related

When I returned from Europe at the beginning of May and looked around, I realized that the war dominated my life so much that I completely ignored pretty much everything. Not only did I put my life on hold and almost fail several important things, like conferences readiness, but I also ignored what was going on in my country. 

Once again, I can’t change the development with Roe/Wade, but at least I can protest.

At first, it didn’t look like the potential SCOTUS ruling changed the situation around the clinics, but later, things started to get worse. 

There were some very loud (at how to put it? Not so smart) antis who just repeated the exact text over and over and tried to harras the patients (and often – not even patients, doing horrible profiling).

This time, they brought an amplifier, and they first set it up at the corner of Washington and Des Plaines, but in about 30 min, they moved it to the bridge over the expressway, and then it could be heard at the waiting area of the clinic. We called the police, and they actually arrived, but then they did nothing! I still can’t believe it! They didn’t tell antis to turn the volume down! Honestly, they would rather not come at all!

The video below shows how loud they wee, and how police did absolutely nothing!

Also, I finally got contacted by MAC (Midwest Access), because they are getting ready to resume accommodating the out of state patients in private residencies. I told them that I moved, and I should have another home visit next week. I hope I will be able to helo that way, too!

Roe/Wade Protests And Rallies

While in Europe, I almost entirely missed the new development with the Roe/Wade overturn. Then, I felt guilty that I didn’t pay enough attention and didn’t participate in the protests. I was flying in on May 1, so I missed all May Day things. I got a little bit of the protest last Saturday after I took mom to the Joffrey Appreciation Day, but they were almost done with the rally by then and were preparing to march.

Today, I went escorting and thereby was unable to attend the event in Union Park.
Escorting was definitely more important because antis went wild. What surprises me is that antis are always using the same old tune. They didn’t come up with anything except for the same old “you are murdering the human beings.”Today, I was busy the whole shift, walking the patients to and from their cars, making the human corridors, and making noises so that antis could not be heard.

At some point, a clinic security guard came to stand with us and helped to hold the tarp to cover the anis posters. And he actually yelled at antis because he is not an escort :).

Then, I could not do the later protest today because of the bad planning (I had three other events, and I lined them up in a suboptimal way). I saw a lot of social media posts, and I caught a little bit of the Millennium park event at the very end of it.

The number of antis who appear at the pro-abortion rallies still bothers me. That’s Illinois, that’s Chicago, and I can’t believe it when I see huge groups of antis, so loud and talking the same nonsense. I am so allergic to propaganda after I had it all in the Soviet Union!

And one more thought, When I am asked what the abortion situation in the Soviet Union was, I usually reply that abortion was legal, it was just a very humiliating process, and no anesthetics were allowed unless you illegally paid for them. It was not until recently that I realized that the fact that you could not get an abortion after 12 weeks was an abortion limitation! It just never occurred to me that it could be different!

Last week’s protest – Igor’s photos

Roe/Wade

I didn’t have time to blog about anything since returning from my trip; there was too much work. I still have a lot of photos from Lithuania, and I do not know when I will have time to sort them. And while I was so preoccupied with my private things and the war, I completely lost the situation with Roe/Wade. Now I blame myself for ignoring most of the protests, not being there, and putting these activities on the backburner. At the same time, I know that participating in Saturday protests completely doesn’t fit into my schedule. Unfortunately, this is not the last protest… not sure which emoji is appropriate here.

Escorting

I was escorting today after almost a month of not escorting. That’s because we now have to skip two weeks after any out-of-state travel, so I had to skip after Michigan, and then I Lena was visiting. 

Today I was finally back. 

It was quiet first, but then we got three young priests with a large group of school-age kids. I do not think all of them were high-schoolers; some didn’t look older than eleven.

So they line up and pray, and each woman who goes to the clinic and comes back has to march through this corridor of human bodies. One of the priests even got into a verbal fight with one of the escorts. He said that he does not know what a bubble zone is and that we speak to him in an unacceptable tone. 

He didn’t sound like a Christian to me! Cardinal Cupich is a far better person! I don’t know on which assembly line such “priests” are produced!

At some point, a patient came out of the clinic doors and stopped in hesitation. I told her that I could walk her through this line of prayers. She turned to me: but what are those people? What are they trying to achieve?

–They are trying to tell you and others that you are committing a sin..

–Oh, they are! I already have three children, and my husband passed away a year and a half ago; why should I bring one more child into this world? They won’t be around when the baby comes; I would have to do it on my own.

That’s Why We Are Here!

Today’s clinic escort shift was very quiet, almost no antis, when suddenly, we saw a group of athletic-looking men, walking on our side of the street with visible intention to stop by us. We were puzzled for a moment – is it a new group of antis, yet unknown to us? When they reached the first person in the escort line, they stopped and started to reach to their pockets, and we heard: I knew there was something else I forgot! In a couple of seconds, we realized that they saw us in masks and put their masks on. They kept marching to the clinic entrance, and only when they stopped there and started talking again, I realized that there was one smaller figure in jeans and a t-shirt among these athletic males.

“Well, ask them!” said the tallest guy, responding to the question I didn’t hear. The small figure turned to us: “I have no idea where I should go now!” “Do you have an appointment?” our team lead asked, – “then just go in!” (The challenging part is that these days no accompanying person can go into the clinic). The two embraced and said to each other, “just call me when…”

The small figure disappeared in the clinic, and the trio still stood awkwardly, and then one of them said to us: sorry… we just thought we all come, because, you know… in case somebody…

We all laughed, and our shift leader said: no problem, that’s why we are here! And you know – on a quiet day like this one, you wonder – why I am here? What’s the purpose of me standing here in a pink vest? That’s why: because not everybody can bring three bodyguards to accompany them…

A Magic Mug

I signed up to receive a magic mug when I donated to Midwest Access Coalition back in March. At that time, volunteers could not host clients coming to Illinois for abortion (due to COVID restrictions), and I donated money to help place clients in the hotels.
That was back in March, and I completely forgot about the mug. When it arrived yesterday, it took me a while to recall what it was all about, yet along how it works. And it works magically – just pour some hot tea or coffee in it!

Continue reading “A Magic Mug”

Escorting During Pandemic

Today, I went to the clinic escort for the second time after our activities were resumed.

Look at our cool new masks!

Now, we do not throw our vests back to the common pile; we take our vests home and bring them back for the next shift. I like it, because now I always have my XS size, and do not need to search for it in the bag! We can’t share food anymore, and we can’t take food from our supporters, but that’s OK.

Since we are in the Pride Week (although events are canceled), there were people in the Pride gear biking on the streets, and they were cheering us. Also, there was one funny episode. A couple passed by, looking attentively at us, antis, the doors of the clinic, and the folding sign, which is explaining the bubble zone. And then the man said: I get it now! You are the good guys! We cheered: you got it right! 

Most of the antis do not wear masks. Our shift leader asked the lady in the middle: I heard you said that your mother has cancer, and you are visiting her. Yet, you do not wear a mask… For which she replied: Oh, she does not wear a mask either! 

What can I say?!

March for Life, and a Very Small Protest

It is hard for me to write about Saturday’s events because I feel like we (pro-choice activists) lost miserably. I am going to copy the summary of the even from Igor’s Flicker album: 

Album description

Every year, on the second Saturday of January, pro-life groups organize March for Life in downtown Chicago. This year, one new addition was a pro-life organizations convention and an evening banquet at Congress Hotel. (You had to pay to get into the banquet, but the convention was free, but you had to register ahead of time)

This year, the pro-life groups assembled at the Daley Plaza for a rally featuring several pro-life speakers. Then, they marched toward the Congress Hotel, where they had another rally and some prayer circles out front, even as some marchers slowly but surely headed out, and some groups boarded the buses to get to… whereever it was they came from.

There are usually counter-protesters, and, this time, they assembled at the southeast corner of Dearborn/Washington. My mom, who was there earlier, mentioned that there were speakers, and a number of pro-choice activists attended. But by the time I crossed to the pro-choice side after taking the photos at the Daley Plaza, most of them were gone, and Revolutionary Communist Party members and affiliates took the position. They mostly chanted about kicking out Trump and Pence, and about no war in Iran, with only occasional pro-choice chants. When the March for Life left the plaza, the pro-choice chanting (and some pro-choice taunting) started at its earnest. While a few pro-lifers did try to talk to the Communists, and some pro-lifers clearly wanted to shout at the Communists, it didn’t get beyond shouting.

Also, there was a “patriot” group at the southwest corner of Dearborn/Washington. While RevComm shouted some anti-war slogans, members of the group shouted something along the lines of “no war in Iran, save the babies!”

Igor

So – yes. I knew about the counter-protest, but the weather was miserable, actually, let me put it very miserable. For a moment, I was not sure whether I am going to go. Still, after all, I did, and I am glad I did! 

Yes, there were speeches, and I recorded a couple, but I was really upset with the low number of pro-choice activists that showed up. The picture looked horrific, and Igor’s pictures look even scarier… I can’t understand why so many people are … just not getting it! 

Continue reading “March for Life, and a Very Small Protest”

My New Volunteering

This Saturday, I’ve attended the training for my new volunteering activity. I know that it sounds completely unreasonable and ridiculous. I am continually complaining, that I do not have enough time for anything, including my existing volunteering activities, and yet I’ve just signed for a new one.

However, this one is really important for me, and when I first heard about it I knew right away, I need to be a part of it.

I’ve been a part of the Illinois Clinic Escort Team for five years. The clinic escorts are people who come to stand in front of the abortion clinics and help patients to pass the “antis.” Antis are protestors, who are either trying to stop women from getting an abortion or curse them (and escorts for that matter) or trying to be intimidating in other ways.

Before I go further, let me tell you something. In my previous blog, I had several different levels of security so that different groups of readers could see different posts. There was a good reason for that, but when I’ve started a new blog, I resolved that all my posts will be public, that I will write the truth and only truth. If I am not comfortable making some information public, I do not need to blog about it.

Thereby, I am not going to hide the fact that I am pro-choice and actively volunteering for this cause.

Now I’ve signed for the new activity: I’ve joined Midwest Access Coalition, The mission statement says:

As a practical abortion fund, MAC helps people traveling to, from, and within the Midwest access a safe, legal abortion with support in the following areas: travel coordination and costs, lodging, food, medicine, and emotional support.

After some more formalities are completed, I will become a host for individuals, who are traveling to Illinois to obtain a safe and legal abortion. I am not sure yet, whether I will be doing it besides or instead of escorting, but I am going to do this because this is something much needed.