Post Roe/Wade Landscape

Today’s escorting was tiresome. It’s not that there were more antis than usual, and not that they were especially aggressive, but they behaved the way that demonstrated their confidence. One of them (I have a history with him and hate him with a burning passion) gave me an evil smile: how many states are left where abortion is still allowed? They act as if they are masters of the land.
I, together with another escort, guarded the side entrance. There were two antis, but they left soon. Shortly before that, a van with contractors stopped by – they were looking for the manager of the next-door Japanese restaurant. They were shocked by the scene they saw and said that they thought it was some rally, and they didn’t want to believe me when I told them that we have it every Saturday!

Oh, and also these protesters announced that they “love Ukraine!” I am speechless!

There was a counter-protest against the March for Life, which was going to “celebrate” a Roe/Wade overturn. Our goal was to silence the speakers on the opposite side of the street. On the one hand, we dominated. I remember many marches with tons of antis and just a few of us. This time, there were more of us, way more! And we were indeed louder than them. But on the other hand, I almost cried all the time marching because we lost no matter how loud we were. We lost when Roe/Wade was overturned, and it will take years and years to fix it. Meanwhile, people need help right now.

Continue reading “Post Roe/Wade Landscape”

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.

A Counter Protest

On Saturday, I went to the counter-protest against March for Life. Good thing – there were way more people than last time I participated. However, I am not sure why the rally or organizers decided to march around the loop. I am not even sure whether the idea was to march to the hotel where the Pro-life conference was taking place, or what, because it ended up by the Art Institute.
In any case, I think that we would be much better off if we stayed across the street from the pro-life crowd.

Some pictures:

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Dividing line
The counter-rally
Continue reading “A Counter Protest”

On Texas Anti-Abortion Law

Copying today’s article from Chicago Tribune by By ANGIE LEVENTIS LOURGOS:

In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to block a Texas law that bans most abortions as early as about six weeks, before many women even know they’re pregnant.

The law — considered among the most restrictive in the nation — is unconventional in its approach, because it permits any private citizen to sue abortion providers or anyone aiding women in terminating a pregnancy, including someone who provides women rides to an abortion clinic or helps fund the procedure. The measure prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Abortion rights activists fear the case could set precedence and other states might adopt similar laws, particularly some in the Midwest and southern swathes of the nation. Other state laws that have attempted such restrictive gestational limits on the procedure were previously blocked or struck down by the courts, citing Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that established a woman’s right to an abortion.

Here are four things to know about the impact the Supreme Court ruling and the law in Texas might have on Illinois:

  1. Is the right to an abortion threatened in Illinois? No, Illinois has firmly codified abortion rights, with some of the most permissive laws in the nation in terms of abortion access. The Reproductive Health Act, signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in 2019, established the “fundamental right” to an abortion here.

“Residents of Illinois can take slight solace in this moment,” said Ameri Klafeta, director of the Women’s and Reproductive Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “We must continue to defend and expand those protections. We recommit ourselves to this effort today as we think of the millions of people across the United States who now are at risk of losing their access to abortion due to the Court’s failure to act.”

Pritzker on Thursday said he was “deeply concerned about the anti-abortion legislation that was passed and signed in Texas and that the Supreme Court has now said they will not hear or overturn.”

He added that he remains “focused on making sure that here in Illinois we are a beacon of hope for women who need reproductive health,” including those traveling here from other states.

  1. What about neighboring states in the Midwest? Opponents of abortion are hopeful that the ruling paves the way for more abortion restrictions in more states. Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, called the Texas law “a completely novel way of enforcing an abortion ban.”

“We encourage the other 49 states to catch up with Texas and continue this historic expansion of human rights,” he said.

While it’s hard to envision Illinois lawmakers enacting a measure like this, “it’s not at all hard to imagine a state like Missouri or Indiana following suit; and I could see other Midwestern states doing so as well,” he said.

  1. Does this mean more women will travel to Illinois for abortion access? Activists from both sides of the abortion debate believe Illinois will see an uptick in travel here for the procedure.

“I think we’re definitely going to be seeing higher abortion rates in Illinois,” Scheidler said. “That trend will continue as other states enact other pro-life measures, whether we’re talking about measures that have already been upheld by the Supreme Court or measures that are completely new like this Texas law.”

Thousands of women already travel to Illinois from other states each year to access abortions. In 2019, roughly 7,500 crossed state lines for the procedure, about 16% of all terminated pregnancies in Illinois that year. The number of out-of-state abortions has increased every year since 2014, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data.

While it’s impossible to know the reasons for each individual decision to travel for the procedure, many experts have attributed the overall rise to increasing restrictions in other states.

  1. Can Illinois services and providers handle any potential surge in patients that might come from this law, and others that could follow?

Jennifer Welch, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said her agency and its 17 health centers are already preparing for a possible increase in patients from other states.

“We know that there will be patients from other states,” she said. “Illinois is a haven in the Midwest. We will do everything we can to serve patients who are forced to come here from out of state.”

During the earlier days of the pandemic, she said, more Texas patients traveled to Illinois seeking abortions after their home state temporarily banned most abortions, saying they didn’t qualify as essential surgeries during the COVID-19 outbreak. Welch recalled that one patient traveled more than a thousand miles to terminate a pregnancy at a clinic in west suburban Aurora.

Welch added that this more recent Texas law, the gestational ban, “sets a dangerous precedent and it’s making a path for neighboring states (in the Midwest) to override well-established constitutional rights.”

“I absolutely do expect similar laws across the country,” she said. “I absolutely expect more to come.”

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.

Invisible Women: a Book Review

One more time, I am so behind in the book reviews that I can hardly remember what the last book I reviewed was. But consulting my Audible library, here are the three books I wanted to write about. 

The first on the list is Invisible Women Data Bias in a World Designed for Men A person who recommended it said that it’s a horror book. I thought that maybe it’s a horror for them, but I could hardly imagine that there can be something in the book about women’s unfair treatment that I do not know. And boy, how wrong I was!

When I checked the reviews, I saw that many readers shared the same sentiment, saying that they could not even think about the depth of prejudgement and that there are so many defaults they never thought of. 

I can relate to all these sentiments since I felt the same way. This book is about the data gaps which are present in nearly every research in virtually any field. Each chapter of this book is dedicated to one of the areas in which research routinely exclude or under-represent women: medical trails, interior design, government… The book introduces a “default male,” and I never realized how deeply this default male concept is enrooted in almost all assumptions I make. An eye-opening moment was when I realized that when I write or say “a user,” I picture a male! And that’s me, a fierce advocate of women’s equality in technology! 

If you want to know the depth of your own “default to male” presumption, I highly recommend this book! 

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…