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I am a huge supporter of the ability to have free speech. I've been to my fair share of protests in my life (and am an organizer with the Women’s March in Charlotte), but there's a sincere difference between protests and harassment. The latter terrorizes not just our staff but the patients coming to us for care. Harassment is not help.
A part of me wants to say that the protests plaguing the women coming to our clinic for care don't bother me at all—I don’t want to give those that have put our work under siege for the past 40 straight weeks the satisfaction. But that would be disingenuous and simply not the truth. It's incredibly upsetting to have to deal with this on a daily basis, especially on the weekends when it reaches a radical level. At this point, my fiancé asks me to wear a ballistic vest when I’m going to be around a lot of protesters.
This isn’t just happening to patients here at my own clinic—it's happening to patients across the nation. This issue has been happening under the radar for a long time and it's just going to continue to get worse. Protestors are getting increasingly emboldened, feeling like they’re on the right side of the debate as policies continue to restrict access to abortion care and contraceptives. By the end of the 40-Week Siege, protesters were literally coming in by the busload.
The crazy thing is, many abortion activists like myself are told we’re being hysterical—that Roe v. Wade will never be overturned. But that's already becoming a reality in places like Alabama, West Virginia, and Ohio, where abortion access is slowly but surely being banned. It’s a scary time to have a uterus.
What's even crazier is the fact there's a new police sub-station just a few blocks away, and they don't see the need to post even a *single* officer at the scene of where hundreds of antagonistic protestors are gathered. If this was Black Lives Matter or any other non-religious gathering, there would be dozens. But here? Crickets. Charlotte PD needs to get its shit together, and so does the City Council.