On Saturday mornings, my alarm goes off at 5:30AM. I smack it silent, wondering for a hazy moment why I am awake, dreaming of going back to sleep. Then I remember what I’m doing.
I get up. I put on two, sometimes three, layers of pants. I put on two shirts and a sweatshirt. Two pairs of socks. My partner does the same.
So thankful for automated coffee makers. I pour myself and my partner a to-go cup each, kiss my dog goodbye, and we’re off.
We drive an an hour and 15 minutes, watching the sun rise over New York City, lamenting the cold. As we near our destination, my heart starts to pump and my foot starts to tap. I’m nervous. We pull into the parking lot and wait for our compatriots.
We all walk inside, strap on our neon vests, fill up our coffee mugs, and take a deep breath. Then, it’s outside, onto the sidewalk.
On Saturday mornings, I volunteer as a clinic escort. I stand outside of an abortion clinic and help walk patients and their companions past screaming, often verbally abusive protesters. I am verbally pelted with insults. I watch helplessly as patients, often in emotional distress, are called horrific names, are shamed and demonized. All I can do is help get them to the door.
We do this for three hours. We do not get paid. We are insulted, harassed, followed, stalked, threatened. We are there for one reason: to enable access.
No matter where you stand on the issue of abortion, most reasonable people can agree that there is nothing pro-life about verbal abuse and harassment. Yet, patients experience this every day, even in a “pro-choice” state like New Jersey. Patients must walk through a veritable tunnel of Hell just to enter the clinic. What if they don’t have enough money? What if the procedure is too expensive?
That’s where the New Jersey Abortion Access Fund comes in. We help fund abortions for those in need. We enable access. We help ensure that once they’re in the door, they can access the choice to which they are constitutionally entitled. We make sure that cost is never a barrier to accessing safe and legal abortion care in New Jersey.
On March 29th, we are taking part in the annual National Network of Abortion Funds' Bowl-a-thon to help fund abortions in New Jersey. I know that times are tough — money is tight, winter is long. But by making a donation (in any amount), you can help bring that door a little closer to that patient. You can help eradicate one in the ever-growing list of barriers to reproductive healthcare. You can make a difference. You can save a life.
This Saturday, I will do it all again. I will wake up at 5:30AM, drive for 75 minutes, and stand outside, in the freezing cold, for three hours as protesters shout vile, shameful comments at patients simply exercising their constitutional right to a safe and legal abortion. Perhaps you can’t be out there with me. Maybe you can’t stand on the sidewalk. But you can donate to my Bowl-a-thon effort. You can throw a few dollars towards access.
You may not be on the sidewalk, but you can help make the walk a little less hard.
Please donate. Click here and follow the instructions. No amount is too small.