Saturday, 25 May 2013

'Protests' and 'Protestors'

I had this rant over at catallaxyfiles.com, but I'm going to have it here too. It's about the Tasmanian 'health' bill that will restrict any exercise of freedom of speech within a radius of 150 metres of any abortion facility.

Cat contributor 'lem' had this to say:

I have to say, as a health professional, that people standing outside health facilities abusing women going in to seek medical care that is perfectly legal, goes beyond freedom of speech into the realms of harassment, and should be condemned. After all, nobody is standing outside psych facilities abusing them when they check in for their meds…

Guess what, folks? Not one protest I have ever been on outside an abortion clinic has involved abuse, screaming, threats, and/or harrassment of clients or clinic staff or anyone else BY THE PROTESTORS.

We have, however:
  • been screamed at by people who don’t agree with us;
  • been the target of vile verbal abuse by passers-by who slow down their cars and deliver a dose out the window;
  • been threatened, abused and harrassed by some clinic clients;
  • had a car driven by an angry male partner of a female client up the kerb and over our displays;
  • been harrassed by clinic staff, even though every aspect of our silent and peaceful protest has police approval and permission;
  • had things thrown at us;
  • been photographed without our consent;
  • endured police arrival and inspection of the protest at the demand of clinic staff (but thankfully the police have always taken our side and told the staff we are there with permission and that we are not breaking the law in any way).

This is what you get for trying to exercise freedom of speech without even speaking.

This is what you get for trying to offer women – in often dire situations – some positive alternatives that will save them physical and mental harm and turn their lives around for the better.

So is it all a waste of time? Of course not. This legislation contains this clause precisely because silent, peaceful protests that offer information about alternatives – on signs and brochures that people can see or ignore as they choose – are WORKING.

We had the annual Rally for Life this year on the evening of 21 May, attended by nearly a thousand people outside Parliament House, and ignored by almost every mainstream media source in Perth. (See the photo? Look to the right of the large banner to see the small sign ‘Jesus Heals and Forgives’. That’s me holding that! But you can’t see me, as I am only 5 feet tall).

A representative from Pregnancy Assistance in Perth reported that their clientele had increased significantly in the past 12 months, which they believe is in response to a stepped-up silent presence outside just one or two abortion clinics in Perth.

Many women want alternatives to abortion, but are under so much stress and pressure – from parents, partners and employers – that they often don’t know where to start.

Sometimes the place they find the help they really need is at the eleventh hour, outside the clinic.

Women can and do turn around in the car park and walk away from abortion appointments, because the abortion is not what they really wanted after all.

Having alternatives available pretty much on-site actually helps a woman make a FREE CHOICE. Isn’t that what all this pro-choice thing is supposed to be about? You actually need alternatives if you’re going to make a choice.

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