Imagine thinking — in the midst of a public health crisis precipitated by a global fucking pandemic — that actual, live-saving healthcare isn't "essential," but yelling at people on the way to their doctor's appointments is. In defiance of stay-at-home orders, protesters are still showing up at abortion providers to harass patients and staff — and with the backing of the anti-choice lobby.

Last week, the Pro-Life Action League and other anti-abortion assholes had a conference call to strategize clinic protesting during the coronavirus outbreak. And in some places, the anti-woman protesters aren't just continuing on as usual; they're amping it up. Because god forbid a day go by without yelling at women and doctors.

Anti-choice protesters INVADED A CLINIC in Louisiana last week and there was so much other shit going on that it didn't even make the news. In an email, the National Abortion Federation (NAF) recounted the event, saying:

On April 30, 2020, anti-abortion extremists invaded an abortion clinic in Louisiana even as the state extends its COVID-19 stay-at-home order. The clinic followed protocol, keeping patients and staff safe as the anti-abortion protesters refused to leave the clinic. Local police were called and those protesters still refusing to leave were placed in custody. These clinic invasions are intended to scare and patients and staff, disrupt the provision of care, and force the involvement of local law enforcement.

While these clinic invasions always present a danger, the current COVID-19 global pandemic adds an increased level of danger for patients, providers, and responding law enforcement.

Imagine being a patient at an abortion clinic. You're immunocompromised because you're pregnant. Despite this, you had to walk past protesters outside — who were not social distancing — just to get in the building. You already know that your life could be in danger from the nutjobs outside, who screamed that you were a murderer. Then, a mob of extremists, who very well could be trying to kill you, invade the clinic.


As Katherine Ragsdale, the president and CEO of NAF, said:

It is unfathomable that anyone believes it is acceptable to invade a health care provider's waiting room to harass patients. Their willingness to invade a clinic even during a global pandemic reveals a stunning disregard for life – especially the lives of those seeking abortion care.

Abortion providers are working hard to ensure the health and safety of their patients and staff. Our members are screening patients for symptoms when they call and before they enter the clinic and many providers are limiting the number of people present in the clinic at any time to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Yet these protesters blatantly disregarded health and safety protocols and invaded a clinic, putting everyone at risk. Health care providers should be able to focus on their patients and people should be able to obtain the essential health care they need without fearing for their safety.

Louisiana has long been at war with abortion rights. In 1992, the state had 17 abortion facilities. Now, it has three.

June Medical Services v. Russo, this year's big abortion case at the Supreme Court, started in Louisiana. And if the state government gets its way, Louisiana could become the first state to shutter every abortion clinic in its jurisdiction.

But of course, it's not just Louisiana. The fuckwads who dedicate their lives trying to take healthcare and rights away from women and pregnant people haven't taken a break during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anti-woman protesters have already been arrested for refusing to follow stay-home orders in Greensboro, Charlotte, San Francisco, and Detroit.

Charlotte protester David Benham, represented by the rightwing "Alliance Defending Freedom," filed a federal lawsuit after his arrest, arguing it was his religious right to violate social distancing orders, because shaming women is just that important. Zodiac Killer Ted Cruz tweeted in support of his "friend," calling the arrest unconstitutional.

So that's cute.

According to duVergne Gaines, director of the Feminist Majority Foundation's National Clinic Access Project, clinics' need for security "has skyrocketed during this crisis."

What's happened is there are extremists who have failed to abide by executive orders and in fact double-downed and refused to respect and adhere to the most fundamental guidelines provided by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the states. … Clinic volunteers have been forced to stand down for safety purposes. These extremists have chosen not to."

Around the country, clinic protesters are continuing to come out in droves, in what Calla Hales, executive director of A Preferred Women's Health Center in Charlotte calls a "public health nightmare." Not only are the protesters flouting orders to stay home and follow social distancing; many are showing symptoms of COVID-19 and getting close to clinic patients anyway.

Sounds super "pro-life."

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Jamie Lynn Crofts
Jamie Lynn Crofts is sick of your bullshit. When she’s not wrangling cats, she’s probably writing about nerdy legal stuff, rocking out at karaoke, or tweeting about god knows what. Jamie would kindly like to remind everyone that it’s perfectly legal to tell Bob Murray to eat shit.
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