According to Planned Parenthood’s website, abortion facility escorts are “an extremely important volunteer position here at Planned Parenthood.” One pro-abortion volunteer referred to escorts as “the first point of compassion that we can demonstrate to people coming for health services,” and described escorting as her chosen form of “community service.” Unfortunately, in my experience, the clinic entry door is where their “support” for women ends.
For over a year and a half, I’ve been praying on the sidewalk outside of an Illinois Planned Parenthood on Thursdays, the facility’s surgical abortion day. For the majority of that time, I’ve gone to pray in the morning, when the abortion escorts are out in full force at the facility entrance and also by the road. Wearing their fluorescent pink “Planned Parenthood” vests, they wave women into the parking lot with bright orange flags.
But several times during these last few months, praying in the afternoon has been a better fit in my schedule. Each time I’ve gone, I’ve been struck by a piece of the morning “picture” that’s missing. In the second half of the day, when women are leaving after their appointments, the escorts are gone. The pro-lifers are still praying on the sidewalks, offering hope and healing resources to the women and their drivers as they leave in vehicles after abortion appointments. But the pro-abortion escorts are nowhere to be found.
A realization hit me forcefully during my most recent visit to the facility: Once the women are herded into the doors of Planned Parenthood, the escorts’ job is finished. Their only job is to make sure women enter — but they aren’t there to help them once the abortion is over.
Interestingly, Wikipedia claims the role of an abortion clinic escort is “to assist patients and staff to enter and exit these facilities safely,” (emphasis added) but Planned Parenthood makes no such claims. Their main purpose, according to Planned Parenthood, is to “help get patients to the door of our clinic with as little harassment from protesters and picketers as possible.” (emphasis added)
This can be seen in a YouTube video for Planned Parenthood North Central States (which covers Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota). The video says an escort’s role is to “walk you into the building.”
One has to wonder: if pro-life “protestors and picketers” were actually as hateful and dangerous as abortion supporters claim, why wouldn’t the escorts walk the women to their cars as they leave after aborting their children, when they are likely most emotionally vulnerable?
But perhaps the lack of escorts in the afternoon is intentional for two reasons. First, once a woman successfully enters the abortion facility, Planned Parenthood’s financial profits are largely guaranteed. The sale has been made. The escort’s job is done. But secondly, the escorts leave after the women arrive for their appointments and never personally have to face what “choice” looks like when the patients leave. Witnessing firsthand tears, devastation and physical pain week after week as well as the occasional ambulance call could be unpleasant for escorts who believe they are performing a “community service” to women.
For too long, the abortion industry’s narrative has been that pro-lifers don’t care about women. And yet, in my experience, long after the escorts have returned home, it is pro-lifers who are still standing on the sidewalks when women leave the abortion facility, offering prayers and compassion for the women and couples whose lives cannot ‘go back to normal’ despite abortion facilities’ claims to have taken care of their “problem.”
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