If you are a clinic escort, clinic defender, OB-GYN, clinic administrator, or a clinic volunteer, we want to hear your story! Submit your story to charlottereproactionnetwork@gmail.com.

Laura Reich

I was always “pro choice” as long as I can remember. Becoming a teenager when abortion was still illegal I thought how very unfair it was that women could not control their own bodies. My earliest memory of someone having an abortion was when I was 15 and a girl in my high school who was only 14 became pregnant by her 17 year old boyfriend. Her parents were well off and she was a white girl, so needless to say she was able to get an abortion. Roe became law when I was 18 and everyone relaxed a bit. Not that my friends and I were all having sex yet, but we knew if that time came when we did become pregnant there was always abortion. It seemed like the world was just going along on its merry way, friends of mine got married, I got married and I knew friends who had abortions for whatever reason. It was never a big deal. Then , somewhere along the way in the 80’s it seemed that groups were starting to protest abortion.  In the beginning , my kids were little and I wasn’t paying much attention, but that changed as Republicans started to gain State legislatures and started passing laws restricting abortion. Now I was angry because we as young women fought for this and we thought it was settled.   In late 2015 I saw something on Facebook about clinics looking for escorts to help patients inside clinics while the protesters were yelling at them. I went for my first training on a cold December morning and as bad as I thought the protesters would be they were worse.  Yelling on amplified sound, having a Jesus music fest, shaming women and companions, it was awful.  It was after that first day I knew I wanted to be an escort on a regular basis and help shield women from these awful people. While there certainly is freedom of speech, I just could not get my head around why these people would want to verbally attack these women.  In my years outside the clinic it has become clear to me that the people who think they are doing good by trying to “save babies” are selfish, self righteous and judgmental.  They have their own agenda and live in the bubble of “Christian values” or what they think are those values. You cannot have a conversation with them, many of us have tried, because they do not deal in facts, rather they deal in what is in the Bible in their own interpretation.  Since I’ve been an escort I can say I know patients and companions appreciate us very much. Sometimes people drive into the clinic and feel they have been terrorized by the protestors on the street. If we can make them feel a little less anxious and show them a friendly face we have done our job. Laura Reich

Jennifer

“I volunteer on the sidewalk because my family runs a fake “crisis” pregnancy center. I was raised pro-life and firmly believed everything that they shoved down my throat. It was only when I found freedom from the cult that I realized freedom meant the ability to choose. After that I became pro choice and looked for ways to volunteer. My grandmother always boasted about being arrested blocking clinics with her body. I now use my body to help women make medical choices without shame. It’s a mix of being able to confront the liars I grew up with as well as doing what I can for the clinics. Abortion is healthcare, and I am proudly pro-choice.”

– Jennifer, Clinic Escort, Charlotte

Ardie

Ardie the Clinic Defender is a service dog who provides comfort and a warm welcome to patients entering abortion clinics. He hopes his presence provides a distraction for patients from the harassment of anti-choice protesters. You can catch him on the sidewalk in Charlotte cramping antis style and standing up for choice!