when a body loves a body

There were protesters outside the local Planned Parenthood clinic again this week. And, also again, a group of women in bright pink escort vests arrayed quietly along the front of the building, a buffer to the hate and madness.

These protests have ebbed and waned over the 15-some years I have lived in Philly, but they are clearly on the rise again. When I first moved here from Texas, I remember being shocked to see Planned Parenthood locations advertising on local TV, out in the open and unafraid. It expanded my vision of what became possible when we who believe in equal bodily rights and the full social participation of women were not forced to accept shaming and violence as “normal” responses to our stance. As mere “business as usual.”

On Wednesday​, as I do every time, I crossed the street to thank the escorts for being there. We shook hands and chatted​ for a moment, as I told them how glad I was to see them and how much their service means to us in the community. (We ignored​ the row of dusty old men standing behind me, muttering imprecations related to dead babies and our clearly-frozen souls.) Since this was a weekday morning, the women were all older—retired, or of an age to be so.

A phalanx of grandmas, holding the line.

Window across the street from the clinic.

14 thoughts on “when a body loves a body

  1. How odd, creepy, democratic (?) that the post advertised beneath yours “when a body loves a body” (and thank you) is this: https://twoheartbeats.org/2016/09/05/a-wanted-child-every-time/. What a juxtaposition for my morning perusal. I used to ask the protesters at a Planned Parenthood, years ago, as I passed daily, if they had ever adopted an unwanted child. Of course they didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t answer. And this twoheartbeats….I wonder, how many she’s adopted. Just musing. Thanks for a good read, and keep on keepin’ on.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I also saw some mighty…well, let’s just go with “uncomfortable juxtapositions,” in the suggested posts WordPress offered me. The hypocrisy of these protesters never fails to show the lie behind their proffered “reasons” — they are not here to protect “life,” by any definition I recognize; they are here to assert their right to Power Over.

      Power over women, over the poor, over minorities, over the young…


  2. Maternal mortality is on the rise in the US. 50% of pregnancies are unplanned. That people are so focused on saving a grouping of cells over living, breathing humans is appalling. I can’t imagine how much cognitive dissonance is required to trash the health care and social safety nets for the already born while screaming “murderers” at people. Thank goodness there are people still fighting the good fight to preserve these services and rights, but it’s damned ridiculous that we have to.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I understand the differences in beliefs. What I don’t understand is jamming someone’s beliefs down everyone’s throat. PP does far more than abortions. In fact, that’s a small part. If someone want to convince women to carry, they should provide incentives like free health care, guaranteed effective adoptions, etc. Then women can make a choice but they still get to make a choice. BTW men should not be allowed to protest. Just wrong. Never saw one with a uterus.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Differences of personal opinion, sure — what I would choose for myself and you for yourself are no more lockstep on this issue than any other. When I start to behave as though *I* have a say over *your* beliefs, tho? A line has definitely been crossed. That line’s been so far crossed, we may as well be on the moon.

      Someone asked me what the gender/age makeup of the usual protester is — and truthfully, there isn’t much of a pattern. This week was all old men. Sometimes it’s an old woman or two with a rosary, or a fervent young man clutching a bible. When the Pope was in town, just a mile or two away, we had a whole choir of young and middle-aged men in black cassocks lining the block to perform some noon-day ritual. Whole families show up sometimes, which is the most stomach-churning to me — young children looking up at you while holding giant placards with pictures of dead and bloody fetuses on them.

      The only grouping I’ve never seen? Young women unaccompanied by husbands and children. Because of course.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. So inspirational that these older women continue as “soldiers” in this completely unnecessary war – but sad that we still need these soldiers (and far more) in 2017.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Have you seen those posters older progressives sometimes make and carry at demonstrations? “I CAN’T BELIEVE I STILL HAVE TO PROTEST THIS SHIT.”

      Some days I feel like I need to get that sentence tattooed across my forehead…


      1. I am an immigrant here (from New Zealand) and I cannot believe women still have to fight so hard for their rights in this country. This fight was surely won generations ago. You are right about it being power – the men and brothers deciding what is best for the young (or older) woman – I did not expect this to be happening in America. I am still shocked by it. c

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have never lived in another country, and yet I am still shocked by it here too. Takes many forces working together to create cultural amnesia, so that not only are the same battles fought again and again — but seems like each generation must discover these issues for themselves, and invent the fight all over again. The myth of American exceptionalism — that entrenched belief that what happens other places doesn’t /won’t /can’t happen here — has never made us unique as much as it has made us blind.

          Liked by 1 person

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