This is the first in an occasional series about other organizations doing good work to promote abortion access in the DC area.
Anti-choice protestors outside abortion clinics are nothing new. They also aren’t going to be like the harmless, ill-informed girl in the movie “Juno,” shouting inaccurate information about the fetus having fingernails. After the horrific tragedy at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, matters of safety when seeking abortion care are more important than ever. The dedication and bravery of abortion providers, clinic staff, and clinic escorts across the country are helping women practice their right to choose at a time when anti-choice activists are making it exceptionally difficult.
In the DC metro area, we are lucky to have the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force to help keep anti-choice protesters at bay. This all-volunteer, non-violent group was founded in the 1980s to promote safe access to women’s health clinics in the area. Escorts work directly with the clinics and local law enforcement to counter and defuse potential problems with clinic protesters, and to provide support to patients and their companions while they seek access to abortion care.
WACDTF works hard to help women practice their right to control their own bodies and lives, and to keep clinics open and able to serve the women of the DC metropolitan area. You can find them each Saturday, rain or shine, between 7 and 11 a.m., depending on the clinic. They also mobilize around the January anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when anti-choice protesters descend upon DC each year.
If you are interested in learning more, you can visit the WACDTF website. They are currently scheduling the next escort training, which will be in January 2016. Trainings are a great introduction into the group, and to see if being a clinic escort is right for you.
By volunteer Carrie E. Image of badass DCAF and WACDTF volunteer Robyn S. keeping a safe passage for Planned Parenthood patients despite a throng of anti-choice protesters, courtesy Robyn.