Dear CPC Watch volunteers and supporters,
I think it's fair to say we are at a crossroads in the reproductive rights movement. Folks are becoming more polarized every day, and clinics have seen a clear influx in anti-choice protests and harassment since this past winter.
Every time I read something about the abortion debate in the mainstream media, I am reminded of how important it is that reasonable voices continue speaking out for choice. All too often women's experiences are politicized beyond reason, our bodies and lives made into battlegrounds, and it is the women who need reproductive options the most that suffer.
Next month, beginning September 23, anti-choice groups all over the country will begin their annual "40 Days for Life" campaign. Protesters will gather in front of clinics, every day for 40 days, to demonstrate against abortion rights, harass patients entering/leaving the clinics, and make each clinic targeted into a less-than-welcoming place for women and their families. Protesters at 40 Days vigils tend to be peaceful and quiet in some respects, simply holding signs reading things like "Pray to end abortion," but in many areas the demonstrators get more violent.
I've read reports from clinics that say patients were harassed in the parking lot, clinic entrances were blocked (which is a federal crime), graphic and inaccurate photos of "aborted fetuses" were displayed on giant poster boards, protesters were taking pictures of women as they enter, even that the license plates of patients were photographed and published on the internet.
Clinics need better defense. The FACE Act (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) is not enforced nearly as well as it should be, and even when it is, protesters find ways to disrupt the daily operation of clinics in ways that challenge legal boundaries and compromise women's health. That is where we need to come in.
Counter-demonstrations as well as clinic escort coordination are being planned throughout the country. We at CPC Watch want to help publicize these actions and take part in them as well. If you know of any clinic defense action in your area, email us at CPCwatch@gmail.com so we can publish your information on the website and blog.
For those wishing to get involved: keep an eye out for further updates on the website as well as the Facebook fan page (if you're not a "fan" yet, add us here).
In the pro-choice spirit,