Today’s make is a little different. Today I made a difference.
About once a month, give or take, I volunteer at a local women’s health care clinic that (among other things) provides abortions. We help women and their companions get into and out of the clinic safely, and do our best to offset the gauntlet of screamers and guilters our patients have to get past in order to access healthcare. For the better part of four hours* I get called a “deathscort” and told I’m going to hell, and most offensively, I have to listen to incorrect medical information stated as fact and I can’t correct them because that’s not why I’m there.
I am there, simply, to help make accessing healthcare as painless as possible for the women who need it. Sometimes they thank me, or a companion does, or even a random person walking past. More often, they just want to get through the gauntlet of protesters as quickly as possible. I facilitate that. And I know that it matters. I know that it makes a difference to these women and their companions.
This is truly the most fulfilling thing I do outside of my family. It is also exhausting and enraging, but it is absolutely worth it. I hope that someday — the sooner the better — I’ll have to find something else to do, because women will no longer be harassed for accessing healthcare. Until then, I will keep showing up on the sidewalk.
*I hear this for four hours once a month. The clinic staff hears it every day. I have such respect and admiration for them — I can’t even imagine.