We won’t let the bigots close clinics in Everett

November 8, 2018

Ariel Hard reports on two mobilizations of pro-choice activists in Everett, Washington, to protect a local clinic and to draw attention to anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers.

ON NOVEMBER 3, members of Seattle Clinic Defense (SCD) and the International Socialist Organization (ISO) joined forces with Jane’s Sidewalk Supporters for Choice to defend an abortion clinic in Everett, Washington.

The clinic was targeted by the group Abolish Human Abortion (AHA). Some 15 clinic defenders faced off with a similar number of anti-choice bigots, but members of Jane’s Sidewalk Supporters were able to arrive first and stake out the space lining the driveway of the clinic.

It was raining, so the large umbrellas that Jane’s had were put to good use keeping clinic defenders dry and blocking the terrible signs of the anti-choice forces.

Initially, members of AHA were standing right next to clinic defenders. Discouraged that they were not able to really engage clinic defenders — who are practiced at ignoring their “polite discussion” — they moved down the sidewalk to pray and leave. Because the clinic defense was not publicized, the pro-choice turnout may have been somewhat lower than it could have been.

A “Handmaid's vigil” challenges the anti-choicers in Everett, Washington
A “Handmaid's vigil” challenges the anti-choicers in Everett, Washington (Ariel Hard)

A second action that day by supporters of women’s right to choose abortion was held seven blocks away at the Immaculate Conception Church, which was holding an auction/fundraiser to support local “crisis pregnancy centers” — fake “clinics” that peddle lies and misinformation about the supposed risks of abortion and birth control.

As part of a “Handmaid’s Vigil,” 11 activists donned red capes and white hats reminiscent of the Handmaid’s Tale and held a silent march to the church. The activists lined the sidewalk and handed out “gift bags” similar to those that are passed out by the Sidewalk Advocates for Life.

The bags contained things like hand sanitizer and condoms, along with leaflets with statistics on adoption, and an article about a legal case in which the Catholic Church argued that life doesn’t begin until birth in order to avoid being sued for the death of a woman and her twin babies.

The gift bags were handed out to those who walked through the pro-choice “handmaids” and into the church. A few congregants yelled, and even fewer attempted to talk to the pro-choice activists. Some ran through the line of protesters, and others walked all the way around the church to avoid the protesters altogether.

After the fundraiser began, the activists marched along a main street in Everett, and then back to the church.

Demonstrators were energized after the event. While some said it was awkward to “bring the fight” to the anti-choice church, others noted that they needed to continue the fight.

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