originally posted on June 18th, 2009
From the folks at Sum of Change Productions:
Last night, as part of our research for an upcoming project, Will Urquhart and Mitch Malasky from Sum of Change Productions, attended a training to become abortion clinic escorts. We are in the early stages of a documentary on the work that these escorts do, and the personal stories attached to the job.
We, as a group, decided that volunteering as escorts would not only be a good way to have a direct impact in the struggle to protect women's rights, but that a deep understanding of the nature of escorting would make our documentary that much better. It is always nice when the right thing and the smart thing happen to coincide.
We will be blogging about our experiences with clinic escorting as we go through the process. To get involved, we contacted the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force (WACDTF). WACDTF was founded in the 80's to provide clinics with volunteers, when requested, who can deal with protesters and help patients get to the clinic peacefully. The training session was great. Our instructors went over tactics one can use to resolve a situation non-violently (which I will not detail, for obvious reasons). Many of the tactics are fairly simple, as are many of the conflicts one will come across as an escort. Obviously, there are conflicts that require much more than a training can provide to settle. It appears to be more of an art than a science.
As our instructor told us at the beginning, this training is not going to leave one feeling comfortable. This is neither a comfortable nor easy task. Clinic escorts put themselves in harms way, so that others can be out of harms way. We are excited, and certainly a little nervous. Our first volunteer opportunity should be coming up very shortly and we will be sure to write more about our experiences.