If we can pass a law that helps to prevent bullying in schools in Minnesota, we can pass a law that helps prevent bullying on the sidewalks in front of women’s health clinics.
Because let me be very clear: bullying is EXACTLY what these people are doing. To call it “sidewalk counseling” as they scream at people, spew bile at the escorts and harass the clinic workers is a blatant example of bearing false witness: a hypocrisy their cherry-picked version of “religion” seems to have no problem with.
The relationship between people who oppose abortion in general and these bullies is the same as the relationship between a normal religious person and a member of the Westboro Baptist Church: the first can include many reasonable people with considered positions, the ability to disagree with others yet still remain civil, and a huge degree of empathy for suffering in others that can move many to action. The second are a fringe group of horrible hypocrites with gnarled, knotted remnants of souls and something black and petrified where their hearts used to be.
You discover something truly frightening and revelatory about what humans can become when you repeatedly witness the lightning-quick transition from a facade of caring piety, calling out “we’ll take care of your baby” from behind a tentatively-respected property line, into furiously spitting “YOU’LL ALL BURN IN HELL”, the minute the clinic doors close behind a patient. No one who truly cared about a child would leave him or her for a second with this kind of person, let alone a lifetime. And instead of requiring them to get the psychological help they desperately need, we have no option but to let them expose their twisted version of humanity to women and families seeking medical services.
It’s bullying, plain and simple. We can and have put legislation and programs in place to help reduce it in schools: we should be able to do the same for sidewalks. We can draw a line that protects freedom of speech and reduces this harassment, and for those who think this line is too hard to define or worry where to draw it, I’ll invite you to stand with the escorts for a few days: if you think the line is murky or hard to place or that it’s unclear where it should be drawn, I guarantee that you will quickly discover yourself understanding that there definitely is a line, and the person in front of you yelling hatred is definitely over it.
It’s time for anti-bullying legislation that protects the women and families entering these clinics.