I was hungry and tired and anxious and I knew I needed to get Plan B, the drug that people said wasn’t as bad as an abortion really (the abortion drug was different), but it prevented a baby from being conceived and that meant it was at least some kind of evil.
And I got out of the cab, and a man in overalls with a big white beard stared at me, and I just wanted to have a nice interaction with a person, especially a man, and I said “Good morning” and that’s when I saw he was carrying a Bible, and I knew right away that was a bad sign, and then he called me a murderer. He shouted it so loud it almost wasn’t a word anymore. It was a force of nature.
I was rescued by two mid-2000s feminist hipsters wearing “Escort” vests. I looked at the vests and wondered if I had entered the place where sex workers and pro-lifers somehow mixed, which seemed like a very East Village thing, but they were Planned Parenthood escorts, and they were there to help me. They chattered at me about my “cool” clothes and earrings and smoothly walked me the dozen feet or so to the entrance, where a security guard took over. They promised me they would still be there when I left, and they were.
They knew how to talk to a scared young woman as if everything were normal, as if she weren’t being screamed at by the human embodiment of an angry Judeo-Christian sky-god, as if she didn’t already feel like shit. They knew how to make me feel human, and for that I was and remain enormously grateful.
Have you ever, ever, ever even once shouted somebody into submission?
Did that submission stick?
The Bible was a bad sign. That's where we are now, cats and kittens. The Bible is a bad sign. If you see somebody walking around with a book, at least a third of which explicitly makes the point that valuing systems over people is bullshit, you should duck and cover. That person, carrying that book, is likely about to do something like scream MURDERER in your face, because that's what that book means now.
This is what happens when you take care of systems, and forget to take care of people. This is what happens when enforcing the rules becomes the goal, when order is prized over kindness, when what matters is not the person in front of you but what you're saying to her. You've maintained the rules. Everybody, look at you, and at your Bible.
(Because: If you believe abortion is murder, if you believe that a person walking into a Planned Parenthood clinic is killing someone, then standing there screaming about it is just about the dumbest thing you can do. You see somebody on the street about to shoot somebody else, do you point and yell MURDERER? What does that do to stop that person? You should throw yourself bodily into the fray, you care so damn much about preventing the crime you think is taking place. Inconsistency makes me crazy, especially in this.)
That Bible, that person so filled with Christian love, isn't there to "counsel." He didn't ask one goddamn question, not one. He's there to shout and bully, and that's all he's there for. There were people at that clinic doing God's work, and they weren't the ones on the sidewalk yelling.