This past weekend was an exciting milestone for Reproductive Transparency Now. Less than two months after being founded, we organized and hosted our first crisis pregnancy center (CPC) protest. As someone who has spent a lot of time volunteering in the community, I had a reasonable idea about what to expect during our two-hour peaceful demonstration. Our team prepared participants for negativity, harassment, and--let's be honest--more than a few middle fingers. Okay, okay. We did get a teeny tiny bit of those things, but far less than I had expected.
More importantly, we were overwhelmed with positive reactions. People driving past us honked their horns in support and raised their fists with us in solidarity. With each honk, we got a little boost of adrenaline to keep us sustained for the morning's events. There were smiles, thumbs-ups, and supportive applause from a passing jogger. One car passenger rolled down his window and recorded a video of us as he smiled and nodded. (Hey guy, if you're reading this, don't forget to tag @ReproTransparency on Insta!).
My favorite encounter during the event was when a passing car pulled over and the driver rolled down her window. As I approached the car, the woman leaned toward me and said, "Are you kidding me? This is one of those places that advertises to women asking them if they are pregnant and scared?"
"It sure is, ma'am. This is a crisis pregnancy center, not a healthcare clinic." I responded while reaching into my bag for one of our organization's contact cards.
Her jaw dropped. "I have lived here forever and was always so glad that we had a women's clinic right here in our neighborhood. I had NO IDEA this was a CPC. Thank you for being here!" The woman shook her head, gave me a final nod, and continued driving.
And that, my friends, is why Reproductive Transparency Now exists. Crisis pregnancy centers are so deceptive in their advertising, website content, marketing messages, and even their business names that even the most repro-conscious folks may not realize what they are dealing with.
Circling back to the title of this post, you may be asking: "What the H-E-double hockey sticks does this have to do with the 'real meaning of pro-life'?" Well, that involves my second favorite encounter of the day.
Maybe 45 minutes to an hour after the story described above, another passing vehicle grabbed our attention. This time, is was an orangey (maybe red) pick-up truck passing by us in the lane on the opposite side of the street. We didn't really notice the vehicle until it made a sudden U-turn about 500 feet away, stopping traffic in both directions. The truck passed by us again--this time much closer--and pulled into the parking lot of the CPC behind us.
He parked there for a moment and glared at us. One of the other volunteers looked over at me quizzically, and I just shrugged and shook my head. Suddenly, our new friend (let's call him "Mr. Pro-Life") pulls up his truck to the street to make a left turn--the direction he was originally traveling before the infamous U-turn.
He pulls up into the street far enough to block traffic moving in both directions, which Mr. Pro-Life's fellow drivers did *not* appreciate. And as he speeds away, yells: "So you like killing babies?!?! Then go to [redacted]!" (editor's note: Because what he shouted could be considered culturally insensitive, I am not repeating it in full detail here).
In the midst of this interaction, someone shouted "F*** you!" Was this exclamation aimed at us? Was it meant for Mr. Pro-Life and his shameless disregard for public safety and normal driving protocols? We may never know the answers to those questions, and I'm okay with that.
The most important take-away from that incident was the irony that Mr. Pro-Life had no qualms about executing multiple reckless driving maneuvers on a bustling street, just so that he could shout at a small group of pro-choice activists holding signs. Nice work, sir, and we'll see you again soon!
Be safe out there!