Why I Believe It’s Important to Reclaim the Space in Front of Abortion Clinics

Putting my body in the street has raised the stakes for me.

Before I joined NYC for Abortion Rights (NYC4AR), I didn’t know the location of my nearest abortion clinic, or any abortion clinic at all.

I work in publishing, not health care; I hadn’t been active in any reproductive rights organizing before; and I’ve never needed to go to an abortion clinic for health care. In a way, that made me more like anti-choice activists than other members of NYC4AR. Our members are reproductive health-care workers, clinic escorts, abortion doulas, and patients. Anti-choicers are none of the above. But they can all point to their local abortion clinics on a map; they’ve even compiled an extensive national database. They know, of course, because they’ve made it their business to know by showing up at clinics to systematically harass patients.

Many who believe in abortion rights, meanwhile, have been like me—ideologically correct and physically inert, even as members of the anti-choice movement have effectively claimed the space in front of abortion clinics as their territory.

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