saturdaychores

From James Straker in Brisbane, Australia:

At least once a week on my way to work I drive past this guy holding placards up. I did a bit of research and found out that he pestered women at quite a few places around town.

I stopped to try and talk with him calmly, asked him his mission. He said he was doing god’s work. I suggested cleansing the lepers but he seemed disinterested.

As a man, it’s a very difficult line to walk when you are talking about women’s reproductive rights.

I asked the women who work at the clinics for their ok to come along, and got their feedback on my signs.

I also got feedback from female friends, most of them were super supportive. I copped a bit of flack from two or three women who told me it wasn’t my place and that I was doing it just for attention for myself. In part both of these statements are somewhat correct.

It shouldn’t be a man’s place to comment, but until there is no need for comment, isn’t it everyone’s job ???

I definitely like shit stirring and enjoy social media, but my biggest motivation is my six year old daughter, Frankie Trouble. I don’t want her growing up in a world where freedom of choice is not hers to have.

The guy packed up and left after about 45 minutes. For all I know he was planning on leaving then anyways, but I would like to think I hastened his departure somewhat.

A woman I know who works for Children By Choice has also organized that I can be on-call to escort women past protesters at clinics if they would like some support.

I feel really proud of that.

Exhibit A: The fence. Exhibit B: The anti-choice people, who saw the fence for the first time this morning, looking confused.

After we started doing #saturdaychores, some people expressed concern that we were making it more stressful for patients. So, we did some fundraising and raised enough money to install 128 feet of privacy fencing around the clinic. This was a true community effort, and now, there will be no more yelling, preaching, or harassing the patients who are going inside. Increased privacy AND having a laugh = Yes!

Saturday Chores #1, March 8, 2014

This was our very first counter-protest. It happened on a bit of a whim. There’s no big box hardware store very close to where we live, so Grayson and I were driving toward a suburb of Raleigh called Cary, which runs over with strip malls. I had gotten a gift card to Home Depot for my birthday, and we decided to get supplies for a garden box. We passed the clinic on the way.

Grayson and I both grew up not too far away, and we’ve seen the clinic in question hundreds of times. But for some reason, on this morning in particular, the protestors got under our skin a little more than normal. Grayson suggested that we make a sign that said “Weird Hobby” and point at one of the protestors. We tried to buy poster board at Home Depot, but they don’t carry it. As we were leaving, I ripped a vinyl sale sign off of a display and took a Sharpie to it. We posted the results to Instagram and Facebook, and people flipped. 

So, we vowed to continue our Saturday Chores. 

Saturday Chores #3, March 22, 2014

Grayson and I woke up at 3:30 AM this Saturday to run our first 25K. A 25K is about 15.5 miles, or a half-marathon plus a few. We drove 30 minutes to Durham, a few towns over, and then took a bus to Chapel Hill. Then, we ran back to Durham. It was stupid. 

The race was at the ass-crack of dawn, so we were able to make it back to Raleigh in time for Saturday Chores. My legs were shaking and I could barely hold the sign. I doubt the people who honked knew that I threw up as soon as we walked back to our car. 

Honk, honk.