Monday, August 2, 2010

10 Things Anti-Choice Protesters Can Do to Help a Child Live a Happy Life

I just finished watching (and re-watching some of) the HBO documentary 12th and Delaware. It's about an intersection in Florida where there is an abortion clinic and a crisis pregnancy center (CPC). Unfortunately, most of the documentary follows CPC workers and anti-choice protesters. I guess that's where all the juiciness is. But I saw the anti-choice protesters in a different way. Don't get me wrong. I did not see past their ignorance and downright hatred for women. It was abundant. But what got me the angriest was that they were wasting some of their redeeming qualities, like tenacity, dedication, and passion, on harassing and hurting women. They spend their days, and make their living, harassing, lying to, and insulting the intelligence of women and teen girls. The "counselor" of the CPC and an anti-choice protester in the film admitted that their tactics may be harmful and/or illegal (e.g., stalking doctors and locking pregnant women in a room for 6 hours to convince them not to have an abortion), but it was worth it, because they thought they were helping.

Imagine if they engaged in activities that helped children, instead of denigrating women?

So I had the idea to do some convincing myself. I don't know if I will convince anybody to change their routine, but I'll just get it out there. I would like anybody who spends their days protesting outside of abortion clinics and other women's health centers to take one hour, just ONE HOUR, out of their protesting schedule to help real sentient children live fulfilling lives. Here are some ideas.

1. Spend an hour reading to one or more children at the local library or hospital. In an hour, you can read a couple of really good picture books, and it's a great excuse to talk in funny character voices.

2. Join an organization like Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and spend an hour with a child playing an awesome board game like Chutes and Ladders. There's no chute for the girl who had an abortion, but I'm sure pro-lifers can still appreciate the lessons learned.

3. Volunteer at the library or an after-school program, and spend an hour helping children with their homework.

4. Get together with neighborhood parents and organize a carpool to transport children to and from school. It helps kids and the environment!

5. Spend an hour at the local recreation center and teach music, dancing, art, baking, or first aid to children.

6. I highly doubt that most anti-choicers would do this, but I'll give it a shot. Spend an hour a day being a crisis intervention counselor for The Trevor Project, a hotline for suicidal LGBTQ youth. Help save the life of a transgender, genderqueer, gay, bisexual, or questioning kid in need.

7. Spend a half hour standing outside of the grocery store and collect money for UNICEF, the March of Dimes, or Abandoned Babies and Children. Spend the other half hour buying groceries to donate to the local food bank, since millions of kids go hungry every day in the United States.

8. Spend an hour at a group home for foster children, teen moms, runaways, or juvenile offenders and talk or play with them.

9. Volunteer at the local park and motivate children to exercise and eat healthy.

10. Spend an extra hour a day enjoying the company of your own children, grandchildren, and the other adorable little kids in your lives. They might be jealous that you're giving so much attention to other women's embryos.

This isn't about changing the views of anti-choicers. I'm not even telling them to stop protesting outside of clinics (although I wish they would, since they're doing more harm than good [that was a rhyme]). All I'm saying is that the above 10 things (and many others) are at least as rewarding as protesting outside of a clinic, and way more effective at helping children live happy lives. So take an hour each day and help children in need who can at least smile in appreciation. Some might even say thank you!

P.S. Although I say "volunteer" throughout the post, you can get a paying job to do some of those things. But you'd have to do it for more than an hour, of course.

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