One California women's health clinic will not be intimidated by anti-abortion protestors.
On Friday morning, employees of the Sacramento Women's Health Specialists clinic found a few dozen metal coat hangers spread across the clinic's doorway. A few hours later, the clinic posted a photo on their Facebook page which shows one of their escorts using the hangers to hang their bright pink "pro-choice clinic escort" vests.
The Sacramento clinic is the largest of 11 other Women's Health Specialists clinics in the Northern California area. The clinic, which describes itself as a "feminist women's health center" on their website, wrote in the Facebook post that they refuse to be frightened by such "ridiculous pranks."
"These hangers are sobering reminders of why the work we do is so important, and they also are just what we needed to hang up our clinic escort vests!" the post reads.
(Read the full Facebook post below.)
The post had received over 2,000 likes as of Tuesday morning with many commenters adding words of support.
It's ironic that the abortion protestors chose to use hangers as a form of harassment because the coat hanger has actually been used as a symbol for the pro-abortion movement over the years. The hanger is meant to remind us what would happen if abortion became illegal again and women were forced to seek back alley abortions.
Director of Public Policy for the Women's Health Specialists clinics Eileen Schnitger told The Huffington Post that this form of anti-abortion harassment is very common for the Sacramento clinic and the other clinics in their group.
"Women shouldn't have to go through this," she said. "People are coming for their birth control methods, they're coming for fertility awareness, they're coming for adoption services, they're coming to get pre-natal referral."
“Women shouldn't have to go through this.”
Schnitger said this specific clinic has experienced ongoing harassment since they opened in 1973. Religious organizations stage protests lasting a month or two at a time. According to Schnitger, many of these protests amass 75 to 100 people and block the road with large altars while people dressed in religious robes threaten to perform a Eucharist as a political act.
Protestors often harass people going in and out of the clinic, handing them pamphlets that falsely promise to reverse women's abortions. Schnitger said many of the clinics in the Women's Health Specialists group have experienced multiple arson fires, forcing many of their clinics to move locations every few years. One clinic burned down completely.
"We started our health centers as women saying we want to provide the services that we've wanted to receive and that women say they need," Schnitger said. "What is so important about what we do is serving the needs of women in a straight-forward, information-sharing kind of way."
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