I arrived at the clinic about 9:15 on Thursday morning, as I do every Thursday.
A small gray car turned into the alley. I tried to offer literature to the driver, but he went on by and pulled into the parking lot, parked and got out with a small child. I called to him that we had help available at the Women’s Center, if he had someone in the clinic that he loved.
Just after trying to talk to the man, an ambulance came down Carmen Avenue and turned into the clinic alley. I pulled out my phone to get a picture and got one shot as the ambulance pulled just past the clinic gate to the back door of the facility.
Escorts Cause Chaos
Then the escorts came quickly to where I was standing on the sidewalk just west of the alley. They started blocking my way and my camera.
As I tried to walk down the alley to get a better picture of the ambulance, these two escorts stayed right in front of me, not a foot from me, dancing and weaving, shouting obscenities, etc. I continued to dodge around them and walk through the alley.
Every time I tried to get a picture they would wave their arms and put their hands in front of the camera, all the time taunting me with comments like, “I wish I was your granddaughter so I could sneak in and poison your cookies.” Or, “Your mother should have aborted you.” “You are a predator, a bottom feeder.” Finally one of the escorts hit my arm.
Pro-Lifers Document Clinic’s Dirty Little Secret
The situation was a little scary, since I was the only pro-lifer in the alley. But I knew my husband Joe was on his way. I texted Joe to let him know about the ambulance and that I was in the alley.
Diana, the clinic director, came out of the clinic with her camera and dared me to get within 8 feet of her. I did not. But Diana kept taunting me and then made a phone call, apparently to the police.
She told me they didn’t need me, that they had the patient’s husband there. I wondered if the husband might be the man who arrived with the small child just before the ambulance pulled in.
Then I noticed that there was an actual cameraman in the alley with a big professional camera. It looked like it could be a news camera. Diana’s demeanor changed when she saw the camera and she stopped saying anything to me. She turned her attention to the clinic door, waiting for the paramedics to exit with the patient they would transport.
Joe was now in the alley taking pictures of the ambulance and the clinic personnel who were outside. Diana tried to tell him he could not be there. The escorts also now went over the Joe and blocked his camera, as well as giving him the finger.
Cathy Mieding, veteran sidewalk counselor arrived at the clinic. She, Joe and I gathered in the alley and prayed for the woman who was in need of the ambulance.
Finally the stretcher was brought out of the building through the alley door, placed in the ambulance, and they drove away. So did the small gray car with the man and the small child.
Police Misapply Chicago Bubble Zone Law—AGAIN
Then three police cars arrived. Diane came out to tell them who she thought violated the bubble zone law, pointing to Joe and to me. By now Joe was sitting in a lawn chair saying his Rosary.
The police went right to him to question him. Then they asked to see the video that the cameraman had taken. He turned out to be with Spirit Juice, working on a documentary.
I heard the policeman, Sergeant Hoffman, tell Joe that he was within 50 feet of the entrance and therefore was not permitted to protest or shout or anything.
I interrupted him to tell him that the law does not say that, but he said he was well versed in the law and didn’t need to be told, and besides he was talking with “this gentleman.”
The police officers then went into the clinics. We can only surmise that there was no evidence of our violating the Chicago bubble zone, since no arrests were made.
But I asked Sergeant Hoffman if the behavior of the escorts being within 6 inches of me and blocking my access to the public way is a violation of the bubble zone because we were all within the 50 feet. He said we are protesting and are not allowed to protest inside the 50 feet.
I told him we are not protesting. We are praying and counseling, offering free help. He said the law does not apply to them because they work for the clinic and the only people who can bring a complaint are the owners or representatives of the owners. I believe this is a misreading of the ordinance.
The police assured us that they would make arrests if we violated the bubble zone law, but that they would also tell the clinic escorts that they should not come so close.
Good Comes from a Bad Situation
Coincidentally, while the ambulance was in the alley, a red van pulled in. Cathy Mieding, went over to the van and offered them literature and talked to them about the danger of abortion and the help at the Women’s Center, a pro-life pregnancy resource center located half a block away.
Then I saw her wave and get into the back seat of the van. She went with them to the Women’s Center and they decided against an abortion. They made an appointment to go back to the Women’s Center for an ultrasound.