Shana Broders has been an elementary school teacher for over two decades. For the last year and a half, she has spent her downtime as a clinic escort, helping patients at a nearby North Carolina abortion provider navigate their way past the protesters and into the building for services. For that, a group of extreme anti-abortion activists wants to get her fired from her job. As a new school year begins, they have escalated their efforts, harassing her school by phone and threatening to picket. Broders tells Cosmopolitan.com how her school has responded and why no threats will make her give up supporting a person's right to a legal, safe abortion procedure.
Ms. Broder explains in the article how her world got turned upside down:
I have very strong and passionate beliefs and views on bodily autonomy and women's rights. I was following something on Twitter and I saw a video clip of protesters at a clinic in another city. I tweeted or made a comment, "Wow. That's so horrible. I'm so glad that doesn't happen where I live," in my ignorance. Then someone commented back, "Oh, yes it does, right down the road." I was like, "What? Where? Can I be an escort?" They said, "Yes and let me hook you up," so I got hooked up though Twitter with an escort group in Raleigh, North Carolina. That's how it started.
I'm not sure how I was targeted for this. All I can tell you is that I got [one activist] called out for trespass, me personally. It was July of 2014, and I was escorting, and he went behind our building and another building, and he hid in the bushes waiting for the doctor. I was afraid if he jumped out of the bushes at him, someone could get hurt. I called the police for that reason. I think that made it personal. He learned my name fairly early on and he calls me by name. "You know, Shana, you were nice when you first started." I have him on video saying, "You were nice. What you were doing was evil but you weren't a bad person when you first started this but the darkness is taking over you."
He called me out. He told me he would come to my school. He named my school. Another man who is in this group, AHA [Abolish Human Abortion], who lives in my town — that scares me — he has told me he's going to come to my school and tell all the parents that I'm a baby murderer. Pure intimidation tactics.
At first nothing happened, but then the next year the anti-choice folks followed up on their threats and the school started receiving harassing phone calls referring to her as a "baby murderer." And then they took to Facebook and started sharing the graphic at the top of the page, until it was essentially everywhere.
Now this poor woman, a teacher of small children, feels threatened and under siege in her own community.
Fortunately her school has rallied around her and she has support from her fellow teachers, and of course she is in no danger of losing her job.
However the question remains how long will it be before the people making these threatening accusations are no longer simply happy using words to cause her harm?
Because as we have seen time and time again, this kind of illogical hatred can often take the form of physical violence and even murder.
|Dr. George Tiller.|