Austin Women's Health Center Blog&Inspiration

How to Deal with Abortion Protestors

June 12, 2019
how to deal with abortion protestors

For many of our clients, making the decision to terminate a pregnancy is accompanied by complicated emotions. Those feelings can be compounded by having to deal with the presence of abortion protestors on the day of your appointment. Some of our patients are here for a well-women check, so the presence of protestors is simply an unwanted disruption in their routine.  Our staff is dedicated to ensuring the security and safety of everyone who visits our clinic. Over the years, we have learned the best methods of dealing with the intrusion and interruption caused by demonstrators.

Know Where You’re Going

Familiarize yourself with our location so you will feel comfortable and confident on the day of your visit. Directions to our office can be found on our directions page.

Know What to Expect

When you pull in, stay in your vehicle and look around. Call the office if you see anyone with signs or pamphlets approaching you. We will happily send a member of our team out to escort you into the clinic. If there are protestors, most likely they will be on the other side of our 8-foot fence and won’t interact with you at all. The fence was constructed in 2015 to minimize your interaction with picketers and protect your privacy. In most cases, there will be no one outside, so please walk directly up the walkway to our office.  Abortion Protestors do not assemble outside our clinic every day and when they do, it is usually just a few people holding signs.

Bring a Friend

If you are coming to see us for abortion care, bring a friend. Many women find that it helps to have a friend, relative, or partner come with them. Even if that person isn’t able to stay with you for the whole appointment, it might ease your mind to have a support person accompany you.

Wear Headphones

If you feel confident walking up to our clinic in the presence of abortion protestors, without a clinic escort, wearing headphones when you arrive can help you remain focused. Your favorite song or podcast will block out whatever the protestors might be saying as you enter our building.

Wear sunglasses

Some people find that wearing sunglasses helps to avoid eye contact with protestors. Avoiding eye contact can deter the protestors from engaging with you.

Know your rights

Abortion protestors cannot touch you or physically threaten you. They cannot block your path to or from our office. They cannot vandalize vehicles or property. If you believe that a demonstrator has violated your rights or was threatening, tell our staff immediately.

Protect Your Boundaries

You don’t have to talk to the protestors or answer their questions.  You are not obligated to take their pamphlets or handouts. The best way to deal with the harassment is to disengage, restrain your emotions, and leave.

Don’t Take The Bait

The abortion protestors’ primary goal is to elicit an emotional response from you. If you strike back by debating or arguing, they feel rewarded. Though it is difficult to remain detached, it is best not to engage with them.  Don’t take the bait.

Call Us

Protestors are prohibited from blocking access to our driveway and trespassing or loitering on our property.  If upon your arrival you feel intimidated or insecure for any reason, call our office and a staff member will escort you into the office.

We want you to feel confident and prepared for your visits to our office. If you have questions or concerns, please call us, our staff is here to discuss our procedures and help you and your companions prepare for your visit.