We play billie holiday at the abortion clinic. Billie Holliday & Hot 98.7, the best hip-hop you can get in the chemical valley. The music drowns out the protestors prayer-screams; even the clouds dance, the pavement gyrates. It is the first day of spring and the daffodils stand straight as children anxious to be older. We are clinic escorts in west-by-god-by-god-virginia at the last abortion provider in the entire state. The Women's Health Center provides abortion care to patients who have no where else to go twice a week, wednesdays thursdays. They find a way to fund procedures for those who can't pay the steep bill, common since West Virginia outlawed the use of medicaid funds to pay for abortions. They are doing god's work.
We hold up a walmart-blue tarp over the google-stock-image baby posters as the cars as slow crawl in to the fenced-in parking lot, the protesters surrounding us like stuck insects. Escorts weave out of the clinic and over to the women with open black umbrellas to prevent the protesters from filming the patient's faces. Their faces are pinched, lined with worry and strained from long drives. We hold them for a moment in quiet benevolence; "you are blessed", we say with soft hands clutching their tattooed elbows and turtle-curved backs, "you are blessed" we say with our spines stiff as limestone, our mouths straight and our chins held high.
The protestors, the anti-choicers, the forced birthers, explode like a rupturing muscle behind the parking-lot fence. They wield their babies like odd weapons, their eyes full of worry and confusion as the shrill prayers interrupt the lego-castle construction and bouncey-ball toss. They form a ring and pray like boxers, beat their bibles against the sun-ripe road as if they will usher up hell to come and swallow us. They ask us if our mother's know we're here. My mother held my hand when I had an abortion, made me soup and told me I was so good, so worthy.
The women walk out with slow feet and unswollen bellies. Billie croons "God Bless the Child that got his own, that got his own," with a sweet rasp that rings through the march sky like cicadas. The light lingers on the women as they walk to their cars, filters over their pink crew-necks and strong shoulders blades, flows deep into the sweet summer they still have inside of them, through the promise they have made to a future that they can bear, that they can own.