For those of you who do not live in Montgomery, Alabama and are not familiar with the clinic location, this post will explain a lot.
In the picture above, you can see the clinic (RHS) on the left, and a gray house (which we call The POWER House – People Organizing for Women’s Empowerment & Rights) on the right. There is about 5 feet of space that separates the clinic parking lot from the house. Over the summer, we had a generous benefactor who rented the house for us to use when we had a notoriously ugly anti-abortion group hold their “national conference” in town. Keep reading after the jump…as with most Alabama history, this is going to be a bit long.
We know that the minute our lease is up, the anti’s will try to rent this property again. (We got the lease before they thought about it.) We have heard rumors that they want to open a “CPC” (aka “fake clinic”) there. If they obtain the property, make no mistake – they will make the lives of the patients, staff & escorts/volunteers a living nightmare – no matter what they do with the property. We can envision them taking down the privacy fence between the clinic lot & the property, putting cameras on the roof pointed at the clinic lot, and all kinds of nefarious things in order to harass people. They would be able to stand at the very edge of the clinic parking lot where the lot meets the POWER House property and terrorize the patients going inside the clinic…essentially putting them about 2 feet away from a patient’s vehicle doors. Since we have the option to extend the lease, we are holding a fundraiser to at least extend it for six more months, but optimally, we’d like to extend it for a year.
Alabama is notoriously hostile to reproductive rights (Yay, we’re number 1! /s.) It’s not like we have a huge section of the population willing to help us, in fact, the majority of the state would like to see us gone. RHS is a small, independent clinic – it is one of the only five remaining clinics in the state, and we (MARJCO) get no financial assistance from any of the big pro choice orgs. This is why we need your help.
So, we started this Tilt fundraiser to help raise the money for the lease & paying the utilities & purchasing supplies for the POWER House. We will also be holding a “V to Shining V” party at the POWER House (shout out to our friends at Lady Parts Justice!) that will be a fundraiser as well with fun, TACOS!! (BYOB), & comedy all the way from Australia!, along with a silent auction of pro choice goodies & trans activist Callie Wright of The Gaytheist Manifesto all the way from Ohio (add your RSVP to the event here.) We also have some kick ass pro choice t-shirts, tank tops & hoodies featuring the wonderful Dr. Parker (who we love & are so grateful for him lending his name to our cause) available that you can purchase to support our cause. All proceeds will go to the lease/utilities and helping Alabama women in their time of need.
By keeping the POWER House in prochoice hands, we hope to offer women & their companions refuge from the anti-abortion protesters, and present seminars on truthful sex education. Alabama teaches abstinence only sex ed in schools and mandates that “an emphasis, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.” (See the entire state code on sex ed here: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/alcode/16/40A/16-40A-2#sthash.ZzWjuOtL.dpuf). We feel this is unrealistic & unacceptable in this day and age.
We’d also like to hold birth control education seminars, address sexual health for LGBTQIA people (we support the LGBTQIA community 110% & the POWER House was previously home to the first ever LGBT rights org in Alabama), continuing community involvement, along with coordinating political responses & calls to action over the anti-choice reproductive rights laws coming from the State of Alabama government & politicians.
There are only 5 clinics in Alabama. Please help us assist Alabama women who come to Montgomery to obtain the legal healthcare they need without interference & harassment from anti-abortion zealots. We can’t thank you enough for your support.
The Escorts, Volunteers & Supporters of MARJCO & Reproductive Health Services
*Please note: We are not employees of RHS. We are strictly a volunteer organization, and we do not get paid one red cent. All money raised will go directly to keeping POWER House in pro-choice hands.