Southeast Christian Church Behind Louisville Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Check this out, from Every Saturday Morning:

We have two CPCs, one next door and one within one block of the EMW Women’s Surgical Center. Both are called A Woman’s Choice (AWC) and they are operated under the same corporation. The corporation name is A Choice for Life, a corporation formed by Southeast Christian Church. AWC is a separate non-profit corporation affiliated with the church, but they share board members.”

(Emphasis mine.)

Don’t believe it? Check out the church’s website. The crisis pregnancy centers (they evidently have one in Shelby county, too.) are the top two on their list of “secondary community partners.”

For those of you who don’t know, Southeast Christian Church is the largest mega-church in the state of Kentucky. As of 2010, over 19,000 people are members of Southeast Christian Church.

I wonder how many of them know they support an organization of people who lie, sabotage women’s healthcare, and assault the people who support patients? (Not to mention break the law by blocking access to the women’s clinic.)

Regardless, I doubt many in the general community know–I certainly didn’t, not until the awesome people at Every Saturday Morning enlightened me. This is certainly something Louisvillians need to know. Knowledge is power–and we’ve got to do something.

This is absolutely disgusting. I cannot express how angry this makes me. I’ve long been disgusted by the way that mega-churches use their wealth (expensive facilities, luxuries for members, mind-blowing shit like a 200-acre country retreat…) but to wallow in luxury while also sending thugs to harass and assault women and the escorts? I wonder if one could ever come up with a better example of modern-day Pharisees than this.

Escorts at Louisville’s Abortion Clinic

Kentucky has only two clinics in the state that offer abortion services–one of them is in Louisville, the largest city in the state.

Unfortunately, this clinic is regularly a target of anti-choice protesters. By regularly, I mean all the time. The protesters harass, intimidate, shame, and attempt to deceive women by directing them to the TWO crisis pregnancy centers on the same street as the clinic. (CPCs are fake clinics set up by anti-choice organizations. Their goal is to prevent women from having abortions, by either convincing them not to, or by giving them false information about, well, everything.)

Because of this, a bunch of really great people volunteer to escort women from their cars to the clinic doors. They get up ridiculously early to make sure women have a buffer between themselves and the protesters, and to give them support every step along the way.

The escorts have a blog–they post stories, photos, and video of everything that goes down in front of the clinic. Check it out.

The bullshit they deal with is incredible–the verbal harassment, the pushing, hitting, tripping, physical intimidation, and sometimes, even worse.

I’ve got to warn you, though: it will piss you off.

It pissed me off.

I can’t but admire the escorts–for doing what they do.

I’ve wanted to volunteer myself–but getting up so early, after working so late in the night, is out of the question.

I wonder, too, if I’d be able to keep my temper in check. I wonder if I’d be able to refrain from pushing back, hitting back, or kicking out the kneecap of the person that tripped me. As my regular readers know, I’m big on self-defense.

But then again, I read stories like this from the escorts, and I want nothing more than to go down there and help. I want to escort. I want to write and write and write. I want to write here, and on Pulse of the City. I want to write to the mayor, the chief of police, and anyone else and demand they post officers at the clinic to protect patients and escorts. I want to post endlessly on my facebook page, ranting and educating, and encouraging people to take action.

It’s so easy to hear stories and think, “wow, that’s completely fucked up” and perhaps write a ranty comment, and then go on with your day. Until I found the Louisville escort’s blog, I was like that, too. Reading their stories, talking to people I know that go down there, and seeing the photos and video of anti-choice protesters doing this in my city, to my people, made it so very real to me.

Oh, and by the way? What these protesters are doing is illegal. Obstructing access, intimidation, threats, violence, in order to keep women from obtaining reproductive services–illegal. Did I say it was illegal? It’s illegal.

But they do it anyway.

Not only are the escorts doing important work by escorting women, but they’re also exposing to the world what exactly happens in front of America’s reproductive clinics. Support and honor them by reading their accounts, viewing their photos, and watching their videos.

Take Medication, Or Else.

Last night I discovered a woman of my acquaintance had been arrested under a mental inquest warrant–someone close to her (we know who it is, but to preserve this woman’s privacy, I’m concealing certain details to prevent her from being identified from this post) had gone to the police and claimed she had a mental disorder and was not taking medication for it.

From what I know, this warrant is a means to force one’s relatives to get treatment for mental disorders. You’d suppose that this would require a lot of proof, both of the diagnosis, refusal of treatment, and a danger to someone, right? Apparently not. The woman I referenced above is completely able-bodied, and has not threatened or posed a danger to anyone–but that did not prevent Louisville Metro Police from sending two squad cars to this woman’s home, arresting her, and detaining her for several hours before discovering–whoops!–she had no mental disorder.

So, apparently the word of one person is enough to get someone locked up for presumably refusing to take medication. I received a text message today, the sender said:

“Still I could see it if they claimed she was psycho or dangerous, but _____? Please!”

I responded thusly:

“I can’t. Everyone has the right to choose to take medication or not. That right is meaningless if people who have conditions for which medications are available aren’t allowed to refuse.”

I cannot describe how angry it makes me to see such blatant evidence of disregard for the rights and humanity of those of us who are differently abled–and even those who are thought to be differently abled. To know that the entire time I refused medication, I was one phone call away from being arrested, thrown in jail, committed, and forced to take medication frightens and enrages me.

Unfortunately, I cannot find any information via Google–as in, the requirements to obtain a mental inquest warrant, what happens to the person the warrant was gotten against, or if it can be challenged. This information is something that I, and the PWD community in general, need to have. But ultimately, this is something that should. not. happen. No one has the right to force medication on another. Everyone has the right to refuse medication, to refuse treatment.

Rand Paul Needs Schooling, Part 2

Rand Paul not only needs some schooling on campaigning—I need to expand his curriculum. Recently he held a meet and greet at the Southwest Government Center on Dixie Highway. He did not expect anyone but his loyal fans and supporters at this event, apparently. It was to be a two-hour event—it ended after 30 minutes. Why? Citizens were asking questions!

People, this is American Government 101, or Voting 093 (a remedial class, I’ve decided. Rand Paul needs both.). No one, no one, should vote without getting to know the candidates, and their stands on important issues. If a candidate is not forthcoming, it is the public’s job to ask those questions. If a candidate refuses to answer them, that is abject and utter failure on the part of the candidate, and a sign of his inability to be a public servant.

This video, shot and posted by HillBilly Report, shows Rand Paul happily walking around, shaking the hands of the citizenry. HillBilly, and any other citizen that asks questions gets the cold shoulder. Rand Paul stops smiling, withdrawls his hand, and turns his back on these citizens. He dodges them like Pac-man dodges the ghosts in the old Namco game. It would be comical, If it weren’t so sad. Most stand there, disbelieving, as he hurries away.

In the video Hill Billy persues Rand Paul, camera rolling, asking his question, and then asking why Paul isn’t answering his question. Rand Paul runs like a boy fearing cooties on the playground. When he leaves the room, Hill Billy follows, determined to get some kind of answer from Paul. What happens next is appalling. He’s assaulted—his arm is grabbed, and it appears Paul and his companion, State Sen. Dan Seum, are trying to get him back in the auditorium. What candidate thinks it is a good idea, not only to so blatantly avoid questions, but to resort to this kind of behavior to get rid of concerned citizens?

It doesn’t end there—no. He tells the AP Hillbilly was harassing him!

Now, these weren’t young punks* trying to get a rise out of a Tea Party Darling. Hillbilly is a 71-year-man. The citizens were retirement age—one only wanted to know what Rand Paul wanted to do (or not) to Social Security. One was a working man, still wearing his hard hat.

I say again: if this is how Rand Paul acts as a candidate, when he is trying to court the votes of the citizenry, he will be ten times worse as a representative. The position Paul is campaigning to be elected to, no matter the title or prestige that comes with it, is a public office. The job is to serve the public. It is not a letter of nobility. It is not a position to aspire to in order to hook up your friends. (or fans. Or supporters.)

*Not that young voters would do so, of course. I am a young voter myself, so I know that certain people, ahem, are often quick to take the passion of a young voter and/or activist, and dismiss us as antagonistic. Which is a shame—they’ll push us away if we’re too passionate; then lament our “apathy.”

There’s no telling how many parts to this series there will be. The OP wasn’t intended to be the beginning of a blog series at all! But, Rand Paul, like his darling Tea Party, is like a gift that just keeps on giving!

An Abuse of Power

So, we have another suspected case of police brutality. This time? A nineteen year old boy versus twelve Louisville Metro Crisis Intervention Team. He was playing basketball at a local high school at night, and got so hot that he decided to take his clothes off.His friends had left him there alone, and police were called.

Shawn Gellhaus was roughed up, and threatened with rape if he did not stop “jiggling.”

My thoughts? Based on the article, I’m guessing he was suffering from some hot weather injuries. Summer in Kentucky is serious business, regularly reaching 80-90 degrees with close to %100 percent humidity. The heat, humidity, combined with dehydration and a lack of food, I’m surprised the boy did not collapse a lot earlier. I myself passed out earlier this week despite my being hydrated and well-fed.

LMPD, especially the Crisis Intervention Team should know better–but they were likely, like the commenters on the article (which I would not advise you to read. No really, I know you’re going to click it. Don’t.) quick to assume that he was on drugs.The commenters are also quick to blame the young man for LMPD’s actions, if they believed he was attacked at all.

There are a lot of things to dissect in this situation, and none of it is good.

Shawn’s condition should have been apparent to LMPD. Like I already said, the heat of Kentucky summers, especially in Louisville, the largest city in Kentucky, is oppressive. It’s very easy to get heat exhaustion, heat stroke, etc. if you’re not careful. That Shawn’s health was not considered is appalling. According to the article, he was out of it, and not able to remember parts of the encounter. His symptoms would have been apparent to anyone paying attention.

Police brutality…is police brutality. It’s wrong, reprehensible, and a disgrace to the idea of the Louisville Metro Police Department. However, it does not surprise me. Nor does the mental hoops people will through to justify police brutality, or dismiss its occurrence altogether.

Why? People want desperately to believe in the goodness of people coded socially as good. Police are authority figures; authority figures are socially coded as…you guessed it! Good. In American society, one that revers democracy and fears tyranny, the very idea that the police force could be abusive is frightening to the very core.

Like the military, the purpose of the police force is to protect the citizens of the society that they operate in. People believe in the goodness of these institutions, they see the need of them, and fear what would happen to them without these institutions. That belief in these institutions’ goodness transfers to its members, naturally.

Respect is instantly given to a servicemember or a police officer–because of their sacrifice, their willingness to put their life on the life, and many other common tropes we’ve all heard before.

Another reason instant and unquestioning respect is given to police and members of the military is that people fear danger. The idea of putting oneself in danger, and out of safety, exposing oneself to harm, is something most cannot imagine, and people that do are almost superhuman to them. That these superhumans can be corrupt, capable of gross abuses, mistakes, doesn’t fit with their idea of who police and servicemembers should be. Hence, the mental hoops.

But that’s not all. We’re all only just human. But society, and people, refuse to recognize that otherwise good people can do bad things. People can do bad things and still be human. That people do good and bad things, and that does not translate into who they are, i.e. good people or bad people. No one is perfect–we all know this on an intellectual level, but when it comes to applying it, many times we falter. Especially when it comes to police, servicemembers, and those who the former are to “protect” the public from.

The consequence of this is that police are not able, by this faulty logic, to be bad. It is also that “criminals” are not able to be good, or innocent, and human. This is why it is so easy, and so common for people to believe that a suspect or person of interest deserves whatever the police dish out.

There is a lot more to digest here, but I’ll end this here. I hope Shawn recovers from his injuries, and from his trauma. I’ve heard that his uncle is a member of LMPD, so perhaps he will get justice. But that won’t negate the wrong that was done him.

I was going to post the symptoms of various weather-related injuries, but this post is already getting too long. I’ll put them in another post, and link back here.

Get Your Activism On! Hold BP Responsible.

MoveOn.org is sponsoring a rally in Louisville, Kentucky this Thursday. The rally is to urge Congress to  make BP take responsibility for cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf. Here are the details:

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. It will take years and billions of dollars to repair the damage to the Gulf Coast’s ecosystems and fishing and tourism industries.

Who will pay for this awful mess? If BP gets its way, you will.
So I’m working with the local MoveOn Council to organize a rally in Louisville—to tell Congress to make BP pay!

The event is on Thursday, Jun. 10, 2010, at 5:00 PM in Louisville. The location of our event is: Douglas Loop.

To RSVP for this event, click here. To search for a rally in your area, click here.

I’ll be attending the one in Louisville this Thursday. I urge you to go to this rally. Protests and rallies are a great way to participate in this political system, and a good way to show that your support making BP take personal responsibility for cleaning up after itself–in an ocean that belongs to everyone.