Clinic business

Abortion clinic buffer zones are not an attack on free speech, they protect people from harassment – Laura Waddell

Buffer zones would see anti-abortion protests moved away from clinics and hospitals (Picture: John Devlin)

And besides, what anyone does with their body is their own business, despite conservative culture warriors, queer bashers, and misogynistic podcast hosts who do their best to convince followers that our bodies are fair game for public debate. This is where caveats usually come in – the apologetic addendum of the “as long as they don’t harm themselves or others” type.

But, frankly, it’s the basic standard of living among the rest, something we should expect all of humanity to aspire to, an unconventional given that hardly needs stating. But these are the days of moral panic and populists in an endless and cruel propaganda campaign to smear anyone who lives contrary to their ideal traditional family unit.

Social conservatives are adept at creating bogeymen. Discrediting a political opponent is a strategy as crude as it is old, but witnessing it in the age of right-wing forces adept at manipulating disinformation on social media is particularly sinister.

You can see it in how the Trumpist conspiracy movement QAnon has managed to convince thousands of obsessive online followers to believe, quite literally, that the left is sacrificing babies.

It’s what homophobes did loudly in the days of Section 28 when they called gays, lesbians and bisexuals child predators and it’s what transphobes echo today, appallingly often. in the opinion pages of major British newspapers, when they claim that the very existence of a minority is only a harmful ideology that must be eradicated.

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It’s what violent men in the public eye are asking their defense attorneys and publicists to do to the victims who stand up to them and demand justice, in every hysterical claim that #MeToo was the real threat to society, the workplace or Hollywood. And, inevitably, it’s a tactic that anti-abortionists use to try to control and scare women away from a choice that is ours.

I don’t believe that those who stand outside hospitals with signs bearing graphic images and antagonistic words about evil and murder are motivated by a desire to “help.”

Frankly, I don’t care if they claim to come out of love or hate, because either way, it’s intimidating. There is a disturbing arrogance in the belief of placard holders that they have the right to target those accessing a medical service.

When they don’t call what they’re doing a “vigil,” they call it a protest; claiming the argument of freedom of expression, claiming victimization. But buffer zones will not stop freedom of expression in public spaces. Buffer zones specifically prevent the possibility of targeting and harassing people accessing medical services.

Anti-abortion attacks targeting women who may be in an extremely vulnerable position are particularly infuriating. Some, however, can simply go about their day-to-day business – no one’s business but their own and their doctor.

Those hiding outside health centers are not content to live by their own ideals, but actively campaign to limit women’s bodily autonomy.

In these goals, they are supported by spendthrift US lobbyists and far-right demagogues, who want to roll back equality legislation and limit education and medical care. But our bodies are no one’s business but our own.