1. The Stalker
Generally, The Stalker does just that, stalks or skulks around the perimeter of the clinic (if, like me, you’re lucky enough to have a fence around the parking lot). While doing so, The Stalker will occasionally yell things at both you and the patient, generally lies or religious invectives about how you — yes, you! — are going to hell.
Meanwhile, The Stalker will momentarily take a break to hurl racial slurs at any of the doctors should they make some sort of appearance outside, all while holding a rosary. The Stalker will hurl similar invectives out of frustration at patients, most of whom are young African-American or Latino women. Sometimes, The Stalker will try intimidation tactics like crouching below the tarp along the fence to peek at you, but it only gives the impression The Stalker is taking a poop and thus undermines any sense of intimidation he may be aiming for.
The Stalker is usually: old, white male.
2. The Holy Roller
The Holy Roller, like The Stalker, likes to patrol the perimeter of the clinic but instead of offering up invectives, tries to take the high road, lofting Bible verses and passive-aggressive invocations of Jesus at patients and escorts alike. There is usually a sweet, smiling demeanor to The Holy Roller that culminates in the most aggravating of all verbal assaults: “I love you and I’m praying for you!” But don’t be fooled: if even the slightest sass is given, The Holy Roller turns into a pit bull that is ready to damn you and your soul into an eternity of flames.
Younger versions of The Holy Roller will try to relate to the patients, the young, poor African-American and Latino women without insurance who often simply need a check-up or birth control, not that it matters to The Holy Roller for everything done inside the clinic is an act of the most egregious sin. These attempts to connect with patients in a matter of seconds are often futile and hilarious.
The Holy Roller is usually: old, white female. Occasionally a young, white female.
3. The Petulant Toddlers
The Petulant Toddlers are, unlike The Stalker and The Holy Roller, don’t stalk the grounds. Instead, they remain firmly planted, literature in hand, at the clinics entrances, blocking cars attempting to enter the parking lot or, more likely, the main walk-in entrance. This in spite of a “bubble” ordinance the City of Chicago passed in 2009 which says a protester must maintain a distance of eight feet from an entrance to a clinic.
If you point out this law to The Petulant Toddlers, they’ll whine that the “entrance” to the clinic, beyond the gate, is more than eight feet away and, thus, they’re physical intrusion of the gate entrance does not violate the “bubble” ordinance. Come within inches, however, of bumping into them while escorting a patient onto the grounds — let alone, Heaven forbid, making any sort of physical contact with them — and watch a Holy War begin as they invoke their First Amendment rights and threaten you with assault charges. Beware injuries that could occur from rolling your eyes too hard at The Petulant Toddlers.
The Petulant Toddlers are usually: old, white males
4. The Frightener
Unlike other protesters, The Frightener has no limits to intimidation tactics. Quiet and calm to lure patients in can change to loud and violent in a split-second. The Frightener will stand outside the gate telling you that you’re like the guards who led Jesus to his crucifixion, which will cause much delight in the logic curly-ques you can run around with this. Yet The Frightener won’t stop there. The Frightener will storm right past you into the clinic and demand to see the Doctor. The Frightener will hurl threats of physical violence at you and patients. The Frightener will actually manage to intimidate you and does not care about a few minor arrests of trespassing.
The Frightener is hell-bent on making sure women can’t go get the health care available to them, particularly the lower income patients that visit this clinic, the ones who come from a world The Frightener has never known nor would ever want to even as he tries to force his own beliefs on them. The Frightener is the one to keep your eye on, a cold sliver of anxiety trickling down your back every time he makes an appearance. The Frightener is the one to fear.
The Frightener is usually: middle-aged white male.