Louisville Magazine

MAR 2014

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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11 8 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.14 Eubanks, Wells and two other doctors from the Surgical Arts Center, Ernest Marshall and Walter Wolfe, opened E.M.W. in August 1981, according to the book. It has been the only clinic in Louisville since 1999. Standing Up quotes Eubanks as saying, "I just always felt that it was a woman's right for some reason. I felt it was nobody's business except the woman and her doctor, really. But I also thought that if it's to be done, it ought to be a safe procedure." Marshall is quoted as saying, "Part of my nature is that every child should have a mother or father that wants them. My mother has had 13 pregnancies…I call it pseudo-slavery through reproduction." Cynthia McCarty had her frst abortion, at the Surgical Arts Center, when she was 21. It cost $300. Te 56-year-old is telling the story in her house in St. Matthews, where the joke is that her husband bought her the limestone peace sign in the front yard so she could enjoy her tombstone while still living. McCarty watches young children during the week. Right now, she's sitting on the foor with two infants. Sesame Street is on. "Having babysat basically my whole life, I just knew how much work goes into it and was no way ready for that type of commitment," she says. By 27, she was pregnant again. She had a daughter. "Saved my life," she says. "I was a typical party girl and gave all of that up to become a mom." Two years later, another pregnancy. "Now how ridiculous is that? At that point, you should fgure out what causes it and not let it happen. But I knew I wasn't ready to support two children," she says. She had a second abortion and started clinic escorting not long after. In a journal she kept, she mentions protestors like "Mean Jean," "Green Giant" and "Bo Peep." "It's so ridiculous how they treat women, like you wake up and go, 'Well, the laundry's fnished, so I guess I'll go have an abortion.'" In the early '90s, she writes, E.M.W. had a security guard. One time at a gas station, she says, a man recognized her as an escort and thanked her for helping his girlfriend and him into the clinic. He gave her an eagle feather. "If you believe these little masses in your belly have a soul, then wouldn't you assume — now, I'm not very religious, but I might be spiritual — but wouldn't you believe that those souls, if they have souls as a mass, go back to wherever it is that they go and then come back? In reality, if that's what it is, then I believe my frst abortion became my daughter I had six years later and my second abortion, perhaps, became another daughter. Now, I don't know if I believe that. It's just one of those theories that foats around in your head." McCarty has three daughters, all in their 20s. "I have been blessed that nobody's turned up pregnant," she says. In the medicine cabinet she keeps the morning-after pill, one pill per box. "All of my daughters and their friends know it's there," she says. "My deal is: No questions asked, you don't have to tell me you're using it, but please make sure you leave the box on the counter so that I know it's gone." She says she's bought four or fve boxes. Donna Durning's parish, Holy Spirit, is only a mile from McCarty's house. While drinking cofee at nearby Lotsa Pasta, Durning shares her story. She spent her childhood in Crescent Hill as the oldest of nine children. Her father was in the weather-stripping business. She has two grown kids. Her husband, a retinal surgeon, lost a battle with cancer at age 40. Almost two decades ago, she went to E.M.W. for the frst time. Her sister wanted Durning to see what went on there. Durning mentions that the National Right to Life Convention will be in Louisville this June. When talking about her black velvet box that contains four plastic fetuses, she says, "One of the deathscorts made fun of my models and said, 'It's not a baby; it's a lima bean.' Every once in a while, when I get the chance, I'll say, 'Has your lima bean turned into a baby yet?'" Durning brings signs to the sidewalk — including one of an aborted 10-week-old fetus with the word choice in quotation marks — because "people need to see what abortion is." She says that she helped one woman change her mind from the sidewalk at the clinic, adding that the mother named the child Donisha. "My namesake," Durning says. She keeps a picture of Donisha with her while at the clinic. When asked her stance on abortion in cases of rape or incest, she says, "It's still a baby. It's still an innocent child. Tat baby did nothing wrong." Te only exception, she says, is if the mother's life is at risk. "Which is an exception in the Catholic Church," she says. To the women who've had abortions, she says, "Te Catholic Church hopes they will seek forgiveness. And, of course, we believe those babies go to heaven. No doubt about it." O n a Saturday in early November, a 40-some- thing named Chad Johnson is wearing a headset microphone, standing on a step- stool. He spreads the gospel in Louisville, outside the Yum! Center or Churchill Downs or, like this morning, on the sidewalk in front of E.M.W. "Tis baby is in the way of your drinking and getting high and going to gangster-rap concerts," he says. "Tey herd you in here like cattle. What's happening in that building is a Holocaust." Tere are 92 prayer warriors out here today, 30 or so escorts. Students from a local high school volunteering as escorts are bricks in the orange barricade. Johnson wraps up after about 45 minutes, and Angela Minter, who runs the Christian nonproft Sisters for Life, starts sharing her story, as she does every Saturday. Te 48-year-old had two abortions before she was 20. She was going to have a third until her father found out. "Tat's now Ryan, my only daughter," she says. Years later, at an anti-abortion rally with her church in Frankfort, Minter says she became hysterical in a rotunda bathroom. Soon after, she and her pastor started Sisters for Life, which does abstinence education and serves as a liaison between women and adoption agencies, maternity homes, etc. She and her husband, her high school sweetheart, now have three children. Tey've named the two they never knew Justice and Judah. Plaques at the Kentucky Memorial for the Unborn in Frankfort bear their names. "Some people say, 'It's already a difcult day for these women, and my being here just makes it harder.' Well, it should be hard," she says. Minter says sometimes a car will pull up with a child in a car seat, and the driver will say, "Tis is a child saved because you talked to me on the sidewalk." On this Saturday, escorts and their support- ers — with car windows that say things like "Women R Not Broodmares" — caravan to Frankfort for a rally on the steps of the Capitol. Maybe 60 people have shown up to hear the speakers, including a Unitarian minister who says, "Why would you cut access to abortion but then cut other services like food stamps?"; the ACLU's "reproductive freedom project director" or, in his words, "the most hated lobbyist at the Capitol"; a woman who wants better sexual-education classes in schools be- cause some middle-schoolers think they can use a sandwich bag if they don't have a condom; and the keynote, whose name on Twitter is ClinicEscort. Te following evening, a crowd has gathered outside E.M.W. to wrap up 40 Days for Life, a national campaign that has folks pray outside abortion clinics for 40 days, with a goal in Louisville of at least two people on the sidewalk from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Several of the cars parked on the street have the ubiquitous "Abor- tion Stops a Beating Heart" bumper sticker, the one with a fat-lined EKG. "I'm emotional," says Jena Quesada, the 33-year-old organizer. "It's probably because I'm pregnant." Durning is here, and according to her count, E.M.W. performed 347 abor- tions over the 40-day period. "Tat's how many people we see go in and don't come out," Que- sada says. She mentions her kindergartener son. "In two days, you wipe out his entire class," she says. Over that same time period, Quesada says, 17 women walked out of the clinic without having an abortion. Tat's a victory, she says, even if the reason why the woman couldn't go through with it remains unknown. Ahola, E.M.W.'s director, says sometimes it turns out that the woman wasn't even pregnant. Nate Robertson, the volunteer children's pastor at the Kingdom Center, hands each person 12 copper BBs, which Quesada says represent the average number of abortions the clinic performed each of the 40 days. Tose in attendance drop the BBs — some one at time, others all at once — into a stockpot on the pavement. Ping. Ping. Ping. PingPingPing. Once the members of the group have blown out their candles, they gather for a photo. One woman wonders how many of them are here tonight. A man counts. "Forty-one," he says. Te woman looks at the man, then at Que- sada. "Did you count the one in her belly?" she asks. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 53 84-120 BACK.indd 118 2/20/14 4:57 PM

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