Verrilli showed me a letter dropped off at the clinic by a Bernal Heights neighborhood mom of a seven-year-old who was "visibly disturbed" by the protesters' signs. Unwilling to let me leave on an entirely negative note, she told me about AB 154, a proposed state bill that would allow advanced nurse practitioners to perform first trimester abortions, making family planning services even more available. The fight for reproductive justice continues, despite dedicated opponents.
Her hope lingering in my ears, I braced myself to go back outside and hang with the protesters.
I asked Hathaway why she spends her days in front of reproductive health clinics. "The truth conquers all, as Shakespeare's Hamlet said," she said, conquering any adherence to literary fidelity. "Eventually, we will win."
She told me that Steve Jobs was adopted. "What would the world have been like without him?"
So many babies are being aborted in the United States, she said, that there won't be enough workers to fund Social Security when it comes time for she and I to retire. This underpopulation theory is a new one for me.
The truth will set you free, right? "Do you need that wheelchair to get around?" I asked her.
"I have arthritis," she told me. "It's not a wheelchair, it's a transport chair."
A young man wearing a baseball hat exited the clinic and Hathaway shouts, "the Virgin does not want you to abort that baby!" I think about the two percent chance that he's there to support someone getting an abortion, and the million other reasons why he could have paid the clinic a visit that day.
"It's her choice," he replied, and continued on his way.
Planned Parenthood 1650 Valencia, SF. (415) 821-1282, www.plannedparenthood.org