"I'm not going to stop': Volunteer patient escorts remain steadfast after SCOTUS decision

Less than a week after a landmark Supreme Court decision, women across the country are adjusting to a post Roe vs. Wade world. In states where abortion is still legal, that means getting the support they need when making their healthcare decisions.

"I’m not going to stop. None of us are going to stop," says Planned Parenthood volunteer, Sydney, in light of growing tension outside their abortion centers.

Patient escort volunteers safely usher patients past protesters camped outside their clinics. These volunteers say protesters have become emboldened in recent months leading up to the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

"It’s a weird feeling to sit there and have people say vile, aggressive things to you and attack your character when all you're trying to do is make sure people can get to their doctor’s appointment on time," Sydney remarked.

Sydney says she began volunteering at the Center City clinic one year ago after she was harassed when she showed up to the site for an annual women’s exam. She says the work can be emotionally heavy.

"I’ve sat and talked to women coming in for their appointments that have had breakdowns and been afraid of being able to leave the clinic safely," she explained.

Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania says, last weekend, they received a surge of more than 100 applications from people wanting to serve as patient escorts at their abortion centers, following the SCOTUS decision.

Volunteer Bobbie Trotenberg says she remembers being harassed years ago when she’d go to Planned Parenthood for birth control. This is her way of giving back. "It’s been a way to do much more than donate money. It’s ‘hands-on,’ literally, person to person with the people I’m trying to help. It has been so meaningful to me."

Dayle Steinberg, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pa. (PPSP), says they’ve received an influx of calls from women asking if their doors are still open. "Our patients are scared, they’re anxious, they’re nervous, they’re worried," says Steinberg.

PPSP says it expects to see a surge of more than 8,000 additional patients now that abortion is illegal in some states. These escorts say they’re ready to serve all patients.