The Last Abortion Clinic in West Virginia

06/12/2022

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In this episode, Callie and Chuck talk to Kaylen Barker, Communications Director and Chief Lobbyist for the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia about the attack on abortion rights and the future of reproductive healthcare in Appalachia.

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Campaign Check-in: Herschel Walker Texas Deranger

Chuck Corra: So I vaguely knew of Herschel Walker before all this. I’m not a big sports guy, to be honest with you. I know I’m shocking a lot of people here with that, but I think that you were kinda in the same boat as me. So why don’t you give our friends, our listeners, a background on the ol’ Hersh monster here?

Background on Herschel Walker

Callie Pruett: This is a rundown of why Herschel Walker is famous. Number one, he played football for the University of Georgia. He was a running back and he’s from Georgia, an all-American three times, and won the Heisman also a big deal. I know that one. He was SEC player of the year, three times and he ranked number one or number two on every list that I checked of best college players of all time.

It seems like maybe that would just be in the zeitgeist that name, but it’s not. So now it is though because he’s infiltrated politics. He is going to be ubiquitous now. And then the last thing is that he was also a pro player after all of that was in Georgia. So that’s how he made his name in Georgia.

Then he went on to be a two-time pro bowl selection. He played for a bunch of teams including the Cowboys, the Eagles, the Giants, and the Vikings. It’s such a big deal. He was a big deal. 

Herschel Walker (via Wikimedia Commons)

Chuck Corra: Herschel Walker was and, I guess still is, an extremely accomplished athlete and so, people know who he is and he was beloved and still is by a lot of people there in Georgia. So that’s a good foundation for this guy. And, so he’s a formidable opponent. It’s some nobody coming outta the woodwork, this guy.

Very high name recognition in Georgia already. I would even assume higher name recognition than the sitting US Senator Rafael Warnock, probably easily Georgians to love this guy. And he just, he sounds like Georgian. He sounds like your neighbor. He’s got a great accent. Love it. Honestly, extremely charismatic and engaging when he is talking in interviews and sounds reasonable when he talks, he doesn’t sound like a right-wing loony tune, play a clip from an interview.

Herschel Walker’s history of violent behavior

We are just scratching the surface here. Let’s start. If you want to call Callie with domestic violence and just violence in general he has a history of being a violent guy. He’s divorced. He has an ex-wife and according to an application for a protective order that was submitted by his ex-wife Herschel Walker allegedly physically abused her and engaged in extremely threatening behavior.

He once held her, raised her to her throat and threatened to kill her, and then choked her. And on one occasion he placed a handgun to her head and said, quote, I’m going to fucking kill you. I’m going to blow your fucking brains out. The protective order, by the way, was granted on the same day it was filed.

So this guy likes extremely violent behavior. Three weeks prior to the protective order being granted, he apparently told his ex-wife’s sister that he planned to kill his ex-wife the same day. The judge found Herschel Walker posed a clear and present danger of family violence. Granted the protective order and Herschel Walker didn’t deny any of these allegations.

He just said he had no memory of them and we’ll get into why that is here in a second. But Kelly, there are a couple of other instances that we mapped out here. 

Callie Pruett: The next one is against a longtime girlfriend. This woman who claimed to be his girlfriend accused him of threatening to blow her head off and then kill himself.

If she sounds like a trend in January of 2012, his campaign denied this. We had there’s documentation and this is just all allegedly. Was against a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. So in Irving, Texas, this woman said that Walker began following her and his vehicle stalking her in May of 2002.

She said she was frightened because she had a confrontation with him a year and a half earlier. And he began calling her, making threats, and having her watch or having him watch her house. And then this doesn’t, this isn’t just domestic violence. This did spread into the community including toward police officers on September 23rd, 2001 while he was still married Irving police responded to a domestic violence dispute and took cover outside their home before ordering him to come out with the report.

Walker’s address is a cautious address since he does have violent tendencies. And he has talked about having a shootout with the police end quoted he hunted down a man with a shotgun because he was late delivering a car to him. This guy just has a lot of problems and has a troubled past. 

Chuck Corra: Yes.

And the whole hunting, the guy down with a shotgun. That is a wild story, which is like, if you wanna look at the whole thing, we’re not gonna go through all of it, but it’s definitely very unhinged behavior. So this is clearly because he’s got violent tendencies. And when I said earlier that he had no memory of them, this is why.

So he claimed. That a lot of these instances happen because of his dissociative identity disorder, which some of you may be familiar with the term multiple personality disorder. It’s the same thing. And so we don’t like it, obviously, we don’t wanna shame people for having a mental illness. We both have talked about issues that we have had with our anxiety and with depression and things like that.

We’re not shaming him for having a mental illness and we hope that he has sought help. It’s. Entirely clear to me where all of that stands right now, but he is claimed to have several, I think, upwards of maybe 10 different personalities and claimed that these were the cause of what he was doing, essentially saying that he blacked out and was like a different person.

And I believe that his ex-wife is on the record saying that this was one of his, I can’t remember the word that they use other people or whatever they call it. So obviously like we’re not shaming him, probably mental illness, but unchecked left unchecked mental illness can be deadly. His campaign has been extremely mum as to how this is being handled.

Clearly, if you are going and telling people and putting a gun to their head singer and blowing their fucking brains out, that is a problem. That’s where unchecked mental illness becomes a larger issue and that’s a huge red flag. Again, we are not trying to create a stigma around mental illness.

I wanna make that perfectly clear. However, when things like this arise, and especially when he is attributing his violent behavior to his mental illness, they have a duty to not only keep that in check but also to disclose a lot of information about that, if he’s gonna be running for public office because who knows what you’re capable of, if that is left unchecked, that’s what I will say.

Again, we’re not shaming because of mental illness. We’re not trying to stigmatize, but you have to accept the reality that if violent tendencies are linked to this, something has to be addressed and has to be disclosed about it. 

Callie Pruett: I think you’re totally right. I’m with you entirely on the fact that we should not say that we’re, not saying that somebody who has, this is unfit for office.

That is not what we’re saying. I think it’s important when you have someone who. So much you need to make sure that person in any moment of any day is going to be able to make the right kinds of decisions. And we have seen there’s a documented history of this person having a.

Decision making. And so that’s something that, that is, is caused for alarm. The next thing that is really pretty upsetting is just how many times already he’s lied on this campaign? We are used to it because of Trump but we shouldn’t get used to it – we need to be able to call out lies when we see them.

So Chuck, do you wanna walk us through some of these lies?

Herschel Walker’s history of lying

Chuck Corra: Ol’ Hersh has had a little bit of a history of telling some fibs, which look, every politician’s done it, but we don’t donut regardless. And I don’t know, like some of the stuff he talks about that he is lying about. It just seems like he’s pulling stuff out of his ass, or maybe he doesn’t realize he’s lying about it, but they’re very easy.

Like fact-checked things. First of all, he claimed to be in the top 1% of his graduating class at UGA University of Georgia, but he didn’t actually graduate. In fact, I’m pretty sure he left early to enter the NFL draft. So pretty, clear. Cut and dry case there. He claimed to own the largest minority-owned food company in the US, which turned out to be untrue and claimed to own the largest upholstery company in the United States.

The company doesn’t even appear to exist. According to an article that a journalist who pulled tried to pull LLC documents. And then he suspiciously claimed that he has an LLC slash consulting firm valued at over 25 million, but his disclosures show that no client has paid him over $5,000, which in the consulting world you’d have to have a shitload of clients paying under five grand in order to make 25 million.

Doesn’t just sound, suspect. I would say not gonna close out in a flat out. That just sounds very suspicious. 

Herschel Walker’s lack of policy platform

Callie Pruett: Yeah. This guy. What does he stand for? That’s where we’re going with all of this. We’ve laid out a picture of a pretty troubled person who is very famous and has a lot of name IDs and has a really great chance of winning this race.

So what does he stand for? Let me tell you, I read his website and I honestly don’t really know, and that’s pretty scary. I think when you look at it. With the spectrum of candidates out there and what is available on complex policy and what people are on the record saying, we have a great picture of how many people will operate as elected officials.

We have no history of Herschel Walker. We don’t know anything about what he would do for Georgia. And his website is shocking in its ability to pivot, to bio only. 

Callie Pruett: They’re running purely on bio. Every single issue is. He has done this in his lifetime, which makes him capable of handling immigration.

And you’re like, what? That doesn’t make sense.

Callie Pruett: It’s just shockingly hard to find a single policy that he has endorsed or talked about or been on the record on, he is a walking platitude of Republican talking points. And I think that’s pretty scary in my opinion, as somebody who’s a policy wonk as somebody who has seen a million campaigns run the fact that we can’t find really much at all about anything he supports makes me think that he doesn’t have a platform and that he’ll be a rubber stamp for anything that the Republican party says and that he’s just in it to be in the spotlight to get more power, to get more money and not necessarily for the right reasons which would be to be a public servant for his community.

A real bummer for me this week was reading his website. 

Chuck Corra: I can tell you one policy that he has, which is that he is staunchly pro forced birth and will not make any exceptions for the life of the women for incest or rape or any of that. And he has made that very clear, which makes it an even more terrible situation.

No, it’s not. I would say not a fan and we don’t do endorsements on this show, but we do definitely not endorse. And we’re definitely not endorsing that guy. No, He was objectively great at football. Great. At football, objectively terrible at being United States Senator. And I know this before he even has been elected or lost his election, I just know 

Callie Pruett: We don’t need to see it. We don’t need to see it to believe it. 

Chuck Corra: Nah, we don’t. We very much believe it. Absolutely. We hope you do too. So show if you’re in Georgia. Rafael Warnock. He’s a decent Senator. You should check him out and vote for him and not for Herschel Walker. I’m sorry. Like it, I know a lot of the Herschel walkers, a lot of people’s heroes.

And that sucks because it sounds like he is not the best person. 

Callie Pruett: I think that this is why people say you should never meet your heroes. He’s proving who he is in the spotlight and it’s sad. It’s really sad.

Interview with Kaylen Barker

Callie Pruett: I could not be more thrilled that Kaylen agreed to come on the show. I got to know her when I was a clinic escort. And when I’m back in West Virginia, I will definitely be back as a clinic escort, but she is always talking to the volunteers outside.

She’s always coming out saying, hello, she’s a wonderful, advocate for abortion, fearless tireless. This woman goes. Every week every moment of her Workday is spent thinking about this issue in West Virginia and trying to build a coalition around it. Really, grateful for her time.

And I think you guys are really gonna love this interview. 

Chuck Corra: I think so too. It’s really an uphill battle, especially in a state like West Virginia, which has laws that will go into a place that will effectively ban abortion. Once Roe has, once the decision overturning Roe has been official and made public and published.

So Kaylen’ss job, like everyone at the women’s health center and everybody in reproductive justice in West Virginia and around the country, is a very difficult job right now. We really appreciate the work that she’s doing and everybody else is doing there to be a resource.

Beginning of Interview Transcript

Callie Pruett: We’re so excited that you’re here with us. I know that we wanted to have somebody from the women’s health center on for a long time.

Kaylen Barker: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here!

Callie Pruett: So first of all tell us a little bit about your role and what you do at the women’s 

Kaylen Barker: health center. My name’s CA Barker and I’m the communications director and lobbyist for the women’s health center of West Virginia. What I do is messaging surrounding abortion care, talking to legislators, and making sure that they have updated messaging for those that are on our side.

And for those that aren’t on our side, that they have medically and scientifically accurate information. That’s a big part of what I do. And then just working with the public and discussing abortion care to the people that, need to know the information that, that need to know that we’re here, that we provide abortion care, gynecological care a myriad of services that, that happens right here on the west side in Charleston we need to make sure that people know that we’re here and that we offer these resources to them.

Callie Pruett: We just wanna kinda hit it running. Walk us through what the last few weeks have been like for you guys and what the response to the leak decision has felt like on the ground. 

Kaylen Barker: When the leak of the draft opinion came out it kinda showed us what we already knew as the SCOTUS was going to attack pregnant people in their rights.

We just weren’t sure how far they were gonna take it. It is still a draft. We don’t know what the final decision was gonna be, but it’s looking as though they are going to explicitly overturn Roe V Wade and Planned Parenthood for Planned Parenthood V Casey. On the ground here at the center, it was shocking, but at the same time, We knew it was coming.

So what we’ve been trying to do so far is just, make sure that people understand that as it stands right now in the state of West Virginia, abortion is still legal and available. So that is our biggest message that we wanna make sure that people understand is that it is just a draft decision.

We don’t know what the final one will look like. It doesn’t look good right now abortion is still legal in West Virginia, and we’re gonna continue to provide abortion care to people who need it until we’re legally not able to do that. 

Callie Pruett: Yeah. That’s incredible. Chuck, I wanna let you jump in here too.

Chuck Corra: I was just gonna ask since the leak decision came out, have you seen an uptick in people coming to your clinic, seeking your services, or what, what’s it been like from a public perspective? 

Kaylen Barker: So we have seen an increase in donations to the center. We’ve seen an increase of people signing up to be clinic escorts.

We’ve seen a lot of support come from places that don’t normally send it to us. So that’s been a big positive that’s come out of it. But at the same time, we know that this decision is looming and that it could be a worst-case scenario where we have to close not close the doors but stop providing abortion care.

Because regardless of that decision, we are gonna continue to provide gynecological care, like breast cancer screenings, cervical cancer, screenings St. Treatment any type of gynecological care that we currently provide is going to continue beyond that decision. We’re amping up for a change in our services and how we operate.

But at the same time, you. We want people to make sure that they understand that right now as it Stan’s, abortion’s still legal here, so they can still come. If they have an appointment, they need to keep their appointment. If they need an appointment, they just call us and we’ll get ’em the care that they need.

As it stands right now we have seen an increase in support from people both on social media and through donations and signing up for clinic escort shifts. Yeah. 

Callie Pruett: On the other side of that coin, have you also seen more protests? Cause I know that’s one of the main reasons that our escorts are there is to provide that unspoken support to these folks, walking in as they walk by people who often shout really painful things to hear.

And I’m wondering what it looks like on the ground now, as far as 

Kaylen Barker: protestors we still have protestors basically every day, just like we did before. I wouldn’t say that it’s really increased, but they’re definitely still here and they’re still harassing patients and saying things to them that are completely inappropriate and cruel.

We still see it’s the same behavior from the same group of people. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. 

Chuck Corra: Have you. And I, think, I probably know the answer to this before, before I ask, but have you received any type of help, any support from the state legislature or the governor’s office or anything like that at all?

Since this draft decision came out. 

Kaylen Barker: No, not at all. We’ve had two special sessions, one in May and one coming up in June. We’ve been there at the special or at the interim session in May. And then we hear there’s going to be a special session in June. Of course, I don’t know whether or not that’s true.

It’s just what we hear. So we, we have to be prepared for when that decision comes down to work with the legislature and that, that involves the Republican leadership to work with them on, on these pieces of legislation that are bound to come up and try to mitigate harm as much as we can, but they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do regardless of whether or not we’re there.

They have the numbers they can do, basically whatever they want. Our, focus right now, like I said, is just making sure that people understand that until we are legally unable to do it, we will continue to provide abortion care for those that need it. 

Chuck Corra: Yeah I was afraid of that, but I guess, yeah not, so surprised, unfortunately.

I’m curious and I know that we have talked about this on the show before a little bit, from your perspective with someone who is, deeply involved in this work and has worked in, the only abortion clinic in West Virginia, what does this mean for West Virginia women, West Virginia, people who can get pregnant, who are seeking abortions after, this decision is finalized, because I think it’s safe to assume that it will be just a matter of time 

Kaylen Barker: We’re preparing for how to handle it.

People that need abortion care, once that decision comes down and will likely look like we will be sending people to the closest abortion clinic, them out of state. And that adds another component to it that people have to take off work. Some states have a 24-hour waiting period.

So they have to spend the night this is going to add barriers to people trying to seek abortion care. And that’s really honestly the point of this is to make it as hard as possible for people to get the care they need. But we are ready for when the decision comes down to, to make sure that people can still get that care that they need and send them to the right places for what type of care that they need.

Callie Pruett: I know that there are funds that help folks in those situations who can’t afford to travel, who can’t afford a hotel room. Can you lay out a couple of those for us that folks who are interested in either getting involved or donating can donate to. 

Kaylen Barker: We have a fund here in West Virginia called the choice fund that, you know, that we handle the funds for.

And people can go on our website and go to the choice fund page and donate right from the right, from their computer or their phone. You can drop off donations to the center, but there are. The choice fund and then holler health justice also has a fund to help people obtain abortion care that needs it and can’t afford it.

These funds are there to make sure that if you’re in a situation where you find yourself pregnant and, wanting an abortion, those services are still available to you, regardless of where you’re from, how much you make those barriers, we try to break them down as much as we possibly can so that people can get the care that they need when they need it in communities that they trust and without shame or stigma.

Chuck Corra: Yeah. I fear how difficult it’s going to be. For people in the entire country, but particularly in West Virginia when this decision is finalized, I’m curious. I can’t recall. Does West Virginia have a trigger law that goes into place once? Like I know a lot of other states have trigger laws where once Roe is overturned, it triggers their own restrictive abortion laws.

Does West Virginia have one of those? And what does it look like? 

Kaylen Barker: West Virginia has a civil war, era law still on the books. Of course that criminalizes quote the crime of abortion. We, it’s very broad and very vague. So of course we’re looking to our lawyers to explain to us exactly how that was going to work, but we know that when the decision comes down at that point abortion is illegal in West Virginia because of that statute.

That’s still in the books. 

Callie Pruett: Wow. Civil war era. Totally bonkers.

Kaylen Barker: The law actually was passed in Virginia before we were even a state. So it’s something that’s always been in our code. But another issue that, we see is that a lot of the abortion restrictions that have passed in the last few years, since the Republicans have taken over control of the legislature, we see that TH’s contradictory code now in, in our law because of the, all the varying restrictions that have been passed, they all say something different.

It’s up to the lawyers to figure it out at this point because we need clarification on what that means and, how it’s gonna impact our center and, people that need abortion care. We are. Working with the lawyers as closely as possible to make sure that we do everything that we can legally to help people, but still remain on the right side of the law.

Callie Pruett: Yeah. So I wanna get into a little bit of you, Kind of the nitty gritty of what you do day to day. I would love to hear what the average patient is. Who are you seeing and what are the circumstances of folks coming to you? I would just love for people to know who it is that you serve 

Kaylen Barker: so we serve people that can get pregnant, whether that be cis-gendered women, or trans women we have no discrimination here at our center.

If you’re a pregnant person and you need help, you can come to us, we will help you get the care that you need. We have counselors on staff, ha we try to help people as much as we can for each specific situation, but people that get abortions They’re people that already have kids, they’re people in all people that don’t have kids, some do, but most do have children of their own already.

They’re from varying socioeconomic backgrounds. It’s not just poor people that get abortions. It’s people from all walks of life, and all age groups as long as long as you can get pregnant, you may still need abortion care. So it’s a large age range. It’s people from all backgrounds, all demographics, all races, all ethnicities it’s, just anyone that can get pregnant.

And do not want to carry that the pregnancy to the term we, serve those people and we don’t judge anybody based on their situation because we know that people get abortions for different reasons. And no reason is a bad reason or a good reason. It’s a personal decision for each individual based on their own circumstances.

And they should be able to make those decisions about whether or not to be a parent. How, if, when any of those without government interference it’s not our place to judge anyone for the care that they’re seeking. For whatever reason, it may be. 

Callie Pruett: Yeah, I think that’s so important to know.

And so important of service to, to offer. How has this impacted your staff personally? I know that many folks have been really shaken to their cores, myself included, really struggling to get through this. And I know that for folks who do this work on a day-to-day basis, it’s a lot to carry. And I’m wondering just how you guys are, what is the mood among the staff?

Kaylen Barker: I think most of us were shaken to our core when that draft decision came out because the idea of not being able to provide abortion care to people who need it is it’s heartbreaking because. People think of, abortion as a one size fits all sort of idea. It’s not these people that need our help and needs to be able to have this care available to them when they need it.

Without government interference and the fact that the government is basically saying, no, you do not have control over your own bodies. That’s devastating. And it’s the people that work in, this, in, in this work it’s hard to even explain how it feels because we knew it was coming.

We knew that they were gonna try to overturn Roe V Wade but the fact that we know. Now how far they’re thinking about going, it’s horrifying because we wanna be able to provide this care to people. This is because abortion is essential healthcare. It’s not a political issue, it’s healthcare.

And that’s that the focus that we have is making sure that people can get that care that they need in communities that they trust regardless of their barriers and to take that away from people. It’s just, that it’s even hard to explain how it makes you feel, but it’s devastating.

Callie Pruett: Yeah. I can only imagine. Just knowing how gutted, so many of us felt who even volunteer or just are interested in the work felt and how personal of an attack that it felt. Yeah. And you felt 

Kaylen Barker: Like there are so many unanswered questions about how far this is gonna go, whether or not it’s gonna be left up to the states, what each state is going to do.

There are so many unknowns at this point that it’s hard for us to To definitively come up with a plan because we just don’t know exactly what that’s gonna look like. But we know that restricting abortion doesn’t stop abortions. It just doesn’t, you can’t legislate morality.

That’s public policy 1 0 1 prohibition of anything never works. Marijuana is illegal in most states. It doesn’t stop people from using it. Prohibition of alcohol did not work and prohibition of abortion care is not going to stop people from getting the care that they need.

It’s just going to increase the number of barriers that they have to cross in order to get that care. 

Callie Pruett: That, that brings an interesting question to me. What does clandestine abortion care look like in the modern era? I’m sure you guys are mapping out what that might look like. And, as much as you can tell us, Because obviously there’s sensitive information involved, but how difficult really is it going to be?

And, what do those, what does that look like in the 21st-century post row? What does clandestine abortion care look like? 

Kaylen Barker: There’s not a lot that I can say specifically about what that looks like. Because it’s planned Dustin and we don’t wanna put anybody in any bad situations, but we have a self-managed abortion.

We have abortion medication that people can do there I won’t say do their own abortion. That’s an awful way to put it people can and can still have an abortion. In their own homes in the comfort of their friends and family or whoever they choose to have around them.

The idea that back alley abortions and, code hangers are going to be a new reality is just not, it’s just not the case. We need to bury that language and that message that back alley abortions and coat hangers are, how it’s gonna be because abortion is safe. Abortion is a safe procedure.

That is very common. We wanna make sure that we’re not perpetuating the idea of unsafe abortion because that’s just not reality anymore. At one point, was it a reality? Of course but now we have other ways of getting the same results in a safe way, but we have just had to make sure that people know about these options and people know where they can go to get this care.

And, be safe in doing it because abortion is a safe procedure. 

Callie Pruett: Yeah. I think that’s so important. I’ve heard that over and over from folks at different clinics saying that we have to change the language around it. We have to start talking about abortion as safe and accessible. So I really appreciate that perspective.

Yeah. 

Kaylen Barker: Sorry. No, You go ahead. Go ahead. and that’s another thing that I see a lot of is the like the red cloaks from the Handmaid’s Tale and people using that as if this dystopia is where we’re headed and whether or not we’re on our way to whatever dystopia that is that, that imagery and that message of the Handmaid’s tale eliminate the reality for people of color who can get pregnant in this country.

They already live in that dystopia. They’ve already dealt with forced sterilization. They’ve already dealt with all of these issues that are talked about in the Handmaid’s Tale and talking about it as a blanket term takes away from those experiences that people of color have dealt with in this country since its inception.

And before we have to make sure that when we’re talking about abortion rights and abortion freedom, we recognize what people of other demographics have gone through that we have not. So that is something that I try to point out to people frequently is to not use the Handmaid’s tale as a message about abortion after Roe that’s not reality.

For, it has been a reality for other people throughout our history. And we have to recognize that we have to, make sure that we understand the plight that other people have gone through to get us to where we are 

Callie Pruett: today. I think that’s so important. Are there any other examples of language that’s outdated or anything?

I know that many folks, most folks, I would say, want to use the right language and want to speak about this in a way that’s gonna be helpful. And so maybe you have a couple of talking points that you tell people if they’re just talking to their uncle at a family gathering, or if they’re talking to their mom or dad who maybe is, using that kind of language what’s a better way.

What is the kind of encouraging language to talk about this issue now? 

Kaylen Barker: One thing we have seen a lot of, especially recently is the comparison of abortion rights to gun rights. That’s a big issue because that’s a false equivalency. Those two things are so polar opposite, one another, as far as politically, socially, whatever you, however, you wanna frame it, those issues are so different.

Gun rights and abortion rights. Those are two totally different things. So we don’t wanna, we don’t wanna talk about like if men could have periods, there’d be an abortion clinic on every corner. We hear that too. That does, that’s not helpful because that what ifs don’t, help us in, what we’re dealing with right now, would abortion maybe be more accessible, who knows who’s to say but we have to understand that abortion. We have to understand it as it is right now. And we understand that the right to make the decisions about your own healthcare and your own body is poised to be taken away. That is different than having your guns taken away.

That is different from other political and social issues. And we have to make sure that we’re talking about abortion in a way that is not stigmatizing and comparing it to school shootings. It’s stigmatizing. It is. And, it’s horrible that these things happen. Of course, we don’t wanna see school shootings happen.

We don’t wanna see these things, but when you’re talking about abortion, it is a safe, legal, common procedure that has been going on since the beginning of time. And it’s not UN, it’s not unsafe. It’s not it’s, false equivalency is, the biggest, one of the biggest issues that we see.

And I know I’m rambling because I’m tired 

Callie Pruett: But no, you’re good. This is really helpful. And I think that the people who listen to this show really will appreciate what you have to say and learn a little bit more about what they can do to help. This actually brings me to my final question, which is that so many people want to help. What is the best way that people can help?

And I would say I would approach this in a couple of different ways. One being folks with disposable income and then folks without that. And so I know that money can help in a lot of ways but, what are a couple of different ways that folks can get involved and help your mission?

Kaylen Barker: So one of the biggest things is we have to break down the stigma surrounding abortion care. It has a stigma attached to it that makes people not wanna talk about it and then talk about it in the wrong ways. One thing that you can do is to be vocal about your support for abortion freedom.

That’s a big thing not just on social media, but to your friends, your family, and whoever makes sure that they know that you support the right to make medical decisions about your own bodies. Make sure that people know you support abortion rates and, it’s a difficult conversation for a lot of people.

And, but the only way that we’re gonna break that stigma is to have those uncomfortable conversations and see the only way to make a change. So we have to make sure people know that we are pro-abortion and we support the rights of people to make their own decisions about if, when, and how to be a parent.

So that’s one, one way you can help. Another way is. Not necessarily just our clinic, but any clinic that you’re close to, if you can get there and you can take a shift as a clinic escort, protecting patients is a big part of what we do. When you’re going to the doctor and you have people screaming things at you and sometimes throwing things at you and it’s not a pleasant experience and clinic escorts, make sure that people are shielded from this in a way that makes them feel safer at this moment we have to make sure that the patients can get from their car to the door without obscenities being thrown at them being called murderers, whatever the case may be.

Clinic escorts are our best line of defense for that because they protect our patients. And then another thing of course is to donate to, abortion funds and to clinics themselves. Because if, abortion is made illegal that’s gonna take clinics are gonna take a hit financially from this.

And we have to make sure that these places can stay open and provide services like gynecological care pregnancy information, breast cancer screenings and STI and treatment and HRT and prep and all the things that, you know, That clinics around the country, do we have to make sure they can still do those services and, provide that resource to the community.

Donate as if you can, of course, that’s the best thing to do, but if you don’t have the money to do that, there are plenty of other ways to get involved: go to rallies, go to protests, write letters to legislators. There. There are so many things that you can do to get involved.

Just, it just takes a little bit of courage for some people to, make that first step and do something that might feel radical, but it will really make a difference. 

Callie Pruett: Thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate your perspective and your heart for this work and your friendship and everything that you do for the community.

Chuck Corra: Yeah. Thanks so much, Kaylen!

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