I know not all of you are driving--some of you are riding in taxis, some of you are on public transportation, and some of you are giving me your expired drivers' license, driving the car to our pick-up door, helping your friend into the passenger seat, driving out of our parking lot, and then switching places so that your friend with the Diprivan-haze can drive (yeah, we're on to you). "Driver" is just the catch-all phrase because in an ideal world, everyone who needed it would have reliable transportation, just like in an ideal world, every woman would really be able to choose parenting or abortion. I wish there were a direct translation of the Spanish word acompañante, which kind of means "accompanier," but sounds less awkward.
Drivers, I get to know you. You sit in the waiting room all day long, and I kind of like it when you request that I play the Toy Story DVD (when you're clearly by your frat-boy self, no child in sight). When I gave you that hand-out about partners coping with abortion, you joked about getting a tattoo of that illustration of a concerned dude that's right out of the 1950s, and that made my day. Sometimes, I see you covertly wiping your eyes after I call your girlfriend back.
You're not all men, I know. A lot of you are women who are good friends and who might have been our clients in the past, or who might be in the future. Some of you swear up and down that you will NEVER be here again, but you have the good sense not to say that in front of your friend. (Not that I appreciate you saying it to me, either.)
Some of you are siblings. I'll admit that I was annoyed with your bickering with the woman who needed a 24-week abortion, and who didn't need your antics. But when I discovered that you were her little brother, the only person who stepped up to bring her to the clinic, I got over that irritation pretty quickly. Some of you are parents, who might be here because of the law, but some of you are here because you're a parent and that's just what you do. And some of you are even children. No, not ten-year-olds enlisted to present a fake ID to get around the rules, but 18-year-old kids whose mothers trust them enough (or maybe who are desperate enough) to ask for their help now.
The thing is, ALL of you are trusted. Even if she thinks you're generally an asshole, there's something in you that means she can confide in you, trust you not to talk about her medical history with the world, that you're a decent companion, or at least a decent operator of a vehicle. Some of our clients bring entourages with them, but I know that a lot of them would much prefer not to tell a soul about their abortion experiences. And Drivers, that's why, when you whine at me, "How much longer?" or utter the infamous statement, "I don't believe in abortion," or when you say, "I gotta leave to get my oil changed," I don't always react kindly. Someone thinks a lot of you, and what's more, you're not the one in stirrups. Sometimes, you have to get over yourselves, Drivers.
But Drivers, most of you should be proud. Be proud that you're allies to your friends or family members and to choice. Even if you don't have a vagina, you're participating in this event that means so much to so many of us. Thank you for being acompañantes.