A clinic escort is a person who volunteers at an abortion clinic to help guide patients and staff into and out of the building. They serve to shield clients from potential dangers at the clinic. They do so by talking to them and distracting the patients from potential harassment. The main duties of a clinic escort include: monitoring, tracking and reporting picketer activity; ensuring protesters are not blocking patient/car entry; acting as welcoming presence for guests; directing visitors to destination quickly and efficiently; and being ready to respond with the offer of an escort should a patient arrive on foot. Escorts are told to interact with hostile protesters/visitors in a calm and non-confrontational manner at all times. Escorts in the United States sometimes wear orange vests labelled "clinic escort".
One clinic escort has died as a result of anti-abortion violence. On June 29, 1994, clinic escort James Barrett was shot dead, along with Dr. John Britton, outside of a clinic in Pensacola, Florida by former pastor Paul Jennings Hill. Hill was later sentenced to death.
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