Outside Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, a Black activist ensures women are not alone

Veteran clinic escort Derenda Hancock, right, confers with younger defenders Asia Brown, left,...
Veteran clinic escort Derenda Hancock, right, confers with younger defenders Asia Brown, left, and Ellie Rome, center as they wait outside the Jackson Womens Health Organization clinic parking lot for patients, Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Jackson, Miss. The clinic is Mississippi's only state licensed abortion facility. On May 17, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the dispute over a Mississippi ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The issue is the first test of limits on abortion access to go before the conservative majority high court. Their decision could mean more restrictions, and focuses on the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which established a woman's right to an abortion. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)(Rogelio V. Solis | AP)
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 10:32 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT/NBC News) - Asia Brown doesn’t expect subtlety from the protesters who congregate outside the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, always with the same goal in mind — to stop those heading inside from having abortions.

She watched this year as a woman with a license plate for one of the state’s public universities pulled up to the pink-hued facility, the sole abortion clinic in the state.

One of the protesters, an older white man, yelled at the woman that she was “killing” a future recruit for the university’s football team.

To Brown, it was as if the man had whittled down the worth of the Black woman he was chiding to one purpose — being a football player-producing “machine.”

Brown, 20, who is the only Black volunteer patient escort at the clinic, compared the episode to colonization.

“Who are you to be yelling?” Brown said, recalling her feelings in the moment. “What are you doing to support us in our everyday lives? Are you fighting for better education?”

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