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Linda Sherman
12,441 followers -
Social Business Strategist and Trainer, Public Speaker Wordpress Websites, Japan Expert, Presentation Training, Travel Destination Marketing
Social Business Strategist and Trainer, Public Speaker Wordpress Websites, Japan Expert, Presentation Training, Travel Destination Marketing

12,441 followers
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Silvia Vergani Director of Design Research for IDEO Design Tips for Aging Tech Inventors and Entrepreneurs

#IDEO #Aging #Design #DesignResearch
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Bill Hall on Japan the Aging Society and Test Market for the Future

Full transcript of the leading authority on aging and Japan interview April 2018.

The interview discusses aging demographics, progress with products for the aging market in Japan and elsewhere, and product and services opportunities for older adults.

Bill Hall is President, IPSOS Healthcare Japan.

#aging #demographics #seniortech
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Retailers are Responding to an Overweight America

It's amazing what clothing manufacturers will do to save money with less fabric. Try finding tennis shorts with pockets for women these days. But fortunately, retailers are figuring out that they must offer plus sizes to an American population that is 70% overweight or obese. So if they need to, retailers will offer their own lines.

"Move Over, Skinny Mannequins. Stores Give Plus-Size Clothes More of the Floor
Nordstrom, Target push brands to offer more silhouettes; even Gucci’s on board.

Americans are getting bigger, and retailers—after years of ignoring plus-size shoppers—are starting to notice.

Chains including Nordstrom Inc. and Target Corp. are boosting their plus-size offerings and displaying the clothing next to standard sizes, breaking with a practice of segregating larger sizes in a separate department often hidden away at the back of the store. The chains are adding supersize mannequins, and some are even showcasing plus-size models on their websites alongside the usual waiflike figures.

Fashion has long cultivated a body image that was out of alignment with most Americans. But the discrepancy is growing, making it harder for retailers to ignore as they grapple with rising competition from Amazon.com Inc. and other online retailers that has cut into sales and led to the closure of hundreds of stores.

More than 70% of U.S. adults age 20 and older were overweight or obese as of 2014, according to government health statistics. That compares with 66.5% a decade before. The mean waist size for American women age 20 and older was 38 inches, according to the data, which equates to a size 16 for most brands. Regular sizes typically start at 2 and run through 12 with plus-sizes starting at 14.

Men are getting bigger, too. Target offers some Big & Tall clothing for them next to regular sizes in select stores. And Nordstrom is hoping to have a bigger selection of plus sizes for men next year. But, for the most part, retailers are testing these changes in their women’s departments.

Nordstrom is adding larger sizes from 100 brands, many of which previously had not made plus-size clothing, including Italian luxury brand Gucci. The extended sizes will be available online and in 30 stores, alongside the regular-size clothing for each brand, and displayed on mannequins ranging in size from 2 to 18.

Target by year-end will carry plus-size swimsuits, athletic gear and lingerie next to regular-size items in those categories in 300 stores, up from about 150 stores currently. It is also expanding its existing plus-size departments in those 300 stores. More than 1,000 locations will have mannequins spanning size 4 to 22.

Outdoor chain REI increased its plus-size offerings by 50% during the past year. Sixteen of its 153 stores now display larger sizes next to regular-size parkas and other gear.

“There weren’t many outdoor brands that made larger sizes,” said Michele Orr, REI’s general merchandise manager of apparel. “We had to convince them by explaining the business opportunity.”

The moves are a departure for an industry that plus-size shoppers say makes them feel like second-class citizens.
“Plus-size clothes are often at the back of the store, the departments aren’t well stocked and the experience is so uninviting,” said Amanda Gilliam, a college-admissions consultant in Somerset, N.J. “It’s very shortsighted of brands not to make plus-sizes. They are missing out on so many people who are prepared to spend money.”

Some brands have shied away from manufacturing larger sizes because of the expense and complication of getting the clothes to fit. In standard clothing, the length and width increase proportionally for each successive size, according to industry executives.

In plus-sizes, the width increases more than the length, requiring manufactures to create new fit patterns, which is costly. Larger sizes also require additional fabric, which adds another layer of expense, though clothing producers often pass many of these costs on to consumers.

“There are costs associated with having extended sizes and lots of brands just aren’t interested,” said Emma Grede, who with Khloé Kardashian founded Good American, a denim and T-shirt brand that runs the size gamut from 00 to 24.

Nordstrom began carrying Good American in October and noticed that 16 and 18 were among the best-selling sizes. Most of the other denim brands Nordstrom sells didn’t make jeans in those sizes, so it asked them to expand their range, according to Tricia Smith, Nordstrom’s general-merchandise manager of women’s apparel. Soon, it had enlisted other brands, including Rag & Bone and Theory, which added sizes 14 and 16.

Nordstrom is adding sizes at the lower end too, down to 00. And like Target, it isn’t eliminating its plus-size departments, though that is something Ms. Smith said she would consider if she could get enough brands to produce larger-size clothes.

“There is still a lot of work to be done,” she said. For instance, the larger-size mannequins had to be custom made because the standard mannequin size is a 2.

Not all plus-size shoppers want their clothes integrated with regular sizes.
“I’d prefer to have a separate department, because it makes it easier to find what I’m looking for,” said Veronica Miranda, who lives in San Francisco and is studying early-childhood education. She said she would welcome any moves that added more stylish clothing in her size. “It’s really hard to find current styles,” she added.

With the pickings slim, some retailers have begun producing the clothes themselves. Target introduced Ava & Viv in 2015, an in-house plus-size brand whose spring lineup includes off-the shoulder tops and floral dresses. Since then, it has increased its private-label plus-size offerings by 50% with the launch of new lines that sell both large and regular sizes, according to a spokeswoman.

REI started working with outdoor brand Kühl to produce plus sizes about a year ago. The brand previously hadn’t made plus-size clothing, but added sizes up to XXXL. It also began buying plus-size performance apparel from Shebeest and other brands.

To lend authenticity to its marketing, the company reached out to plus-size influencers such as Jenny Bruso, who writes a blog. REI sponsors some of her blog posts and group hikes that she hosts around Portland, Ore.
Ms. Bruso said she started hiking six years ago, but had trouble finding the appropriate wardrobe.

“The outdoor brands weren’t making plus-size clothes, or else they were matronly and unflattering,” Ms. Bruso said. “Or, they were only available online, which sends the message that they don’t want us shopping in their stores.”

Corrections & Amplifications Khloé Kardashian co-founded Good American, a denim and T-shirt brand. An earlier version of this article misspelled her name as Kloé. (May 8, 2018)

Write to Suzanne Kapner at Suzanne.Kapner@wsj.com"

#retail #plussizes
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NORC National Social Life, Health and Aging Project NSHAP Research Video Interview with Full Transcript
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*Retail Is Finally Realizing They Have Cut Too Many Floor Clerks"

If you have been shopping in a brick and mortar store recently, you have probably experienced the frustration of finding someone to wait on you.

We sympathize with the hard times of brick and mortar stores but we hope this trend will be reversed before shoppers find another reason to shop online.

"Retail’s Other Problem: Too Few Clerks in the Store

Macy’s, J.C. Penney and others have cut jobs even more than they have closed stores

Many of America’s biggest retailers, under assault from Amazon.com Inc., have been slashing staff even faster than they have been closing stores, a dynamic that has left fewer clerks and longer checkout lines at remaining locations.

Despite operating roughly the same number of stores as it did a decade ago, Macy’s Inc. has shed 52,000 workers since 2008. At J.C. Penney Co. , workers have disappeared twice as fast as department stores. That’s led to an average of 112 total Penney employees for every store today, down from 145 a decade ago, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

Similar per-store staff declines occurred over the past decade at Kohl’s Corp. , Nordstrom Inc. , Target Corp. and Walmart Inc. , regardless of whether the retailer opened or closed stores, according to the Journal’s analysis. The employment figures are for all full- and part-time staff and don’t distinguish between store, warehouse or headquarters workers. Industry executives say store employees make up the vast majority of retailers’ workforce.

“Retailers are shooting themselves in the foot trying to save pennies by lowering labor costs, and that’s costing them dollars on the top line,” said Rogelio Oliva, a business school professor at Texas A&M University. He recently analyzed the relationship between sales and labor at a women’s clothing retailer and found that many of the stores were understaffed by as much as 15%, leading to potentially lower sales.

Some companies attribute the declining head count to staff cuts at headquarters and a switch to smaller stores that need fewer workers. Others have added technology such as self-checkout lanes or shelf-ready packaging that they say makes existing workers more productive. And still others have hired more full-time workers, eliminating the need for two or three part-timers.

Now, some retailers are discovering they may have gone too far and are beginning to replenish staff—just as the booming U.S. economy is creating historic labor shortages and forcing companies to pay higher wages and offer perks such as better training and benefits.

Kroger Co. said this month it will hire 11,000 workers to improve customer service and speed checkouts at its nearly 2,800 grocery stores.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. wants to increase store labor by about 10%, said Chief Executive Edward Stack, reversing a decadelong trend. Over the holidays, Dick’s added more cashiers, “because if there’s one thing that drives me nuts, it’s waiting at the register,” Mr. Stack said in an interview.
Macy’s said it is adding staff this year at 50 stores, in areas where the extra bodies will have the most impact, including in fitting rooms and in the dress, women’s shoes, and handbag departments.

Retail staffing hasn’t kept pace with growth in the broader economy or population gains in the past decade. The number of salespeople at retailers grew by 1.5% over the past decade, even though the population served by each store has increased 12.5%, according to government data. At clothing and accessories stores, the number of cashiers is down more than 50% from 2007.

“Many retailers are at the tipping point of cutting too much labor,” said Craig Rowley, a senior partner in the retail division of Korn Ferry International, an executive-search firm. “If you cut staff every year, pretty soon you’re at minimal staffing.”

Gilbert McGarvey has worked at the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York City for 24 years, most recently in the shoe department. “It used to be what we sold was service,” he said, “Now, they’ve cut that to the quick.”
Saks last year closed the service desk at its flagship store and reduced support staff, which has meant that sales associates now have to process returns and spend more time restocking shelves and fulfilling online orders, tasks that take them away from selling, Mr. McGarvey said.

A spokeswoman for Hudson’s Bay Co., which owns Saks, said the Manhattan store had trimmed support staff by 2%, but added 15 service advisers near the store’s entrances to help guide shoppers.

Across the board, workers had been stretched so thin that the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union stipulated in its latest contract, signed last year, that its members have the right to drop all other responsibilities to help take care of customers first.

“If brick-and-mortar retailers can’t compete on price in an online environment, the only thing that allows them to survive is to provide a positive in-store experience,” said Stuart Appelbaum, the union’s president.

Jessica Tokarski recently stopped by a Target store in Orchard Park, N.Y., to buy a phone case. But the 23-year-old couldn’t find anyone to unlock it from the rack, so she left the store without making a purchase.

“I’ve turned to online shopping, because customer service in stores has gotten really bad,” Ms. Tokarski said.

A Target spokeswoman said the retailer has added workers to its stores over the past year and is providing them with more training. She said a large part of Target’s head-count reduction was the result of the 2015 sale of its pharmacy business to CVS Health Corp., which shifted 15,000 jobs.

Over the past 12 months, 86% of U.S. consumers say they have left a store due to long lines, according to a survey conducted by Adyen, a credit-card processor and payment system. That has resulted in $37.7 billion in lost sales for retailers, Adyen estimates.

Retailers typically set staffing as a percent of sales, but a growing body of research suggests it should be based on foot traffic. The problem is twofold: Many retailers don’t track traffic and even if they do, they are reluctant to add labor, which is already among their biggest costs.

“If you’ve got a lot of foot traffic, but a lull in sales, you need to put more staff in your stores,” said Mark Ryski, the chief executive of HeadCount Corp., a data-analytics firm that tracks footfall at stores around the country.

Some companies are listening. After installing cameras last year, Cycle Gear Inc., a 130-store chain that sells motorcycle apparel and accessories, noticed sales dipped during the afternoon at its Orlando, Fla., store even though it was packed with shoppers.

“That told us the salespeople were overwhelmed,” said Rodger O’Keefe, a vice president. “We added two more sales people during those hours, and sales have been up since then.”

by Suzanne Kapner
Kapner writes about the retail industry for The Wall Street Journal. Her coverage area includes department stores like Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus, as well as apparel companies like Michael Kors and Polo.
Theo Francis contributed to this article."

#retail #staffing #brickandmortar
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Practical Advice on Conversations to Have with Your Dying Loved One

This is good advice. As a reminder, try to keep relationships with loved ones as complete as you can so that you don't have reams of unfinished business should you both recognize that they are dying.

"How to Talk With Your Dying Loved One

Conversations about death are among the most important, and difficult, we may ever have. Too often, we avoid them.

One day last winter, Jane Wilcox’s partner, Roger Landers, interrupted her while she was doing laundry and said he’d like to take her out to a nice dinner. Then he paused for a moment and continued: “I’m not going to be around much longer.”

Mr. Landers had been battling liver cancer for three years. He’d stopped riding his beloved motorcycle. Recently, his oncologist had told him that chemotherapy wasn’t working.

It’s a comment she says she deeply regrets.
The conversations we have with a loved one who is dying are among the most important, and difficult, we may ever have. Research shows that when family members have these talks—and when they are open and honest—they become closer to each other and more hopeful of the future.

Yet too often we dodge any mention of death. Survivors worry that bringing it up will hurt or scare their dying family member. And the person who is dying tries to prevent their loved ones from thinking about the impending loss. Each wants to protect the other. Yet, many times, people are trying to protect themselves, as well—and living alone in their sadness.

Part of the challenge is intellectual, says Brian Carpenter, professor of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, who studies the psychology of aging and family relationships in late life.
“No matter how hard we try, it is difficult to genuinely understand that the dying person will be gone,” he says, and it’s hard to talk about death if you can’t grasp or accept it. Denial is easier.

Even when family members do want to talk, they sometimes aren’t sure what to say. Survivors worry it’s wrong to show sadness in front of the dying person, so they chat about superficial topics they think are less distressing.
This only adds to the pain. “The more authentic approach is to say what’s on your mind—and to say that it’s important to you,” says Dr. Carpenter. “You might not get another chance if you wait.” But it’s important to always be compassionate, he says.

There are six types of discussions that people have when they are dying, says Maureen P. Keeley, professor of interpersonal communication at Texas State University, in San Marcos, Texas, who is the co-author of “Final Conversations: Helping the Living and the Dying Talk with Each Other.” She defines final conversations as those that take place between the terminal diagnosis and death and says they can be both verbal and nonverbal. “Everything you do can have meaning,” she says.

The six categories are:
· Conversations about love. People tell each other, sometimes for the first time, how much they mattered to them.
· “Identity messages.” For the survivors, these are conversations that frame who you are. A dying loved one knows you well and may want to give you a push in the right direction—and you will likely listen. (Years ago as he was dying and I was graduating college and terrified about what to do next, my grandfather told me I should always be a writer and not let anyone discourage me.)
· Religious or spiritual talks. Family members may read the Bible, recite prayers together, or discuss their belief about an afterlife.
· Everyday talk. The beauty of these types of conversations is that they are just about spending time with each other, Dr. Keeley says. People may watch TV, take walks, listen to music together. “What you are doing is saying: ‘I am living with you up until the moment you die,’” she says.
· Difficult relationship talk. These conversations attempt to repair a hurt of some kind, say with a parent who was controlling or neglectful. But if that hurt is too great and you don’t want to talk about it, you shouldn’t feel guilty, Dr. Keeley says.
· “Instrumental death talk.” These are logistical conversations about wishes for end-of-life care, funeral and burial plans.

Dr. Keeley says that discussing these issues helps people stop denying the reality of the situation.
Ms. Wilcox says she would have been happy to “swim deeper into the warm water of that river of denial,” when, Mr. Landers, her partner of 10 years, was sick. Yet he made a point of talking about death with her. Soon after his diagnosis, in 2015, he asked her to help plan his memorial service and cremation. Online, the couple chose an urn—a motorcycle on a wooden base, with the saying “Forever blowin’ in the wind” engraved on it. “It was like planning a celebration-of-life party,” says Ms. Wilcox, who is 61 and lives in the mountains outside Phoenix.

Mr. Landers also declared 8 p.m. to be the couple’s “talk time,” Ms. Wilcox says. With the TV off, the couple would snuggle with their two Yorkies, and talk about trips they’d taken or funny moments. “We laughed a lot and just quietly stayed in each other’s space,” Ms. Wilcox says.

They also talked about darker topics. Sometimes, Ms. Wilcox asked Mr. Landers if he was in pain, and he’d admit he didn’t know how much longer he could endure it, she says. They also discussed past arguments and came to terms with how they’d each contributed to them. (Once, they’d bickered for hours about a sponge in the sink.) “It’s incredibly helpful to me to know that he did take part responsibility for our down times, and he heard me loud and clear for the parts I was responsible for,” Ms. Wilcox says.

On Sunday January 28, Ms. Wilcox sensed that it was going to be Mr. Landers’ last night. She lighted candles and sage in the bedroom and said prayers, as he lay breathing heavily in their bed. She asked Alexa to play “Bad to the Bone”—his favorite riding song—and turned the volume up loud. She followed that with “Build Me Up Buttercup,” which she often sang in his ear when she rode on the back of his bike and thought he was going too fast, and James Blunt’s “Goodbye My Lover.” “I held his hand all night, making sure he got morphine and kept his mouth dry,” says Ms. Wilcox. Mr. Landers died at 3 a.m.

Write to Elizabeth Bernstein at elizabeth.bernstein@wsj.com or follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at EBernsteinWSJ."

#Death #Relationships #Family
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Lands End is Bringing Back Styles Their Customers Want to Wear

Have you ever been the loyal customer of a fashion brand that took a turn you didn't like? Especially if the clothes no longer physically fit you, you would probably stop shopping for them.

That's what Lands End did. If you ran away, it's safe to come back now.

"Elastic Waistbands Are Back in Fashion at Lands’ End

Gone are the stilettos and trendy clothes that didn’t fit brand’s customers, new CEO says

Within a week of taking the helm of Lands’ End Inc. , Jerome Griffith knew what he needed to do to fix the struggling apparel seller: Get rid of the flashy clothes.

The new chief executive discontinued a line of higher-end clothing introduced by his predecessor, called Canvas, that was meant to appeal to younger women who shopped at trendy retailers such as J. Crew and Zara. The clothes were more expensive and had a slimmer fit than Lands’ End’s traditional outdoorsy garb.

“It all got marked down, and it didn’t sell at markdown because it didn’t fit our customers,” Mr. Griffith, a retail veteran who joined Lands’ End last March, said in an interview. Getting rid of it “was a no-brainer.”
That is not the only about-face at the catalog retailer known for its expedition jackets, turtlenecks and chinos. Gone are the strappy high-heeled sandals and glossy magazine ads, part of a failed remake by former CEO Federica Marchionni, who was ousted in 2016. Ms. Marchionni declined to comment on the changes."

Mr. Griffith’s retooling so far seems to be working. The company posted a profit for the year ended in February after two years of losses. Sales in that year rose 5.3% to $1.41 billion. And the number of customers who shopped with Lands’ End for the first time jumped 30% in the fourth quarter, compared with the same period a year ago, according to the company.

“When you have a well-regarded brand that has gone off the track, you go back to its roots,” said the 60-year-old Mr. Griffith, who was most recently CEO of luggage maker Tumi Holdings Inc. He previously worked at Esprit, Tommy Hilfiger and Gap.

Lands’ End lost its luster following its 2002 acquisition by Sears, Roebuck & Co., now Sears Holdings Corp. After a string of record profits, results began to deteriorate in 2008 and continued to slide after Sears spun off the unit in 2014.

Lands’ End shares, which had fallen below $12 in November, are now trading around $22. The apparel chain has a market value of $715 million, which is more than double what Sears is currently worth.

Ms. Marchionni, a former Ferrari and Dolce & Gabbana executive who became CEO of Lands’ End in 2015, injected more fashion into the brand by overhauling its merchandise and marketing. The catalog, known for its informative product shots, morphed into a slick magazine.

Despite telling employees at a town-hall meeting that the company’s Dodgeville, Wis., headquarters reminded her of the village near Rome where she grew up, according to people who were there, Ms. Marchionni spent about one week a month in Dodgeville. Instead, she worked out of an office in New York that has since been downsized. Ms. Marchionni, who had been living in New York before joining Lands’ End, didn’t want to uproot her young son, according to a company spokeswoman.

Mr. Griffith, who grew up milking cows on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania’s Amish country, also told employees that Dodgeville reminded him of home. He relocated to nearby Madison, Wis.
He discovered that new products customers didn’t want had crowded out best-sellers such as walking shoes, elastic waistband Starfish pants, and canvas totes—a nod to the company’s 1963 start as a mail-order supplier of sailboat equipment. Now, it is refocusing on the classics.

“Our customers search our website for snow boots, rain boots and walking shoes,” Mr. Griffith said. “They don’t search for pumps, wedges or high-heeled stilettos.”

Lands’ End’s catalog has reverted to its utilitarian style with product shots and descriptive text. But Mr. Griffith is spending less on catalogs as he focuses on digital marketing. Other traditional advertising, such as print and television ads, has been slashed as well.

The company’s advertising spending fell to $15 million last year, more in line with historical levels, after ballooning to nearly $46 million in 2016, according to Kantar Media. The figures don’t include catalog mailings.
Mr. Griffith will have to continue to increase sales in a difficult retail environment. Traditional brands have been losing share to e-commerce companies as more shoppers shift their buying online.

“They have a lot working against them,” said Steven Marotta, an analyst with C.L. King & Associates.
Lands’ End is still dependent on Sears, which has been shrinking. It operates roughly 174 shops at Sears stores, representing 11% of its overall sales.

Mr. Griffith wants to open more free-standing stores, which currently number 14. He plans to add four to six stores this year and grow the fleet to as many as 60 locations in five years.
One bright spot has been the company’s uniforms division, which recently won contracts from American Airlines Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. But Lands’ End will need more big deals if it is to reach Mr. Griffiths’ goal of increasing annual revenue to as much as $2 billion over the next five years.
Write to Suzanne Kapner at Suzanne.Kapner@wsj.com"

#fashion #demographics #LandsEnd
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Senior Bullying and What to Do About Bullying Between Older Adults

This was the last session on the last day with twenty other sessions competing in the same time slot. Yet the room was full. Professionals attending the Aging in America conference hosted by American Society on Aging have a very high interest in the topic of bullying between older adults.

Video and complete transcript from conference session.

#Bullying #SeniorBullying #AiA18 #Aging #Elder Care
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Seeking Examples of Well Designed Websites for Older Adults

We have collected some good guidelines and tips for designing for both the 50+ and 70+ market target.

This is an important area that doesn't get nearly the attention it should.

Please take a look and if you have anything to contribute please let me know.

#websitedesign #UX #UI #SeniorTech #accessibility #WordPress
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America Needs to Catch Up with Britain's Protection of Abortion Clinics

Important video from John Oliver from April 8th's Last Week Tonight.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) vastly outnumber abortion providers, with more than 2,700 nationwide compared to fewer than 1,700 abortion clinicsi

Watch Oliver's video to learn the facts.

From the Slate article:

"However you feel about abortion, you ought to be troubled by the existence of so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” which pressure, mislead, and sometimes straight-up lie to women who are considering ending their pregnancies. But as John Oliver details in Last Week Tonight’s main segment this week, it’s not only legal for CPCs to falsely tell women that, for example, having an abortion increases their risk of breast cancer, but they often get government funding to do so. (They also, for some reason, greatly exaggerate the failure rate of using condoms as birth control, when you figure that preventing unwanted pregnancies should be fairly high on their list of priorities.) Since they use legal loopholes to avoid being classified as medical providers, CPCs aren’t subject to laws like HIPAA, which protects patients’ privacy, but they go out of their way to present themselves as full-service organizations, often with the word “Choice” in their names. “The best client you could ever get is one who thinks they’re walking into an abortion clinic,” says anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson."

Today's news from Britain:

https://www.economist.com/news/britain/21740441-culture-wars-arrive-london-britains-first-buffer-zone-against-protests-outside-abortion

"RARELY are council decisions met with applause and yelps of joy. But that was the case on April 10th when Ealing, a west London borough, unanimously voted to introduce the first buffer zone around an abortion clinic in Britain, banning pro-life groups from holding protests or vigils within 100 metres. Pro-choice activists in pink high-visibility jackets chanted and hip-hoorayed outside the town hall, while pro-lifers sang hymns and prayed

Stand-offs outside abortion clinics are not unique to Ealing. Back Off, a pro-choice charity, has documented demonstrations outside 42 clinics and hospitals across Britain in the past year. Ten other councils are considering taking similar legal action, which may be easier now that Ealing has set a precedent.

Most of the demonstrations are organised by a handful of Christian groups, each with different tactics. Some hold peaceful vigils, light candles and pray. Others try to convince women to think again, handing them leaflets. Such activities have been going on for decades, but in recent years they have become more aggressive, says Rachael Clarke of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, an abortion provider which runs 70 clinics.

Some tactics are imported from America. Two new groups with links to American organisations, Abort67 and 40 Days For Life, have entered the fray. Ms Clarke says the two groups have respectively filmed clinic users and followed women down the street (they deny this). Even those with a gentler approach look across the pond. Clare McCullough of the Good Counsel Network, a British pro-life charity, says in-house training for those in her organisation is inspired by peaceful protests in America.

The same is true of the other side. Outside Ealing’s council meeting, members of Sister Supporter, a local group which sprang up in opposition to the protests, sported pink jackets that had been sent free of charge by the Clinic Vest Project, an Illinois-based charity that supports pro-choice organisations.

America also offers a glimpse of how buffer zones work in practice. A number of states and cities have set them up. In those places protests still take place, but the greater distance between demonstrators and the clinic entrance diffuses tension and makes the experience less threatening for patients, says David Cohen, a professor of law at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Some clinics draw physical lines on the pavement to ensure that protesters keep their distance. Police are called now and then, but a constant presence is not needed.

Pro-choice activists hope that Ealing’s approach becomes a national one. In January the Home Office announced a consultation on how to deal with alleged intimidation outside clinics. Meanwhile, pro-life groups are considering legal challenges and other ways to contact pregnant women. As Ms McCullough puts it, “We are not just going to go away.”"

#crisispregnancycenters #prochoice #prolife

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