Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tragic News for the Pro-Choice Community - Dr. Tiller Killed

Dr. George Tiller, longtime abortion provider and a hero among pro-choice activists, was shot and killed in the lobby of his church in Wichita, Kansas this morning.

Tiller was one of very few physicians who provided late-term abortions for women who had nowhere else to turn - where their health, life and well-being were on the line and continuously ignored. His clinic, Women's Health Care Services, revolutionized pregnancy termination by recognizing women's varying needs of coping. Tiller offered funeral services for patients, sometimes including baptism, cremation and burial. He understood that abortion is not a cookie cutter issue for women - all women are not the same; therefore their situations, feelings, and decision processes are of course as different as they are. As opposed to treating patients like cattle, Tiller and his staff recognized the personal and tailored women's experiences to be as positive as possible based on their needs. Sometimes, an abortion does not end when the patient leaves the clinic - emotional health is just as important as physical health.

The crazy fucks of Operation Rescue issued a statement on their website:

"Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller's family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ."

OH REALLY??? The organization's founder, Randall Terry, as been arrested numerous times - the first, for chaining himself to a sink in a clinic procedure room back in 1986. He was recently taken into custody for trespassing on Notre Dame University property, protesting President Obama's scheduled May 17th commencement speech. Pushing blood-covered baby dolls in carriages just screams peaceful to me....

Terry issued his own statement regarding Tiller's death:

"George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name, murder."

The so-called "pro-life" movement in this country has become a cesspool of hypocrites - denouncing abortion as nothing but murder...yet justifying the killing of abortion providers as the means to an end. On one hand, we have finally have support back in the White House...but it comes at a price. When the extremists are not in power, they will find a way for their voices to be heard...


Lee Thompson said...

I really enjoyed your piece. But a point at the end was very disturbing to me.

In Obamm's speech at Notre Dame, he called for “fair-minded words” on both sides of the abortion issue. He called on people to express their differences but not to demonize those who think differently than themselves. He called for “common ground” and pointed to where he felt this could be found, as well as some of the challenges he sees in achieving it.

As Sunsara Taylor wrote:
"To many, these were reasonable words. To many, the response to him by the overwhelming majority of the student body—together with a significant number of prominent Catholic figures—represents motion in a positive direction.

But, when Obama speaks of 'common ground' on abortion, he is not standing on some neutral 'middle ground'—he is accepting the terms of the anti-abortion movement and adapting aspects of a pro-choice position into that framework while gutting the heart of the abortion-rights position. In so doing, he is legitimizing and strengthening a viciously anti-woman program while both abandoning the much needed fight to expand access to abortion and birth control and giving up the moral and ideological basis on which the pro-choice position stands.

Much of what is wrong with Obama’s approach is concentrated in a few key sentences of Obama’s speech, where he speaks directly to the question of abortion:

'Maybe we won’t agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions. So let’s work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoptions more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term.'

First, and very importantly, abortion is not a 'heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make.' A great many women are not conflicted at all about their abortions. Many feel relief and even joy at having their lives and their futures more fully back in their control.

This is as it should be. The simple fact is that a fetus is not a baby, it is a subordinate part of a woman’s body. A woman has no moral obligation to carry a fetus to term simply because she gets pregnant. And a woman who chooses at whatever point and for whatever reason to terminate a pregnancy, should feel fine about doing so and should be able to.

When it comes to abortion, there really is only one moral question: Will women be free to determine their own lives, including whether and when they will bear children, or will women be subjugated to patriarchal male authority and forced to breed against their will?"

You can read the whole article at

Lisa said...

Fantastic article, Lee - thank you for sharing it!

As I said, all women are different - their lives are shaped by a myriad of variables: race, class, gender identification, culture, family, religion, spirituality, life experiences - all of which affect their decision-making processes. It's nothing short of ignorant to assume ALL women struggle with choosing abortion. I completely respect the women who do have a difficult time with the decision, however, this way of thinking about abortion undermines women's empowerment. When we know what we want and express it, we are questioned. A pregnant woman is suddenly treated like a 5 year old who can't possibly comprehend the consequences of her actions.

It does seem as though Obama is beginning to acquiesce to the pro-life movement. While he was still campaigning, Obama made the statement (which I saw as realistic), "I wouldn't want my daughters punished with a baby." Not too long after that, I saw commercials (courtesy of some right-wing interest group) demonizing Obama for referring to a baby as a "punishment". Perhaps it was wrong wording - maybe he wouldn't have received so much flack if he had substituted "unplanned pregnancy" for "baby". Doubtful. Any chance pro-lifers can stick a Gerber baby on the issue of abortion, they'll take it.

Now Obama is trying to stay out of controversy by setting up shop in this ambiguous "middle ground" - which, as Taylor writes, is simply incorporating rhetoric from the pro-life movement into his "pro-choice" stance. Pushing adoption and prenatal/neonatal care completely misses the point. If I found myself pregnant, I wouldn't give two shits about my adoption options or how awesome my medical care would be. Bottom line: I.Don't.Want.To.Be.Pregnant. That doesn't mean I'm a heartless bitch, that there's something wrong with me, or I'm any less of a woman.

The abortion debate will never go away. Each side's views are so deeply rooted in worldview. When you question the other side (especially the women) you're questioning their very being - how they see themselves and their role in the world.

Anonymous said...

This is an anology, not a call to arms:
I suppose if the Nazis in the death camps had just talked nice and given each victim a decent burial, the killing would have been ok.

Right? Duh!