In 1994 my wife and I found out that she was pregnant. The pregnancy was difficult and unusually uncomfortable but her doctor repeatedly told her things were fine. Sometime early in the 8th month my wife, an RN who at the time was working in an infertility clinic asked the Dr. she was working for what he thought of her discomfort. He examined her and said that he couldn’t be certain but thought that she might be having twins. We were thrilled and couldn’t wait to get a new sonogram that hopefully would confirm his thoughts. Two days later our joy was turned to unspeakable sadness when the new sonogram showed conjoined twins. Conjoined twins alone is not what was so difficult but the way they were joined meant that at best only one child would survive the surgery to separate them and the survivor would more than likely live a brief and painful life filled with surgery and organ transplants. We were advised that our options were to deliver into the world a child who’s life would be filled with horrible pain and suffering or fly out to Wichita Kansas and to terminate the pregnancy under the direction of Dr. George Tiller.
We made an informed decision to go to Kansas. One can only imagine the pain borne by a woman who happily carries a child for 8 months only to find out near the end of term that the children were not to be and that she had to make the decision to terminate the pregnancy and go against everything she had been taught to believe was right. This was what my wife had to do. Dr. Tiller is a true American hero. The nightmare of our decision and the aftermath was only made bearable by the warmth and compassion of Dr. Tiller and his remarkable staff. Dr. Tiller understood that this decision was the most difficult thing that a woman could ever decide and he took the time to educate us and guide us along with the other two couples who at the time were being forced to make the same decision after discovering that they too were carrying children impacted by horrible fetal anomalies. I could describe in great detail the procedures and the pain and suffering that everyone is subjected to in these situations. However, that is not the point of the post. We can all imagine that this is not something that we would wish on anyone. The point is that the pain and suffering were only mitigated by the compassion and competence of Dr. George Tiller and his staff. We are all diminished today for a host of reasons but most of all because a man of great compassion and courage has been lost to the world. — http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=21986#comment-1250658
As you’ve all surely heard by now, Dr. George Tiller, a physician who provided health care to women, including abortion services, was shot and killed yesterday morning. The post below contains a lot of great links; you should read them all. Though I usually prefer to keep mum on topics that I sense are being widely and thoroughly covered, I feel that there’s a hole in the analysis so far: why is it, specifically, that the anti-abortion right is morally—if not legally—responsible for heinous acts of domestic terrorism such as this one?
The political right needs the abortion debate like a fish needs water. Without it, their power is greatly diminished. Proclaiming one’s opposition to abortion is an easy way to get support from people who very well might not otherwise pay attention to you, because it stands in for so many things. It stands in for religious fervor (no one cared that John McCain wasn’t particularly religious, because he was pro-life). It’s stands in for sexism. It stands in for moral disapprobation for women who happen to believe that they have the right to have sex and control their own reproduction. The abortion debate is the Right’s morality play, and the fight against it is their Jihad.
They did this to mask the truth about the anti-abortion movement: it is not about whether a fetus is a life. It is about controlling women. It is about heaping “consequences” on women who dare to live their lives as full, autonomous human beings who are not beholden to the male patriarchs and the male god who demand women serve as reproductive vessels fully under their control. It is about judgment, and it is about punishment.
But the leaders realized that this justification for their opposition to abortion was becoming less and less palatable to all but the most virulent misogynists. So, they adopted “Abortion is Murder,” which is a philosophy that any old conservative can get behind, at least for show. “Abortion is murder” is brilliant because it shifts the focus to the fetuses, rather than where it actually belongs, which is on the women who are the real targets of anti-abortion policies and politics. Everyone can get behind not killing babies, right? Because babies are cute and fuzzy! Without “Abortion is Murder,” you do not have people out on the streets protesting. You do not have people championing candidates for political office merely because those candidates oppose abortion. You do not have rivers of money flowing into the Republican party. You do not have any stand-in for moral disapprobation of sexually autonomous women.
But what you also do not have, is domestic terrorism against abortion providers. You do not have intimidation, threats, blocked access, actual murder.