Monday, June 1, 2009

Doctor Killed for Supporting Women's Right to Choose

I heard this on the news today as I drove home, and had to write...

Doctor George Tiller was shot and killed while at church yesterday, presumably by an anti-abortion terrorist. Doctor Tiller provides late-term abortions, and so his clinic has been targeted by anti-abortion forces for years. There are only 3 clinics in the whole U.S. that will do late-term abortions, even though they are sometimes necessary to save a woman's life.

I understand that abortion is a tough issue. But the people who call themselves pro-life have just killed a man. It is not just the one man who pulled the trigger. He was helped along in this by all the people who are willing to harass clinic workers at their homes (parking a van with a huge picture of a mangled fetus across the street, going through their garbage, following them to restaurants)* and all the people whose rhetoric supports that.

I used to teach women's studies. As the teacher, I could have pointed out that abortion has happened throughout history, that many women die from illegal abortions, that the limited available of abortion hurts poor women most. But if I just did that, the students who felt strongly that it's wrong would have shut down. Instead we sat in a circle and told stories. I asked everyone to tell a story from their personal lives. We would all listen to one another. It worked.

They knew how strongly I felt, so I told a story about a woman I knew while I was in college, who intended to have an abortion, but at the last minute, already on the table, decided not to. How brave!

I think that story circle allowed for more aceeptance of different viewpoints, and more long-term change, than anything I could have said in defense of choice.

I ask anyone who has ever spoken up against women's right to abort to speak up against this crime, to grieve Dr. Tiller's death, and to seek out other anti-abortion activists and speak with them about how wrong this is. You who are against abortion undertand them better than I can. It is your job to stop them. Here is Frank Scheaffer on this issue.

Under the Yahoo story I read were 6 titles of 'related stories'. Half of them seem biased toward the anti-abortion forces, which is unsettling in the wake of this murder.

* Details from a Rolling Stone article.

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