R.I.P. Dr. George Tiller

I am so sad and furious about the murder of Dr. George Tiller, I don’t even know where to begin. This shit is domestic terrorism, pure and simple. Its purpose is to frighten doctors and women into bending to the will of fundamentalist ideologues. And if you think it was just the work of a lone nutcase, as opposed to the logical consequence of a focused and relentless campaign of hatred aimed at Tiller — which led to his being shot once before and his clinic being bombed — please do have a look at all of the sick fucks joking and celebrating on Twitter, or in the comments on pretty much any article about Tiller’s assassination. Or at the statement of Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, which begins like so:

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.

Most pro-life organizations, including Operation Rescue, have tried to distance themselves from the assassination, and of course the vast majority of pro-life people would and do condemn murder. Nevertheless, the reality is, words have consequences. Publishing the home address and church of someone you call “America’s doctor of death” has consequences. The very rhetoric Randall Terry is so worried about protecting has consequences.

Some tweets just from the last few minutes:

Tiller was a baby killer. Condolences to his victims.

death ratio tiller 1 innocent babies 100000

I am furious that the death of a ghoul like Tiller receives more attention than the deaths of the scores of babies he has killed.

A good way to prevent what happened to Tiller the baby killer is stop killing babies.

for all the libs that are blaming the cons for the murder of Tiller— remember, we are PRO-LIFE.. try to remember that

OK. I’ll try. But a whole lot of people who identify as “pro-life” are making that awfully difficult. This is your movement. Words have consequences.

Via that same Twitter stream, I just learned that the suspect in custody is reportedly a man named Scott Roeder, who posted on the Operation Rescue website:

Bleass everyone for attending and praying in May to bring justice to Tiller and the closing of his death camp.

Sometime soon, would it be feasible to organize as many people as possible to attend Tillers church (inside, not just outside) to have much more of a presence and possibly ask questions of the Pastor, Deacons, Elders and members while there? Doesn’t seem like it would hurt anything but bring more attention to Tiller.

I really can’t think of anything to add. My condolences to Dr. Tiller’s family and friends.

Update: Check out this story from someone who, tragically, had to use Tiller’s services. This is the reality of late-term abortion. (Via Bitch Ph.D., where you’ll also find lots of links to other posts on the subject. Hoyden About Town has a good round-up, too. And Ann has suggestions about what you can do.)

344 thoughts on “R.I.P. Dr. George Tiller

  1. Kate, you are so very right. Words have consequences. This infuriates me and I am always baffled by the out pouring of hatred and venom against a murdered physician at times like this. Can members of the movement not see the disconnect in what their leaders are saying?

  2. I just made a contribution to NARAL.
    I attended the March for Health Care in Seattle yesterday and stuck a pro-choice sticker on my backpack.
    The experience I went through earlier this year having a miscarriage made me realize that, even thought I would welcome another child, I myself might need an abortion at some point.
    It sounds like he was a compassionate physician doing an extremely difficullt and important job. I am so sorry for his family for their loss, and for the future patients who will need him, and he won’t be there to help.

  3. Nothing says “pro-life” and “Godly” like shooting a doctor who was ushering at a church service. WWJD? Not that!

  4. In my experience no woman ever really wants an abortion, particularly not a late-term abortion. But sometimes this is the only or best option out of some pretty bad options. Such as the situation described in the link where the couple made the harrowing choice to abort their longed-for babies rather than subject them to a very short and painful life due to the extreme medical complications.

    Given the vitriol most abortion doctors in the US experience, I don’t think any doctor would be doing late-term abortions unless they genuinely believed it was in the best interest of their patient. There are much easier – and safer – ways for doctors to make a living.

    Dr Tiller was the sort of person who did a job that was necessary but that few others would do. He did not deserve the hatred that led to his death. I feel terrible not just for him and his family but for the future patients he now will never see, who have to make the saddest decision of their lives.

  5. This makes me so sad. And it makes me want to apologize.

    I maintain a prolife stance. I wish it was enough to just say that me and my friends who hold pro-life views do not condone this man’s actions, or the actions of anyone who believes that it’s okay to murder, harm, or terrorize abortion providers or anyone who is pro-choice. But I know it’s not. I know saying “Not all pro-life people are crazy! He’s just making us look bad!” won’t help.

    I wish I knew what did help. I wish I knew a way to stop feeling so guilty everytime someone who believes the same way I do does something so horrible that reflects poorly on other people who feel the same way. Sometimes I want to yell at those people, and say something like “PRO-LIFE: UR DOIN IT WRONG!” Sometimes I just want to cry.

    I’m sorry, I’m just babbling right now…I just feel so bad everytime something like this happens. It’s so counterproductive and damaging to the prolife movement.

    I’m sorry you guys…I’m just so sorry.

  6. ((Charlotte))

    “But sometimes this is the only or best option out of some pretty bad options.”

    Yup, that’s what Dr. Tiller was about. Late term abortions for families facing really bad options.

    RIP Dr. Tiller.

  7. In my experience no woman ever really wants an abortion

    I would, absolutely and unequivocally, want an abortion if I were ever to become pregnant. I don’t want to bear children, ever.

  8. My pregnancy almost killed me. A doctor actually advised me to abort in the first trimester, but I chose not to because I wanted to be a mother so much that I felt like it was worth risking my life. It wasn’t until the first week of my third trimester that we discovered that my baby had a chromosomal disorder that caused his internal organs to develop in such a way that he was certain to die shortly after birth (he had no lungs.) So not only was I in and out of the hospital with hyperemesis and seizures, it was for a child whose life could only be short and painful.

    It was horrifying and heartbreaking, and it was made even more so by the fact that while there was a safe medical procedure that would give my baby a painless death and save my life, that procedure was illegal in my home state and not covered by insurance. By law, I had to continue the pregnancy regardless of the risk to my life. I briefly considered suicide as the only compassionate option for my baby.

    Fortunately we were able to tap out the credit cards and fly to a place where a kind, brave and compassionate doctor was able to do what had to be done. He worked in an office surrounded by bulletproof glass and guards. He wore a bulletproof vest to work every day. He wasn’t Dr. Tiller, but he could have been – Tiller was my second choice if I hadn’t been able to get an appointment with this guy.

    I am sick with grief over what happened to Dr. Tiller this morning. There are no words for that kind of evil or for the heartlessness reflected in the “baby-killer” kinds of comments. It is simpleminded ignorance and cruelty. Pregnancy and childbirth are dangerous, and the process doesn’t always go like a Hallmark card. Doctors like Tiller are necessary when things go wrong.

    And yet, I’m a coward. I donate to NARAL and march in abortion-rights rallies, but I rarely talk about my experience. First, because it is so painful and personal, but also because crazy people scare me, and the kind of people that think Dr. Tiller deserved to be shot no doubt also think I deserve to die for what I did. So I’m being anonymous when writing about this on a high-traffic site. I’m sorry about that, because I wonder if those of us who are part of that particular awful club could make a difference by being more vocal. But I’m just not that brave.

  9. In my experience no woman ever really wants an abortion

    MargB, I know that you do not mean this as a marginalizing comment. However, I hear this kind of comment pretty frequently, and I experience it as hurtful and marginalizing.

    I have been pregnant twice. I have never wanted children. Now, I would have preferred never to have gotten pregnant, but since that wasn’t possible (even with a time machine, because I was “being safe” both times), I really, really wanted both my abortions.

    I have tremendous respect for women for whom this decision is an emotional and wrenching decision. I honor them for having to face what is for them a difficult choice.

    With late-term abortions, the decision is undoubtedly often an especially painful one, since the majority of those pregnancies were planned and very much wanted, and finding out that what you thought would be a wished-for baby is an anencephalous fetus whose continued gestation threatens your life and health must be an overwhelming blow. My heart goes out to these women and their tragic situations.

    But still, I hate to see myself and other women like me erased from the equation. I really, really wanted my abortions. I am so glad I was able to have them safely and legally. And I don’t want that experience to be erased.

  10. I too was saddened by the news. How many of those “pro-life” people support the death penalty? How many of them supported the war on Iraq?

    Charlotte – you can do something. We all can. Abortion should be safe, legal and rare. Instead of trying to make it illegal and washing their hands of it, pro-lifers should support health care for women, good sex education and birth control No matter what your side, who isn’t in favor of health care and contraception that works?

    Isn’t it saner to try to prevent unwanted pregnancies before they even happen?

    As for the twits praising the murderer, they are just cowards using this as an opportunity to write threatening messages while hidden in the basement. The scary thing is that what if one of them decides to take action?

  11. When women choose very late abortions, it is not because they haven’t chosen to bear a child; it’s because this child, or this pregnancy is injured or dangerous to the the mother. I have the utmost respect for a man who continued to do this necessary work under unecessarily dangerous conditions.

    The nutcases can’t handle the disappointment that Obama is handing them in nominating a new judge and rolling back the worldwide gag order. Being unable to feel competent in their own lives, they resort to violence. While I respect the positions of pro-life people, some are in my family, I feel contempt for this murderer.

  12. This is terrible. The bravery of that man to do for people what others were so afraid to do! And the thing that makes me the most angry is the right-wing conservative response of “Liberals probably did this so that Obama could seize even more control over the country.” Really? Really? That’s rational. I’m so mad right now I can’t even come up with an answer to that RIDICULOUS idea!

    Also, these people have heard of Roe v. Wade, but clearly they’ve not heard of DC v. Heller, because the 2nd amendment is safe gun-nuts. Get over it.

  13. aliemalie:

    Great idea. I’d like to give to my local Planned Parenthood though. If anyone else would like to do the same there’s probably a website for your local planned parenthood that has a donate option.

    Thanks for the idea!

  14. Regarding the “no woman ever really wants an abortion” comment…

    In regards to those who would get an abortion because they would never want to be pregnant… it seems to me that the abortion is the ‘last resort’ practice aside from sterilization, seeing as those who do not even want to be pregnant typically take other precautions to avoid the pregnancy to start with. And, as sterilization seems to be almost more difficult to obtain than most abortions, then abortion is the ‘last resort’ because other forms of birth control (other than abstinence) have been used.

    Of course, there are likely those who would say that those women who do not want to be pregnant should not have sex, but most of the people with that opinion also tend to fall into the “sex for procreation only” view.

    Also, I would not view that as a ‘marginalizing’ comment because of the words ‘in my experience’. But that is my opinion. That and $5 would get about 2 gallons of gasoline in most places.

  15. (((Anon right now)))

    Anonymous or not, sharing your experience in whatever way you can is brave. Thank you for doing it here. I’m so sorry you went through that, and sorrier it was made more painful by judgement asshats.

  16. This is so sad and depressing, and the reactions to it have been so infuriating.

    MargB, some women definitely do want abortions. They should have that choice. And as to “safe, legal, and rare,” well, I don’t even get on board with that. Rareness shouldn’t be a particular goal. Safe and legal means abortions would be rarer, but they will probably always still happen. That needs to be okay, too.

  17. And the thing that makes me the most angry is the right-wing conservative response of “Liberals probably did this so that Obama could seize even more control over the country.”

    They have GOT to be kidding. Oh, wait…I forgot who you were talking about. Never mind.

    Now, what I want to know is, if Nixon could get the Smothers Brothers kicked off the air, why can’t Obama do likewise with O’Reilly, Limbaugh, et al? They are responsible for this. (The Smothers Brothers never incited anyone to kill; they just had the temerity to be anti-war, and even before Nixon they were censored repeatedly for expressing that viewpoint.)

    Nobody gets the idea to kill a fucking abortion doctor out of a clear blue sky, no matter how deranged they are; there needs to be constant egging on for someone to aim at specifically that target, egging on that comes from a 50,000 watt bully pulpit and all the bully pulpit’s followers. Something — many somethings — told this guy it was okay to do this. He had plenty of help.

  18. Late term abortions are often a choice between a fetus dying or a woman and a fetus dying.

    I think the “pro-lifers” deny that because they don’t want to live in a world where babies die for no reason. They want medical science to be able to save every fetus and mother.

    It’s not selfish to want to outlive a doomed fetus. It’s selfish to deny a woman life.

  19. I wish I could say that I can’t comprehend this action. But given that we’re surrounded by a society that believes killing — whether through war or capital punishment or vigilante justice — is a morally acceptable way to deal with those who take the lives of others, these kinds of nutcases find fertile ground for their plans. While I’m opposed to abortion, I live in a faith community that teaches that killing other living beings for any reason is never, ever okay, no matter what they’ve done to you/others. Why can’t more people accept that it is not their job to police the universe?

    Also, there really are more-pressing ‘pro-life’ victories to strive for — such as the end of human deaths in war and animal deaths in research, food-production, and industry.

  20. I would, absolutely and unequivocally, want an abortion if I were ever to become pregnant.

    If I got pregnant right now, I too would absolutely want an abortion. I am pro-abortion in the same way that I’m pro-tonsillectomy.

    Anonrightnow, thank you so much for sharing your story.

  21. I also want to add that abortion is not always tragic, and the expectation that women should not “want” abortion, or should always feel terribly guilty about them, is shaped by anti-choice rhetoric.

  22. I swear, these “people” make me absolutely sick. They have absolutely no concern for human life, no matter what they say. Idiots. I simply can’t understand the mentality that entitles them to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do – or murder someone who doesn’t feel the same way they do.

  23. JennyRose, there are LOTS of people who are four-square against women having access to birth control and healthcare. I have known people who believed contraception was murder, and anyone who used it was a murderer.

  24. Agreed that wanting or getting an abortion is not a bad thing … but Dr Tiller was specifically targeted for doing late-term abortions. Early abortions are both a smaller operation and usually cheaper—which is a big reason why late-term abortions are rare and often traumatic or due to something unexpected, like a horrific amnio result.

  25. Thank you for using the word assassination. I want the power to strike through murder on every headline and replace it with assassination.

    The bravery of Dr. Tiller and others like him truly astonishes me. My prayers and sympathies go to Dr. Tiller’s family, the staff at his medical office and the women who tonight are scrambling for an alternative.

  26. Understood, living400lbs, and that’s an important point. I just think that sometimes we don’t realize how deeply entrenched anti-choice rhetoric is in the debate over *any* type of abortion.

  27. I also want to add that abortion is not always tragic, and the expectation that women should not “want” abortion, or should always feel terribly guilty about them, is shaped by anti-choice rhetoric.

    Absolutely, and I’m glad people have pointed that out.

    However, I also think it’s important to note that many women who have had abortions did find it to be a heart-wrenching decision, and many pro-choice people have complicated personal feelings about abortion. There’s just as much anti-choice rhetoric painting pro-choice people as totally blase about a decision that’s agonizing for many people as there is painting women who’ve had abortions as inevitably traumatized and regretful. The point is, it’s not black and white. There’s no one simple pro-choice view and no one simple post-abortion experience.

    I know women who’ve had abortions and felt nothing so much as relief, and women who’ve had abortions and been devastated by it — though not regretful, and they remain grateful for the choice. I’ve never had an abortion, and the only scenario in which I could imagine getting one is if I got a catastrophic diagnosis while pregnant — exactly the situation Anonrightnow and so many of Dr. Tiller’s patients were in. But I’m every bit as pro-choice as women who are sure they would want an abortion if they happened to get pregnant or women who already have and feel positive about the decision. Because I trust women, period.

    That’s the fundamental difference between pro-choice and anti-choice people. How individuals feel about abortion, whether they’ve experienced it or not, isn’t even the key question. The question is: Do you trust women to make decisions for themselves (and, where applicable their families)? I do. Dr. Tiller did. MargB and JupiterPluvius and Sweet Machine and Volcanista all do. Anti-choicers don’t. If we want to avoid getting sucked into anti-choice rhetoric, I think the single most important thing we can do is keep the focus on the women who need the choice, not on a medical procedure that people have wildly different personal opinions about.

  28. Not to complicate matters, but I read the “no-one ever really wants an abortion”, to mean no-one wants to have to go have an uncomfortable surgical procedure. That’s not to say people don’t want the result of said procedure – which is the termination of a pregnancy.

    Semantics perhaps.

    I feel so sad for Dr Tiller’s family. It’s hard for me to understand how anyone could justify murder in their ‘pro-life’ cause. But then I don’t understand a lot of things…

  29. Anonrightnow, thank you for sharing your story. It’s powerful and I don’t think I shall ever forget it.

    Dr. Tiller, where ever you are, thank you for your bravery and your convictions.

  30. *jumps on the “I-would-get-an-abortion-if-i-got-pregnant-this-second bandwagon*

    It’s actually something I’ve been somewhat worried about (because, you know, I’d spontaneously combust if I didn’t have something imagined to freak out about) lately. Even though I know that logically the likelihood of me being so would be incredibly low cuz um… (tmi warning) we didn’t really have full on intercourse *cough* and I was on birth control at the time (even though I found out like a week later the type I was on often isn’t as effective for women over 150 lbs) and you know, the fact that I had to get the test done for when I got my new birth control (depo – I’m assuming it came back negative seeing as they gave me the injection) and I haven’t experienced any inexplicable nausea and it’s been about a month since the “not quite deedy deed” as I’m dubbing it.

    However, it is something that worries me. Mostly because though I know I’d have to have one for a number of reasons a) I’m a poor grad student b) I haven’t got a “real” job and if I were pregnant probably wouldn’t be able to get one by the expecting date c) I’m in no way, shape or form ready to be a mom right now (I’m actually pretty sure I’m not ever really going to want to be a mom to human kids) and d) I’m just getting over a lot of issues concerning my body, I really don’t think I could handle (as ashamed as I am to admit this) gaining all that weight and having to get used to yet another type of body. There are other smaller reasons, but those are the main ones. They may sound selfish. They may sound trite. I don’t really care though.

    Mostly though I’ve just been worried about it because I know that even though it’s a decision I’d have to make a certain way, it’s really probably going to wrench me apart to have to make it. In desperation I’ve considered drinking myself stupid a few select nights, enough to hopefully prove to anything possibly inside of me that my uterus is not a hospitable place to set up shop just so that way if by the slightest chance of bad luck I really am pregnant I won’t have to actually make the decision.

    I’m sure that sounds terribly selfish and horrifying too. Especially to a lot of pro-lifers and I’m sorry if it makes anyone uncomfortable and I’m sorry if it makes pro-choicer’s look bad. It’s just something I’ve been worrying about (mostly for the sake of worrying) and it’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m spewing all this mindvomit.

    Anyway, I guess I just wanted to add a “yes, I’d have an abortion even though I do feel somewhat conflicted about the whole idea” on there just to say it doesn’t have to always be that women are either devastated or blase about the whole thing. I think there are probably a lot of people in the middle and that it’s important to remember that every situation is different. I wish I could remember who said it (and how they said it) because it was such a great quote to the effect of “group solutions do not work for the individual”.

    Lastly, and I’ll stop babbling, I feel terrible for Tiller’s family. Imagine having your dad/husband/brother/uncle/goodfriend/neighbor gunned down in the middle (of all things) a church service. And then, as if that weren’t enough, imagine a whole slew of assholes backing the deranged asshole who shot him and saying he deserved it.

  31. @kate “That’s the fundamental difference between pro-choice and anti-choice people. How individuals feel about abortion, whether they’ve experienced it or not, isn’t even the key question. The question is: Do you trust women to make decisions for themselves (and, where applicable their families)?”

    exactly.

    thanks for posting this, kate, my disgust and disbelief overwhelm me.

  32. I went down to Monterey about 10 years ago to meet Operation Rescue, those sick fucks. They also went after a woman who lives in my friend’s neighborhood (Oakland) but regularly flew to other states to work (also abortion). They tried to send notes to all her neighbors, complaining that she was a lesbian who performed abortions, and the neighbors basically had the attitude of “Yeah, so? And why would be have a problem with this?”. Realistically, abortion isn’t something that anybody really enjoys, but this weird anti-choice religious hatred is just way beyond acceptable.

  33. I had a late term abortion of a much wanted pregnancy. I was given a fatal diagnosis for my son at 20 weeks gestation, and my abortion was a D&E at 21 weeks. I had literally no choice but to wait that long, as the results of our prenatal testing could not be determined earlier. Many of us that are forced to make this type of decision don’t have the luxury of time. Women who wait this long are not terminating “uh-oh” pregnacies; late term abortions are overwhelmingly performed for women exactly like me. However, having said that, ANY time a woman finds herself in the position of deciding to abort, (whether it is for a wanted or unplanned pregnancy), that decision is never taken lightly. Perhaps that’s what people mean by “No one WANTS an abortion”. Of course I didn’t want to have to DECIDE to have an abortion, but once I did, you can bet my sweet fat ass that I wanted one, despite the despair and pain it brought me. If I did not have one, I would have been forced to carry my son to term, birth him and watch him suffer and die. How humane is that? Where is the dignity in that? Dr. Tiller did not perform my abortion, but dozens of women I know through an online support group DID go to his clinic and we all mourn his passing. It makes me literally sick to my stomach and I find myself tossing and turning tonight and I cannot calm my sad heart.

    As for the difference between terminating a wanted or unwanted pregnancy, a very wise woman once told me that all abortions are crisis pregnancies and to say what a “good” abortion was and a “bad” abortion was puts us in very dangerous territory. Pregnant and can’t afford it? Pregnant and unable to get off your meds? Pregnant and 16? Pregnant and self aware enough to know that parenting isn’t a healthy option for you? Pregnant and in an abusive relationship? Pregnant with a fatally ill fetus? These are ALL crisis pregnancies. (And incidentally, all real life situations of friends and family members of mine that have obtained and not regreted their abortions.) If you do not want to be pregnant, you should not be forced to birth that child. Period. Full stop. MY body, MY choice.

    For anonrightnow, I know your pain, I lived it. I wrote a chapter in the book “Our Heartbreaking Choices” (available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Our-Heartbreaking-Choices-Interrupting-Much-Wanted/dp/0595530478/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243835934&sr=1-1 and other online retailers). I’m not shilling for the book, (And Kate, feel free to edit out the link if it’s tacky to include it here) but I do hope that others that find themselves in the same position as anonrightnow and I are able to find a copy and read it. For the record, any and all profits from the book go to printing and purchasing more copies to be donated to clinics like Tiller’s. I just hope that someone at his clinic continues the very important work that he died for.

    Sorry for the ramble. I’m just at sea about this and not sleeping (at 2:00 am). Forgive typos please.

  34. First, thank you so much Anonrightnow for sharing your story.

    Second, just to comment on what MargB said (“no woman ever really wants an abortion”): While I definitely agree with Sweet Machine that this is frequently a tactic used in anti-choice framing of the abortion debate, about how women all feel horrible for “murdering” their “babies,” I read the comment differently. Abortion is invasive and expensive. It would absolutely be better if contraceptives or fertility planning worked 100% of the time; similarly it would be excellent if we did not live in a rape culture in which pregnancy is a possible result of rape. It would also be wonderful if pregnancy were safe, easy, and free of complications for all pregnant women. Hell, it’d even be awesome if pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare were within everyone’s budget. But my utopia doesn’t exist. So the invasive, expensive (and often physically and emotionally painful) procedure is what we’re left with. That sucks. I don’t want to have an abortion either, but I would absolutely get one if I found out I were pregnant tomorrow. I would be upset and curse my lack of luck, but I’d get one.

    Anyways, that’s what I read that comment to mean. I read super right-wing Christian message boards sometimes (I’m just painfully curious, I guess) and I often see the sentiment that women get abortions because they are completely unthoughtful (or demonic–I won’t even go there, but just goes to show how absurd some arguments are). I guess the point that I’ve learned from reading all over the place is that you really can’t speak about abortion in generalities and hope to say anything meaningful. There are so many stereotypes about who gets them and why that it’s almost useless to generalize about all women unless you are prepared to spend a hell of a time clarifying.

    That being said, I feel very confident saying that Dr. Tiller’s murder is horrifying. I have so, so, so much respect and gratitude for abortion providers–I hope he knew how much he was appreciated.

  35. ((anonrightnow)) and ((Emme Bea))

    Thank you so much for sharing. I feel so sad for both of you that you had to make that decision. I know it must be heartbreaking and all kinds of terrifying to be in that situation.

    And this horrible murder is the reason I cannot get behind “pro-life” rhetoric. Though my personal thoughts are that abortion is a terrible thing, and something I would not do personally (from where I stand right now, but you do not know what you would do until you’re in that situation) nor encourage someone else to do, I also feel like if you feel like it’s the right decision for you, it’s also none of my goddamn business. I will keep my piehole shut, drive you to the clinic, and knock some protester heads together if need be to get you in the door. Because forcing my own, internal, personal opinions on it onto someone else would make me an asshole, know what I’m saying?

  36. I am pro-abortion in the same way that I’m pro-tonsillectomy.

    So much fucking word. I am pro-heart-transplant. I am pro-broken-bone-repair. I am pro-appendectomy. I am, you know, just generally PRO NEEDED HEALTH CARE.

    Now there is one less doctor to provide desperately needed specialized health care in this country.

  37. Poor Dr Tiller. I suspect his bravery and perseverance is more of a testament to the value of human life than every placard from Operation Rescue combined.

    The most infuriating aspect of the twitter comments is the idea this cold blooded murderer was protecting “babies”. It’s a “fetus” until it is outside of my body and breathing on its own- at which point it becomes a “baby”.

    I do not care what reason a woman has for getting an abortion and I don’t care if she has 3 gagillion abortions in her lifetime. The only thing that matters is that she, in all her wisdom, thinks its a really bad idea for this fetus to be carried to term. I trust her judgment.

  38. Oh and call me crazy but most people doing G*d’s work don’t have a getaway car waiting for them outside.

    People who truly think they’re doing something the Big Guy would give a thumbs usually stick around and take ownership or at least leave contact information so they can get the tax write off come April 15.

    So Mr Killer from Kansas you’re just a run-of-the-mill criminal, only you think G*d talks to you.

  39. I’m 39 weeks into a healthy, very wanted and planned pregnancy, and I can personally attest to just how WRONG it is to try to force this state on another person (the stated goal of the anti-choice movement). Even with being healthy, financially secure, and in a stable relationship, my pregnancy has been pretty much a nightmare.

    Even so-called “frivolous” abortions aren’t about not gaining weight and not dealing with swollen ankles. It can also be about not throwing up 3+ times a day for 3 months and winding up in the ER needing fluids. Or having the ability to walk without being in excruciating pain for 6+ months (symphysis pubis dysfunction SUCKS). Or sleeplessness (notice the time I’m posting), carpal tunnel syndrome, or weeks of prodromal labor.

    In short, I have spent every day of the past 9 months either very very sick or injured to the point of disability, and this is not something someone should undertake lightly. I’d say I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, but really the anti-choice women can have all the really hard (but not dangerous) pregnancies. Let them suffer.

    And this is why pregnancy has made me even MORE pro-choice than I was before. I really believe forcing someone to go through this is tantamount to torture.

  40. Re the idea that no woman ever wants an abortion…

    If I ever got pregnant I would definately want an abortion, and I would have one. Some women simply don’t want children, others don’t want children at a particular time or in particular circumstances or with a particular partner. The reasons why a woman wants an abortion are no one’s business but her own.

    Sorry, but I’m really tired of pro-choice people feeling obliged to sugar coat this issue in order not to upset the anti-choice crowd. Some women really do want an abortion, and they’re entitled to have one without having to justify it to anyone but themselves.

  41. I also read that as “nobody wants to HAVE TO have an abortion,” the same way I’d have read “nobody wants to HAVE TO have a root canal.” Certainly when you’re talking about the kind of abortions Dr. Tiller performed — the kind that aren’t even legal unless there is a serious threat to the mother’s life or health or the fetus is unlikely to survive long after birth — we’re talking about a procedure that’s way more physically painful (and risky) than a root canal, even if you really want and need to have it and know it’s the right thing.

    Even a first-term abortion doesn’t exactly tickle, even if you have no moral qualms about it. Would I do it instead of carrying a pregnancy to term? Oh yes. But am I going to be unbelievably super-vigilant with birth control, even though I’m unlikely to get pregnant at my age with my health conditions, because the idea of getting an instrument jammed in me to scrape me out gives me the heebie-jeebies? Yeah, that too.

  42. Meowser – Sure, and honestly if we trusted women as a society the fact that most of us who really don’t want kids are vigilant about birth control wouldn’t even have to be stated. But still, I think there’s a creeping sense in the common statements “no woman wants an abortion” and “safe, legal and RARE” that all women are obliged to feel incredibly guilty about wanting an abortion and/or having one, and IMO framing things in terms of that assumption is caving in to anti choice ideology.

  43. I will never, ever understand the argument that if the choice is between the mother’s life and the unborn infants, the infant must be allowed to live and the mother allowed to die.

    How is that right? I just don’t see the logic! A grown woman has people who love her, people who DEPEND on her – possibly other children, elderly parents, a spouse, siblings etc. How can that possibly just be universally worth less than a new life, simply because it is new? Is someone aged 20 then also always to be chosen over someone aged 25? The world sure would be simpler if that were true, I give them that.

    I do not think abortion should be taken lightly or used carelessly, but neither should the sanity, life and health of a grown woman be taken lightly. If you take away the idea of religious sin, a grown woman is just as much of an innocent as a baby.

  44. And I SO agree that the idea that “no woman wants to have an abortion” should not be part of the pro-choice movement.

    Some women DO want abortions. Some don’t feel the least bit guilty about it, some do. And that’s okay – if we believe that a woman’s body is in her own control, then we shouldn’t expect her to feel certain ways about certain choices she makes with that body either.

  45. if we believe that a woman’s body is in her own control, then we shouldn’t expect her to feel certain ways about certain choices she makes with that body either.

    This.

  46. I’ve finally made it past “unable to say anything that’s not a string of profanity.” Unfortunately, the next stop was “struck dumb.”

    I wrote a piece last week about the Second Amendment incorporation fight gearing up in the Supreme Court, and it occurred to me that, the various political/jurisprudential arguments being what they are, I ought to write something about guns and abortion – if women were the only persons capable of using arms, would Second-Amendment-rights advocates be as gung-ho about guaranteeing to individuals a personal right to operate a potentially fatal instrument? To decide who gets to die?

    My guess would be no. Because I can no longer see the “pro-life” movement as anything but terrorism and systematic oppression.

  47. @peskipiksi – Supreme Court reserves the right to refuse any case that isn’t a Constitutional violation. My Civil Procedure Professor always insisted that generally if they’ve granted certiorari to an appeal it’s because the time is right to decide a matter one way or another. I think the time is right for…something.

    As regarding your essay the NRA is like the ACLU of the gun world. My roommate (a liberal Unitarian) is a member of the NRA and I remember when I first moved in he got a pamphlet from the NRA asking for donations to assist in the landmark Supreme Court case DC v. Heller in which they ultimately decided that Washington, D.C. cannot ban guns as it is unconstitutional. So yeah, I think they undertake the cause anytime their “right to bear arms” is in trouble.

    I can’t wait until Sotomayor is on the bench!

  48. The head of Priests for Life came up with this gem:

    ““I am saddened to hear of the killing of George Tiller this morning. At this point, we do not know the motives of this act, or who is behind it, whether an angry post-abortive man or woman, or a misguided activist, or an enemy within the abortion industry, or a political enemy frustrated with the way Tiller has escaped prosecution. We should not jump to conclusions or rush to judgment.”

    The assassination of a physician is no reason to call off your own dogs when you could be whipping them into a fervor with conspiracy theories. Thanks, there, Fr. Pavone. Jesus loves you.

  49. The assassination of a physician is no reason to call off your own dogs

    It also sounds like an excellent diversionary tactic. Look over there at all the people who COULD have done this! Look!

  50. This is so sad. Killing one person won’t “undo” anything. If anything, it’s just proving how extreme you are.

    I sometimes wonder: Have ANY of those pro-life people ever been in a situation where they, or their significant other have had a choice to abort their fetus due to complications or risk of death? Or have any of them lost someone they loved because they refused to abort?

    I almost don’t want to know the answer to that… But for the sake of knowledge, please educate me.

  51. I have an itty bitty baby that I love and adore. I am on birth control. Were I to get pregnant right now, I would have an abortion because I am on medications contraindicated in pregnancy (like, they cause serious birth defects and shit), my uterus hasn’t healed from my cesarean, and there is no way in hell I can have another baby this soon. I’m glad I live in a country where abortion in the case of failed contraceptive is an option. However, I’d much rather avoid getting pregnant than have an abortion not because abortion is OMG KILLIN TEH BABBEHS but because it’s a surgical procedure that costs money and has recovery time and I only sleep about two hours a time because, again, itty bitty baby.

    When I hear someone say “no woman wants an abortion” what I hear is “no woman wants to go through a surgical procedure that is painful, has serious if rare complications, and costs money if she can avoid it by using contraceptives.” Maybe I’m hearing wrong; maybe some of the people who say that mean that women are precious delicate flowers who shouldn’t be put in the position of having to chose to scrape their uteruses out so let’s just remove that option so we don’t tax their little hearts too much. But that is what I hear regardless.

    I’m really really sorry that there are women who feel marginalized when they hear that statement. Ladies, I fully endorse your desire to sow your wombs with salt and scrape out any fetal tissue that wanders in there uninvited. People who do not want children absolutely should not have them. That’s one of the most unfair and barbaric things possible for both the potential parent and hypothetical child. It’s especially sad that there are medical professionals who do not believe that women are capable of making decisions about their fertility and thus refuse to sterilize women below a certain age.

    I am very afraid that with Dr. Tiller’s murder his clinic will close and the USA will only have ONE clinic willing and able to perform late term abortions. This is an untenable situation.

  52. Kate, I am so, so glad that you posted this. I am a recovering evangelical Christian who is now part of a liberal denomination. When I was in undergrad, I would argue with my feminist father about how abortion was wrong. I painfully wince when I think about how I acted, but I chalk it up in part to being brainwashed by a conservative Christian university. In my mind, so much of this shit comes from the belief that women’s bodies are not their own. We ought not to be independent thinkers with (gulp) power to choose what our bodies look like and feel like. We should be lesser species who subjugate ourselves to men first by having sex with them whenever they want and then putting up with any consequences because we don’t really matter. My turn to Feminism began when I was working as missionary, oddly enough. I had sacrificed so much by moving halfway across the world to fucking Siberia to have one of the male church leaders there tell me what I think doesn’t matter. And that, dear friends, is one of the foundational messages of the anti-choice movement—that what we, as women, believe and think and desire and long for means nothing.

  53. I caught a TV spoof comedy show once where a little old lady wandered into the Oval Office and ran into W. In the conversation he declared he was pro-life and the lady just patted him on the arm and said something along the lines of, “oh, honey I hate to break it to you, but when you put someone in the electric chair it kills them.”

    No one can claim a label like pro-life and condone or commit murder or assassination.

    Incidently, I’m looking forward to joining my sister-in-law in Detroit at the next big anti-choice rally in Detroit . We’ll sit across the street with signs like “have you taken in a foster child?” and “Have you helped a single mother get to her job today?” If people want to force their neighbor to have a baby they sure as hell better be offering free child care.

    Personally? My body is nobody’s business. I would have to think long and hard about whether I could raise and provide for a child before I had it, and I’m the ONLY ONE in the whole damn world who has the right to weigh in on that decision for myself.

    I do agree with the “rare” part above, just as I think any risky surgical proceedure should be handled as much as possible through preventative care. I do think that a lot of kids make it to High School and beyond without really knowing where babies come from. (IMO, they come from red wine and John Coltrane). I wish we could get over the eggshell treatment of religious bias in this country and not let any kid escape from public high school without a good understanding of safe, sane and consensual sex.

  54. According to the national poverty level, I should be able to support 6 people on my salary. (Let’s all laugh hysterically at this notion.) Honestly, I’m not sure I could support myself and a child. Daycare alone has the potential to break me. And I make more than about 20% of the US, so I’ve no clue how other less privileged women do it.

    I do understand the pro-life position, and I feel like a lot could be accomplished if we skipped the rhetoric and went to what works. If there’s really a goal of reducing unwanted pregnancies, there’s concrete things that we can do, and I wish we could join on those. Contraception, less stringent sterilization, counseling, financial aid for women who want to carry their pregnancy to term but can’t afford them – all of these could be proactive, supportive things that the pro-life community might find support for in the pro-choice community.

    If we focused on what works, rather than what’s satisfying (making abortion illegal), I think we could find some common ground.

  55. I think of myself when it is said “no woman wants an abortion.” I always knew if I got pregnant I would have one but I was deathly in fear of the physical pain. To me an ab is just removing tissue that has the potential to be human. Until that potential happens, I do not see it as a baby.

    I do say safe, legal and rare because they should be rare. No woman should have to go through the pain and expense. I think it is better for a woman’s body not to be pregnant and have it aborted. I am only talking about physical health here, not morals etc. I have been pg and the earliest weeks were among the most difficult. I was sick everyday, didn’t know if it was right for my family and did contemplate ab. I decided the baby was planned and I did want her so I kept her. Anyway, my hormones were in great flux and I wonder what would happen if that state was abrubtly changed. Don’t know but it cannot be that comfortable for most women.

    I also think the far right is not pro-baby but anti-woman. Many think it is all about the babies but it is really about controlling women. I see it as a symbol of a desire to control so many things including a woman’s right to choice.

    yellowhammert – I am not niave and I know there are right wingers who oppose birth control, family planning and anything to do with sexuality other than abstaining until marriage. I also think there are enough people like a few posters who oppose ab on a personal level but think it should remain legal, Peeling some of those away from the fold is helpful to the pro-choice movement because it becomes larger once it becomes more inclusive.

    File this under politics and strange bedfellows: I know a woman who is opposed to ab on religious grounds but thinks it should be legal. She doesn’t want the worst elements of society to increase in number so for her vision, ab is good and G-d will just punish them in the end anyway. So for her legal ab is a win-win. So she is completely lacking in compassion, supports ab rights for all the “wrong” reasons but is pro-choice. So, ab can be a truly nuanced issue.

  56. I have nothing to add to the reactions and experiences that people are sharing. I share many of them. What I did want to add is something technical and nit-picky. I have read several comments about medical procedures, scraping the uterus, etc. The PP where I live offers that as an alternative, but most people I know opt for a medical/chemical abortion, whereby a series of medications induces miscarriage/abortion. If, at the follow-up appointment, it has not worked, then the women do have to have the surgical abortion to finish the job. I just wanted to mention this because I didn’t know it was an option until about 5 years ago.

    However, that does not change anything in this debate. It can still be a welcome event, a tragic event, or something in between. There is still risk, but there is a risk waking up every day. I just wanted to put it out there in case anyone else didn’t know about this option. I am glad that it exists. It makes my choice easier, even if that sounds like a cop-out. When I came up against this potential choice a few months ago, I could have more easily done the chemical abortion – I’m not sure I could endure the surgical procedure. For me, who chooses homebirth and attachment parenting, having an abortion at home, surrounded by my family or whomever I felt comfortable with, would have made what would have been, for me, a difficult choice, much more tolerable. And, again, it’s about choice and options. And, as people have said, trust in MY ability to choose what MY body needs.

  57. This really is a terrible story. Just something to think about — I had a friend who used to work for NARAL and she introduced me to the term “anti-choice” instead of “pro-life.” I think this is a much more accurate portrayal of the situation. I would imagine many people who consider themselves pro-choice are not anti-life.

  58. I tend to think that “no woman wants an abortion” means that no woman has ever gone out and gotten pregnant just because she thought having an abortion sounded so awesome that she wanted to experience one. At best, it’s the better of a number of options a woman would rather not have to choose between in the first place. I don’t think any woman would prefer having an abortion to not having been pregnant in the first place, and that’s the sense that I understand that in.

    Those stories just break my heart. I’ve never understand why late-term abortions are the target of so much protest and anger, given that the vast majority of women getting them are doing so because either their life is endangered or their fetus has abnormalities so severe that survival is unlikely. To turn the pain of these families into some sort of political football just seems disgusting to me.

    Personally, I am opposed to abortion in most cases, because I think it’s an act of violence against a developing human life and best avoided. I think that in general it is preferable to nurture life in all its forms rather than to end it. But, I also think that forcing women to carry pregnancies to term against their will is also an act of violence, and also wrong, and also something I oppose. Personally, I think it’s difficult to determine the appropriate non-violent response to abortion. In the end, though, I think the decision has to be left to individual conscience, as it does on so many issues. I’m certainly far more comfortable erring on the side of individuals making these decisions, rather than the state.

    I guess my end feeling on it is just that I would hope women would be provided with whatever resources and support (financial, material, emotional, social) to make continuing a pregnancy a viable option for them, and would be supported by society in doing so, but that if they ultimately decided to have an abortion, they would be able to do so safely and legally, and also be given whatever support they needed.

  59. JennyRose: You said, “Anyway, my hormones were in great flux and I wonder what would happen if that state was abrubtly changed. Don’t know but it cannot be that comfortable for most women.”

    This happens to women who have miscarriages every day. Sure it’s a change (for many women), but it happens and we deal with it. It’s really akin to how we change when we become pregnant. Going from what is “normal” for our bodies (however one could ever judge that) to what, as you described, as flux (which it’s not for all women). It happens, we deal with it, and move on.

  60. or who is behind it, whether an angry post-abortive man or woman,

    Can anyone explain how a man can be “post-abortive”? Because I think perhaps that “Priest for Life” needs to find out how babby is made.

  61. I had a friend who used to work for NARAL and she introduced me to the term “anti-choice” instead of “pro-life.”

    I always try to say “opposed to legal abortion access” or “in favor of legal abortion access,” which I tend to think are more descriptive and accurate than “pro-life” (which I find incredibly offensive when used in the context of those opposed to legal abortion access) and “pro-choice.”

  62. Oh, hugs galore for Emme Bea and Anonrightnow. My deepest sympathies.

    I had not thought about how “no woman wants an abortion” could be marginalizing. That is a very good point, and I won’t say it anymore. OTOH, I do agree that abortion should be rare, because all women (and men for that matter) should have access to good BC and good sex education, which would make abortion as rare as possible. Safe and legal is a given.

  63. Another way to support the cause would be to donate to Medical Students 4 Choice, http://www.ms4c.org/. From their website: “Medical Students for Choice stands up in the face of violent opposition, working to destigmatize abortion provision among medical students and residents, and to persuade medical schools and residency programs to include abortion as a part of the reproductive health services curriculum.” That’s where I’m sending my donation in Dr. Tiller’s memory.

  64. “Can anyone explain how a man can be “post-abortive”?”

    It’s the term anti-choicers like to use to describe people suffering from their totally-not-made-up “post-abortion syndrome.” You know, the one where women realize that they totally just killed their baby and are doomed forever by an unrelenting depression, and men realize that somebody totally just killed their baby and fly into a completely natural, understandable, please-don’t-prosecute-him homicidal rage. He’s basically saying that maybe Dr. Tiller got what was coming to him for poking around in a uterus that belonged to another man.

  65. I am pro-choice, if only because it is not practical to make abortions illegal. That would only put an end to safe abortions, rather than to abortions in general.

    I also believe that the government should not have legal rights over anybody’s body, male or female. (ie: No death penalty, and people should have the right to end their lives with or without a doctor’s help without anybody being prosecuted.)

    That being said, the idea that an abortion is anything other than ending a human life is just… serious denial. And I understand it, because coming to terms with the idea that you’re ending a human life, even if it’s for good reasons (and I do believe there are good reasons) is difficult.

    Also, with regards to Sweet Machine’s remark about “or who is behind it, whether an angry post-abortive man or woman”… I think it’s unfair to minimize a man’s position in this decision. He essentially has no rights over what would be his child (nor do I believe he should have any rights over his partner’s body), but If a woman got pregnant and had a termination while her partner wanted the child, it’d be difficult for the man to deal with, I’d think.

    Not that I’m condoning killing anybody. I’m not saying it’s right, but I understand.

    The whole issue just sucks, all-around. What we need is some proper 100% effective birth control.

    Also, I try to be open-minded regarding religion (hey, whatever connects you to humanity/helps you sleep at night is fine with me), but goddamn if these sorts of incidents don’t make that position hard to maintain.

    And just because this novel isn’t long enough already, I would really like to see the religious right put their money where their mouth is. What have they done lately to support single-parent families? Adoption? Foster care? If you want all these babies, I want to see you supporting the mothers UNCONDITIONALLY.

  66. Dr. Tiller – he will be sorely missed.

    I spent many years here in L.A. fighting Operation rescue. I have scars from helping women past throngs of OR protesters blocking entrances to WOMENS HEALTH CLINICS because sometimes we needed to help women over fences in order to get them into the clinics for their appointments.

    Generally I have a great deal of compassion for the different sides of issues.

    I have no empathy for anti-choicers. If you don’t want an abortion – don’t fucking have one – but no one gets to choose for another person how she takes care of her health – EVER.

    So angry today. So very angry.

  67. My mother is incredibly pro-choice. I am sure there are people that are as pro-choice as she is but being more so would not be possible. She has a humorous/sarcastic take on the issue of abortions being rare.

    “Oh, absolutely abortions should be rare. Each women should rarely have an abortion. ” This leads to some sort of question, concern odd look from the person to whom my mother is speaking. Which leads to her favorite follow up, mom is very proud of herself for this line.

    “I also think childbirth should be rare for each woman. I mean, in the about 40 years women are fertile I think we should rarely become pregnant whether we have the baby or not.” Depending on the person having the conversation this can then go in any number of directions but it is always amusing in a slightly uncomfortable way.

    Clearly, she gets what the politicians mean by rare but she loves to drive the point home that this is about each woman having a right to choose not about any collective societal goal of making a medical procedure less common.

  68. Awesome post, Kate. I’m still too pissed off and upset to have words of my own, so I’m extra-grateful to the feminist blogs today for being eloquent and on point.

  69. Anoif said: the idea that an abortion is anything other than ending a human life is just… serious denial.

    It’s not denial. Theologians and philosophers have been debating this for, well, at least 3000 years (conservatively speaking). You are making a leap that just can’t be made. Not everyone agrees that a clump of cells is a human life, nor that a 28 week fetus is. Hell, a philosopher-friend of mine doesn’t even believe that babies are persons, per se (they do not have true personhood she says). So what you’re doing is stating YOUR belief, which is not shared by everyone. Please try to remember that. I can’t even begin to discuss “the menz” issue..

  70. First and foremost, I’m in awe of the women who posted their own stories of late term abortion to give everyone a better understanding of why that was necessary for them. Thank you.

    A few years ago, I got into an argument with (surprise) a man who talked about late term abortion like it was something that happens all the time – like the people who were having them were women who “just forgot” how far along they were or something. I was so enraged I started researching – and Dr. Tiller’s name came up. He struck me as a compassionate man who had to go through an awful lot to do something important to help women who needed help. And he was a prominent figure because he performed abortions when so many others would no longer do so – because those women were in danger.

    I often say that I’m pro-life to be antagonistic… though I believe I truly am. I believe women who are already alive and functioning members of society get to decide what happens to them. I believe the death penalty is wrong. I believe unnecessary wars are wrong. I hear about “choosing life” from people like those who’ve cheered about Dr. Tiller’s death and I wonder how this man who supposedly shot him chose life.

    For the record, I wish abortions were rare. I wish there were ways to more effectively prevent them, whether it means through more education, or access to contraception, or better health care, or whatever. But I want people like Dr. Tiller to exist because there will always be times when things go wrong. And when they do, one needs a medical specialist – even if what he or she does isn’t popular.

  71. No, it really isn’t.

    … aaaand how do you figure?

    “Wait, people think abortion isn’t murder? Tell me more, I’ve only just learned to use the internet enough to use this one website!”

    Educate yourself or get banned.

  72. … aaaand how do you figure?

    We. are. not. doing. this. here.

    Period.

    I do not have the time, energy, or inclination to host a debate on when life begins. It ends now, or the banhammer comes down.

  73. I found this great quote by Dr. Tiller:

    “We have constructed our clinic and our philosophy along the lines that until you have natural survivalhood [of the fetus], the woman is the patient, not the fetus.”

    Times like this I wish I believed in hell or karma, because I sure do want the sonofabitch who killed a decent medical professional to suffer.

  74. Also, I am pro-abortion in the same way I am pro-tonsillectomy, but I’m pro-late-term-abortion in the same way I am pro-hysterectomy. Dr. Tiller, as living400 points out, was often dealing with wanted pregnancies that went terribly wrong. It’s still of paramount importance that women get necessary life-saving health care, even in emotionally difficult situations, but I would expect that Dr. Tiller’s patients were on average very likely to feel that they’d gone through a tragedy or at very least an extremely complex and emotional health decision.

  75. “Wait, people think abortion isn’t murder?”

    People can think abortion is the ending of a human life without thinking it’s murder. I do think that abortion is the ending of human life in a very early stage. I don’t think it’s murder, for a few reasons. For one, I don’t think it’s done maliciously. For another, I don’t think the embryo/fetus is a person at the stage when abortion occurs. It’s a human life by virtue of its genetic make-up and potential, IMO, but not a human person, because it lacks the capacity for even the most basic forms of sensation, perception, and experience that I’d say are an essential feature of independent human personhood. But the idea that abortion is the ending of a human life doesn’t necessarily entail the belief that abortion is murder.

    I had a miscarriage at about 5 weeks before I got pregnant with my son. I do not believe that a human person died. Not by any means. To compare my loss (which was, quite frankly, more of a disappointment than anything else) to the death of a human person seems to demean the value of humanity to me. At the same time, it was a human life in an extremely early form, and not simply random cells or an alien organism. Personally, I think it’s an error to assign an embryo the same value as a born person, and demeans the value of human life to do so, but I do think it’s also an error to assume that embryonic and fetal life is somehow without any human value at all. But believing that embryonic and fetal life has value as human life at an early stage isn’t to say that abortion is murder or that it should be illegal.

  76. Oh, and Kate posted while I was typing, so feel free to delete that. I certainly wasn’t trying to say I know when life/personhood begins: I don’t. I just wanted to point out that one can believe that an embryo/fetus is a human life while not believing that abortion is murder. One belief doesn’t require the other.

  77. Also, I am pro-abortion in the same way I am pro-tonsillectomy, but I’m pro-late-term-abortion in the same way I am pro-hysterectomy.

    That is a more nuanced way to put it—thanks.

  78. if Nixon could get the Smothers Brothers kicked off the air, why can’t Obama do likewise with O’Reilly, Limbaugh, et al?

    Because they can’t actually be held responsible for this death – Tiller’s name was already in the media because of his trial, so crazy people would have found him anyway. Taking them off the air would violate the First Amendment and we actually have a President who uses the Constitution for something other than toilet paper. As much as I hate Limbaugh and O’Reilly and their goonies, I don’t support taking them off the air. I didn’t support taking Imus off the air, either. We have the freedom to be complete douchebags here, and I honor that.

  79. Chicago Abortion Fund is staging a rally in support of Dr. Tiller today at 4 pm in front of the state of Illinois building, if any Chicagoans are interesting in coming out to show your support.

  80. I don’t think they should be taken off the air, and I’m not sure to what extent I’d say they are responsible for this as individuals, but I do think there needs to be some accountability. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean the freedom to say whatever you want on television or the radio and not having to ever deal with the consequences of your words. If the rhetoric these pundits are using is inciting people to hatred or violence, I’d like to see some accountability, in some form. I’m not sure I’d want to see the government stepping in and stopping them (I tend to think I wouldn’t want to see that), but I do think these people and those profiting from them should bear some responsibility, in some way, for the actions they may incite others to.

  81. You know, the one where women realize that they totally just killed their baby and are doomed forever by an unrelenting depression,

    preying mantis, I agree with you that that’s what a “post-abortive man” is about, and that’s bullshit. But this part here is tough for me. As Kate said, some women do really deal with emotional repercussions after having an abortion (whether because they wanted a baby, because they have internalized the anti-choice messages, or they have a rough time with the hormone fluctuations), and that’s not trivial. It doesn’t change the fact that women should have the right to choose that, and certainly not all women experience this, but a lot of women do and it can be rough.

    Anoif, 1) I echo the chorus that it’s not self-denial, it’s a different point of view, and 2) when life begins is completely irrelevant to the topic of a person’s right to bodily autonomy.

  82. I may never understand why “when life begins” matters a damn in this discussion. I’ve had two wanted, marvellous, enjoyable, joyful pregnancies, after growing up in a country with no legal abortion at all ever no matter what, and I can’t see how anyone except the woman with the body involved can make any kind of decision about letting it live in her body, whether it’s a blob of cells, a cute widdle baby, or the second fucking coming able to dance the Macarena at 8 weeks gestation.

  83. I live in Wichita, although we were in Iowa City yesterday and couldn’t make it back in time to attend the local vigil for Dr. Tiller. I hate that we’ve made international news again for something so awful and senseless. I share the anger and sadness of women across the country, almost more so because it hit so close to home.

  84. I want to toss my hat in as saying that I believe “safe, legal and rare” was coined primarily to bridge a gap (or I suppose some might say pander) between beliefs. I first remember hearing it from the Clinton Administration and to me it sounded like they were trying to say well, if you are OK with it don’t worry the option is still there but if you aren’t OK with it don’t worry because we want it to happen less. Trying to keep everyone happy at once, which I suppose isn’t really possible in this debate.

    I think rarity should come because unwanted pregnancies should be rare. That’s not going to happen through anti-choice measures but through accurate sex ed and free or cheap access to various forms of contraceptives and instruction on proper use.

  85. Liza, that’s exactly why the phrase makes me uncomfortable. It’s parsing the issue in a way that’s meant to be palatable to anti-choicers.

  86. As a former Planned Parenthood employee, this is the fear everyone who works in this area faces on a daily basis, and it is terrifying. We used to receive truly heinous hate mail and phone calls. Someone sent us (fake) anthrax once.

    It reminds me of what we say about people hating fat people for their own good. How can you say you value life and then murder someone? It boggles the mind.

    That being said, I have met pro-life people who are thoughtful and polite in their disagreement on this issue, and I respect their right to tout it through legal and reasonable efforts. I know at least some of them will condemn this for the evil act it is.

    I personally can’t see myself getting an abortion for anything other than grave medical peril, but that’s my CHOICE. Women are smart enough to make up their own minds about what is right for them based on their own situation, health, and personal values.

  87. At the same time, though, there really are people who think abortion should be legal who also have moral reservations about it and would prefer to see women continue pregnancies rather than have abortions. I think adultery should be legal, but I certainly don’t like the idea of people cheating on their spouses, and I’d like to see it be rare. I think spanking should be legal, but I think it’s a violent means of discipline and I’d like to see parents use alternative discipline methods and spanking to become rare.

    In fact, most people I know who support legal abortion access do not believe abortion is a good thing, and in many cases believe it is morally problematic, especially as the pregnancy progresses. They just don’t think that it’s a matter the government has the right to dictate women’s choices in. But, they honestly do feel that it would be better if abortion, while safe and legal, were rare.

    So I think it’s less pandering to those who would like to restrict access to legal abortions and more about acknowledging that many people, even when they support the right to have a legal abortion, do feel some moral reservations about the procedure and would prefer to see rates reduced.

    I think there’s often an assumption that anybody who thinks abortion should be legal must also believe that abortion is a moral good, but that’s not necessarily the case. That’s why I think language focusing on a person’s stance on legality is far more useful than “pro-life” and “pro-choice,” which many times end up being labels people use to name their moral stance. I’ve known several women who identified as “pro-life” who, when pressed, admitted that they didn’t think abortion should be illegal–they just didn’t like it or think it was right. To me, that’s a pro-choice stance; to them, that was a pro-life stance. I’m guessing there are a number of people who align themselves with the “pro-life” movement not because they think abortion should be outlawed but because they think it’s morally wrong and don’t want to align themselves with a movement they think requires that they feel abortion is a moral good. While I don’t think morality is entirely irrelevant to legality, I do think on many if not most issues we realize the two can’t be completely conflated, and when that happens around abortion, which it often does, things can get very confusing and perhaps more polarized than they would be otherwise.

  88. @LilahCello shares, “What I did want to add is something technical and nit-picky. I have read several comments about medical procedures, scraping the uterus, etc. The PP where I live offers that as an alternative, but most people I know opt for a medical/chemical abortion, whereby a series of medications induces miscarriage/abortion. If, at the follow-up appointment, it has not worked, then the women do have to have the surgical abortion to finish the job. I just wanted to mention this because I didn’t know it was an option until about 5 years ago. ”

    Actually, that is true only for pregnancies in the first trimester. Once the fetus gets to be about 11-12 weeks, an actual D&C is needed. Then once it gets to be around 14+ weeks, you’re in D&E territory or what’s called L&D (Labor and Delivery; where the fetus is delievered vaginally and usually doesn’t make it through the birth. Often, the fetus’ heart is stopped chemically before labor is induced.) A D&E is like a D&C except it’s a 2-3 day process. One goes in on the first and/or second day for cervix enlargening procedures and on the final day, the fetus is removed like in a D&C while under twilight or general anethesia.

    There’s much more I feel I should be writing, but everyone above me has been so eloquent in answering some of the comments I most wanted to address, that to do so would be redundant. I just thought I would clarify that point. Thank you though LilahCello for mentioning the way many early abortions are able to be done now. And thank you also to those of you that have expressed compassion to those women that have to face the end of a pregnancy, wanted or otherwise.

  89. On the “most women would prefer using contraception to having an abortion” thing: IT’S NOT AN EITHER/OR. I am 44 years old, and I have never had vaginal sex without using at least one form of contraception in my life. And I have had two abortions.

    Yes, I would rather not have needed any abortions, just as I would rather not have needed root canals. But nobody’s trying to take away my right to root canals, and nobody’s filling the air with rhetoric about how I “should” feel about my root canals.

  90. I didn’t support taking Imus off the air, either

    That was a decision by his sponsors and his radio station, not government censorship. People have the legal right to say stupid racist and misogynist shit, but corporations and media outlets also have the legal right to not want to pay for that nonsense.

  91. Lori, that’s pandering, too — to people who haven’t thought about it hard enough to understand that the debate is entirely about legality, and that the term “pro-life” attempts to hide that fact behind the appearance of an academic moral debate. I don’t have to cater to them.

    I don’t have any interest in changing my language just so that someone can be comfortable with my position; and “safe, legal, and rare” was a phrase invented to avoid sounding like the pro-choice stance was a firm one. It is firm.

  92. I didn’t know that non-surgical procedures had become so much better; I remember them being described as long and difficult (one shot, then days or weeks pass before a second shot, and a very painful miscarriage) so that D&C was a much better option. Good to know that choice has improved.

  93. volcanista – I hadn’t been aware of them at all, so knowing that was even a surprise to me. When I was researching the method a couple of months ago, it was explained that one would do the first dose (which may be a vaginal insert – that’s how one of my friends did it), then the 2nd when they got home… I think. Regardless, it is within a short amount of time. The result, though, is like a miscarriage, so it can be quite painful. There are still risks, of course, but from what I’ve heard, people I know have had great luck with it.

  94. I tend to think that “no woman wants an abortion” means that no woman has ever gone out and gotten pregnant just because she thought having an abortion sounded so awesome that she wanted to experience one.

    Damn, I very rarely crack up during discussions of abortion, especially on hearing such horrible news, but this made me laugh.

    Lots of women want an abortion in the case of unwanted or unhealthy pregnancy, without distress.

    But I have volunteered in this area, (in Canada where there aren’t any laws controlling abortion, but access can be tricky), and one of the things I’ve found lots of women need to hear is that people don’t use abortion as birth control. It’s not the most comfortable experience, first, and second, the recovery time is longish. So really, no one I’ve met uses abortion as their first line of defence against pregnancy; not even the most disadvantaged folks with the most serious health problems that prevent self-care.

    And in that way, “no one wants an abortion”. Even our best birth control only have a 99.9% success rate, right? That means the known risk that one out of every thousand women using birth control correctly, might get accidentally pregnant in a year. (And sometimes people make mistakes, and that’s okay too.)

    As a side discussion – if Roe v. Wade ever turn over I’d be all about the use of chemical abortificants, which can be more easily (ahem, smuggled) passed around and is a hell of a lot more safe than the barbarism of the coathanger. That said, from what I’ve seen the classic D&C is less painful. The chemical abortificant puts you into labour which can last awhile, whereas the D&C you mainly have cramping after.

    Of course, one’s milage may vary, and has a lot to do with how comfortable &/or scared a person is in a medical situation. But support and good analgesics are a must for the home-termination route.

  95. - Oh, and some people sail through the chemical abortificant with minimal discomfort. I have no study, but anecdotally, what I’d say is the experience is more *variable* with that procedure.

  96. “But this part here is tough for me. As Kate said, some women do really deal with emotional repercussions after having an abortion (whether because they wanted a baby, because they have internalized the anti-choice messages, or they have a rough time with the hormone fluctuations), and that’s not trivial.”

    The standard anti-choice scenario with their “post-abortion syndrome” is that of the idiot woman who just didn’t realize until after the fact that abortion terminates a pregnancy, though. It’s coming from a consideration of women as either morally stunted or deeply dim-witted.

    Actual, real, living women for whom the decision is difficult, wrenching, regretted, etc., start wrestling with those emotions and conflicting desires well before they contact the clinic with the intention of terminating. They are fully aware of the fact that aborting will end their pregnancy, and that pregnancy, if carried to term, results in an infant. This isn’t something that just occurs to them a year later, like a bolt out of the blue, with devastating emotional consequences.

    Convincing people the syndrome exists can also be a deterrent/punishment itself. It’s a threat to women who aren’t upset or guilt-ridden in the immediate aftermath; a fair number of the supposed syndrome’s sufferers were absolutely fine with their choice for a decade or more, then *bam* crippling guilt. It also puts up another stumbling block for women who are experiencing hormone-related psych issues. If someone can persuade you that the depression/anxiety are a reaction the horrible thing you’ve done rather than a physical reaction to the hormonal roller-coaster you’ve just been through, you’re unlikely to seek help managing the symptoms.

  97. We talk, frequently, about closing the door on our allies, and how that can sometimes be a dangerous thing. I know that some of you in this thread are coming at this situation from a medical perspective – and certainly everyone here has had a different personal experience than mine, and therefore probably has a different (even if it’s only slightly so) opinion. But I think you’re closing the door on something Lori says which is valuable. I am a feminist. I say it in the face of anyone who’ll ask, and I’m not afraid of it. I want women to have autonomy. I want them to be able to make their own choices, particularly when it comes to their own reproduction (or lack thereof). But I object strongly to the idea that because I still, frankly, don’t like the idea of abortion, that somehow that means I’m anti-choice. I think abortion is necessary sometimes – even for people who believe they would never have an abortion. I think even late-term abortion has a purpose. However, closing the door on me (and people like me) who would *ideally* prefer that abortion could be avoided as much as reasonably possible is, I think, a mistake.

  98. preying mantis, absolutely, but the woman’s feelings should not be political fodder, period. Some women are depressed after an abortion. That certainly should not be held up as evidence that it’s bad for the little ladies to make their own decisions. But those women also shouldn’t be disappeared by pro-choice advocates, which I have certainly heard done.

  99. But I object strongly to the idea that because I still, frankly, don’t like the idea of abortion, that somehow that means I’m anti-choice.

    Think and feel what you like in the abstract, and think and feel what you like about your medical decisions. I support you and every other woman in that, and I would gladly risk my life if it meant keeping someone from forcing you or any other woman to have an abortion against your will.

    But don’t tell me what I should think or how I should feel about my own medical decisions.

  100. shoutz, mostly we talk about how feminists don’t need to cater to non-feminists, or how fat activists don’t need to cater to fatphobic people just to “save the movement,” actually. I don’t need to pretend that I agree with everyone just for the sake of unity with the middle-of-the-road.

    I never said people who disagreed with the morality part of the equation are anti-choice; the choice language is about legality, in its entirety, and it sounds like you are pro-choice. Being pro-choice and anti-abortion makes a lot more sense to me than being anti-choice. That said, I disagree with you on the moral issue, and on its relevance to the debate of legality if you think it is relevant.

  101. some women do really deal with emotional repercussions after having an abortion (whether because they wanted a baby, because they have internalized the anti-choice messages, or they have a rough time with the hormone fluctuations), and that’s not trivial.

    No, it’s not trivial, but it’s also not relevant. You know why? Because many, many women deal with emotional repercussions (like postnatal depression and psychosis) after giving birth to a full-term, wanted, healthy baby that they plan on raising themselves.

    Large changes in our lives and sudden disruptions to our plans make lots of people depressed. It’s nothing unique to abortion, which it would need to be if it were a reason to be concerned about abortion specifically.

  102. The only consolation is that, by his own belief system, the fuck who shot him is going to hell. Few things can make me this angry.

  103. Okay wait, how is my pointing out that it’s not relevant for EITHER side to bring up the women’s emotional health somehow communicating that I think it’s relevant? I don’t think it’s relevant for anti-choicers to cite that as evidence of women’s inability to take care of themselves, and likewise it’s dishonest for pro-choicers to bring it up and imply women don’t have those feelings.

  104. I think what shoutz is saying is that making being a “real” feminist or “really” pro-choice require that you not only support the legality of abortion but also claim no moral reservations about it or feel that there’s no reason to want to see the rate reduced is going to push a whole lot of people out of both the pro-choice movement and out of feminism. To say that to be a feminist somebody must honor a woman’s right to bodily integrity makes absolute sense to me, and to say that supporting laws outlawing abortion goes against that also makes sense to me. But, to say that a feminist must believe that an embryo is not a human life or that an embryo has no moral significance doesn’t make sense to me, since those are questions that are not about a woman’s right to bodily autonomy.

    A feminist stance on abortion, IMO, does necessitate certain beliefs about a woman’s right to bodily determination, but it doesn’t necessitate certain beliefs about embryos and fetuses. A person could believe (although it’s not my belief) that a fertilized egg is a human person with the same ethical claims as born human persons and still have a feminist stance on abortion if they also believe that the woman has the right to determine whether or not she will use her own body to sustain the life of that fertilized egg they view as a person. Since we are not required to use our bodies to sustain the lives of born people–I cannot be legally compelled to donate my organs to anybody to save their life, even if they will absolutely die otherwise–there’s no one belief about the status of the embryo/fetus that is required to believe that women have a right to bodily autonomy in regards to pregnancy and reproduction.

    You can believe that women should have the legal right to have an abortion and believe the embryo is a blob of cells, a full-fledged person, or anything in between. I think that to call into question the feminist credentials of anybody who fully supports the legal right to abortion but who won’t say that an embryo/fetus is not a human life or that abortion itself is a moral good (rather than the right to legally access abortion being a moral good) is unnecessarily divisive.

  105. In other words, your own personal squickiness about what may happen to my fee-fees as a result of my own damn decisions means fuck-all to the legality of the situation and has zero place in a discussion about everyone’s legal rights to their own bodies.

    Anything else is giving ground to the forced-birthers that there is some universal tragedy in abortion, that women are all the same, that our lady-brains are just too delicate to think things through, that we must be protected from ourselves. It’s total bullshit and THEY KNOW it is total bullshit.

    My heart hurts too much today. Why can’t I just be a regular person? Why is this world so intent on squashing everything good and decent and kind?

  106. *seethes*

    I’ve had the pleasure of being subjected to Randall Terry and his followers’ “peaceful protests,” which involves flying aborted fetus pictures over cities and standing outside nursery schools with pictures of aborted fetuses during the morning drop-off. He referred to Obama’s speaking at Notre Dame as the “rape of Catholic orthodoxy,” but *actual* victims of rape can rot in hell as far as he’s concerned as long as they carry to term any conception resulting from the coitus into which they were forced.

    I believe there are principled and decent pro-lifers — I hope I used to be one, before I changed my stand on the issue several years ago — but good grief, this guy is someone who thinks the world OWES it to him to never present him with someone who disagrees or challenges him in any way.

    Now, that role of perfect voiceless agreement with What The Church Dudes Say? I really think that, in Terry’s screwed-up mental universe, that role was *supposed* to be played by women — unchallenging, anonymous, interchangeable, the perfect foil for the benevolent dictatorial religious paterfamilias.

    Oooh, but then women turned out to have their own lives and priorities and voices, so he turned his attention to fetuses. I really think this is why Randall Terry loves fetuses so much — precisely BECAUSE they don’t speak, BECAUSE hey don’t confront him with a real Other, BECAUSE they are purely passive potentiality that he can define however he likes, attribute any intention he wants, and fucking rescue. This is what he thinks he’s supposed to get just by existing — a world populated by other not-quite-human-beings who shut the hell up and accept any meaning he cares to impart on them. JUST THE WAY those slutty horrible sex-having women were SUPPOSED to. And you know what? I’m sorry, but you put that shit out there, you don’t get to distance yourself when one of your fans carries your rhetoric to its logical conclusion. I think Randall Terry and Operation Rescue are culpable for this murder in the same way that the doods who post “she deserved it/what was she doing there?” type comments to rape news stories are culpable. No, you didn’t do the deed, but you sure helped create a climate that ensured the deed would be done. Life my ass.

  107. It is not my fucking problem if people lack the certainty to consider themselves feminists after the opinion is expressed to them that my ability to make choice over my own body supercedes someone else’s moral stance on the subject of that body. mine, that is. And Lori, this is a straw argument. Who called into question feminist credentials? Cite me if I’m misremembering, but I don’t think anyone in this thread has said that feminists must believe an embryo has no moral significance. It has, however, been said that it’s not fucking relevant. Bodily autonomy TRUMPS THAT SUBJECT COMPLETELY and Kate has said she DOES NOT WANT TO HOST THAT DEBATE. And as has been said several times, I have no obligation to any “movement” not to be “divisive.” i’m not even doing that, and I still say, fuck that noise.

    I will be clearer about this.

    As a woman who had an abortion at a young age, and who had some pretty significant emotional repercussions, it pisses me right the fuck off when the right implies that means I can’t make my own decisions, AND when the left responds to that implication by making me disappear. I EXIST, and it does NOT mean I don’t get to make my own choices. BOTH SIDES need to stop fucking turning my life into rhetoric for their fucking ideological debate that they haven’t even fucking thought through. lucizoe, NO. My feelings are not “ground” for anybody. I’m allowed to have those feelings and STILL FUCKING HAVE AN ABORTION. DO NOT SHUT ME UP just because you don’t want someone to use my reality in an argument YOU DON’T LIKE.

    And on a separate subject, frankly, y’all who are all, “i don’t like abortion and you’re alienating me” can take your moral high ground and shove it. Moralizing comes across as lecturing no matter what you think it sounds like. You haven’t lived in my body or my life.

  108. I think that to call into question the feminist credentials of anybody who fully supports the legal right to abortion but who won’t say that an embryo/fetus is not a human life or that abortion itself is a moral good (rather than the right to legally access abortion being a moral good) is unnecessarily divisive.

    Who is saying this? I call StrawFeminist.

    I also question the relevance, in this discussion of the terroristic murder of someone we all clearly agree was a brave man, of saying “I am pro-choice but I have a moral problem with abortion” or “I personally would never get an abortion even though I’m pro-choice.” What is the purpose of this kind of statement besides inserting a thinly veiled moral lecture into your comment?

  109. Sweet Machine, thank you for saying that so well! “What is the purpose of this kind of statement besides inserting a thinly veiled moral lecture into your comment?” Is perfect and far more succinct than what I was coming up with.

    And fucking terrorist fuckers.

  110. I can’t say anything about “I am pro-choice but I have a moral problem with abortion”, since that’s pretty much a contradiction on legs, but “I personally would never get an abortion even though I’m pro-choice” is one that pops up a lot for me – it’s not something I ever want to do, because my innards are screwed enough that just getting as far as pregnant will be hard enough, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be fighting to the death to ensure that everyone else has that choice.

    I think it’s just a way of saying ‘I’m not pushing my personal choices on anyone else’ which is what the anti-choice movement is all about.

  111. Shoutz, I mean this sincerely — I’m not getting snarky with you — I’m unclear on where you think the door was closed on you and/or Lori. I just see people reacting strongly but quite civilly to what sounds like anti-choice rhetoric coming from pro-choice people. Disagreement about that is OK. No blog representative has so far declared anything off-limits except a pointless debate about when life begins.

    Having said that, Volcanista, I adore you and agree with you 100%, but I can see why your arguments might be making some people a bit prickly. You’re completely right that “safe, legal and rare,” etc. is anti-choice-friendly rhetoric, and we shouldn’t have to pander like that. Safe and legal, full fucking stop. But I also don’t think people here are saying that because they’ve been brainwashed by forced-birthers; I think people are speaking sincerely about their personal feelings. So dismissing their complicated feelings as pure pandering to the right comes off as kind of nasty, even if you don’t mean it to be, which I’m pretty sure you don’t.

    Like you said, though, it’s ultimately 100% an issue of legality, and I do think it’s crucial to keep that at the forefront of this discussion. The fact is, our feelings don’t fucking matter when it comes to any bodies other than our own. You either trust women to make their own decisions or you don’t. I’m willing to give people leeway here to discuss the nuances of their personal feelings, and I hope everyone will show respect to other posters they don’t completely agree with. (That means not being shitty to each other, not pretending to agree where you don’t.)

    But I also hope we can all agree that what any one of us feels is ultimately irrelevant to the question of whether abortion should be safe and legal, because it’s not about what we would choose or have chosen, it’s about trusting women to control their own bodies. I think it’s good to acknowledge that there are a whole spectrum of opinions that fall under the rubric of “pro-choice,” and a whole spectrum of personal stories — but Volcanista’s completely right that we should be conscious of the language we use and the pitfall of slipping into anti-choice rhetoric. Anti-choicers have been setting the terms of the debate in this country for a long time, and it is incredibly important to consider how to frame things in unequivocally pro-choice terms.

    So, having said all THAT, I also want to note that I’m uncomfortable with some people’s language about late-term abortions, which suggests that they’re somewhat less morally acceptable, even if they, too, should be legal. In addition to reading anonrightnow and emme bea’s comments above, please check out my Broadsheet post about the reality of late-term abortions.

  112. I had an abortion in 1978. I won’t go into the specifics, but it was the only pragmatic option I had. That was true at the time, and in retrospect it’s remained so.

    So, I’ve walked that road, and I think — for what it’s worth — that unless you’re there, you don’t know what the context will be and you don’t know what options will be available and viable. Every choice has its costs and its risks, and sometimes cold equations are all you’ve got.

    And that’s why I say, fuck ‘safe, legal and rare.’ What I had, and what I want my younger sisters to have, is safe, legal and readily available when they need it. Which it isn’t, not by a long shot, and today I cannot express the sadness and disgust I feel at Dr Tiller’s murder. I cannot.

  113. At the same time, though, there really are people who think abortion should be legal who also have moral reservations about it and would prefer to see women continue pregnancies rather than have abortions. I think adultery should be legal, but I certainly don’t like the idea of people cheating on their spouses, and I’d like to see it be rare. I think spanking should be legal, but I think it’s a violent means of discipline and I’d like to see parents use alternative discipline methods and spanking to become rare.

    I think this paragraph of Lori’s is awesome because it draws a really clear distinction between what a person believes *is morally right* and what a person believes *should be legal.* They are not necessarily the same thing. Essentially that you can be “pro-life” without being “anti-choice.”

  114. Who is saying this? I call StrawFeminist.

    ME TOO. About a zillion comments happened while I was writing that one, and Lori, my patience wears thin. Nobody is trying to take away your fucking feminist card. But you ARE trying to get back into a debate I expressly said is off-limits.

  115. Look, I was going to respond by being incredibly snarky, but I decided that really defeated the purpose of a thread that was supposed to express condolences and pour out a little bit of the hurt in the hearts of those of us who are truly sorry about Dr. Tiller’s murder.

    volcanista, you didn’t have to tell me you’d had an abortion – that was really pretty clear from early on; and I don’t think there’s been anyone yet who’s told you they thought you shouldn’t have had that abortion. The point some of us have been trying to make is that *because* there are so many different feelings around this issue, and *because* everyone has a different way of coming at it based upon THEIR OWN experiences, it feels unnecessary to say that a viewpoint like “safe, legal & rare” is pandering… or that somehow people who believe that are still internalizing patriarchal messages. (Which are things actually said in this thread.) I GET that it may feel like pandering to you, and if you want to say it – hell, if you want to scream it – that’s fine with me. But I think, in the ongoing efforts to make sure abortion stays legal in this country, people like me who don’t feel “safe, legal & rare” is a bad viewpoint are going to be necessary. Because not all of us have had abortions doesn’t mean we don’t believe those who need to – for *whatever* reason – shouldn’t. You don’t want to be told you can’t feel a certain way… cool. That goes both ways, is all I’m saying. We really are in this collectively.

  116. volcanista, you didn’t have to tell me you’d had an abortion – that was really pretty clear from early on;

    What the hell? If you’re saying you gathered she must have had an abortion because she’s staunchly pro-choice, I really regret attempting to defend your point of view a bit up there.

  117. “I personally would never get an abortion even though I’m pro-choice.” What is the purpose of this kind of statement besides inserting a thinly veiled moral lecture into your comment?

    I did say something similar to this and I apologize if that came across as moral judgment. I was only trying to point out (poorly) that being pro-choice does not mean a monolithic viewpoint on the deeply personal aspects of the issue. I completely support and respect a woman’s right to determine the best decision for themselves.

  118. No… there was something she said – oh hell, going back to look for it is going to take more time than I want to take before explaining the comment and pissing everyone off even more… that made it really clear, really quickly, that volcanista had BEEN there. It honestly wasn’t a slam.

  119. For that matter, I’M staunchly pro-choice and I’ve never had one, so I’d never try to make the argument that way.

  120. OK, I think it might be time to reiterate SM’s excellent point that discussing our personal feelings on abortion is essentially a derail anyway. I said I’d allow it 10 minutes ago, but I am now going to ask that we stick to expressing sadness and outrage about Dr. Tiller’s murder and the ongoing campaign of terrorism directed at abortion providers and women.

  121. I didn’t support taking Imus off the air, either.

    Know why Imus lost his sponsorship and Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Beck, et al, haven’t? Age. Both Imus’s age (over 70) and that of his listenership (heavily skewed towards retirees) were considered dispensible; those other assclowns still draw enough listeners/viewers at “peak earning power” that the sponsors don’t want to cut them loose. Yet. But being a douchebag is one thing; inciting someone to murder is another. They are over the line and their wires should be cut. They have enough money to live on forever, that should be good enough for them.

    And this?
    I will never, ever understand the argument that if the choice is between the mother’s life and the unborn infants, the infant must be allowed to live and the mother allowed to die.

    I don’t get that either. I worked for a woman once who was diagnosed with a recurring cancer in her fifth month of a wanted pregnancy, and the Catholic hospital she went to for cancer treatments refused to do them because they would kill the fetus. She had to go somewhere else for her treatment, start over again with all new doctors. That just made me splutter with outrage. She already had a little kid at home. In a case of recurring cancer, especially, waiting four months to start treatment could make the difference between surviving and not. They would rather widow her husband and leave her kid motherless than risk harming the fetus? I don’t think that’s what Jesus would do, folks.

  122. Sorry, Kate. I think because the phrase originated as pandering, deliberately, by the Democrats, I was operating from that understanding of it at the start (though I thought I clarified that further down the thread). Maybe people are using the phrase a bit differently now, with a meaning of “rare” that is about simply increasing access to contraception — and not about sounding apologetic to those who are pro-life. So no, I wasn’t trying to dismiss their feelings, more move away from the historically problematic phrase. But I see what you mean that people took it as dismissal.

    shoutz, I’m not even going to touch the fact that you think you have me all figured out or something. Honestly, I wasn’t worked up about the “safe, legal, and rare” discussion, though I see what Kate is saying about how it came across. I was pointing out that the Democratic Party put that phrase out there TO pander. It has a history. The “rare” word in there served that purpose. It’s difficult to hear the phrase in another way if you’ve been aware of that context.

    All, the main thing that got me really upset here was hearing someone pull out the right-wing argument that women shouldn’t have abortions because they might get depressed, but *in a mocking tone.* That was really personally hurtful. I’m not a sound byte for either side of this debate.

  123. No prob, Volcanista. I got what you were saying about the historical origins of the phrase, I was just getting the impression that other people didn’t necessarily, so it sounded a bit like you were criticizing their feelings rather than the symbolism of the phrase.

    (Which you obviously already understood, but just so everybody’s clear.)

  124. I understand the history on the phrase, but I guess I figured there’s nothing wrong in reinforcing the (IMO) “better” version being floated these days.

    volcanista, since I mentioned you in particular, I wanted to apologize for any part I played in making a situation where you were already feeling emotionally edgy, worse. You’re a smart person and I value what you say.

    Kate, thanks for your patience.

  125. I am pro-life. I always have been. That is my choice. I am against the death penalty, war, abortion, and certainly muder. I have held the hands of dear friends who have made choices I haven’t always agreed with, and I will always love them. While my religion is important to me, the blurry line between church and state in this country scares the shit out of me. The idea that anyone can justify murder is horrifying. My heart goes out to all those who mourn Dr. Tiller. Please know that my pro-life beliefs do not leave room for such hatred. Randall Terry and his ilk are monsters.

  126. Also, that whole thing about Catholic hospitals, I don’t get it. I grew up in Ireland, where abortion was illegal for Catholic reasons, but they didn’t pull that kind of stunt and refuse women cancer treatment!

  127. I think volcanistas point is valid in more than just this discussion. If “no assumptions about someone’s weight and body” is a rule here, then “no assumptions about someone’s mental state”ought to be as well.

  128. I spent some sanity watchers points and read some of the reaction to this assassination in the media today. Only having so many points to spend I managed this by reading liberal political blogs which quoted reactions of the leaders in the “pro-life” movement.

    I won’t quote here because everyone has to decide on their own point spending. I want to say that the hatefulness of these men in the “pro-life” movement is staggering. Abortion providers wearing bullet proof vests, clinic’s creating a staggering amount of security, threats and hate speech in every degree. It is not that I do not know these things exist, these groups are out there. But when it is not right there in front of me I tend to forget about it a little bit, give my annual donation to planned parenthood, speak my mind, be there for friends but that is it.

    I am not sure what this assassination will do to change my behavior but I hope it is something. As a member of the earliest of the post-Roe generations I have been lax in the fight for reproductive rights. That freedom has been there my entire life, other very brave people go to work in bullet proof vests, literally willing to risk their life for my freedom and I write an annual check. Seriously, I really need to do better.

  129. I think that the term “pro-life” is absurd. Why are these terrorists ashamed to declare themselves to be “anti-abortion”? Perhaps for the same reason that the coward who shot a genuine hero ran out of the church, jumped into his SUV, and fled. Whom do they imagine they are fooling? As far as this being the work of a single person, that does not wash. I have engaged in dialogues with these people in forums recently. They declared that any action was justifiable to save unborn (or even potential) protoplasm, They are actually against women and dream of a day when their female competitors in business and the professions will be forced back into “the kitchen” leaving space for their sorry, well, LOL, okay, I’m mad about this. We must not let this fade away. These folks have shown their true colors, and as you mentioned in the post, are celebrating, which makes them a part of the act and shows their intent to repeat it.

  130. People have the legal right to say stupid racist and misogynist shit, but corporations and media outlets also have the legal right to not want to pay for that nonsense.

    Totally. That’s their right as a business. But there was talk among some people about banning him from all radio, which is what I was talking about.

    You’re also right about contraceptives – they aren’t going to eliminate abortions because they fail, either by improper use or because they simply aren’t 100% effective even with perfect use. It’s not an either-or situation.

  131. Bluerabbit – Totally agree. Picture me saying “pro-life” with lots of disdain in my voice. Because I am a much better verbal communicator than I am writer.

    Today I just feel like I can type “pro-life” and it will be seen by most people as the hypocritical, paternalistic, woman hating term that it is. And I am fairly certain that if I was better writer it would have!

  132. I want to say that the hatefulness of these men in the “pro-life” movement is staggering.

    I recently watched the documentary Lake of Fire, and while I had mixed feelings on it, I did enjoy the interviews with Francis Kissling, who theorized that the fact that so many of these really rabid protesters and clinic shooters/bombers are single men might be because they are somehow transferring their sexual feelings onto these women who they know had sex, because they are pregnant. They get some sort of sexual charge by harassing the women. I don’t know if I totally buy it, but it made me think.

    Why are these terrorists ashamed to declare themselves to be “anti-abortion”?

    But they aren’t anti-abortion; they’re are anti-legal abortion. Back before Roe, I don’t recall reading about so many people being outraged about the massive number of illegal abortions being performed or mobilizing to stop them. I don’t think there were hit lists of illegal abortion providers making the rounds so that people could stop them. It’s not about wanting to stop abortion, but about wanting to keep women from being able to access safe, legal abortions.

  133. I will never, ever understand the argument that if the choice is between the mother’s life and the unborn infants, the infant must be allowed to live and the mother allowed to die.

    I think that is Catholic theology and possibly Cristian in general. I am not a Christian and do not have as much knowledge as those who are or were.

    My father told me many years ago that the opposite was true in Jewish law. i think mostly because it saw the mother as a living breathing person and a baby in utero as something a bit less than that. The given reason is that if a mother lives, she can care for existing children or have more. If the mother dies, who will mother the baby? Maybe this is a necessarily practical belief when you get down to it. Mom can live w/o baby and continue to contribute to the community, a baby would be more of a burden. I don’t think anyone knows the rationale and it really shouldn’t matter as these are the handed down words of a small community living in a hostile natural and political environment.

    I realize i am no expert on Jewish law, but I just wanted to point out that there are other points of views other than the traditional Christian view that are equally invalid or valid.

    Frankly, abortion does not seem to be a huge issue in Jewish circles. I do not understand why this is such a defining thing for Christians. Why do they care so much about the unborn? My guess is that some have put the unborn on a pedestal and really do see them as innocent murder victims. I think the rest, and those who have influenced the former really want to control women. Again I am not sure why. Plenty of Jewish men are misogynists as are plenty of other groups who don’t seem to have abortion as a main source of concern.

  134. @volcanista, I interpreted this

    shoutz, mostly we talk about how feminists don’t need to cater to non-feminists

    to mean that you were taking the view that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare to somehow be catering to non-feminists, as if only a non-feminist would think that abortion should be rare. Looking back over your post, though, I don’t think that’s the way you meant it, and I misunderstood you.

  135. Just a comment on late abortions: Here in the UK, two doctors have to certify that continuing a pregnancy will endanger a woman’s physical or mental health before she can be referred for an abortion. However, there have been plenty of instances where doctors will happily keep women waiting to get the necesssary permission, in a situation where time is of the essence. This may just be good old NHS incompetence, but knowing how many women have actually had run-ins with pro-life doctors who were reluctant to give permission at all (and the NHS doesn’t tell you who these people are until you’re sitting across a desk from them with a positive pregnancy test) , I would guess there are some women who end up aborting later than they intended because doctors believe the longer they have to wait, the greater the chance of them changing their minds. I’d guess also, in the US system, women shunted from pillar to post across their state, or country, to find help may well end up having later and riskier procedures than if they could just walk into a clinic in their own town. So perhaps in some instances the pro-life movement is promoting the very thing it wants to avoid.

    I’m another of those who would definitely have an abortion if I got pregnant. I have family and mental heath issues such that while I love kids, I don’t trust myself to raise one. And this pushes buttons big time for me, as I suffer from chronic anxiety, and I get paranoid about the slightest possibility of being pregnant. I’ve never, thankfully, had cause to require an abortion, but I have used the morning-after pill. Well, hubby told me that on the radio this afternoon, someone – in connection with this story – was calling people like me murderers too. Nice.

    I have other issues around this, given that I was myself the result of an unwanted pregnancy. I’ll only say that it makes me more, not less, in favor of abortion being available to any woman who does not honestly and truly want to bear and raise a child.

    And my heart goes out to Dr. Tiller’s family, congregation, and the women who will now have to turn elsewhere for help. That’s all.

  136. The fact is, our feelings don’t fucking matter when it comes to any bodies other than our own.

    Kate, I believe you’ve managed to boil the entire abortion argument down into one concise sentence. *applause*

  137. I’m pro-choice as well as pro-contraceptive and pro-education.

    All of this double-talk on ‘abstinence-only’ does not make any sense to me.

    Also? I’ve never had an abortion and I don’t have any children. So anyone who is of the opinion that “only women who have had abortions are pro-choice” is mistaken as well.

    One of the other things I don’t like is the fact that there are anti-abortion people who feel that anyone who supports a woman’s right to choose is automatically ‘pro-abortion’. And some take it farther and go into the ‘pro-all-abortion-all-the-time’ realm.

    What it all seems to boil down to is the imposition of one’s morality on someone else. Which, IMO, no one really has the right to do.

  138. What one person sees as pandering another sees as coalition building. In orders to stop the crazies from setting back the clock, we need to form a broad base of support that includes people with a range of beliefs on the subject.

    While I agree we should be trusted to have autonomy over our bodies, that alone will not broaden support for ab rights. It is so important to peel away any possible forms of support from the other side. So pander?

  139. JennyRose, the mainstream abortion rights movement has been pandering to the right wing since the 1970s. It’s sure gotten us far, hasn’t it?

  140. One of the other things I don’t like is the fact that there are anti-abortion people who feel that anyone who supports a woman’s right to choose is automatically ‘pro-abortion’.

    It’s like that “If you can read this, be glad your mother wasn’t pro-choice” bumpersticker, which I tend to find both infuriating and kind of funny, since it’s so illogical. I was volunteering at a MARAL table at a fair a few months after I had my son, and I brought him, and he spent much of the time nursing so it was pretty apparent he was mine, and I had more than one person make a comment along the lines of “If you’re so pro-choice, why did you have him?” I think there are people who honestly believe that being pro-choice means you go around encouraging every pregnant woman you meet to have an abortion, or at least have to encourage a couple of pregnant women a day to do so.

    I have a friend who is pro-choice and has a child with Down Syndrome. She gets people assuming all the time that she must be “pro-life,” which assumes that the only reason a person would knowingly choose to have a child with a disability is because they more religiously or morally prohibited from having an abortion and that any woman who is pro-choice would automatically have an abortion if they discovered they were going to have a child with a disability. So it kind of makes an “ass” out of “u” on two counts. I know she gets frustrated by the constant assumptions that she only had her son because she thinks abortion is murder and that she must think abortion should be illegal.

  141. Ugh. So very, very fucked up.

    Also, @Jennyrose, yes, that’s basically right re: the Jewish view* of abortion, in fact, it’s not even “ok” to have an abortion if the mother’s life is in danger, it’s required by Jewish law, because if you are in a position to save a life (the mother’s) then you have to do so, and the foetus is technically classed as an attacker in that situation. So, in as far as we have a concept of “sin”**, if the mother’s life is at risk it would be sinful to insist on carrying to term (though, like I say below, sin isn’t the same in Jewish theology as in Christian, so it’s not like you’d be viewed as a terrible evil person for making that choice – it’s like how if you are faced with the choice of starving or eating non-kosher food, you are meant to take the bacon and shrimps and get on with it).

    I’m not entirely clear on the Orthodox position on non-life-endangering situations and abortion, but I believe that it essentially allows for a pretty wide definition of “endangering the mother’s life/health”. The more liberal movements tend to be pretty simply pro choice, at least in the UK (I imagine it’s probably much the same in other countries).

    Anyway, I hope that makes some sort of sense, I’m off to bed.

    *in as much as there can be a “the” Jewish view on anything – as Jon Stewart once said [roughly] “Control the world’s banks?? We can’t even decide on where to go to dinner without ten minutes of bickering!”

    **pretty much we don’t. The closest word in Hebrew to “sin” actually translates more accurately as “falling short of the mark” or, basically, screwing up

  142. So it kind of makes an “ass” out of “u” on two counts.

    And to clarify, I was making a bad joke, and not calling anybody here an ass. Rather, I was referring to the people making assumptions about the politics of women who have children with disabilities as asses.

  143. What it all seems to boil down to is the imposition of one’s morality on someone else. Which, IMO, no one really has the right to do.

    I understand what you’re going to here, but I find this thought to be a funny one, in that all of our laws are just an extension of someone’s morality. We have welfare/medicaid because people believe that it’s wrong to deny the poorest people a basic standard of living, which is nothing more than someone’s morals.

    I think the biggest problem with the abortion debate in America is that the media and politicians love to make it a devisive issue. Very often only two stories are represented in the abortion debate: One, the radical right, which believes that women who get abortions/use the pill are going to immediately burst into flames, and Two, the very left, which believes that you should be able to get an abortion for any reason up until the kid is eight. So few people fall at those ends of the spectrum, I think we do ourselves a big disservice by allowing ourselves into being manipulated into thinking the abortion debate can only exist in those two extremes.

  144. I think there are people who honestly believe that being pro-choice means you go around encouraging every pregnant woman you meet to have an abortion, or at least have to encourage a couple of pregnant women a day to do so

    Yes, there are. The anti-choice nuts firmly believe that all women who have abortions are child-hating sluts who have the procedure out of pure spite and carelessness, that women have abortions at 7 months gestation because they get bored, and that if restrictions on abortion were lifted, the government would be forcing them on school children.

    It is a fucked up world out there.

  145. Two, the very left, which believes that you should be able to get an abortion for any reason up until the kid is eight.

    Also, while this is obviously tongue-in-cheek, it’s a gross representation of the left position on this issue. The two sides are simply not equivalent and shouldn’t be treated as such, especially when one side is gunning down abortionn doctors.

  146. It’s like that “If you can read this, be glad your mother wasn’t pro-choice” bumpersticker, which I tend to find both infuriating and kind of funny, since it’s so illogical.

    YES. Or the ones that are like “Choose life. Your mother did.” My mom had an abortion eons before she had me…she didn’t “choose life,” and yet, here I am, able to read bumper stickers. I find that whole thing patronizing and polarizing…it ignores women who have abortions and still choose (at other times) to have children. The implication that a woman who has an abortion cannot be a mother is so stupid, I really can’t form a coherent argument.

  147. Also, while this is obviously tongue-in-cheek, it’s a gross representation of the left position on this issue. The two sides are simply not equivalent and shouldn’t be treated as such, especially when one side is gunning down abortionn doctors.

    I apologize if it was unclear, I was trying to refer to the ways in which both sides attempt to represent each other. The entire point was that it was a “gross representation.”

  148. i am fiercely pro-life, and late term abortion is,in my mind, thinly veiled murder.

    however, i’m against killing in all cases,
    all of them.

    even killing abortionists.seriously.

    LOVE LETS LIVE.

  149. I understand what you’re going to here, but I find this thought to be a funny one, in that all of our laws are just an extension of someone’s morality.

    Yeah, I think that’s where saying that we can’t legislate morality doesn’t really hold up. I wouldn’t say that all laws are legislations of morality, but many are.

    But, there’s a big difference between legislating what could be described as universal morality (stealing is wrong, shooting somebody is wrong) and legislating sectarian morality. When it comes to thinks on which pretty much every person in our society is agreed, I don’t think legislating morality is necessarily a problem, assuming it doesn’t come into conflict with basic human rights. When it comes to legislating morality that is tied to particular religious groups or political groups, though, I think that’s a totally different issue. On issues on which reasonable, well-intentioned people are genuinely in conflict (abortion, spanking, eating meat, for examples), I think the issue has to be left to individual conscience, rather than allowing one group using the law to force their morality on everybody else.

    One thing I find really troubling about this case is the ties the shooter apparently had to radical right anti-tax and anti-government groups. I’m reading The Terrorist Next Door right now, and the ties between the anti-government militia movement, white supremacist groups, and anti-abortion extremism are very strong and very scary, especially when we have a black Democrat as President and a population that has been stockpiling guns at record rates. In some ways the actions of people like this shooter have less to do with abortion than with an ideology that just puts the people holding it constantly at war with everything and everybody in society they don’t approve of. Personally, I’m less concerned about the “pro-life” movement, which by and large is made up of peaceful people, than I am about the radical paramilitary right, which overlaps with the fringes of the anti-tax, anti-legal abortion, and anti-gun control movements, as well as with white supremacy and Christian Identity movements, and which all of these right-wing commentators are only going to make feel more embattled and more primed for violent confrontations.

  150. Nancy,
    Late term abortions are mostly wanted pregnancies that have gone horribly wrong. Dr. Tiller gave help and compassion for women who desperately needed it.

    I’d LOVE to see you do some reading, educate yourself. Upthread would be a place to start.

  151. It really breaks my heart that this happened. I am so sad for Dr. Tillers family, his friends and all the people who loved and cared about him and who were cared for by him. This should NOT have happened! It shouldn’t have. Regardless of what side of the abortion debate you are on, taking a persons life is not right and there is no justification for it. The action that was taken by this guy is just pathetic because all it does it weaken his sides argument and it is just so highly hypocritical. I am so mad at him i just have no words to express it.

    I have been on both sides of this argument though i find myself now quite strongly pro-life (or I guess we are calling it anti-choice here so whichever works) and I am angry that this was done, not only because murder is not an option, but also because then all pro-life/anti-choice are painted with the same nasty hateful brush and not all of us are like that. In fact alot of use are very kind, loving people just like everyone else, we are not all nuts like that guy. I don’t really think anyone here was saying that outright, but that is what I hear alot in my day to day life and I admit to feeling the need to just reassure people we are not all like that.

    I don’t know, I am just so sorry he is gone, his life shouldn’t have ended like that, no one has the right to just take another persons life.

  152. I think the ‘abortions should be rare’ is ideal until you realize that obtaining affordable and reliable birth control isn’t all that easy for some women in this country. First, its expensive. Even sliding scale bc pills are around 20.00 a month. Several insurance plans don’t even cover bc. Second, not everybody can afford a visit to the doctor to get the script/ring/shot and not everybody lives near Planned Parenthood. Third, not everybody has access to dependable transportation or the time away from work to obtain these services.
    Abortion can be and is used as a birth control method for women who don’t have access to contraception.

  153. I think the ‘abortions should be rare’ is ideal until you realize that obtaining affordable and reliable birth control isn’t all that easy for some women in this country.

    I don’t think “abortion should be rare” is meant as a moral imperative–“Women should rarely choose to get abortions”–then as a goal–“We should improve access to birth control, sex education, and increase the support a woman would need to successfully raise a child so that women have more resources for preventing unwanted pregnancies and for continuing a pregnancy if their primary reason for having an abortion is lack of material resources (money, shelter, day care, etc.). Because, if a woman is having an abortion because she just doesn’t want to be a mother, period, she shouldn’t be shamed or forced to continue a pregnancy, but there are women who would prefer not to have an abortion if didn’t mean they couldn’t finish school, or if it didn’t mean they wouldn’t have enough money to feed the kids they already have, or if it didn’t mean they would lose their job, and I think “making abortion rare” should be about changing those sorts of circumstances.

    Reproductive choice involves not only the ability to choose not to continue a pregnancy, but also the ability to choose to have a child. And there are a lot of women who are forced into the choice to NOT have a child because of they lack money, lack day care, or lack of employment opportunities if they do. I think making sure that women are able to have children if and when they want to, and that they are able to have a safe, legal abortion if and when they do not want to have children, are equally important parts of reproductive freedom.

    But I can totally see now how “making abortion rare” could be taken as some sort of statement about what individual women should choose. I honestly always assumed the Clintons meant it as a statement about the resources society should make available to women, though.

  154. I understand what you’re going to here, but I find this thought to be a funny one, in that all of our laws are just an extension of someone’s morality. We have welfare/medicaid because people believe that it’s wrong to deny the poorest people a basic standard of living, which is nothing more than someone’s morals.

    You know, I have always thought of governance to be about ethics rather than morals – that yes, welfare is moral, but more than that, the application of those ethics create societies that are more stable, less prone to revolution and upheaval, etc.

  155. JennyRose, the mainstream abortion rights movement has been pandering to the right wing since the 1970s. It’s sure gotten us far, hasn’t it?

    I think without mainstream support ab would not be available. If we don’t look for common ground (yes – I am looking at you Pres. Obama with your speech at Notre Dame) I suspect we won’t go very far.

    AB for any other reason is OK with me because I am pro-choice but not everyone feels that way. Those who have qualms about when life begins or whether ab should be used for bc should be supported as long as they support a woman’s right to choose. Many of these people are supportive of legal abortion. A candidate saying AB should be used as bc if desired would be considered extremist and virtually unelectable. It seems to be the bar has been set very high for pro-choice and it is politically untenable.

    I see religious extremist as on the far edge and to hear them talk, Christians are marginalized victims of a liberal society gone mad. But, what about Dr TIller’s church? Not all Christians are like that and those who have certain reservations but generally support ab rights should not be disregarded.

  156. Just to clarify…

    When I said “no woman ever wants an abortion” I was also including women who definitely do not want to have children for whatever reason – because for them the best option would be no pregnancy in the first place. But sometimes this still happens (even if contraceptives are used) and for them an abortion is the best option.

    I apologise if I have inadvertently offended anyone.

    My main point is that doctors, like Dr Tiller, do a job that I think we all wish would never be necessary. But unfortunately, sometimes it is.

    RIP Dr Tiller

  157. I’ll never understand the supposed logic behind going into a church to shoot someone because you feel they are going against God by performing abortions. . .

  158. Those who have qualms about when life begins or whether ab should be used for bc should be supported as long as they support a woman’s right to choose. Many of these people are supportive of legal abortion. A candidate saying AB should be used as bc if desired would be considered extremist and virtually unelectable. It seems to be the bar has been set very high for pro-choice and it is politically untenable.

    I call straw again. The idea that women use abortion for birth control is pure fiction. I believe the point has already been made on this very thread, but let me recap: NO ONE says, “Well, I could use a condom, but I’d rather get pregnant, endure huge hormonal changes and morning sickness for a while, then find someone who will let me pay hundreds of dollars to undergo an invasive procedure. ‘Cause that’s totally easier.”

    So no, I don’t think it’s setting the bar very high at all to expect pro-choice people to recognize “I don’t approve of using abortion as birth control” as a bullshit, misogynistic, straw woman argument. It’s a fairy tale invented by people so clueless about female sexuality and/or the reality of abortion, they think there are hordes of us going around all, “MUST HAVE THE IRRESISTIBLE COCK NOW! WILL JUST HAVE SURGERY LATER!”

    And Nancy, yeah, I really wish you’d read more about women’s experiences with late-term abortion.

  159. I honestly doubt that religion was the main motivation here. For the average person who thinks abortion should be illegal, it probably is, but they aren’t going to go out and kill somebody.

    The suspected shooter, and most of the shooters in the 1990s, were all tied to really far-right anti-government groups. The suspect appears to be tied to the Freemen, which is an outgrowth of the 1980s Posse Comitatus movement, which is like the far-far right of the extremist spectrum and believes things like the only valid form of government is at the county level and that the county sheriff is the only legitimate form of law enforcement. Given their beliefs in such radically decentralized government, I can’t really understand where their anti-legal abortion extremism comes from, but somehow I think they think abortion providers are like illegitimate agents of a corrupt state or something. They are also tied to Christian Identity groups, so their anti-abortion activism may also be tied to a desire to “preserve the white race.”

    So I tend to think his actions were motivated more by this really extreme political ideology he apparently subscribed to, rather than to some belief that he was doing what God wanted him to do. This really does seem to be much more about power and hatred then about religious ideologies.

  160. The suspected shooter, and most of the shooters in the 1990s, were all tied to really far-right anti-government groups….They are also tied to Christian Identity groups, so their anti-abortion activism may also be tied to a desire to “preserve the white race.”

    I’m missing the part where this argument shows isn’t connected to a particular flavor of belief that whose followers self-identify with Christianity. (Note: I am a church-going Episcopalian myself, so I have no beef with Christianity as a whole, but denying that this is connected to a certain type of Christianist extremism seems unhelpful to me.)

  161. I honestly doubt that religion was the main motivation here. For the average person who thinks abortion should be illegal, it probably is, but they aren’t going to go out and kill somebody.

    The average person doesn’t kill someone else. However, the person who sees themselves as a holy martyr does. Like Eric Rudolph, for example.

  162. Oh, it’s tied to religion, I just don’t think that’s the driving force. It seems like the originating factor in these movements was actually racial hatred, and they’ve adopted other beliefs after that. Many of these people, for example, adopt Christian Identity beliefs after they join a white supremacist group: the racial hatred comes first, and the religion comes later as a justification.

    I was just saying that I don’t think his primary reason for the shooting was not that he feels God disapproves of abortions, in response to this:

    I’ll never understand the supposed logic behind going into a church to shoot someone because you feel they are going against God by performing abortions. . .

    These extremist groups, even when they have Christian ties, like the Freemen, tend to be far more about political ideologies than about religious ones. So I don’t think this person felt any disconnect there, because he the rationale for anti-abortion violence, from what I’ve read of these groups, is that they are acting as legitimate law enforcers when the actual government is, in their view, illegitimate.

  163. I was using the argument that ab is used for bc. Sometimes it is. I guess you could call it back up birth control because no matter what the reason, the woman does not want to have a baby. I guess that returns us to “No woman wants an abortion.” I cannot say reconcile no woman wants an abortion is marginalizing to the misconception that ab is a cavalier form of birth control. My point is that if it is legal, motivation should not matter. However, motivation does matter to some people and making them comfortable is a good, inclusive idea. Some people see this as an extremely nuanced issue. I do respect people who say life begins at conception. I don’t agree with them but I think it is possible to have that belief and reconcile it with AB.

    Maybe I am not as pro-choice as I thought. I do want others to support abortion rights but I don’t know how to win them over. I object that my argument is made of straw. Many people do see it, or misunderstand it to be that way. I would like to clarify I do not see it that way. Again, just trying to get people to support the right, no matter what the personal motivation. I think the key to Obama’s success was his inclusiveness and that provides a good political example.

    I have nothing more to add except that I don’t think anyone who has a gun and a waiting get-away car can be doing any god’s work.

    I am very hurt if you think I am some kind of xian troll. I just see things differently than some of you. If you think I am a troll I am at a loss as to how to respond.

  164. Talking Points Media is reporting:

    LeRoy Carhart, a Nebraska physician who has been working at George Tiller’s Wichita clinic for ten years, says the clinic will resume operations Monday on a permanent basis. “What people need to know is… the women’s services that we provided for 30 years are not going to change. The same abortion services will remain available in Wichita.”

    Prayers and good thoughts to the universe for the safety of this man and the others who continue to work at the Tiller’s clinic.

  165. Thank you for posting this.

    I am stunned at the harsh comments I have read online today regarding this heinous act of violence.

    I used to be part of the anti-choice movement and I remember well the undercurrent of acceptance when it came to violence in such a situation.

  166. Just to add, part of the reason I don’t want to see this shooting written off as simply religious extremism is that I think it’s really important that the racist and anti-government (in the sense of being opposed to democratic government, not just being opposed to a specific administration) ties of the extremist wing of the anti-abortion movement are exposed. Because maybe it’s just that The Terrorist Next Door is really scaring me, but there are a lot of extremists out there who are kind of located where all these various branches of the right wing come together. I had assumed that the militia/anti-government movement had died in the late 1990s, but it’s still going strong, and I do fear that we’re going to see more attacks like this–on abortion clinics, on government buildings, on any organization seen as an enemy–in the coming years. You take hateful people and then put a political party they think is evil in power, and then pile economic catastrophe on top of that, and I do worry we’re headed for more domestic terrorism.

  167. Oh! No, Lori, I was directly addressing the suggestion that we often talk about being inclusive and not divisive and should do the same here, because I honestly don’t think that’s the approach advocated around here in general. And that’s a good point in your last comment. I’d argue that that’s probably the case with most extremists, even those who use religious framings.

    In the same vane, JennyRose, I get what you’re saying, but I just disagree — that we need to soften a social justice message to make it palatable, and that that’s the only way to achieve change.

  168. JennyRose, it looks like the same thing is happening again that happened with me upthread. I think you’re using an expression that is generally used as a straw argument against abortion rights, but it sounds like you intended it in a different, non-judgmental tone. but it’s setting off bells for people because it has symbolic meaning as rhetoric.

  169. If these extreme pro-life groups think the murder of Dr. Tiller is going to stop women from having abortions and stop other doctors from doing them, they are wrong.

    I’ve always said that if these people are so adament that women carry their babies to term, they should adopt them and raise them.

    The hype over the “abortion epidemic” is out of proportion. Abortion rates have dropped and are at an all-time low, whether it’s the result of increased education about pregnancy, or more women choosing to keep their babies or adopt them out. While I do believe there are women out there who use it as a form of birth control, it’s the exception to the rule.

    Government and the church need to stop getting their noses into our reproductive systems. Our body parts are none of their business, and quite honestly, we should be worrying more about the children who are already here, unwanted, being abused or in the foster care system waiting for loving families. It seems nobody speaks for them, but will go so far as murder to protect those that are not even on this earth yet. The hypocrisy sickens me.

  170. Thanks for the links. I think sometimes we need to be reminded, that not every pregnancy is a blessing. That nature can deal children a horrible fate, and it would only be cruel to give birth to them if they will only suffer.

    I wonder if the Pro-Life people will ever give consideration to that.

  171. Lori – “guess my end feeling on it is just that I would hope women would be provided with whatever resources and support (financial, material, emotional, social) to make continuing a pregnancy a viable option for them, and would be supported by society in doing so, but that if they ultimately decided to have an abortion, they would be able to do so safely and legally, and also be given whatever support they needed.”

    While I appreciate the fact that you’re not trying to impose your views on other people, there’s still a problem that I want to point out. Some women (I’m one) wouldn’t want to be pregnant or to have a baby no matter what kind of support was avaliable. Now I definately think it’s ethically incumbent upon women who feel that way to use contraception (and we mostly do, and the idea that we don’t is a red herring – women are not morons and if they don’t want kids they generally take steps to prevent pregnancy), but the fact remains that no contraception is 100% effective. So what do you do when women who just plain don’t want to have kids, ever, get pregnant? I wonder if you realise that your underlying assumption comes across as “well of course women want kids, they just sometimes don’t feel able to cope with them due to x, y or z”, or that that assumption is incorrect.

    Going back to the orginal point – I see people saying that with Dr. Tiller gone there may only be one doctor left in the USA capable of performing the kind of procedures he did. Is this really the case? And if so, how do women even go about getting referred to that person? I’m thinking that maybe there’s some way to offer support directly to the very few practioners able and willing to do complicated late term abortions left, because they certainly could use any support we can give them.

  172. I am very hurt if you think I am some kind of xian troll. I just see things differently than some of you. If you think I am a troll I am at a loss as to how to respond.

    I don’t think you’re a troll. Volcanista’s right that it’s the same thing that happened upthread. The “women use abortion as birth control” argument is right-wing rhetoric based on falsehoods. That doesn’t mean I think you’re a right-winger or a liar, it just means I think you should examine the premise more closely.

    But then, when you clarify that you’re concerned about abortion being used as “back-up birth control,” I’m inclined to agree that maybe you’re not as pro-choice as you thought. (Which still doesn’t make you a troll, it just means we have very different views, and I would be more inclined to agree to disagree and move on instead of asking you to think harder about what you’re saying from a pro-choice perspective.) One of the main reasons I believe abortion needs to be available is because contraception fails, and sometimes people do have sex without protection, and women shouldn’t have to go through pregnancy and childbirth, much less raise unwanted children, because they had an accident. I see that as very different from “using abortion as birth control,” which implies a pattern of deliberate recklessness — and is an argument usually put forth by people who believe that women’s only choices should be going through with a pregnancy or not having sex.

  173. “If these extreme pro-life groups think the murder of Dr. Tiller is going to stop women from having abortions and stop other doctors from doing them, they are wrong”

    Unfortunately, Bree these actions do work. Because of this terrorism there are significantly less abortion providers now than there were 20 years ago. In both North and South Dakota for example there is only one provider of abortions. Dr. Tiller was one of the very few doctors in the country providing these late term abortions. In most instances terrorism is a failed tactic but not in this. When people have to risk their lives to go to work, when people are harassed, shot at, bombed and assassinated there are simply less people willing to do the job.

    This is why I am so relieved that Tiller’s clinic will remain open. And also why the doctor’s murder is so traumatic to so many women.

  174. I see people saying that with Dr. Tiller gone there may only be one doctor left in the USA capable of performing the kind of procedures he did. Is this really the case? And if so, how do women even go about getting referred to that person?

    There appear to be two: Dr. Leo Carhart, who’s pitching in at Tiller’s practice for the time being, and Dr. Warren Hern in Colorado.

    Doctors and abortion providers across the country know who they are and refer patients to them. The good news is, if you need them, it doesn’t seem that hard to find them. (I’m sure there are probably asshole doctors who would obstruct women’s attempts to get a medically necessary late-term abortion, but so far, I haven’t heard much along those lines. And there are also women who, because of money and/or lack of access to services end up missing the window for an earlier abortion, and under the current laws, they can end up SOL.) The bad news is, unless you live in Omaha (where Carhart is usually based) or Boulder — or, for the time being, Wichita — you’ll have to pay to get yourself there, and your insurance probably won’t cover the procedure, and you’ll end up staying in a hotel and crossing picket lines to have a medical procedure done when chances are, you’re already traumatized by the loss of a wanted pregnancy. (Also, I’m unclear on whether Carhart was still practicing, or if he’s come out of retirement to take over for Tiller temporarily.)

  175. Is there any sort of fund in existance to help cover costs for women who have to travel to get an abortion because there are no suitable providers in their area? If so, maybe donations to that would be one suitable way to protest what happened to Dr. Tiller. If not…well, I don’t have the skills to set that kind of thing up, but it’s something to think about.

  176. Lori, after you equated having an abortion to commiting adultery, I think you kinda lost your claim at rational disagreement. A lot of your comments can be read as “You should be allowed to have an abortion, but if you do, you’re a bad person” and that simply isn’t feminism or even female friendly. Judging a woman for her reasons to have an abortion is bs and unchristian behavior, simply not wanting to be pregnant is good enough, because it’s her body. You can definitely have an moral problem with it without telling people that unless they meet your standards, they are bad people. You’ve got no right to tell people if they are moral or not, how can you know their situation properly? You aren’t going to make many friends setting yourself up as the arbiter of morality. Plus, it presumes that everyone should feel the same way about the beginning of life as you do, and unless you’re God, you don’t have the right to make that presumption.

    And while we’re on the subject, can we talk about how wrong it is that people who have a problem with abortion get to claim the only moral ground, and the rest of us are left talking about it as a legal necessity? Being against abortion for anyone but yourself is, in my opinion, deeply immoral. Assigning morality to something that is, in most cases, an actual necessity or a perceived necessity only serves to harm innocent people. I loathe the idea that it’s better to bring the fetus to term, there are so many reasons why that’s wrong. Adoption can often mean that the child will not be adopted, or suffer even when adopted. Many people have genes they’d rather not pass on. Why can I not have the potential baby’s best interests in mind when I abort, knowing that having my genes means a likely life of depression, anxiety, and constant medication? Sometimes abortion is the humane thing.

  177. Amy How, thanks for that information. Bless that clinic’s personnel for their bravery and perserverance. I am in awe.

  178. Milli – Agreed. As a thought exercise why not look at this from a different religious perspective? My husband is Buddhist. He sees anti-abortion people as actively evil because from his perspective they’re forcing suffering on women when that suffering could be alleviated (and on babies that will live short lives full of pain in the case of some late term abortions). And also possibly on the children who if abortion isn’t avaliable may be born into situations where they’re not wanted and not treated with love. From his religious perspective banning abortion is perpetuating a cycle of suffering.

    Not that anyone has to agree with that perspective either, because really the only thing that matters is that women need to be able to have control over their own bodies. I think it’s worth pointing out that the Christian perspective shouldn’t automatically be seen as the moral high ground, though.

  179. “I see people saying that with Dr. Tiller gone there may only be one doctor left in the USA capable of performing the kind of procedures he did. Is this really the case? And if so, how do women even go about getting referred to that person?”

    The above is not the case at all. In fact, Dr. Tiller’s office will remain open and perform services as usual.

    See this report from the Wichita Eagle:

    http://www.kansas.com/news/tiller/story/835055.html

  180. I am new to this discussion (and relatively new to this site), and I wanted to say thank you to Kate for the links! I had never really given much thought to late-term abortion or how/why it is performed, but after reading the stories you pointed out I am glad I took the time to educate myself a little further. It makes me truly sad for the loss of Dr. Tiller, and for the women and families to whom he offered dignity when so many others offered only scorn.

    And I’m not sure what creeps me out more: that a law-abiding medical professional can be senselessly assassinated in the middle of a religious congregation (in front of children, no doubt!), or that shameless and ignorant people can just as senselessly celebrate his murder on the Internet.

  181. We have welfare/medicaid because people believe that it’s wrong to deny the poorest people a basic standard of living, which is nothing more than someone’s morals.

    Sorry, but these issues have nothing to do with morality – we’ve had these types of systems in place since before the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. These systems are set up to help reduce and get people out of poverty.

    Many of these programs popped up after the U.S. had suffered serious losses – the Civil War and the Great Depression for example. There was a very secular need for these things, a very tangible need for society.

    On another note, I didn’t know letting poor people suffer was ever considered a moral issue that could be debatable.

  182. While I do believe there are women out there who use it as a form of birth control, it’s the exception to the rule.

    I’m not a provider or anything, but I’ve done some volunteer work in this area, and I do want to reiterate that from what I’ve seen, this just doesn’t happen. I mean, really, if it’s rare it’s vanishingly rare. The only case I’ve even *heard* of it happening was in a documentary about sex slavery, and it was nothing approaching the woman’s choice, there.

    I think this is important for a couple of reasons. Ignoring the anti-choicers, for a second, women can really beat themselves up with this. “Oh no, I’m one of those reckless sluts…” – we live in a society that shames women for sexual activity and desire, and so I really want to make clear that there is no *shame* in needing this medical help. Birth control, even the best sorts, fail at the rate of 1 in a thousand per year. In the world of odds, I’m pretty sure that means some woman’s likely to have them fail her more than once in her lifetime, even if she’s using her bc perfectly.

    To be clear, abortion it doesn’t work very well or pleasantly as a regular birth control method because it stops you from having sex while you’re healing, & if you were having sex after, you wouldn’t be having a lot of fun. (Even if, strong if, your hormones were encouraging interest in sex, and the first trimester didn’t hit you with nausea, exhaustion, or a lack of sexual interest.)

    Consensual fun sex with abortion as a birth control method is … well, it just doesn’t make any physical sense, really. Because it’s surgical, and can mean time off work, and you’re out of sexual commission for two to three weeks post, and many feel sort of fluey for the weeks before – and you are fertile right away after. And over and over and over you’d feel like your life was the worst bits of puberty all played out in your body.

    Also, hey: if you are going regularly to an abortion provider (and there aren’t that many) who is a doctor or a woman’s clinic, they’ll notice your repeat business and they’ll HELP. Abortion providers are usually into helping women in a big way, risking a lot sometimes (like Dr. Tiller) to do so. At the clinic at which I volunteered, there were all sorts of free bc options offered to various folks, some of whom really were dealing with ongoing self-care challenges.

    Even the morning after pill, far less invasive, makes many people feel like nausea eating a poo-sandwich: I haven’t met anyone using even that as regular bc.

  183. , I’m pretty sure that means some woman’s likely to have them fail her more than once in her lifetime, even if she’s using her bc perfectly.

    Wow, look what I just said. Ahem.
    1) sometimes mistakes happen and that’s human; and 2) guys, also, are involved in birth control.

  184. FWIW, I believe life starts at conception. My best friend has lost 9 pregnancies in the first trimester and it’s heartbreaking. As someone concerned about disabled people’s rights it scares me that for a lot of people an abortion is seen as the obvious choice when antenatal tests show that the foetus has something “wrong” but not life-shortening (eg Down’s). I got pregnant at twenty as a result of stupidity (mine) and never even considered an abortion, and am extremely glad I had my daughter. I should probably be the anti-choice poster girl.

    And yet, I absolutely and unequivocally believe that any woman who needs or wants an abortion FOR WHATEVER REASON should have fast, legal and affordable access to safe abortion and whatever aftercare is needed, whether it’s medical, emotional or whatever.

    As soon as you put restrictions and caveats and whatever else in the way, you don’t actually completely prevent the imaginary women from using abortion as birth control, or whatever, you just make it harder and slower for every woman to get an abortion.

  185. (and, just to be 100% clear, while I believe that life starts at conception, I don’t think that makes abortion wrong.)

  186. “I also question the relevance, in this discussion of the terroristic murder of someone we all clearly agree was a brave man, of saying “I am pro-choice but I have a moral problem with abortion” or “I personally would never get an abortion even though I’m pro-choice.” What is the purpose of this kind of statement besides inserting a thinly veiled moral lecture into your comment?”

    Yay. Standing and applauding and wishing I wrote that.

    And Nancy? Bite my murdering ass then. Bite it hard.

  187. Nancy, if I truly believed I was in a forum surrounded by people who endorsed full on murder of babies, I would flee fast as I could rather than leave comments trying to put my point of view across, seeing as how they would clearly be murdering psychos.

    I mean “Thinly veiled murder”? What does that even mean? How can a murder be anything but a murder? If you believe that we are in here mourning the death of a real, baby-murdering cold blooded serial killer, why would you try to reason with us? I know I sure wouldn’t try to reason with the person who killed Dr. Tiller or the people who support the murder, and if what you’re saying is true, then we are no different from those people, and should be every bit as warped.

  188. I am completely outraged at the murder of Dr. Tiller. A few years back my daughter and her husband were faced with the decision of keeping her baby or having a late term abortion. The baby had sever genetic disorder that would have caused the baby untold pain and at most up to two years of life after birth. This was not an easy decision for my kids and it was painful for them and our entire family. I am so proud of my kids and stand behind their hard decision.

    I hope they not only prosecute the person that pulled the trigger but those actually involved with the complete decision to make this happen. This is a sad day for America.

    Here is an excerpt from my daughter:

    “And also what is killing me is that there are only two other places in the whole of the US that will take care of women who need late term “abortion” due to sever anomalies causing severe pain/death in their children and when we did our research at the time, the other two had NO therapy programs and did not let you see your child or do anything out of respect. It was basically like what I just went through where it was surgery and then your baby is just gone, like it was never a baby. So now all the women like me and the six others that went through this with me will never have the same chance to heal the way we were able to. It’s so fucking sickening.”

  189. The above is not the case at all. In fact, Dr. Tiller’s office will remain open and perform services as usual.

    Actually, it is the case. There used to be three doctors in the country who performed late-term abortions. Now there are two (one of whom will be coming to Wichita). Dr. Tiller’s office offers many other services, and first trimester abortions are still available in many more places (though not nearly enough), but late-term abortions were already hard to come by, and now it will be even harder.

  190. Even the morning after pill, far less invasive, makes many people feel like nausea eating a poo-sandwich: I haven’t met anyone using even that as regular bc.

    God, yeah. I had a condom mishap years ago and thought it would be no problem to take the morning after pill just as the bf and I embarked on a road trip. I don’t think I have ever felt so miserable, and it took us forever to get from Toronto to Montreal, because we had to keep stopping for me to barf and/or sit still for a bit. It was very like the worst food poisoning I’ve ever had, except I wasn’t in a moving car for that. I know not everyone gets that kind of nausea, but I still see red when ignorant people talk about the morning-after pill as if it’s no different from popping an Advil — let alone people who talk about going through the early stages of pregnancy and an abortion as if that’s no trouble for us reckless sluts. You’d think that people who know absolutely nothing about women’s bodies and/or medical care might politely step aside from a discussion of both.

  191. I think the very best memorial to Dr. Tiller is to read the stories like R Wissenger’s daughter’s above; and to point as many people as possible to them. I read the Kansas stories late last night and they were moving. That is his legacy, that was his mission; if I were him, that is what I’d want known.

    These stories of pain and love and tragedy are what people need to know to support keeping these services available. They have the power of truth, which is not trivial; and the power to move the hearts of anyone who reads them.

    I am sad that the other LTA providers do not provide the chance to see the babies and grieve for the parents. These are stillbirths in essence and many many parents need and want the experience of holding their stillborn babes.

  192. I’m so sick about this murder. I just keep thinking that this whole discussion makes me wish I were scientific-y enough and young enough to go to medical school now.

    I had a discussion last night with an old friend (Catholic, somewhat feminist and lefty, fairly sympathetic to abortion rights) about late-term abortion. It was clear to me that she had accepted the idea that it’s pretty much just a heinous act, even though she admitted “I haven’t done the research.” She was full of straw-men. She thinks that some women do use abortion as birth control. I made her stop and think about the idea of late-term abortion: why would a woman wait so long to have an abortion if it’s so goddamn “easy” to get one in this country? (She said, “Planned Parenthood is everywhere!” I was like, OMG, you live in Chicago. Do you really think everywhere in the country is like Chicago?) If you accept the idea that it’s easy to get an abortion anywhere in the U.S., then you’d have to agree that, as a rule, anyone waiting until late-term to get an abortion probably really WANTED the baby. So what’s with the idea that it’s more convenient for some women to undergo this physically traumatic surgical procedure at great expense on a whim? God, where’s the compassion? You’d think that people who feel qualified to give an opinion on something as important as who is and who is not a baby murderer would have thought through the issue a bit.

  193. I don’t know how many of you have seen this. I thought I would pass it along just in case. After watching this I’m almost tempted to wish the US took hate speech as seriously as the Germans. At the very least, this is slander.

    http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/140388/bill_o%27reilly%E2%80%99s_jihad_against_dr._george_tiller/

    “I call straw again. The idea that women use abortion for birth control is pure fiction.”

    I think you’re absolutely right that this is the way many in the anti-choice camp construct their argument. I don’t think that means we should excise abortion from our birth control lexicon.

    Abortion is birth control regardless of the fact that groups like Planned Parenthood don’t categorize them as such. For many women it is the primary form of birth control. This happens more in the international context but It happens here in the US as well. Sometimes a woman says ‘I can handle four kids… I can’t handle five’. So when we say its fiction or doesn’t happen we erase those experiences and make our argument very culturally specific. Plus we’re reproducing the right’s definition of this term.

    Even in this discussion, avowedly pro-choice individuals want to circumscribe good and bad reasons for abortions. I understand that and I’ve made those same arguments myself. I think the left should categorically say ‘we support abortion rights period, no exceptions’. That way the street level sex worker in Thailand or San Francisco can feel they are included in those rights. And people like Dr Tiller don’t become casualties because we’ve allowed so many opinions to splinter the potential unity for abortion rights.

    The truth is that during the “partial birth abortion” debates on the state and national level, many Democrats would say ‘but late term abortions are few and far between’ and thus safely distancing themselves from people like Dr. Tiller. Who cares how many late term abortions there are? What matters is that women needed them and many will continue to need them. Why engage the opposition on their terms?

  194. I made a logical slip above; I didn’t mean to draw a statistical connection between the availability of early abortion procedures and the incidence of late-term abortions. I was just trying to make a point about how tautological it is to believe “it’s horrible how common abortion is and it’s even worse that people can have late-term abortions!” I don’t think even now I’m making a lot of sense. Sorry, I’m in a horrible mood today.

  195. Oh! and valerie reminded me of another thing; this friend actually believed that “late-term abortion” and “partial-birth abortion” were two different things. I was glad to inform her of the history of the neologism “partial-birth abortion.” If people refuse to educate themselves about something they think is so important, they should have their right to spout off taken away. Not legally, just in the interest of, you know, being a decent citizen.

  196. I am enraged beyond words at the killing of Dr. Tiller and the ghoulish celebrations of the so-called “Pro-Life” community. If one more person refers to themselves as “Pro-Life” in my presence I may have to say something really, really rude.

    I am Catholic, and I struggle every day with my own feelings about abortion and a woman’s right to choose. I had an abortion myself when I was younger and I understand too completely the position of a woman who finds herself pregnant when she does not want to be…I cannot buy the Church’s stance on abortion and it’s a problem for me.

    What I do know, however, is that reverence for life means ALL life, not just the lives that the lunatic fringe personally thinks are important. I have also never been able to reconcile people who who are against abortion but support the death penalty. It’s as though they reserve for themselves the right to decide who is and is not worthy of life. If you believe so strongly that God gets to decide these things, you must be consistent in that belief.

    The death of Dr. Tiller was not something to celebrate, it was a horrible act of violence. The act itself and the conservative reactions to that act shows only too clearly the lengths that some people are willing to go to just to push their own moral agenda.

    Shame on anyone who thinks murder is excusable, in any context.

  197. “I am sad that the other LTA providers do not provide the chance to see the babies and grieve for the parents.”

    It is sad. But are there any other options given the current climate regarding abortion? If you’re being called a “baby murderer” wouldn’t allowing for a grieving process in an ‘elected’ late term abortion just prove the point?

    And yes Plan B sucks. I was a raving fucking lunatic. No nausea… just craziness.

  198. “It is sad. But are there any other options given the current climate regarding abortion? If you’re being called a “baby murderer” wouldn’t allowing for a grieving process in an ‘elected’ late term abortion just prove the point? ”

    Um.. No. When you don’t find out until your fetus is 20, 21, 22 weeks that it has a fatal anomaly, or a severe chromosonal issue, or a terminal genetic mutation, or NO brain, or organs outside of it’s body, there are no other options except carrying a baby to term to allow it to suffer. And yes, you grieve. You never stop grieving. You are effectively taking your child off of life support. You are allowed to grieve. Being called a baby murderer is like pouring vinegar into a gaping wound in your heart.

    Late term abortions ARE the option, often between maternal death, future fertility, or fetal death upon birth.

    What “options” would you suggest?

  199. Emme Bea my question wasn’t about the grieving process or about late term abortions. It was about physicians policy of not allowing the parent to see the child after the procedure. I was just saying I could see why the doctor would want to avoid that. I’m not advocating that policy either I’m just positing why it might be the case.

  200. Oooohhh!!! My bad. I am so sorry. I, um… yeah. Sorry. Knee? Meet jerk reaction!

    To answer your original question, (that I so idiotically misinterpretted) for all the women I’ve known that have had an L&D (labor and delivery as apposed to a D&E which is an non-intact extraction) they all have been able to hold and mourn in the way they wished. Those of us who have either medically required a D&E or chose a D&E, that option is not available to us as the fetus is not intact and we are sedated. An L&D requires you to be awake and push.

    That is not to say that there aren’t clinics out there that don’t allow you to hold your baby after an L&D, but just that I haven’t been aware of that. (Having been active in the community of women that have made these choices for the last 4 years, I’ve literally heard hundreds of stories. But admittedly, not ALL of them.)

  201. For many women it is the primary form of birth control. This happens more in the international context but It happens here in the US as well. Sometimes a woman says ‘I can handle four kids… I can’t handle five’.

    This makes no sense. A woman in the US who feels she can handle 4 children but not 5 — to the point that she will abort a pregnancy that would potentially give her a fifth child — is surely very very likely to be using condoms, the pill, an IUD, or some other form of birth control to prevent that pregnancy from happening. (Any religion I can think of that prohibits contraception also prohibits abortion much more strongly.)

    Saying that abortion is her “primary” form of birth control makes no sense in those circumstances. It would be her back-up form if the others fail.

  202. Saying that abortion is her “primary” form of birth control makes no sense in those circumstances. It would be her back-up form if the others fail.

    Yeah, it seems to me that abortion is “birth control” only in the most literal sense of the term, in that it controls whether or not you give birth. It certainly doesn’t fit the common usage.

  203. “I think you’re using an expression that is generally used as a straw argument against abortion rights, but it sounds like you intended it in a different, non-judgmental tone. but it’s setting off bells for people because it has symbolic meaning as rhetoric.

    Yes & Yes – I guess I was also trying (poorly) to get across the belief that a right that is for the best of us is also for the worst of us. It is not just a right for good girls who are raped or careful women whose bc failed. It is for any woman who ends up with an unwanted pregnancy not matter what her lifestyle.

    “No woman wants an ab” I see this as a logical statement that because by definition no woman wants an unwanted pregnancy. Again, it does not matter what caused the pregnancy, just that it is not wanted. I realize this is code for wink, wink, I know abs are bad but they are really just the lesser of 2 evils so please be a bit pro-choice.

    AB is used as BC – literally yes. It is ending an unwanted pregnancy. Again this has been used as code to say abs are bad because they are used by hedonistic women who get drunk, have unprotected sex and only deal with the previously ignored consequences when they happen. Do women in general use ab as bc in this sense of the wrod? I would guess almost never. Most are responsible but why should only the responsible women be supported if ab is a right?

    Do some women who are severely distressed or in abusive relationships, drug addicted, mentally ill, prostitutes etc.use it as bc? Maybe? Who knows? Perhaps on rare occasions? My point is that women who are in severe distress and get pregnant for the “wrong reasons” have just as great a right to ab as anyone else. I think we as a society should be judged on how we treat those who are viewed as the most troubled. How we treat the mentally ill, drug addicted, children, homeless and any group without a voice that has been systematically marginalized says volumes abut who we are as a society and what we value.

    Political code words can be very powerful and their logical inconsistencies should be shown for the fallacies and lies they are.

    I hope I have made myself clear.

  204. The distinction is that abortion is birth control but its not a contraceptive.

    Its not all that far-fetched if you consider the expense of birth control (even condoms are expensive), access to clinics, that fact that Bush administration made significant cuts in contraception access for low-income women and the diversity of the country. I think that we are so used to a scenario where a women lives in an decent sized urban area with reliable transportation that we forget the significant numbers of poor women that live in rural areas.

  205. AND I’m not trying to argue its common in the US but it is common in other countries where contraception is nil.

    …just a little addendum.

  206. AND I’m not trying to argue its common in the US but it is common in other countries where contraception is nil.

    …just a little addendum. : )

  207. To Nancy – so, after reading my post upthread, how much jail time do you think I should get? Just curious.

  208. there isn’t much left to be said that hasn’t been, but a few things keep springing to mind.

    every. person. has. the. right. to. body. autonomy.

    everyone.

    people seem to have a real problem with it when it’s women and children demanding the autonomy they have every right to expect be recognized. or people who make choices to support others in their quest to *exercise* their rights to personal autonomy, like dr. tiller did until his assassination.

    that is one reason why i’m absolutely baffled by this thought train of Lori’s:

    [quote]At the same time, though, there really are people who think abortion should be legal who also have moral reservations about it and would prefer to see women continue pregnancies rather than have abortions. I think adultery should be legal, but I certainly don’t like the idea of people cheating on their spouses, and I’d like to see it be rare. I think spanking should be legal, but I think it’s a violent means of discipline and I’d like to see parents use alternative discipline methods and spanking to become rare.[/quote]


    what … ?

    adultery is non-monogamy practiced in an emotionally abusive manner. spanking is a deliberately coded term for physical abuse, usually of children.* both are interactions with other completely independent forms of life, and neither is defensible – as simple honesty solves one problem and growing the hell up (as ‘disciplinarian’) solves the other. what either of these things have in common with a woman’s right to determine WHAT HAPPENS TO HER OWN BODY is frankly beyond me.

    boldly assuming we’re ruling out time travel, women’s access to safe, legal medical care cannot logically (or morally, or ethically) depend on forseeing every possible poor outcome of every normal act of living and avoiding it prophylactically. women are allowed to live as free and autonomous human beings, even when we consider our reproductive potential.

    women have a right to live. fully. and imperfectly (by which i mean the perfection of living as an imperfect being).

    gads, it’s not like the debate changes when/if she decides to go ahead and be pregnant, you know? because there’re plenty of moralizing idiots to tell her then that she’s pickling the baby with that cup of coffee, or (later) that she’s screwing up her kid by giving him a popsicle before dinner. or that she’s responsible for her baby’s early death because she wasn’t a good enough parent. you know? fuck those people. they never stop. THEY NEVER STOP. you can not, ever, EVER be ‘right’ enough. because you were supposed to know everything, and you were supposed to live perfectly. even though it’s completely impossible. and that is because the anti-woman stance is just that – in essence, it is anti-woman, not pro-life. pro-paternalistic bullshit, maybe.

    there is no perfect outcome to an unwanted pregnancy. just like there is no perfect life, and no perfect person, and no perfect reasoning. no answer is inherently better than another. why individual choice? that is why. why is it rankling to qualify support with ‘rare’? because you’re leaving the door open for someone, not the woman whose body it is, to render judgment. ‘was it *really* necessary?’ if she chose it, then it is. it doesn’t matter what anyone else would do in her shoes. this is exactly how rare abortion should be: as often as women who want it choose it; no more, and no less.

    that is what the regret-mongers add to the debate that shouldn’t be there: ‘post-abortion syndrome’ (as it is used by the anti-woman camp) is a result of emotional abuse of women, period. it’s not the result of abortions themselves. women are perfectly capable of weathering much more extreme trauma than legal, humanely performed medical abortion. what they are vulnerable to in any scenario is the vicious and insidious suggestions made that they are permanently, irrevocably, and morally damaged by choices they’ve made and that there is no remedy for but time travel. it’s needlessly cruel and patently vicious to visit these abusive ideas on women who are in the throes of post-pregnancy hormone fluctuations.

    the only thing that makes total and concise sense in this debate is what kate’s already said (several times, a couple of ways): it’s not about *this* question. it’s about ‘do you trust people to live their lives as they see fit’? in this case, specifically, women-people. women are not equal to men in this regard. women gestate new life, and therefore have the unique responsibility of determining in what way she will participate in that process. no one else has that choice, only women. it can be a heavy decision to make as easily as it can be a very simple one. but it is all her choice to make. each woman, in each case, individually, by whatever means (and using any tools, and considering any factors) she wishes.

    * i’m totally pro-spanking between consenting adults.

  209. Nancy, you know, I used to hold that opinion too, back when I was living in a pacifist Christian anarchist commune. No killing, ever, under any circumstances. The seamless garment! A consistent ethic of life! Follow the Prince of Peace!

    What I eventually decided is that ideological consistency is usually a pious fiction, and was (in my case, anyway) very self-serving.

    So, okay, “No killing ever, under any circumstances!”? Hm, well, what of the fact that killings are done in my name every day that raise my standard of living and my safety and a bunch of other things that I’m happy to avail myself of all the time? Oh, um, la la laaaa, plug up the ears, keep going to the protests and trying to shout louder than the people with the slogans I don’t like. The important thing is that my pacifist friends and I get to congratulate ourselves on our moral purity.

    I mean, look, the best data suggest that we currently have a choice between a) a society in which abortions are legal and safe; where contraception is widely available and reduces the number of unintended pregnancies; and where pregnant women have as much control over their medical decisions and bodily integrity as do other human beings; or b) a society in which illegal abortions kill women while doing nothing to reduce the number of abortions; and where legislation forms us all into people who are very comfortable thinking of pregnant women as less-than-full agents when it comes to their own bodies. (Actually, I should say “even more comfortable,” rather than “very comfortable,” because being pregnant twice now has shown me that we *absolutely* think that pregnant women are less-than-full agents when it comes to their own bodies.)

    Do I love this state of affairs? No. I’d love it if these weren’t the two options. I’d love it if there were never any unintended pregnancies ever, just by the laws of nature, without there being any need for contraception. Also, I’d love it if countries never had ookie feelings toward each other so there was no NEED to go to war ever. Also, as long as I’m making my shopping list, I’d like a queso fountain in my kitchen that was cleaned at night by very tidy unicorns with opposable thumbs who sang lullabies as they worked.

    But legislation isn’t about my private fantasies of what kind of world I’d like if I were in charge. It’s about, you know… do we want women to be treated like actual people, or not? Do we want there to be X number of abortions, or X number of abortions plus a lot of dead women? Do we want fewer unintended pregnancies and widely-available contraception, or lots of unintended pregnancies and hard-to-procure contraception?

    Those are pretty much the choices. The Randall Terrys of the world can’t or won’t address any of this; they just posture and preen and say, “I want — no, I am OWED — a world where none of these trade-offs have to be made, where sex only happens in the context of religiously-sanctioned heterosexual marriage, where all women find entire personal fulfillment and bliss in motherhood, where all families magically have enough resources to care for as many children as they can possibly conceive and carry to term, where there are no birth defects incompatible with life, and where the lines of the debate are thus drawn completely differently!’

    Which, again… I’d refer him back to my queso fountain/unciorn fantasy, which I’d group under the same heading of “Idiosyncratic and Fantastical Things That Neurotic People Might Want Sometimes.” I suppose we all have them, and while I think his are incredibly misogynist, I’m (very happily) not the curator of Randall Terry’s inner private world. However. It’s, oh, just a leeetle bit silly to act like clinging to one’s own little private “Wouldn’t It Be Great If…” fantasy is some kind of mark of brave ideological purity.

    Because, unlike my queso fountain fantasy, OTHER PEOPLE are affected by Randall Terry’s Magic Happy Fantasy World of Adoring Pregnant Wives, Benevolent Paterfamilii, and Entirely Health Children All Singing Hymns Together. He and Operation Rescue *see* to it that others are affected… that’s their whole reason for existing, as an organization.

    What’s really rich, is that the way he and his followers cling to this fantasy makes things worse for actual (non-fantasy) women and children. But, you know, at least he can rest secure in the knowledge that he was consistent. He didn’t need to look at actual data, let alone try to consider TWO OR MORE ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FACTORS at the VERY SAME TIME! Plus he gets his name in the papers and feels like he’s a big man doing some rescuing. Nobody wins, except for Randall Terry and Operation Rescue, and isn’t that what’s really important?

  210. I was writing at the same time as hallie, who I see now covered everything. :) Adding my applause…

  211. Wow hallie. Just plain wow. Wishing for time travel right now, because there are SO many times I wish I was able to say it as concisely and as clearly as you.

  212. @ A Sarah
    “So, okay, “No killing ever, under any circumstances!”? Hm, well, what of the fact that killings are done in my name every day that raise my standard of living and my safety and a bunch of other things that I’m happy to avail myself of all the time? Oh, um, la la laaaa, plug up the ears, keep going to the protests and trying to shout louder than the people with the slogans I don’t like. The important thing is that my pacifist friends and I get to congratulate ourselves on our moral purity.”

    gahhh…! i was thinking this too. i just want to shake some people! like, look – you can never, NEVER be perfect enough! the pursuit of perfection only results in more self-loathing!

    and of course, there are plenty of irresponsible heads-of-church who exploit your feelings of guilt for monetary gain. ‘you need saving! come to church and don’t forget to tithe!’ actually, there are plenty of people who will exploit you, period, with your permission.

    i try hard not to grant that permission.

    *grabbing at leftover cupcake for lunch*

    you know, happy hedonism. it’s my life philosophy. and this cupcake is pretty good. NEEDS BABY FLAVOR, THO.

  213. “Also, as long as I’m making my shopping list, I’d like a queso fountain in my kitchen that was cleaned at night by very tidy unicorns with opposable thumbs who sang lullabies as they worked.”

    this image is genius! hahah!!

    it’s almost as therapeutic, in the wake of this horrible domestic tragedy, as this here chocolate is proving to me. (NOM NOM NOM)

  214. and kate, since i dare not venture into the comments at broadsheet, your piece there is pure brilliance. i don’t think we can ever say this stuff often enough, loud enough, or to big enough audiences.

  215. @hallie
    ‘post-abortion syndrome’ (as it is used by the anti-woman camp) is a result of emotional abuse of women, period. it’s not the result of abortions themselves. women are perfectly capable of weathering much more extreme trauma

    I agreed with much of what you wrote, but I think it’s wrong to deny that many women experience post-abortion regret/depression etc. (whether you want to call it a syndrome or not, it doesn’t matter). I think it’s being anti-woman to deny that this is a real experience for many. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I had a total of 3 abortions in the early 80s. The regret and guilt I felt then, and intermittently even feel now, is REAL. I wasn’t emotionally abused; in fact, I had a great deal of support from many around me. Yes, I “weathered” it, but I went through a helluva time.

    That doesn’t mean that I want to take away the choice from other women, but my (and others’) experiences are valid.

  216. MamaD, I think you quoted a very relevant passage and missed its point. Hallie did not deny that it’s a real experience. She said, “as [the term] is used by the anti-woman camp.”

  217. thanks, Lu, yes – that’s it. the manufacturing of regret for the purpose of controlling women is not the same – isn’t even in the same ballpark – as regret a person feels for her own choices.

    and in my experience, regret i’ve felt for my own choices is a lot harder to live with.

    regret is real, and relevant. but it’s not at all why ‘post-abortion syndrome’ is talked up as a legitimate reason for denying women autonomy.

  218. @ mamaD
    s’alright. i’m famous for that move myself. but this time i took four cups of coffee and THREE HOURS to make sure it came out sounding *as close as possible* to what i meant as i thought i could do.


    didn’t i just say something about not pursuing perfection?!? *sigh*

  219. hallie and A Sarah are the fucking shit in this thread!!

    But, A Sarah, what about Pegacorns???! Can’t THEY be tidy too??

    ;-)

  220. it’s just another tendril of anti-feminism, really. Tiller is (*was* … sob!) a feminist caught in the crossfire. women die every day because of ideals that make it okay for people in society to assume we do not have the rights to our own bodies, even when our bodies’ abilities deviate from men’s bodies, which is the critical point.

    there’s such a vehement movement afoot to separate women from their bodies, determine ‘viability’ – you know what? NO reproduction is ‘viable’ without women – period. our bodies, our babies, our reproductive organs, our rights, our humanity. no one has a right to fucking tell us what to do with ourselves. NO ONE. *especially* when you sell it as for our own fucking good!

    i get so furious with people who equate this assassination with ‘killing a murderer’. Dr. Tiller supported women and their rights, and for that, he died. no, he lived – a long, dangerous and much-needed career as part of that life – and then he was killed in cold blood. because people want control over women exactly that badly.

  221. I have no doubt that many women experience grief and regret after abortion – for whatever reason. Many women also experience huge relief. I’ve had friends who were surprised by how little they felt.

    What I wonder is how much of post-abortion depression is a cultural construct. That is, how much of it is based on the idea that women are not supposed to make mistakes, or “fail” to want children.

    Warning: anecdata ahead. Years ago I had minor surgery to treat PCOS. I had a few days of pain, but went into a tailspin of depression that lasted more than a year – a fucking year, for day surgery that took a few hours. Of course, I couldn’t get any answers from the doctor. (We fixed you. Go away.) It took me ages to figure out that I react really badly to anesthetic. Now, if that minor surgery had been an early abortion instead of cyst removal, I wonder if my symptoms would have been interpreted and treated differently.

    I’m not saying this to try to invalidate regrets that women have after abortions, because those regrets are no reason to criminalize the procedure anyway – lots of women experience post-partum depression, and nobody thinks to outlaw childbirth. What I’m getting at (however badly) is that I don’t think depression is taken seriously enough, especially in women, and that there are complicated physical, personal, and societal contributors to depression that are overlooked.

  222. But, A Sarah, what about Pegacorns???! Can’t THEY be tidy too??

    Hee. Well, you know, I was just thinking the wings might get in the cheese. But I’ve not spent time with a pegacorn in several years, so I’m entirely open to correction.

  223. @Sniper
    women are not taken seriously, as people, *in general*. that is the bullshit-rich ground upon which attitudes like this are grown:

    “Of course, I couldn’t get any answers from the doctor. (We fixed you. Go away.)”

    *snarl, fume*
    i am unfortunately very familiar with doctors like that one. *narrows eyes* *grinds teeth*

    unfortunately.

    i am just in high dudgeon today. i should probably quit reading blogs and news on this same topic before i get all stabby again. it’s hard to stop.

  224. so i feel like a jerk. i wanted to apologize. i have my views on abortion but..

    i’m not anti- woman who gets an abortion.
    nor am i anti-abortion doctor. the act itself. but i am not judgemental on it. i didn’t want to wake up and be the douchehound of the day.

    sorry.

  225. You’ve all had profound things to say about this true atrocity and I am honored to be in the presence of such articulate, informed, and just plain awesome people.

    My biggest problem with pro-lifers (and I used to be one…..but then I got smart) is this: They seem to care more about the unborn child than children already here. They rally incessantly for the “idea” of a child before he or she is born, but once that child is in the world, they scatter like thieves in the night.

    Having been a social worker in the foster care system, I have had more than one Mom tell me she wanted to have an abortion, but got scared away from the clinic, or found it too difficult to obtain one. They were ill equipped to raise a child and knew it before the baby was born. As a result, the profound abuse, debilitating neglect, and all too common sexual abuse wound up damaging forever the child they never wanted in the first place. But society ignores those families because they are ugly….and hard to look at.

    But I saw them. I saw them 5 days a week. I saw the damage done to their bodies after a beating. I saw the damage done to their minds as they never learned how to trust or set good boundaries. I saw the sexuality of children develop too soon because of inappropriate touch from an adult. I saw children without feelings or concern for others because they never received that from their own families.

    What I NEVER saw, was a pro-lifer rally the foster care system or the family courts for better care for those children. I never saw anti-abortionists line up to care for these unwanted children. Sure, there were people willing to adopt and foster these children, but they were few and far between. Many of them overwhelmed by the challenges of raising these children, and usually gave up fostering after just a couple of years.

    If the anti-abortionists spent one tenth of the amount of time and money they spend on pro-life rallies and sunk it into offering services for single moms, counseling, parenting classes, clothing, tutors, or even babysitting, then the unwanted children of the world could actually have a better chance of making it.

  226. It’s like that “If you can read this, be glad your mother wasn’t pro-choice” bumpersticker, which I tend to find both infuriating and kind of funny, since it’s so illogical.

    I always see those and go, but my mom IS pro-choice. My parents planned for me, so aborting wasn’t really a question. Now, my brother was a bit more of *ahem* a surprise but my parents were in a place where they could handle a baby.

  227. > Nancy,

    If you are anti abortion, then NO MATTER WHAT, you ARE anti woman who gets an abortion. No matter how pretty you dress it up, if you oppose abortion, THAT is where you stand. It’s actually pretty black and white. If you oppose abortion, then you oppose women having bodily autonomy. That is anti-woman sentiment right there at it’s most BASIC level.

    I don’t think I even need to explain how it’s also anti abortion doctor. That one should be clear as day.

  228. “It’s like that “If you can read this, be glad your mother wasn’t pro-choice” bumpersticker, which I tend to find both infuriating and kind of funny, since it’s so illogical.”

    Damn right. My mother is pro-choice. And knowing what I do of the circumstances surrounding her marriage at the time of my conception, it would not surprise me in the least if she had at least considered the option.

  229. I am passionately pro-abortion. It is absolutely a basic human right for a woman to have control of her own body and reproduction. The fetus does not have the same rights an adult woman has, and shouldn’t. I am so sad to hear of Dr. Tiller’s murder. I considered him a hero. Now, unfortunately, a martyr.

    Abortion is a different experience for every woman who goes through it. I know four women who have shared their the story of their abortions with me and all have had very different experiences and feelings. It is far from a ‘fact’ that an abortion leads in all cases to sadness, regret and ongoing emotional problems. Of course, for some women it does, and my heart goes out to you.

    I have though about abortion as it pertains to me a great deal. I can hardly wait to have babies and plan on having several children- personally if my life is in order (partner and I are solid, enough money to feed and keep a child) and I have a healthy pregnancy (healthy me) and healthy fetus, I can’t imagine considering an abortion. But there are so many circumstances in which I would, early or late-term (rape, certain deformities and genetic conditions, a fetus compromising my own health or well-being for whatever reason, financial issues..). I am SO THANKFUL it remains a legal and medically safe option for me and others.. My aunt nearly died, and then nearly lost her reproductive organs from an illegal abortion in the 60s. If our country goes back to those days.. it hardly bears thinking about. I can only wish that fewer woman were dissuaded from making the choice that’s best for them by the overwhelming shaming and fear-mongering in our culture.

  230. It’s like that “If you can read this, be glad your mother wasn’t pro-choice” bumpersticker, which I tend to find both infuriating and kind of funny, since it’s so illogical.

    That makes me stop and think, too. My friend claims a kind of special insight into/feeling for the abortion question since she was told that her grandmother had wanted to abort her father but the doctor refused and she didn’t pursue the abortion further. This grandmother was a disliked/vilified figure for this and other reasons, but we spectators don’t know why she really wanted this abortion. The official story is that she was selfish and “just didn’t want another child to take care of”; one was enough. I believe myself to be an empathetic person, but this kind of anecdotal musing on the horror of abortion (because her now-deceased dad was a great guy, and, I suppose the question in my friend’s mind is what kind of a monster could have wanted to keep him from being born?)—it doesn’t seem much of an argument to me. In fact, she admits this is a big reason why she is inclined to assume that women who have abortions have stupid reasons for doing so (and hasn’t bothered to look further into the question). I respect that she feels her family history is traumatized by this fact, but I don’t understand why it has to be dwelled upon so much. I mean, they didn’t have a lot of contact with the grandmother, everyone agreed they didn’t want anything to do with the father’s family (they were unpleasant people)… why is it so hard to stop blaming this woman even 80 years later?

  231. @Lu:

    That is a really interesting story. It sounds to me like your friend doesn’t so much have a “special insight” into the abortion issue as much as she has had a personal experience that sharply alters her schema surrounding abortion itself.

    If you think about it, it’s really kind of a macabre little twist on the “I found out I was an accident” story. It probably has created a bit of an existential crisis for your friend–any discussion on abortion no doubt reminds her that if her grandmother had successfully been able to abort her father, she herself would never have been born.

    It is sad that no one thought to question the grandmother more thoroughly on her decision, but it isn’t surprising. I mean, if your mother had given you the basic equivalent of “I wish you had never been born” and never stopped to qualify or clarify the comment, I would argue that even the most rational among us would have a hard time ever having a serious discussion with her again. This is compounded by the knowledge that that entire side of the family was supposedly unpleasant and that the grandmother herself was, as you said, “villified” for other things as well.

    I’m no professional, but I think it would benefit your friend to seek some sort of counseling on this subject, especially if it impacts her so strongly even now. There are as many reasons to have an abortion as there are women who have them, but if your friend is so scarred by her history that she can’t get past the “abortion = monstrosity” line of reasoning, I would say that there is really no point in trying to argue the issue with her further. Offer your support–she seems to have some self-work to do before she can be a qualified debate-partner. :)

  232. P.S.: My apologies for all the seemingly mis-placed hyphens…I haven’t mastered the three-dashes to make an em-dash thing yet…

  233. Nancy, you know, I used to hold that opinion too, back when I was living in a pacifist Christian anarchist commune. No killing, ever, under any circumstances. The seamless garment! A consistent ethic of life! Follow the Prince of Peace!

    The other issue for me is that isn’t it also an act of violence to use state power to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term against her will? It just baffles me how people who claim to be opposing abortion out of a commitment to nonviolence can support laws outlawing abortion. How can the use of coercive force to compel somebody to continue an unwanted pregnancy not be seen as violence, and how can the harm done to women by illegal abortion not be seen as violence?

    that is one reason why i’m absolutely baffled by this thought train of Lori’s:

    Wow, I don’t think I compared abortion to anything: my point was simply that it is possible for somebody to believe something is morally wrong and still think it should be legal, and those were examples of my own.

    If it makes you feel better, I’ll put it this way:

    A vegetarian can believe that eating meat is morally wrong, but still support other people’s right to eat meat and even actively oppose laws that would prevent others from eating meat.

    A person could feel that Fred Phelps is a monster and what he says is morally indefensible but still support his right to protest and oppose efforts to censor him.

    Somebody can think that it’s morally wrong for a church to teach that homosexuality is a sin, but still believe that the church has a right to teach it, and oppose legislation that would limit the rights of religious organizations to teach what they want.

    One could believe that Ann Coulter’s books promote dangerous and hateful ideas, but still protest an attempt to have her books removed from their local library.

    The point is that there is no logical rule requiring that if somebody believes something to be immoral or wrong, they also need to believe that it should be outlawed. A lot of people on both sides don’t seem to get this about abortion, but I think it’s something that, if we realized it, would make the issue less divisive. My point was that most of us support things we think are morally wrong being legal every single day, and yet for many people it seems impossible to do around abortion.

  234. @CassandraSays:

    So what do you do when women who just plain don’t want to have kids, ever, get pregnant?

    That woman should be able to access a safe, legal abortion, and should be supported in doing so, as I said.

    But, the fact that some women would have an abortion if they became pregnant simply because there are no circumstances under which they’d consider it possible or desirable to have a baby at that time, for many women the reasons are different. If you look at studies on why women get abortions, for many the reasons are practical, particularly in terms of how having a baby would interfere with their education or career, or not being able to afford a child. And I don’t think acknowledging that–that for many, although certainly not all, women, abortion is the option they choose not because they wouldn’t want a child at that time under any circumstances, but because they don’t feel it would be practically possible for them to have a child in their current circumstances–has to somehow require that we ignore that some women would want an abortion under any and all circumstances should they become pregnant. But if we ignore that our culture is hostile both to choosing not to bear children AND to creating conditions where women (especially poor and young women) who want to have children can do so successfully, then I do think reproductive freedom has to involve both access to safe, legal abortion and also access to the resources and support necessary to raise a child, and if we did have those resources in place, I do think we’d see a drop in the abortion rate, to a level similar to European nations that have more social supports in place.

  235. I’m just going to add two things, lest I be more misinterpreted:

    The sense in which I think abortion is morally wrong is similar, I think, to the sense in which your average ethical vegetarian (not a radical PETA person or anything) thinks eating meat is immoral. I have friends who are ethical vegetarians, and I know they aren’t sitting there across the table from me thinking I’m a terrible person for eating meat, or judging me for it. I have friends who have had abortions, and my entire feeling on their abortions is that I’m extremely, extremely grateful they were able to do so safely and legally. That’s it.

    Again, you can have personal moral convictions and not judge other based on them. I have friends who spank their kids who I think are loving parents who do a better job showing their kids kindness and patience than I do. I have friends who are in the military who I think are wonderful people, and I don’t think they’re monsters for doing something that would, for me, be morally wrong. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to think there’s something wrong with military enlistment being the best of the available crappy options for some young people, or that I don’t think we shouldn’t have better options for young people so that they aren’t forced into feeling like the only way they can go to college or get by independently is to join the military. While there are no doubt people who enlist in the military because that’s what they really want to do, there are other young people who do so because they feel they have no other viable options, and I want them to have more viable options to choose from.

    So it is with abortion. I want people to have more viable options so that safe legal abortions are being performed on women who genuinely feel that they do not want a child at that time in their lives, not that they can’t have one. To me there is a big difference between not wanting to have a child and feeling that you can’t. I had a pregnancy scare when I was 18 and my period was 3 weeks late, and I can thinking that I’d have to have an abortion–I was going to go to college and couldn’t with a baby, my parents would kill me if I had a baby/knew I was pregnant, I didn’t even really like my boyfriend at the time very much and certainly didn’t see it as a long-term thing, there was no way I could support myself on my own, how would I finish high school?–but I hated the idea, and honestly would have preferred, had I been pregnant, to have a child. I’d always wanted kids, and the idea of having a baby was more appealing to me than the idea of having an abortion, but less practical. I’m extremely fortunate to have never had an unplanned pregnancy so never had to actually make the hard choices, but I would have had an abortion had I been pregnant, and I may very well have been one of those women who went on to regret it. That’s certainly no reason to make abortion illegal–women regret having children sometimes, but that isn’t grounds for outlawing childbirth–but I do think if there were more resources available for women and they didn’t feel like having a child was impossible because they were poor, or young, or still in school, then we’d see a lot less women going on to regret having had an abortion, because the decision would genuinely be based on whether they wanted a child or not, and not on whether they felt they had the resources to do so.

  236. Lori, I’ve kept my peace for most of this because I understand that everyone on both sides has different feelings, but your use of the words ethical and moral have pushed a button. I’ll use your own example of the ethical vegitarian. Most people who eat ethically do so because of the greater community. I don’t eat at such-and-such because their tomatoes are picked by essentially slave labor, etc. But when you bring morals into it, that is judgment. By thinking that something someone does is morally wrong, you are judging them for that action. That is the point of morals.

    So you feel that abortion should be safe and legal, but you judge the people who get them. Let’s not mince words here. To think its morally wrong is to judge those who do it. To call them immoral. There is no way around it. I’m sorry.

  237. wildcatjen, thanks for your thoughtful response. You’re right that having a real debate would be hard, and I’m not going to force the issue with her. She’s not really a “counseling” sort of person, :), however. I think she misidentifies some of her emotional responses to issues as being the result of strongly held opinions. I appreciate very much that you took the time to think about my little issue.

  238. @Lori
    I don’t what your process is for defining moral vs. legal conduct, but based on how scattered your reasoning is, I’m not sure you do either. So I’m going to go ahead and be as gentle as possible, because people were gentle with me in the past when I wrote things that proved me to be a well-intentioned idiot. Try to take it in the spirit intended.

    I can not grasp how equating abortion with spanking, eating meat, adultery, or free speech as examples of ‘immoral behavior which should be legal’ makes any sense whatsoever, and this is what I’m getting out of your post and later explanation, Lori. I am hearing, “Abortion may be legal, but it is not always moral (just like these other examples).” This is what you said earlier, and what you re-stated later before going off on other tangents lastly.

    Spanking is a useful example here because it *is* immoral and *should absolutely* be illegal – but isn’t, because the agency of children is even less respected than the agency of women. That is the beginning of what could be a thirty-page dissertation on my part, so I have to limit how many words to spend on that tangent. I will say this: The behavior of your parent-friends who spank is wrong, and your acceptance of that violence is evidence of a disconnect. “These are my friends, therefore I trust they have a reason for violence,” is just as indefensible as “I don’t know this woman, therefore I can’t trust her judgment.” You can’t say someone’s choice to abort is immoral without conveying judgment. And excusing violence because you believe the people behind it have morally sound reasoning is exactly the process by which Dr. Tiller’s assassin arrived at his choice to pull the trigger, so it’s important to connect those dots.

    The discussion of abortion’s ‘morality’, however, is flatly irrelevant to Dr. Tiller’s death and women’s rights as a whole, which I *will* go into.

    Arguments about the ‘morality’ of abortion-seekers are used by the anti- camp as a scrim behind which the groups’ own immoral activity is obscured: often, the harassment and verbal abuse of women attempting to get access to medical care at clinics. This time, it was the assassination of a warm and amazingly brave man who spent his life helping women in the most desperate circumstances.

    Murder isn’t moral by anyone’s standards. But by hiding behind ‘she’s more immoral than we are!’ the fear and hatred of women has been cultivated by these terrorist groups until one of the most extreme among them escalated his violence. This time, only the two acted.* But others support them: some are saying *this* murder is moral, even though it’s patently ludicrous to suggest any murder, anywhere, can ever be moral.

    Meanwhile, some who otherwise support the aims of these groups are distancing themselves from this act, this assassination. Why?

    That scrim became so thin, in this case of inexcusable violence, that the veneer of ‘morality’ has been exposed as a sham. Some are refusing to examine that veneer closely. This is where comments like, ‘I support all life, so I can’t support this act,’ and ‘I think abortion should be legal but rare,’ are coming from. These commenters claim not to support violence, that they only want *this procedure* to become unavailable.

    But pregnancy and the potential for life (and death) that comes with it are part of the lives and bodies of women. Health care is part of life for everyone. Women’s bodies come equipped with gestating organs. It’s not optional. Women’s lives are affected, women’s bodies are affected. And in days of yore, women’s lives were lost as we struggled against the roadblocks erected by those who sought to control us and our reproductive potential. Refusing women appropriate and humane care for our uniquely female bodies is an act of violence also, as A Sarah has already said. And it’s just as damaging, and as violent, as premediated murder. It’s just slightly more covert, and much more common.

    This is why it’s disingenuous for anyone to claim they support women, but not our right to have the abortions we sometimes seek. “We want modern health care to be available, just not this aspect of it, and only for women.” Denying women agency. That is what it boils down to.

    And the goal posts will always move. “Only when the mother’s health is in danger; only in cases of rape or incest.” Birth control is threatened, constantly. Abortion access is threatened, routinely. As comes up in this very blog, judgment of women’s bodies and what simplistic moralizers think we should do with them results in destructive and harmful practices. Whether you’re inconveniently pregnant, obese, transgendered, or ‘advanced maternal age’ – any deviation from what someone thinks you should be – judgment endangers your ability to get humane, competent health care. And that endangers women’s lives.

    Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the prejudice stems from, or how the prejudiced came to such conclusions. If you think you know better than I what I should do with my life, I’m going to be awfully tempted to tell you to fuck off. Unless it’s so laughable that I can pull out a baby-flavored donut joke.

    This case is so tragic that I’ve been in a state of shock for days: Dr. Tiller was one of only three doctors in the U.S. who was willing to live with constant threats of violence against himself and his family to help women who needed it. One of THREE. (Kate went through this eloquently and thoroughly on Broadsheet.) Does that give us all a clear idea of how destructive hating and not trusting women can be? Only THREE obstetricians in the U.S. are willing to stand up routinely, for the length of a career, to the sort of judgment and violence that millions of women have to decide to fight through every day, all throughout life. Dr. Tiller had a choice to leave his work but never exercised it. No woman has the option of retiring from womanhood to get away from judgmental bullshit.

    The poisoned ground in which this assassination was cultivated was a general refusal on the part of abortion foes to see women as fully realized agents unto themselves, competent to control their own bodies. It makes no more sense, as Kate pointed out already, to be pro- (or anti-) abortion than it is to describe oneself as pro- (or anti-) tonsillectomy. As some have (at times, clumsily) pointed out, supporting abortion as ‘rare’ means to them that all surgery has risks and going without needless risk is ideal. It’s rankling, but it makes a small degree of sense. All surgery has risks and can end in death, avoiding it is a natural thing to want, blah-de-blah. But hormonal birth control has risks, IUDs have risks, pregnancy and birth have risks, life has risks. Life is dangerous and always ends in death. I’ll choose the risks I’ll accept in my life; you can choose for your own.

    Abortion is elective surgery. If we can get nothing else across in this thread, let it be that. Surgeons who perform elective surgeries are not, as a whole, in fear for their lives. Dr. Tiller was, for a long time, and it was no secret. Our President expressed ‘shock’. It’s not shocking. It is the predictable end to the long campaign of terrorism that was waged against this doctor. There’s no room for shock, only for grief, anger, and remorse. More should have been done, at every level, to protect Dr. Tiller from this loudly pre-meditated and ultimately successful attempt at murder. It’s infuriating, and saddening, and horrible. But not shocking.

    This assassination is, in short, the bald consequence of creating an environment in which we pretend morality is a relevant question – when considering what a person does with her own body, in her own self-interest. Whether a woman is smoking dope, injecting Botox, having an IUD installed, eating a baby-flavored donut, or scheduling a D&C, it is her body alone that is in question. And hers alone with which to do what she chooses.

    I do support free speech; I do not support incitement to violence and murder. There is already a legal line there, some would kick it further down the field and burn books full of ideas they don’t agree with, but that’s not me. Inciting violence is where I draw my line. Draw yours wherever you like, but as soon as you cross paths with my life (or anyone else’s), your opinion is no longer relevant.

    *as far as we know: the murderer, and the getaway car driver.

  239. @Nancy, thanks for saying that, and actually as I read over my comment I thought I sounded a little too, “Oh I used to think JUST LIKE YOU until I saw the light, *patpat*.” So I wanted to apologize, in case I came off like a jerk. (And also because apologizing is my hobby. Recantophilia, as I like to call it.)

    I mean, we still disagree big time, but personally I hate being condescended to, and I thought I sounded condescending in my comment to you. I really did used to be what I thought was, and described as, “pro-life, but not the mean antifeminist kind.” And it took many attempts to live that radically and consistently (hence the radical pacifist commune) to see that it just didn’t seem to work, to hang together. The consistency I sought wasn’t available, and wait, why was that my goal in the first place? But that doesn’t mean that your attempts to be consistent are as self-serving as mine were at 22, nor that I’m uniquely insightful.

  240. Wow. I want to be like Hallie when I grow up. Beautifully written comments. Thank you, thank you.

  241. Bravo, Hallie!

    This assassination is, in short, the bald consequence of creating an environment in which we pretend morality is a relevant question – when considering what a person does with her own body, in her own self-interest. Whether a woman is smoking dope, injecting Botox, having an IUD installed, eating a baby-flavored donut, or scheduling a D&C, it is her body alone that is in question. And hers alone with which to do what she chooses.

    This is absolutely perfect.

  242. Thank you hallie, and A Sarah, and the mods and other Shapelings who’ve done such an amazing job rebutting some of the hurtful and horrible comments on this thread.

    I’ve been so angry that I had to walk away for a couple of days before Nancy and Lori and JennyRose got a load of FOADs from me. Which, while satisfying, wouldn’t have been nearly as productive and awesome.

  243. @hallie

    For my first post, I’m going to do what my friends tell me I do way too much and play devil’s advocate. Hi everyone!

    First off, let me say I agree with most of what you wrote. That being said when reading your posts it seems like you’re suggesting that a woman cannot advocate for abortion and still find the medical practice to be immoral. Why not? Are we not capable of putting aside our personal feelings to see the bigger picture? I think we are.

    I, personally, feel abortion is wrong. I have my reasons and they are mine. You cannot make me feel differently about them just as I cannot make you feel differently about yours. Even though I feel it is immoral, it doesn’t stop me for setting aside my feelings on the matter and seeing the clearer truth. My feelings are irrelevant to the whole of womankind. I cannot and will not force my ideas of right and wrong onto other women. I have never passed judgment on any woman who has had an abortion (I have known a couple of wonderful women who have done so) and I never will. It is not MY place to judge. I don’t know the circumstances of the pregnancy and I don’t need to. A woman’s right to her body is BASIC, as you said. I will always advocate a woman’s right to choose until my last breath. But I will also never have an abortion because of my personal thoughts on the matter. Which is what I think Lori is trying to get at. Whereas, I am saying me, my feelings, my morality, my sense of right and wrong, Lori keeps on making sentences of fact. “Abortion is immoral”, “Abortion is wrong”…etc…etc…etc. But I read her posts as this is how she feels about abortion and how she can set aside those feelings to see abortion should be legal, should be readily available. Maybe I’m reading more into it than she put in.

    Because I feel this way, does this make my reasoning scattered? Does this make me anti-woman? I don’t think so. You, and everyone on this board, might think differently. But hey, that’s the beauty of it all. Everyone’s different.

    One thing that got me thinking about writing to you is this line:

    “Spanking is a useful example here because it *is* immoral and *should absolutely* be illegal – but isn’t, because the agency of children is even less respected than the agency of women.”

    You feel it is immoral and there should be a law against it, but there are thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of parents who don’t think so and would probably resent you coming into their homes telling them how to raise their children. It seems to me that you would be forcing your own morality unto these parents. Isn’t that wrong?

    Now before I get a million and one responses about the statement “would resent you coming into their homes”, I realize the same people who batter women and abuse children would say something similar. Please don’t bombard me with fireballs, I get it. :) You’re right, they would and any batterer and child abuser should be put in jail. I agree with that completely and utterly. I’m saying not every parent who thinks spanking is an acceptable form of discipline is a child abuser. Hallie and others might feel differently but that doesn’t change the existence of parents who spank and love their children at the same time.

    I guess what I’m trying to get at is the statement above about spanking is what pro-lifers would say about abortion. All one has to do is take out the words “even less” add not and take away “than the agency of women” and you have the pro-life movement (according to their beliefs) in a nutshell.

    “Abortion is a useful example here because it *is* immoral and *should absolutely* be illegal – but isn’t, because the agency of children is not respected.”

    Hence the reason why when I read your posts and I think of black and white with no shades of gray. I just don’t think life, morality and hot button issues work that way.

    Please don’t slaughter me :),

    Sera

  244. wildcatjen, I had a quick follow-up after rereading your first response to me. You hit the nail on the head with your observation of this element: “if my dad had been aborted, I wouldn’t be here, either.” In fact, she said that herself. My response—and bear in mind that this was still a civil and mutually supportive discussion—was to ask about her strong feelings regarding that fact. I didn’t think that in that same situation I would feel the same; I’m kind of existentially not-there a lot of the time, so my thought was, “but if you hadn’t been born, you wouldn’t know it.” I think she feels her life is much more precious and beautiful than I do mine and she can’t imagine “missing it,” so that’s where I’m not getting the reaction of horror to the mere fact of not being here.

    This might seem like a threadjack, but I think philosophically it’s not. Maybe a contributing factor to some peoples’ having a less personally emotional reaction to the discussion of abortion rights is that some people just don’t take life all that personally. For example, Buddhists, nihilists, existentialists, and the chronically depressed (some or all of which may or may not describe me—I’m not sayin’ ;) ). Huh.

  245. Hallie, you have been a treasure on this thread. I’m just staggered by what you said and how well you said it. Thank you.

  246. If you liked Kate’s post, you’ll like my friend’s post here.

    http://iggydonnelly.wordpress.com/2009/06/03/it%e2%80%99s-not-al-quiada-that-scares-me/

    A little background, the author of this post writes an op-ed column for a small town (conservative) newspaper, and she will be running this column. I fear her opinion may end her job, but she will not back down. She already lives/works as an openly gay woman farmer and writer.

    Please check it out. Worth a read.

  247. Oh, did I mention that we are all Kansas Liberals?
    We know about the whole issue, along with creationism in school science, and just about any other christian extremities.
    Fred Phelps comes to mind.

  248. Lu, I have exactly the same reaction to the “you wouldn’t be here” argument. If I had never been born, I would never have had the opportunity to regret not being born, so where’s the problem?

    I’m very happy to be alive, and there are plenty of people who would miss me if I weren’t around. But that’s only because they’ve had the opportunity to learn what they’d be missing. I just don’t believe I’m so damned special, the world would be noticeably different if I’d never been here.

  249. Lu and Kate, that is a really interesting line of thought!

    It sort of makes me think of another common anti-abortion stance: the “you could be aborting the next Einstein! The next Oprah! The next JESUS!!” argument. Of course, the opposing argument to that is just as you both have said—if someone had never been born, would we in reality have been missing anything? (If a tree falls in the forest and no one sees it…)

    I think, as people, we have an urge to personify things we wouldn’t otherwise fully comprehend. That blob of cells soundlessly splitting and transforming in your uterus? It could one day be a baseball player, or an astronaut. It could also one day be a serial killer–who knows?

    I wonder if this is maybe a fundamental difference (one of many, I’m sure) between someone who has no problem with the idea of abortion and someone who is completely opposed to it: the ability to distance oneself from the THEORY of a life.

    Lol, I felt this going someplace in my head, but it might be too early in the morning for me to be this philosophical…but thanks for the brainworm, at any rate!

  250. wildcatjen – that is also an interesting point.

    If a woman is pressured to carry an unwanted child to term and raises it in less than ideal conditions, that can be a recipe for disaster sometimes.

    My favorite example is Beethoven. Someone pulled that out of their hat once because his mom had Syph. (Was it syphillis?) Yeah and what century was that? Syph is treatable now. Thanks.

  251. Do you ever see the signs that say “Abortion Stops A Beating (with a huge heart painted beside it)?”

    Some pro-choice folks in Kansas have taken to painting over the heart so that it just reads; “Abortion Stops A Beating”

  252. That blob of cells soundlessly splitting and transforming in your uterus? It could one day be a baseball player, or an astronaut. It could also one day be a serial killer–who knows?
    Yeah, and sometimes it could also turn out to kill you even before being born if you don’t get medical help! Which is the case for a lot of women.

  253. It makes me almost unspeakably angry when one person decides (especially based on HIS or HER religious beliefs) that a woman must carry a pregnancy to term, regardless of how she became pregnant (rape?) or whether or not the pregnancy might kill her.

    By Jewish law, if a woman’s life is in danger, she is actually required to end the pregnancy because her life, that already exists, is considered more important than the potentiality for human life. Any law prohibiting any form of abortion violates the first amendment because it prevents Jews from practicing their religion freely…

    I can’t speak for any other religious tradition, but that’s what I was taught by my rabbi as a kid.

  254. Wow – no one has ever told me to Fuck off and die before. Why such strong language? Didn’t you read Kate’s response? You may not agree with me but I am not a xian troll.

    I am just trying to honest. The consensus seems to be not to cave into the right or pander to the moderates and that they are pro-choice because a woman has a right to her bodily integrity, end of story.

    Tricia – I hope I have been clear enough so that you can understand my position. If not, so goes the internet.

    I am pro-choice. Even if the right has co-opted and twisted certain terms, there may be some truth. I think we need to acknowledge the truth that sometimes women have abs for what others judge to be “bad” reasons. Reasons are irrelevant to me if a person is exercising a right. A right is for all, not for some.

    I think Clinton was right when he said abortions should be legal, safe and rare. The cause and need for ab should be rare. We need better birth control and sex ed to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Ab should be rare b/c it is a medical process that can be expensive and uncomfortable and cause a woman to miss work. Who wants to miss work for a costly medical procedure that may have been preventable? It would be better to improve bc and sex ed so women have less need for abs.

    Ab is BC but not a contraceptive as said earlier is also true. The right would use this to show some women have too many abs and therefore don’t deserve them. This is used to peel away voters who are somewhat inclined to vote prochoice but have some reservations. Again if ab is a right, motive shouldn’t matter. Some women may unintentionally or even intentionally use ab as fall back. Some women are in distress, drug addictive or to shy to demand a man use a condom. This can happen but again, so what? A right is a right.

    Most of these slogans are used to win over those who are mildly pro-choice or indifferent when it comes to electing candidates. The truth is, some women forget or fail to use bc, or are pressured into sex and need Plan B or an ab. Why is it so wrong to admit that is true in some cases? I think that idea is particularly illogical because they are suggesting that ab may be OK if it is for good reasons. Of course, they may be the beliefs of the mildly pro-choicers whose votes they are after.

    I just don’t understand where all the anger is coming from. My gut reaction to anti-choicers is that they are really anti-woman and need to exercise control over us. I do not know when life begins but I feel it should be at the point of viability. That is my opinion. I don’t know when viability is exactly but it is only 1 factor. I do not think it should be a determinant for LTA as they arise from extreme medical circumstances. (I don’t buy the partial-birth ab argument either. That is just a misnomer without a kernel of truth to gain sympathy for the cause.

    I don’t know what more I can say except I am very concerned about loosing choice as a right and it scares me that so many people in this country think a pre-human group of cells is more important than a living, breathing, thinking, feeling, human being. Most prolifers seem to make this distinction easily when it comes to the death penalty or the war in Iraq. I also think it is OK to have qualms about ab and support a woman’s right to choose.

    I remember a pro-life leader, a tall, articulate woman wagging her finger in front of the camera and lecturing all politicians. (The right had won some kind of victory and was feeling strong.) She said it would no longer be acceptable for a candidate to say she was personally against ab and vote pro-choice or step out line in any way. This was a threat leveled at her fellow GOPers and also shows how extreme and binary the life position is. I have no idea why I added that except it is a very anger provoking memory.

    Again, I don’t see where all the anger comes from since I am pro-choice. At the very least, please know I take your concerns seriously and felt the need to clarify.

  255. I’d like to address something Seraphina wrote that others have also expressed similarly in the comments: ” I will always advocate a woman’s right to choose until my last breath. But I will also never have an abortion because of my personal thoughts on the matter. ”

    Are you saying that if you are raped you will carry that child to term? Even if you are married to someone other than the rapist? Will you carry a child to term that has no brain? Missing organs? Or is a pair of conjoined twins where one is already dead and the other will most surely die either in utero or within hours of birth? Or is an etoptic pregnancy that WILL kill you if you don’t abort it? Will you carry to term if you are given a diagnosis of ovarian cancer in your first trimester and are told you will die if you don’t start chemo in the next three months? ALL of these things are real life situations that have happed to real women. Almost all of them said they never ever thought they would choose to have an abortion until they were faced with a worse option.

    I urge everyone that is speaking or thinking in absolutes to realize that the right to choose does impact ALL of us, even if we think we’d “never” actually choose to have an abortion. You can never say never. What you can say is, “I hope I’m never in the situation where I’ll need to make that decision”.

    I appreciate that you support my right to terminate my pregnancy, but to say you’ll never do so still smacks of judgement to me. Some may think I’m splitting hairs or being too sensitive, but I think it would be a huge mistake to assume that there’s not a situation that exists where you wouldn’t choose as I and others have.

  256. You can never say never. What you can say is, “I hope I’m never in the situation where I’ll need to make that decision”.

    Repeated for emphasis.

  257. I just don’t understand where all the anger is coming from.

    For fuck’s sakes a man is DEAD. And while you did clarify your judgmental sounding statements from earlier, yes, I am still pissed and sad at the moralizing going on in a thread that was posted to be a memorial.

    Emme Bea: Thank you, also. Very well put.

  258. Although thi is memorial, there is no disagreement that what happened was a tragedy. It is sad and disgusting but there is not a lot to discuss. I feel very bad for his family and scared for the country (US) after what happened. I am disgusted that the life crowd is manipulating the media and using the tragedy to show how good and loving they are while winking at the gunman.

    If you think I am moralizing you have not read my posts clearly. My thoughts are as far away from non moralizing as possible. I am trying to get across the point that the reasons for an ab do not matter. If we are to say it is a right, then it is a right for all regardless of inent of use. Politics are different, there are obviously different points of view on how to get policians who will vote procchoice into office.

    Although I agreee with never say never, there have been women who have not aborted for the reasons listed above. Personally I think that is crazy but it is a choice. In this country, as long as we are not breaking the law, we have the right to take actions that are not in our best actions and will ultimately be hurtful to us.

    I really think there needs to be more respect for others viewpoint. Saying I will do X when you say you will do Y can be a difference of opinion, rather than a judgment. I realize some women, especially those who have never had a problem, jusge those who choose to abort harshly. I do not like it but I try to respect their belief as to when life begins and what is murder. So they shouldn’t have an ab. That is fine. it is when the campaign against the right of another to choose which corosses the line.

    I have been accused many times of being intolerant of Christians. In a way I am as I so disagree with their interpretation of the bible and the world. I also can’t stand it when they play the victim card which they often do. I am trying to be more tolerant because I know there are some good Christians out there. I am trying very hard not to disrespct Christians as long as their beliegs are kept personal and they do not try to make our count some sort of “majority rules” theocaracy.

  259. I really think there needs to be more respect for others viewpoint.

    And I disagree. I have no respect for the viewpoint that women aren’t fully human no matter how it’s rationalized.

    Although I agreee with never say never, there have been women who have not aborted for the reasons listed above. Personally I think that is crazy but it is a choice. In this country, as long as we are not breaking the law, we have the right to take actions that are not in our best actions and will ultimately be hurtful to us.

    So much for not moralizing. :::rolls eyes:::

  260. I really think there needs to be more respect for others viewpoint.

    And I disagree. I have no respect for the viewpoint that women aren’t fully human no matter how it’s rationalized. (When did I ever say that that particular view must be respected? I am also not saying the shooter deserves any respict either in case you think that.

    I do agreen with the above, I guess you thought I was referring to that, I mean viewpoints in general such as the humanity of the fetus. Reasonable people will disagree on such things. And while I am trying to be respectful in general, I do not like the idea of a woman giving birth the a severely deformed baby that will live a few painful days which may result in her loss of fertility or death. Didn’t you see the part where I said we also have the right to make bad choices? I don’t like that choice but it is hers to make. I would not advocate for a law requirng abs in such cases. I put forth many ideas in my post and you have focused on one sentence that you can ridicule.

    You seem to think that any line of thought or opinion on ab that you do not agree with is moralizing.

    Again, I am a pro-choice feminist and I think I have reasonable ideas to add to the discourse.

  261. Is it just me, or is the abbreviation “ab” or “AB” for “abortion” striking anyone else as really weird? I have never, outside this thread, seen it abbreviated, and I’ve never found it necessary to do shorten the word. It seems kind of flippant or something, almost like it’s a code. Is it often abbreviated elsewhere?

    I don’t have an agenda for asking, beyond my interest in words and the suspicion that there’s a community of people out there, with some common philosophical leaning, talking about “ab.”

  262. P.S. I regret saying “really weird.” I think it’s a little harshly put. I could see it sounding like I’m piling on or something.

  263. Didn’t you see the part where I said we also have the right to make bad choices?

    JennyRose, this is exactly the moralizing that Tricia is talking about. “I support your right to make such a terrible choice” is NOT judgment-free.

    I want to repeat what I said upthread: I also question the relevance, in this discussion of the terroristic murder of someone we all clearly agree was a brave man, of saying “I am pro-choice but I have a moral problem with abortion” or “I personally would never get an abortion even though I’m pro-choice.” What is the purpose of this kind of statement besides inserting a thinly veiled moral lecture into your comment?

  264. Jenny, you knew to blogging?

    I’ve been around blogging for years and the ‘can’t we all get along’ meme works if you’re on a site talking about music, food, cars, ANYTHING BUT POLITICS! Especially abortion/murder/religion all rolled up inside politics.

    Now there should be some ground rules, but that is up to each and every author/site owner. Kate monitors this stuff. It’s up to her, but don’t count on her running off regulars to support freedom of speech.

    I’m just saying……..

  265. I am not expecting Kate to run off regulars. I realize this is a touchy subject and my deliberate use of code words in a way that is not coded has been a trigger. There is a lot of anger about what happened and I think you are taking it out on the wrong person.

    Maybe I am too much of a lawyer but to me a right is a right and the reason for asseerting that right shouldn’t matter. I have been on blogs a lot but obviously not this one. I guess most have a point where certain ideas are not acceptable or tolerated.

    I also don’t think a topic related to abortion, no matter how tangental will not devolve into this sort of discussion.

    On another note, the following, if true, is very upsetting. I hate it because it may actually give some people the imppression that they have won. It also scares me as it may encourage other self-fighteous criminals to kill other doctors.

    From the Huffington Post:

    “The family of Dr. George Tiller would like to clarify statements made about the plans for Women’s Health Care Services, P.A. The family’s hope is that the valuable work of Dr. Tiller will be able to continue, but there have been no final decisions made about the long-term plans for the medical practice.

    “There is currently no plan to immediately reopen the clinic, and no patients are being scheduled at this time. The Tiller family’s focus, of course, is to determine what is in the best interests of the employees and the patients.”

  266. @Seraphina
    Seraphina, on June 4th, 2009 at 2:24 pm Said:

    “@hallie

    For my first post, I’m going to do what my friends tell me I do way too much and play devil’s advocate. Hi everyone!

    First off, let me say I agree with most of what you wrote.”

    I’m not in the mood for chirping illogic and ‘devil’s advocating’ – which is normally another way of saying, ‘I didn’t read what you wrote because it was over my head.’

    I don’t know what I wrote that you think you agree with, but my suggestion is to go back and actually fucking read it. Carefully. Let the words soak in, don’t just skim over it while forming rebuttals in your empty head.

  267. @Meems

    Overall, I see the Jewish faith as more family-oriented and friendly than any other (that I know well enough to speak of) but ‘requiring’ abortion doesn’t sit any better with me than denying it. It should be her choice, period.

    A dear friend of mine had us all in a constant state of panic for her when liver tumors turned up during her pregnancy with her third daughter. Third. Meaning, she’d be leaving her other two daughters possibly motherless if the OBs panicked predictions of her certain demise turned out to be true. They hadn’t dealt with this issue before, when the mother wasn’t willing to abort for her own safety, so they had no idea what would happen. Believe me when I say it was a tense time for her family and that her choice wasn’t popular, or trusted.

    She was not the only one who had to live with her choice, she had a loving husband and daughters to think about. It was her choice to make. She elected to have a scheduled C-section and lived, and she and the baby are fine. The doctors were wrong, as doctors sometimes are – especially when there aren’t any index cases for them to study.

    I absolutely supported her right to do with her body what she chose to do with it. I worried, I wrung my hands, I sent her emails filled with my own panic that she read rather gracefully considering she had plenty on her own plate at the time. And she did live. If she hadn’t, maybe I’d feel differently – I really can’t say. But I can not imagine refusing to accept that it was her choice, and only hers, to make.

    Her liver tumors were the result of years of hormonal birth control, BTW. So we can all stop pretending that birth control doesn’t carry risks, no matter what method you use or don’t use. There are always risks.

  268. I have to say also that it absolutely staggers me when people make flatly absurd statements like, “I’m not judging this act, I’m just calling it immoral,” and then go on to build what they believe is an airtight argument that they aren’t what they are – which is a judgmental, simplistic moralizer WHO DOESN’T THINK THEY’RE A JUDGMENTAL, SIMPLISTIC MORALIZER.

    It’s like saying, “I never eat, but I manage to get by by chewing food and swallowing it.” WTF?! Staggering. Who uses words that way?? Do they make up definitions as they go along??!

    Like Seraphina’s perfect example above. Swap out abortion for anything else, and it’s beyond ridiculous. “Well, I don’t see how you can believe in choosing what you eat for yourself without also seeing how right it is for parents to STUFF FOOD DOWN THE THROATS OF CHILDREN AT WILL.” You don’t, huh? Are you even aware that you are a separate entity? And that children are people? I’ve dumbed down arguments for clarity before, but I honestly didn’t think I’d have to explain the difference between being a person and being *near* another person.

  269. @Hallie: No Jew I know of these days would disallow the woman from being part of the decision. My point was to counter two arguments. First, that the only life endangered by abortion is that of a (potential) child; and, second, that we can or should legislate about abortion based on religious morality.

    Ultimately, I agree with you, though. The choice must be the woman’s. I hope I never have to be in a position in which I feel that an abortion is my best choice, but it isn’t something I will rule out. I don’t live my life according to Jewish law, but I do find it somewhat reassuring that current interpretation among progressive rabbis includes mental health in potential threats to the well-being of a pregnant woman.

  270. “I don’t live my life according to Jewish law, but I do find it somewhat reassuring that current interpretation among progressive rabbis includes mental health in potential threats to the well-being of a pregnant woman.”

    As the *primary* consideration, actually – exactly. This is what I meant by ‘more family-oriented’ than blatantly paternalistic Catholocism, for instance (which is what I grew up with). I’d be more comfortable living by Jewish law than the laws we actually do live with. (Except the part barring bacon. *shudder*)

    Catholicism bars women from serving in responsible positions because they are ‘less than’, whereas Jewish practice is that women’s role in family is so important, so central, that she can’t be expected to choose between her responsibilities there and anywhere else – including the church. (temple?) If a person expected the effect to be the same, they would be very surprised to find how different the attitude is. And how self-assured and at peace the women are, knowing they are valued and their lives and personhoods are respected.

    Women are people. I don’t know how many ways to say it. Acknowledging women as people, as equals, is the central point behind this whole ball o’ wax.

  271. Abortion is not central to Jewish thought and life as it seems to be for Christians. The faith also tends to be more in the here and now as mentioned above. Follwoing Jewish law (and there are many, many interpretations) is for the good of the person and for having contact with the divine. There is no punishing aspect, the theory is you are only hurting yourself. That is one of the reasons they don’t care if others eat pork, mix the meat in the milk or go to the movies on Sat. This does not apply to some Orthodox groups in Israel but that is a whole other story. The Jewish model recognizes the needs of the community but also the indivisuality of each person.

    Rabbis do not hold the same authority as a priest. The congration is expected to argue with him or her.

  272. Abortion is not central to Jewish thought and life as it seems to be for Christians

    There are many different types of Christians; not all of them see abortion as a huge religious issue—though of course most of the violent anti-choice terrorist groups are connected to certain misogynist and fundamentalist Christian groups.

  273. @Hallie – Along with not following every Jewish law, I don’t keep kosher, and do enjoy bacon on occasion :)

    I don’t know how familiar you are with the main denominations of Judaism, but the idea of women being responsible solely for home and family is very traditional and not emphasized in the same way among 20th century denominations. It also excludes women who choose not to marry or have children. Regardless, having grown up East Coast Conservative with a female rabbi, I definitely always felt as though I was welcome in whatever aspect of Jewish life I chose. So yeah. Women *are* people. :)

  274. No, Jenny, abortion is not central to Jewish thought, but respect for human life, including the life of a pregnant women, is.

    Frankly, I don’t see how anything else is relevant.

  275. I do have such a gorgeous ‘headshot’, hope you ladies enjoy.
    Of course, in real life I’m a 49 yr old bald, toothless grandpa, but what the hell.
    Reality sucks huh?

  276. I do understand there are a variety of Christian denominations and the theology of each may differ as well as the opinions of the congregants.

    From my perspective, the US is a nation that is mostly Christian and they do dominate the culture. I don’t even think that is bad, it is just the result of demographics and immigration patterns. I have never seen any other group that protests abortion so vehemently and they do seem to do it because of how they interpret the bible.

    I know there are many Christians who are good and loving and see the bible as more about love and respect for humanity, I know many work for human rights and do charity work all around the world. I have forgotten that. It seems that I mostly see the bad about this religion because they make themselves so prominent.

    One of my favorites is love your neighbor, the rest is commentary.

    You make a good point and I feel better opening my mind and really looking for good, caring Christians. I know a lot of them and I need to remember they are out there and are doing good. I think another thing about the fundamentalist is that they they claim they are speaking on behalf of the entire Christian religion and there interpretation of the bible is the only one that is correct.

    I do not mean to criticize all Christians but the anti-ab groups, even the moderate ones, just seem like bullies to me. I also do not understand why there is such a great focus on abortion. I know many of these same people oppose gay marriage but abortion seems to be the dominant focus. I keep coming back to my thought that it is really a reaction to the emergence of modern life including women’s rights and that they want to set the clock back to a time when women were more easily dominated and controlled.

  277. Jenny, those Christian groups that are vehemently anti-abortion did not develop as a political force until the middle of the 20th century. It was simply one way televangelists like Billy Graham, et al. saw to insinuate Christianity into a nation that specifically prohibits forcing the beliefs of one group on all citizens. They latched on to abortion because it became a larger issue during the ’60s and ’70s with the women’s rights movement.

    Regardless, the United States may be a nation that is mostly Christian, but it is certainly not a Christian nation.

  278. JennyRose I think it is important to keep in mind that Dr. Tiller was gunned down in his church where is served as an usher. I do not think you need to look much further than Dr. Tiller to find a caring, committed pro-choice Christian. This was a man serving God in his church assassinated by a fanatic who claims to be worshiping the same God.

  279. As someone who was raised by a very Christian family in three states and 7 towns, and spent my life until I was about 15 or so pretty much only interacting with other Christians of various denominations (my extended family, all my parent’s friends, their kids, almost all the kids I was friends with- and those who weren’t Christian got evangelized when they came to our house, church, Sunday school, church activities, Christian summer camp, etc)- I don’t feel the many assumptions I tend to make about Christians now (as a very much non-Christian) are too far off-base. Is that wrong?

    I flatter myself that I have an open enough mine not to believe my stereotypes are universal and I would never dislike or treat someone badly just because of their religion… but there are just so many things most Christians have in common IME and I have found their views on abortion to be fairly monolithic.

  280. i think i’ve said all i can without turning into a raging, snarky stabber – i just want to say a couple of things to other commenters that i haven’t said while doing my dissertation on ethics. (ha)

    Lu, thanks for reading. It’s nice to be appreciated. And yes, I also found the improvised abbreviation (abortion = ab) to be very strange and somewhat patronizing – as if it might only be the *word* that people were reacting to. wha–? but when there are so very many logic fails to address, a person has to pick and choose. I’m glad you called that one out; someone had to.

    Meems – I didn’t mean that *only* traditional Jewish culture was family-centric and humane, just that when you compare their version of traditional to traditional in any other organized religion, Jewish culture is miles ahead of the times. (Traditional usually being a synonym for ‘oppressively patriarchal’.) Or more accurately, Jewish culture seems to have more effectively remained *behind* the times, by holding on tight to attitudes that honor values outside consumerism and refusing to be dismantled, appropriated, and chewed up and spit out by the raging machine of capitalism and corporatism. I’m not saying this very well (religious discussion isn’t my strong point) but I hope you see where I was going there.

    Amy How:
    “JennyRose I think it is important to keep in mind that Dr. Tiller was gunned down in his church where is served as an usher. I do not think you need to look much further than Dr. Tiller to find a caring, committed pro-choice Christian. This was a man serving God in his church assassinated by a fanatic who claims to be worshiping the same God.”

    RIGHT FUCKING ON.

    JennyRose, it seems you’ve gotten the impression that some folks are nit-picking one sentence here and there from what you’ve written to argue with. While one sentence is usually a better giveaway than others, I think you’re missing the point.

    Your overall judgment that abortion is wrong is not compatible with pro-choice philosophy as a whole. That is why you keep getting picked apart. You’re trying to play both sides of the fence and make everybody happy. “I agree with the nutjobs that abortion is wrong, but I also agree with you gals that it’s your right!” You can’t agree with both those things if you dig a quarter-inch below the surface. The only thing you could serve by not digging is your own impression of yourself as a peace-maker on a tough issue. It’s tough because it’s important. And both sides are not right here, because one group is actively working to terrorize and control the other.

    I understand wanting peace, but this is a chickenshit (and highly irritating, and as you can see, absolutely ineffective) way of going about trying to get it. There’s a lot of anger here because respect for our choices is not compatible with telling us what we’ve done is wrong. Abortion isn’t wrong, and it’s not merely a right we fight for. It’s a nice, hot flash point for arguing against the invasion and appropriation of our bodies by people who want to control us. You don’t get much more personal than putting your hands in someone’s vagina. That’s why anger.

    It’s our bodies we’re talking about. And not in a, “Well, *I* wouldn’t choose that shade of auburn, but it’s YOUR hair, honey!” sort of way. That’s condescending too, but it’s not as personal. You’re getting extremely personal when you stand on your pedestal of smug superiority and pretend you are above it all because you wouldn’t do this, personally, with your body.

    It’s already been said, but from someone (else) who’s been there: I honestly hope you never have to find out if you were right.

  281. Can I be the first to say, sekanblogger, wtf? No offense, but stepping in out of the blue to call us “chatty ladies” is a bit de trop.

  282. Yeah, sekanblogger, you are trying my last nerve. You’re acting like you’re the man who’s going to come in here and charm all us little ladies, and frankly, that is never ever going to work for you here. Please read this post in addition to our comments policy and keep in mind that your next OT “hey ladies/I’m a dude haha” post is going to get you banned.

  283. And Sekanblogger, the condescending attitude is particularly inappropriate on this particular comment thread.

  284. I have scars from helping women past throngs of OR protesters blocking entrances to WOMENS HEALTH CLINICS because sometimes we needed to help women over fences in order to get them into the clinics for their appointments.

    Thank you, Faith. Thank you for doing this.

  285. @sekanblogger who wrote:

    “Good day dear ladies. beatiful weather here today. You are a chatty bunch. I like that.

    Let me just swoon and bat my eyelashes at you as I twirl my hair cutely in response to your earth moving notice of my existence, in which I have dedicated my entire life’s energy seeking so that I can procure me some validation of my womanhood and achieve real worthiness as a human being. (sorry..run-on sentence, but hey….I think it still works) :)

    Dude….this is SO NOT the place for you to practice your pick up lines and validate some sense of entitlement and privilege that you were born with just because you have a penis. It IS the place to come to, on the otherhand, if you are looking for a better understanding of FA, empowerment in spite of physical attributes, or (because we’re mostly women here) insight into the rockin’, fascinating, and gloriously varied mindset of females.

    Peace out.

  286. JennyRose I think it is important to keep in mind that Dr. Tiller was gunned down in his church where is served as an usher. I do not think you need to look much further than Dr. Tiller to find a caring, committed pro-choice Christian. This was a man serving God in his church assassinated by a fanatic who claims to be worshiping the same God.

    Adding mine to Hallie’s RIGHT FUCKING ON.

    And sekanblogger, it’s wise not pat us on the collective head. We bite. In fact, what you thought was chatting was actually biting practice. If you watch closely and quietly you might learn to tell the difference.

  287. Your overall judgment that abortion is wrong is not compatible with pro-choice philosophy as a whole.

    I don’t think it is wrong. I never said that. I have been using the terms of others. I just am not sure that people who say it is killing a baby are wrong in their own minds. So don’t abort.

    As for me, if I haven’t said it clearly enough I would make the choice to abort. As I mentioned way up (I think, it has been a long time) I did consider it when I was pregnant b/c I had 2nd thoughts about having a baby. I also had amnio and dh and I both agreed we would abort if the tests showed problems.

    I just don’t think everyone needs to morally approve of it as long as I and every other woman in this country has that right. I also want that right, as well as better birth control and more positive attitudes towards female sexuality to be there when my daughter gets older.

  288. Ban-o-rama, I’m thinking. Much as I crave the blandishments of whatever dreamy males swoop in to bestow them, I just can’t get behind anyone arrogant enough to miss the point of the “Bitch” post.

  289. Lu said – “This might seem like a threadjack, but I think philosophically it’s not. Maybe a contributing factor to some peoples’ having a less personally emotional reaction to the discussion of abortion rights is that some people just don’t take life all that personally. For example, Buddhists, nihilists, existentialists, and the chronically depressed (some or all of which may or may not describe me—I’m not sayin’ ;) ). Huh.”

    Yeah, I suspect you may be right. I mean take the example of my husband posted above – he’s always been aware that his mother really didn’t want to be pregnant with him because her marriage was in trouble at the time, and that if abortion had been avaliable she may well have had one. But he’s firmly pro-choice, and would indeed react with “well if she had aborted me I just never would have been born and thus never would have known any different”. The fact that he’s a Buddhist (though he was raised Catholic) may well have something to do with that, or it may just be that some people are naturally less inclined to automatically go “but what about me?” just as a personality trait.

    OTOH I used to know a guy who was anti-abortion purely on the grounds that he was adopted and his mother might have had an abortion if she’d been able to. But he was one of the angriest-at-women men I’ve ever met so again, I think basic personality and circumstances are interacting there.

  290. @Lori
    I think it’s interesting that you use spanking as an analogy because I think the idea that society has a say in whether or not women have abortions is based on an unspoken belief that women are more like children than they are like male adults. What I mean is, the idea that spanking your kids is OK is based on the assumption that children do not have a right to bodily autonomy in the way that adults are assumed to, and also on the idea that children are not capable of proper reasoning and thus are subject to the rule of their parents, up to and including being hit if the parent deems that necessary.

    Can you really not see the similarity to the concept that other people have the right to decide what a woman is allowed to do with her body? What both share is the idea that some people (children, women) are not really full citizens in the sense that adult men are and that therefore other people are allowed to breach their bodily autonomy FOR THEIR OWN AND EVERYONE ELSE’S GOOD.

    Now, do you see why so many women see that underlying assumption and find it so incredibly offensive? You can say that you don’t mean to judge all you want, but you’re still supporting the underlying ideology, and that comes across loud and clear whenever you use the word “moral”.

  291. @CassandraSays
    YES.
    god, why is it that no matter how many times/ways we say this, there are people who stubbornly refuse to get it?!?

  292. @ hallie – Because people enjoy being judgemental, I suspect. And because the idea that women aren’t really fully adults is so ingrained that a lot of people don’t even realise that it’s influencing their attitudes.

    Which is infuriating coming from men, but from women it’s just depressing.

  293. Thanks, A Sarah, for dealing with our manly man friend there.

    And in case you’re still reading anyway, sekanblogger, to say this:

    Sorry. I just didn’t know life was that serious.

    on a thread about a doctor who was murdered in his own church is about the stupidest, least self-aware thing you could possibly do.

  294. AP is reporting that Dr. Tiller’s clinic will be closed. “Effective immediately, Women’s Health Care Services, Inc., will be permanently closed,” lawyers Dan Monnat and Lee Thompson announced in a statement e-mailed to reporters.

    I understand and respect the decision of the family. They have certainly sacrificed more than almost anyone else in the fight to keep choices viable. But that the terrorists are going to win, that murder as a tactic for political change is going to prevail, that all providers are less safe is sickening. God, the thought that these people can just murder enough people to get their way is really astonishing.

  295. I saw this too and am wondering about the safety of the few remaining doctors who provide this service. They and their families must now be under intense pressure. No one should have to live that way but they do.

    I also wonder to what extent OR and the right wing pundits are responsible. Maybe under the law they are not criminally responsible but they definitely helped set these events in motion. Also, as far as I have seen, they have not condemned the killer without reservation. It seems like they are giving him tacit approval. They are doing nothing to stop this from happening again. Did the murderer have friends like himself? I could see someone else out there wanting th glory of becoming a martyr for the cause. There statements that doctor’s murder are hollow and insincere when the immediately shift to demeaning Dr. Tiller? I hope there are no copycats because there is no one in their own community publicly trying to stop them.

    IAny clinic that provides abortions is at a higher risk than they were 10 days ago.

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