Please don’t ask me to write a history of violence against doctors and clinics who provide reproductive medical care to women.
If you are at all aware, if you have read a newspaper in the past 25 years, you know. You just know.
The Wichita Eagle has a full page of reaction to Dr. George Tiller’s murder on its front page. Last night, mourners turned out to hold a vigil for Dr. Tiller. As usual, those who like to dance on others’ graves also turned out, with their hateful signs. These signs were similar to the hateful twitter messages that ChangeAgent has so masterfully documented over at her blog.
When President Obama said that he wanted to meet in the middle on the abortion issue a few weeks ago, I wrote then that I felt as if he had just thrown women under the bus. There is no middle with anti-abortion extremists. They are not interested in meeting in the middle. They are only interested in one thing: eradicating all abortion, all access to abortion. In many cases, they want to eliminate access to certain forms of birth control, (some–all forms of birth control), and, if they can’t get what they want by legal means, they practice terrorism.
Thus, yesterday was inevitable.
The anti-abortion violence of the 1980’s and 1990’s, when clinics and OB-GYNs were slaughtered–some in their own homes, as Dr. Slepian was, were horrible times. They have left us now, with the experience of going to Planned Parenthood and having to pass through metal detectors and bullet proof glass. If you are going into a clinic where abortions are performed, you have to pass by people who feel it is their job to judge you, no matter why you might be going to the clinic.
These people have no compassion. You may be having to go in for a D&C because your fetus has died inside you–you’re still a babykiller in their eyes. You may be the victim of rape. Babykiller. You may simply be too young, or too poor, or not able to care for a child–you’re a babykiller.
Funny, but I don’t see those same people outside urologists’ offices screaming at men that getting a vasectomy constitutes being a sperm-killer or a potential baby killer.
I wish I could write something eloquent, something full of compassion for those who oppose abortion so violently and ask, “can’t we all get along?”
But I don’t have that in me today.
I am mourning Dr. Tiller. I am mourning the women who decided today that they are too frightened to take care of their medical needs. I am mourning the areas of the country that will lose access to adequate medical care for women. I am mourning the messages that are being sent out–once again–to women that their bodies don’t matter. The only thing that counts about a woman’s body is that she can produce babies. And if she wants to not produce babies, well, if we can’t stop you legally, we’ll close the clinics, kill the doctors, tighten the noose so that you will have to travel thousands of miles to find help.
I grieve. Please don’t ask me to be rational or make sense.
I grieve. And I’m angry.
I grieve, but I will not hurt someone in return.
I grieve, but you will not silence me.
I will grieve, and then I will do whatever I can to fight for reproductive rights.
I repeat the pledge I made a few weeks ago: I will purchase Plan B contraception for any woman who needs it.
To the hate-mongers on television who equate abortion with murder: you condoned this, you encourage those who are unhinged to carry out your dirty work. You should be held accountable. I will not hurt you with violence. But I will write to your advertisers, and I will encourage those who advertise with you, to withdraw their advertising or ask them why they support terrorist sympathizers.
For this is what this is. Terrorism. Plain and Simple. Not done by “foreigners.” But by “Americans.”
There is no excuse for it. None.
And we will fight you. Peacefully. But relentlessly. We will not go back to the days of coat hangers and illegal abortions. We will not sneak around to maintain sovereignty OVER OUR OWN BODIES.
We are here. We are not going away. And you will not frighten us.