Dr. Tiller’s Death

I’ve been thinking about re-starting this blog for some time, 6 months is longer than I thought I’d be gone.  However, the tragic events of this past weekend motivated me to come back to this space.  I’ve cross posted this at my crafty/personal blog, BashfullyDesigned.

You can watch the entire segement at the Rachel Maddow show website (I couldn’t get the MSNBC video player to embed).

The news of Dr. George Tiller’s death shocked me. After an incredible and peaceful Sunday with friends the news came up on my Twitter feed and my first thoughts were “no no no.” There is little commentary for me to add to the many moving and touching tributes paid to Dr. Tiller in the past two days. I will say only this– in the summer I spent working for Planned Parenthood I never met anyone motivated by anything other than a deep compassion for women and their families. So much hatred and invective gets spewed at brave men and women who have chosen to help women in desperate circumstances.

I am deeply upset that in 21st century America women need to be escorted into clincis for routine medical procedures (abortion only makes up about 2% of Planned Parenthood’s services), that compassion for women is now a political act, and that moral cowardice characterizes a group of people who claim to have God on their side. How dare they kill a man in his own church! How dare the anti-choicers claim that this is a justifiable act. Anyone who thinks that doctors “talk women into” aborting a fetus has never spent time with the doctors, nurses, and abortion counselors who work in American clinics. They listen to terrible stories of abuse, of cancer and fetal deformity, of families on the bring of bankruptcy and they hold these women’s hands, keep their stories, and support the choices of all women without judgement.

After the jump I’e posted some links to a variety of stories on Dr. Tiller, his death, and how the new generation of pro-choice activists need to confront this challenge. Please consider donating to Medical Students for Choice and/or Physicians for Reproductive Choice. As they say, “without providers there is no choice.” You can also ask President Obama to revive the National Task Force on Violence Against Health Care Providers. Coverage of Dr. Tiller’s murder that is particularly interesting or useful (this is by no means exhaustive):

  • Rachel Maddow dedicated about 40 minutes to coverage of Dr. Tiller’s death and the many attacks on doctors by anti-abortion extremists.
  • Gloria Feldt’s piece at Salon.com, “George Tiller needs more than candlelight vigils
  • Frank Schaeffer, a former leader in the anti-choice movement, wrote in the Huffington Post
  • Ann Friedman’s piece in The American Prospect emphasizes why clinic violence needs to be addressed as a national secrutiy/federal level issue.
  • The New York Times blog “The Opinonator” did a round up of opinions on Dr. Tiller’s death as a ‘moral murder’
  • Anderson Cooper interviewed a doctor based in Colorado, Dr. Hern, about his relationship with Dr. Tiller and the threats abortion providers face daily (also, unrelated, they show some footage from the DC vigil and you can see me! on CNN! toward the end of the clip– about 5:40).
  • Check out the National Abortion Federation’s documentation of the history of violence against providers/clinics.
  • Many, many members of the Feministing community wrote about Dr. Tiller’s death.
  • Check out your local news about vigils in support of Dr. Tiller and/or your local abortion clinic. Find organizations to get involved with! There were nearly 200 people at the vigil here in DC.
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