As we approach the first anniversary of the brutal and tragic assassination of Dr. George Tiller (May 2009), we are constantly reminded that a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion in this country is in perpetual danger. With only a handful of doctors left in the country who are able to perform the kinds of procedures Dr. Tiller gave his life for, we need a new generation of doctors who are willing to protect women like these good doctors have. Despite death threats, terrorism, physical assaults, and even death, these brave souls have fought back simply by going to work and doing what they do best.
How American conservatives view women & their personal agency
Regardless of your personal feelings about abortion, you should support women being able to seek safe medical care. Abortions happen no matter their legality. The only difference is that women become injured and even die when not given access to safe medical care and proper facilities.
It’s yet another shame on America that our women must seek medical care behind layers of bullet-proof glass and through a crowd of vicious protesters who have no empathy for their personal situation, nor any right to judge. Sometimes these protesters become patients at the very clinics they protest against!
Only 14, she came with her mother. “What brings you here?” Dr Hern asked. “I have to have an abortion.” “Why?” “I’m not old enough to have a baby.” “But you told the counsellor we should all be killed?” “Yes, you should all be killed.” “Why?” “Because you do abortions.” “Me too?” “Yes, you should be killed, too.” “Do you want me killed before or after I do your abortion?” “Before.”
Now that Dr. Tiller has been murdered, there is only one doctor in the United States that performs the same procedures in a professional, reliable manner.
“It is my view that we are dealing with a fascist movement. It’s a terrorist, violent terrorist movement, and they have a fascist ideology…” Dr Hern goes on like that for some time. Long before the first doctor got shot back in 1993, he was warning that it would happen. He was getting hate mail and death threats way back in 1970, just for working in family planning. They started up again in 1973, two weeks after he helped start the first non-profit abortion clinic in Boulder. “I started sleeping with a rifle by my bed. I expected to get shot.” In 1985, someone threw a brick through his window during a protest by the quote unquote Pro-Life Action League. He put up a sign that said THIS WINDOW WAS BROKEN BY THOSE WHO HATE FREEDOM. In 1988, somebody fired five bullets through his window. In 1995, the American Coalition of quote unquote Life Activists put out a hit list with his (and Tiller’s) name on it. The feds gave them protection for about six months, then left them on their own.
“People don’t get it,” he says. “After eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 406 death threats, 179 assaults, and four kidnappings, people are still in denial. They say, ‘Well, this was just some wingnut guy who just decided to go blow up somebody.’ Wrong. This was a cold-blooded, brutal, political assassination that is the logical consequence of 35 years of hate speech and incitement to violence by people from the highest levels of American society, including but in no way limited to George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jesse Helms, Bill O’Reilly, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Reagan may not have been a fascist, but he was a tool of the fascists. Bush was most certainly a tool of the fascists. They use this issue to get power. They seem civilised, but underneath you have this seething mass of rabid anger and hatred of freedom that is really frightening, and they support people like the guy who shot George – they’re all pretending to be upset, issuing statements about how much they deplore violence, but it’s just bullshit. This is exactly what they wanted to happen.”
As if on cue for this tragic anniversary, Nebraska has passed a recent set of draconian laws restricting their state’s residents from obtaining abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, arguing that the fetus responds to pain at this point. However, this is a hypocritical stance because America is a country where we routinely slaughter animals who feel a great deal more pain and possess higher cognitive functions than fetuses under abortion. The woman is merely an afterthought of this legislation, and lawmakers callously push aside her pain and suffering in deference to the cluster of cells in her abdomen. A woman taxpayer is again reduced to the role of “baby-machine” in this society. No matter her own opinion, when viewed as a “baby-machine”, all other personal agency is ripped away despite America being “the freest place on earth”.