A Sad Day


I am still reeling from the shock that a man shot George Tiller in
front of his church on Sunday morning. I can’t seem to wrap my mind
around the fact that after years of harassment, death threats and
shootings, George Tiller is dead. Words cannot describe the loss of
this man.

My favorite quote from him:

Make no mistake about it this battle is about
self-determination by women of the direction and course of their lives
and their family’s lives. Abortion is about women’s hopes and dreams.
Abortion is a matter of survival for women. -George Tiller, 2001

The man who took his life is known to believe that violence is
justified in protecting the lives of the ‘unborn.’ The man who robbed
the Tiller family of a husband, father, and grandfather, is a product
of the vitriolic rhetoric of the so-called pro-life movement. The
movement that values the lives of unborn fetuses above the lives of
those already living. Already, these anti-life, anti-woman,
anti-freedom forces are mustering to distance themselves from the ‘lone
lunatic’ they created. Already the are disparaging those of us who
fight for women’s dignity and justice for ‘using this tragedy’ for
political ends.

No my friends, it is not we who use any and all means to gain
political advantage. It is not the reproductive justice movement that
feels that any means justifies the ends. That is the strategy and
tactics of those among you who feel you have the right to dictate
morality, to judge other peoples’ lives and find them wanting. We are
not using this tragedy, we are pointing out the senseless violence that
your rhetoric has spawned.

Dr. George Tiller was a generous, compassionate, brave and
determined man who believed that women have the right to determine the
course of their own lives. He worked long and hard to provide services
to women who faced difficult choices and made heart-wrenching
decisions. He saved more lives than any three of the leaders today
’standing firm’ in their anti-abortion rhetoric, combined. But those
were women’s lives, so they are not as important…

The media are falling over themselves wondering what this tragedy
will do to the ‘common ground’ conversation that President Obama has
called for to ‘end the culture wars’ on abortion. How does the heinous
murder of a good man change the national debate on abortion? How do you
find common ground with people who want you dead? While I am sure there
are good, well-meaning people who are opposed to abortion, I fail to
see what part they play in this conversation. I am tired of states and
courts deciding what kinds of abortions are ok and what are not, of
deciding what hoops a woman must jump through to obtain an abortion,
like she needs a license to make decisions about her own body, her own
life, her own family. I bloody sick that there needs to be any debate
at all. I want to go back to the ‘radical’ days of the women’s
liberation movement:

Free Abortion on Demand.

We will find common ground when women get the rights and respect
they deserve as human beings. This isn’t about politics or political
gain, this is about women’s lives. And now it’s about the life of a man
who believed in helping women live the lives they wanted.

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