In light of the stigma, marginalization and demonization faced by abortion care providers, it is incumbent upon us women’s rights advocates to reflect on the positive impact their services bring to individual lives and society as a whole.
On this 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade we must unite to stem the violence compromising women’s right to safe, legal abortion access.
Unfortunately, discussion about violent rhetoric and its consequenses is not new to the abortion provider community. Since 1993, there have been eight murders and 17 attempted murders of physicians and clinic staff.
Teen girls are facing discimination in athletics, a transgender inmate vows to continue lawsuit against the state, the Massachusetts House sees a growing number of anti-choice lawmakers and more in today’s afternoon round-up!
The day after he was shot in both arms by an anti-abortion activist in 1993, Dr. George Tiller went back to work and announced, “Women need abortions and I’m going to do them.” This remarkably brave man had already endured years of harassment and threats: his clinic suffered $100,000 worth of damage after being bombed, weeks of blockades by glassy-eyed anti-abortion fanatics… he and his staff were stalked by these so-called “activists” who followed him home, yelled at him and everyone attending his church, and flyered his neighbors with “Wanted” posters. His staff, women like Drs. Susan Robinson and Shelly Sella, his office administrator and nurse, were similarly targeted with these posters: which often featured their photos, home addresses and other personal information.
Maddow’s documentary showed us the thoughts and faces of the two groups facing off over the life and legacy of Dr. Tiller. On the one side were brave, stoic providers. On the other, frenzied, angry demagogues motivated by hatred.
We who are pro-choice have got to change the rhetoric that surrounds issues of reproductive justice and legitimizes the intimidation, harassment, and even murder of providers. If we can do that we can help civilize the atmosphere of the country as a whole.
Slightly more than a year ago, so many of us lost so much: a beloved friend, an exceptional human being, a compassionate doctor, a skilled teacher and mentor, and an inspirational role model.
One year after Dr. Tiller’s murder, a network has been created to expand availability of later abortions, and disseminate accurate information on this topic to both clinicians and prospective patients.
I recently had the honor of addressing a group of abortion providers on “Resurrecting Our Moral Center.” I do not think it was coincidental that less than a year after Tiller’s murder, we were talking about resurrection. God, how much we miss him.