And I am glad I can write those words.There were time when we thought Roe would die.
I have seen the law giving women the right to safe legal abortion on demand without apology hacked at and attacked and weakened year after year.
And I feared that the new health care plan would have left abortion care out, and left women standing on the side of the road with another empty promise .
Today is also the 5th annual Blog for Choice, and my first time writing for it.
I am reprising a post I made about Dr. Tiller.
And I dedicate this to him, and all of the doctors and clinic workers that have been murdered by the anti- choice religious right.
And I espcecially dedicate this to my sisters in the Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights (BACORR). We trusted each other with our lives as we stood toe-to-toe with the bullies trying to violently shut down abortion clinics.
And I honor Senator Barbara Boxer for her intense and tenacious fight to keep abortion care in the healthcare bill. We put our trust in President Obama, but he was waffling on this issue. We were smarter to trust a woman to do the job and that she did.
And let us never forget the women that died at the hands of back alley butchers, or by their own hand trying to end an unwanted pregnancy.
For those of you that have always had reproductive freedom, do not take this right lightly, be ever vigilant, and never ever compromise. And trust women to fight for you and stand with you to protect your right to a safe , legal abortion on demand and without apology. Do not depend on the government, elected officials, nor the police to protect your right. Demand that they uphold this law, and hold them accountable when they let you down.
And here are my words about Dr. Tiller:
As a pro choice activist, I say to Dr. and Ms. Tiller: you are both heroes. Dr. Tiller, you stood for what is right, and good about Roe v Wade. You stood up for women. And for girls. And if it is true that you performed abortions on 10, 13, and 14 year old girls*, you are a savior. (*as stated in the Washington times, April 9, 2009).
And to the people that brought suit against Dr. Tiller, for saving the future for those young girls, have you arrested the men that impregnated these girls? Having sex with minors is rape, a criminal act. Dr. Tiller was performing, safe, legal medical procedures. He was tried as a criminal, and what of those rapists?
As a pro-choice activist that has stood toe to toe with the anti-choice terrorists, I say this:”If you don’t believe in abortion, don’t have one. Go home, and pray in private where religion belongs, not in medical establishments.” And I ask you this: ” If you are such lovers of God, and Jesus, and life, why are you killing people?”
And I remind the public that in the 90’s when the greater San Francisco Bay area, and San Jose particularly, was under siege by these bullies, one of their number, a southern minister said that killing abortion clinic workers, volunteers, patients and especially the doctors was “justifiable homicide”. He called for his followers to do their duty and search us out and kill us. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Imagine having made the decision to end a pregnancy, not one taken lightly by most women, arriving at the clinic and being accosted by some wild-eyed crazy, wrapped in the American flag, holding posters of severed monkey heads, passing them off as fetuses and screaming, “Mother remember this is the death day of your baby.”
Imagine arriving at a clinic in the dark hours before dawn to join women and men to be a human barrier to protect a clinic. Put yourself here: it is cold, it is dark, our infiltrators let us know that the antis were going to hit one of several clinics in our area. You are holding a wooden shield and are linked arm in arm with others holding shields. You and your shield are part of a human barrier, protecting the clinic door. The air is tight with tension. Your mouth is dry, you are not a trained athlete, not a big person, just a committed pro-choice volunteer, you hope they don’t come. You don’t really know if you are up to the physical battle. And then:
Vans pull up and BIG, loud , screaming men, burst out and assault you, trying to push you back, push you down, trample you, kill you even, all in the name of Jesus Christ. It is terrifying. Imagine seeing the police who are sworn to uphold the law standing by doing nothing. Did you also get the point: “big, screaming M-E-N?” Most of the battle against abortion and the terrorist attacks are perpetrated by men. This is not about saving babies, this is about control: control of women. Most of the clinicn defenders are women.
Dr. Tiller did not come to being an abortion provider lightly either. It was the women in his practice who came to him, and in their desperation, educated him about abortion. Dr. Tiller could have stopped his work. He had been shot before, his clinic had been fire-bombed. No one would have blamed him for stopping. Instead, he chose to continue to help women and girls take control of their bodies.
In those dark pre-dawn hours, and into the entire day of the battle for the clinic door, we chanted to keep our spirits up:
Our bodies! Our Lives! Our right to decide!
We hoisted up banners proclaiming:
This clinic is OPEN!
Dr. Tiller, my heart is heavy. Ms. Tiller, my condolences, your loss is immeasurable.
Kansas and America have lost a hero.