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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Dr. George Tiller: 1941-2009

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Author Topic: Dr. George Tiller: 1941-2009
wobblyheadedjane
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 11569

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On Sunday, May 31st, one of the only 3 physicians in the United States who would perform abortions past the 26th week was shot to death in the lobby of his Lutheran church as he was ushering parishioners for the Sunday service.

Many women since have been coming forward with testimonials to the compassion and care they received under Dr. Tiller when they were faced with a difficult decision to make late in their pregnancy:

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2009/06/01/patients-remember-dr-tiller/

http://community.feministing.com/2009/05/an-abortion-provider-reacts-to.html

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/06/02/mercy-abortions-what-dr-tiller-did


...and many more. Many people are calling this an act of terror, and it is. It's an act of terror against all who fight for choice and agency over their reproduction.

Let's talk about actions (the memorial fund in Dr. Tiller's name has raised over $15k in just over 24 hours!), reactions (how do you feel about this?) and other news articles relating to Dr Tiller's murder and his impact on women during his life.

[ 06-02-2009, 06:51 PM: Message edited by: wobblyheadedjane ]

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Unlucky at cards; lucky at love.

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Ecofem
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Thank you so much for posting this, wobblyheadedjane! Those personal stories were so heartwrenchingly beautiful and a testament to some of all the good, the great, that Dr. Tiller had done. Of course, choosing to terminate a pregnancy is never a "light" decision but I can only imagine how it is to have an abortion in the eighth month. I think it goes back to the idea of it all being about the individual right to choose because, as empathetic as we *can* be, at the same time we can never truly understand what each individual person goes through and should leave those options to the individuals.

As for other comments, how sadly ironic that Dr. Tiller was shot *inside* his house of worship. I think the more people learn about his life, the more they understand what providing abortions and the right to choose is really about. Among other things, that the people who receive them and the doctors who perform them can be and often are religious people themselves; in other words, the terms and stereotypes many anti-choice people attach to the procedure are just totally bunk.

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atm1
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I've been reading a lot about this for the past couple days.

I've understood for a long time that late term abortions are almost exclusively done in desperate cases, where either the fetus can't survive or the mother's health is at grave risk. That alone has puts me in a different place from most people.
It frustrates me when people say that if birth control was used perfectly, we could have a world without abortion, just because I understand that there are circumstances when women must terminated wanted pregnancies. There will always be a need for abortion in some cases, and it scares me when people claim that abortions should only happen when the woman's life is at risk, because where do you draw that line? When there's a 50% chance that the woman will die? Do you need to wait until her systems start to shut down before performing the procedure?

I'm terrified to think that there's a chance I could die because a doctor won't terminate a pregnancy when my health is at risk. I hope this country changes enough that I won't have to worry about my (possible, future) daughters dying that way.

The maternal mortality rate is shamefully high in the US compared to other developed countries, and I think a lot of it has to do with the attitude that women can't make their own choices involving pregnancy and birth. Women are told to trust their doctors, when doctors push c-sections over natural births. Women aren't trusted to make decisions about their care, or even whether or not they want to have a child. Available abortions, at any point in pregnancy, are one really important way to protect maternal health.

Dr. Tiller understood that. He cared. It scares me that I live in a country where people believe they are right to kill a man who worked so hard to protect and help women. I'm scared to be a pregnant woman in this country, even though I know I want children in the future. I'm scared that, if I need someone like him, there will be no doctors like Tiller to care for me. And I don't think that's an unreasonable fear...

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I'm still not having the easiest time talking about this, but here's my piece from the Guardian today: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/03/dr-tiller-abortion-clinics?commentpage=1

A more expanded version (Guardian pieces need to be very short) will be up at the blog later tonight.

I just want to add that even when we aren't talking late-term, even when we aren't talking about fetal abnormalities, a mother's life and other of the most dire circumstances, I don't think that would mean we'd have no need for abortion. Women have a need to have control over our bodies and to have control of our reproductive systems because of how linked to us and our lives they are.

I really like your para on maternal mortality, atm: I'd agree with that, and found it really astute.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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And here's the longer version at our blog: http://www.scarleteen.com/blog/heather/2009/06/04/what_weve_lost_why_we_stay

(And with that, I'm off to the clinic.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Jill2000Plus
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I just want to say how sorry I am about this, all those pro-lifers do realise that what they did is the equivalent of shooting somebody who spend their life physically defending women from rapists, right? What on earth makes people not realise that women should have the right to control their bodies?

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I also wanted to share something I came inside and journaled the day Dr. Tiller was assassinated. I did a bunch of very athletic weeding to try and find some catharsis, and found in it a metaphor that had a lot of truth for me:

An inexperienced gardener will often ask how it is, exactly, we know which the weeds are, and which are not.

The most simple answer is,
of course,
that I know what I want in my garden, and I know what I don't. I get to make that determination because it's all growing (or not) in my soil.

My neighbor or some bird passing by might drop a seed in it; that does not alter whose ground it is, and who's right it is to choose what grows there: it is my own, and sovereign. It is my own say, and only mine, what gets nurtured and kept, and what is pulled, or let go to seed. However lovely everything growing might be, whatever it's right is to grow, it may be that this plant will keep that one from growing. It may be that I either cannot afford or simply do not care to grow anything at all this year or that one -- even every year there is -- leaving the soil fertile, but barren. I may even want to burn out all the seed entirely. Again, my soil: my right to do with it what I will.

And sometimes it may be that this plant or that may well have grown into something more marvelous than I thought it would, and I will never see that result. And it may be that I accidentally pull a plant I did not intend to: but that is my regret, if I have one, to carry; my sorrow to hold, if I have sorrow. All of that is the nature of my life and my life in this particular body: no matter what we do, no matter what we choose, there is a certain and unique weight that lives between our hips and in our hearts.

And we can't always tend to our gardens on our own. If we're lucky, some other gentle gardener who understands, and cares to help, with no claim of ownership over the ground that is ours, will lend a hand. In the midst of storm, his hands, too, may become injured or bloodied; her heart, too, may sometimes be heavy. This is not light business: whatever we do, unless we stay from the soil completely, blood, sweat, tears, aches, strains and all the thick mud of our lives are afoot.

The best of help -- genuine help -- will not second-guess, will not presume ownership or a share of our crops, but will simply ask us what we need and then tend to it generously, offering counsel of his own only if we ask for it first. She will not ask if we're absolutely certain we want these plants to go or that to stay, or enter into philosophical arguments with us about their own ideas about the way to garden. They will not seek to speak for the weeds, nor for us: they are listeners with gentle nods, able hands who trust our hearts and their own and respect the soil.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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