Originally written for The Guardian, condensed version can be seen there.
In 2008, over 5,000 UK women under the age of 20 had an abortion that was not their first. As was made clear by the alarmist headlines following the publication of those numbers, this is a big concern for the public.
That's the verbatim response to the question "What if I want to have sex before I get married?" in "No Second Chance," a film that is part of Sex Respect, an abstinence-only program.
This particular message in the video, that sex (and only sex outside of heterosexual marriage) equals death is a common thread in many, if not most, abstinence-only curricula and programs. I figured it was high time we just unpack it, take a good look at the real deal, and be done with it.
The murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller on May 31st has resulted in a lot of conversation about abortion. It’s a topic frequently hushed, or spoken about more around its politics than the actual procedure, the experience itself and the real women who have abortions. So this increased discussion is certainly something potentially positive happening because of something horribly tragic.
However, often in these conversations and news stories, language is used that's confusing or inaccurate, and some statements are made about abortion or women who choose abortion which are false, unrepresentative or misleading. And any of this can come from either “side” of abortion debates or discussions, due to political aims or motivations, ideological ideas or agendas or just out of plain old ignorance.
All of us who work at clinics that provide abortion, or as abortion or reproductive rights educators or advocates know we do so at substantial risk. Women who come to our clinics as clients also know that they, too, may be at risk. The slaying of Dr. Tiller yesterday is tragic and upsetting, but it is not surprising or new. We didn’t become scared for the first time yesterday. We’ve always been scared, and we have always had cause to be scared.
The murder of Dr. George Tiller at his church yesterday morning -- based on the information we have so far – was domestic terrorism, and terrorism which has been known and prevalent for some time.
Very sad news: A prominent abortion provider, George Tiller, was shot and killed this morning inside his church in Wichita, Kansas. He was one of the few remaining doctors in the US who perform therapeutic late-term abortions after 25 weeks (to 28 LMP). Unfortunately, Dr. Tiller was regularly targeted by radical anti-abortion groups; his clinic was bombed in 1986 and he was shot and wounded in 1993.