Jesurgislac’s Journal

June 27, 2010

Why is abortion like setting fire to kittens?

As many of you may know, I am a fervent and committed believer in a woman’s right to choose: I support all six demands of the women’s liberation movement: equal pay, equal employment opportunity, free contraceptive services, abortion on demand. (The last demand, free 24-hour childcare, I think is brilliantly utopian, world turned upside down, but the first five are all achievable in our present political state….)

Setting fire to kittens, on the other hand: inarguably wrong. Even if you hate cats, and as many of you may know, I am a fervent and committed cat worshipper whisperer.

Pro-lifers generally run blogs that do not accept dissenting viewpoints. (They’re like gay marriage opponents in that way.) But for pro-lifers, the “dissenting viewpoint” can be anything like “Contraception is a good way of preventing abortions” or scientific facts about how methods of contraception work, to assertions that women have abortions for all sorts of reasons, including the purely economic fear of losing your job, and these reasons are none of them outrageous or wicked. If you don’t want a woman who works for a Catholic school to have an abortion because she can’t afford to lose her job, then – as the ACLU did – you fight the case of a woman fired for getting pregnant, so that Catholic schools in future will refrain from encouraging their employees from having abortions. If you think a high abortion rate is a bad thing, you fund free access to contraception, you put in place sex education in schools that encourages children to think about sex positively as a source of pleasure for themselves and each other and using contraception whenever they have sex unless they intend to engender a child, you provide maternity care and paid maternity leave and rights for working parents to have time to care for their children and earn a living. We know that pro-lifers are not interested in reducing the number of abortions because, as a political movement, and, mostly, as individuals, they support none of these things.

What are pro-lifers interested in?

They hate abortion. And they want you to know they hate abortion.

Part of this goes right along with hating abortion because it means women can have, in the pro-life euphemism, “sex without consequences” – why pro-lifers also oppose free access to contraception. Women, in this view of things, ought not to be allowed to have sex joyfully, for her own pleasure, without fear: the fear of becoming pregnant is something that ought always to be looming over a woman’s mind when she thinks about having sex. Especially an unmarried women: hence pro-life support for firing an unmarried woman who decided not to have an abortion. This hatred of women having sex for pleasure is very strong in the pro-life movement, and for many years I’ve assumed it to be the key motivator. There’s considerable evidence for this in the policies/campaigning of the pro-life movement, as this post by Ampersand outlines:

In contrast, the leaders of the abortion criminalization movement have consistently put their political weight behind policies which make little or no sense if they genuinely think that abortion is identical to child murder. And those same leaders routinely endorse policies that make a lot of sense if their goal is to penalize women who have sex – to, as I’ve heard many of them put it, make sure women “face the consequences” of having sex. And they’ve done so with the apparent backing and blessing of the vast majority of the rank and file. [Further analysis at Alas a Blog.]

This belief – that denying access to abortion is an effective means of turning pregnancy into punishment and babies into “consequences” – is why many pro-lifers say they think abortion ought to be allowed for rape or incest, or to save a woman’s life.

But for some pro-lifers, that’s still not acceptable. For them, the key is hating abortion, and hating people who support the right to have an abortion. They don’t care about women dying: they don’t care about fetuses dying, or babies dying: they certainly don’t care about preventing abortions, because where would their source of hate be then?

I read this post on Slacktivist about false witness some time ago; Fred illustrated his point with reference to an awful incident the paper he worked for had reported on, a “group of disturbed and disturbing children doused a kitten with lighter fluid and set it on fire” and other incidents in which disturbed and disturbing people had done this awful thing. Fred noted that people were universally and unsurprisingly against kitten-burning:

But one also came away from reading that thread with the sense that people seemed to think this ultra-minimal moral stance made them exceptional and exceptionally righteous. Like the earlier editorial writers, they seemed to think they were exhibiting courage by taking a bold position on a matter of great controversy. Whatever comfort might be gleaned from the reaffirmation that most people were right about this non-issue issue was overshadowed by the discomfiting realization that so many people also seemed to want or need most others to be wrong.

The kitten-burners seem to fulfill some urgent need. They give us someone we can clearly and correctly say we’re better than. Their extravagant cruelty makes us feel better about ourselves because we know that we would never do what they have done. They thus function as signposts of depravity, reassuring the rest of us that we’re Not As Bad As them, and thus letting us tell ourselves that this is the same thing as us being good.

Hating abortion is a political tool to get people to vote against their own economic self-interests: as Avedon at the Sideshow summarises succinctly: “the lie that the anti-abortion movement was an organic reaction to Roe v Wade, but of course that’s not true – like everything else, it was orchestrated by rich right-wingers as part of their ongoing program to polarize society.”

In the US in the 1970s, racism was becoming less and less acceptable as a means by which right-wing politicians could convince working-class white Americans to vote and even campaign against their own economic interests. (As an example: By the end of that decade,even the Mormon Church had had to receive a revelation from God that it was unacceptable to ban black men from the priesthood. But in the 21st century, the Mormon Church actively campaigns for discrimination against lesbians and gays.) In 2002, the then-Senate Majority leader, Trent Lott, had to apologize for saying that the United States would have avoided all these problems if the racist Strom Thurmond had been elected President in 1948: in 2004, George W. Bush could endorse a national campaign for homophobic bigotry and inequality.

But if you can’t, any more, use racism as a trigger to get people to vote against their own economic self-interest, what can you use to drum up hatred? In the 1970s, the LGBT equality movement wasn’t widespread enough for gay-hating to work as a national trigger – too many parts of the US where LGBT people just kept their heads down and tried to be invisible and inaudible – but women, everywhere, need access to abortion and contraception. Turn this natural human need into a hate campaign and you’re off to a winner.

Abortion is like setting fire to kittens not because human fetuses are like kittens (there is no lolfetuses website) but because pro-lifers get their buzz out of believing themselves to be better than others. The opposition of pro-lifers to intact dilation and extraction, and their invention of the non-medical term “partial birth abortion”, is otherwise inexplicable: IDX is an abortion technique, one which can be safer for a woman who needs an abortion in late pregnancy, but banning IDX will not prevent any abortions: it merely ensures that a method which may be less safe for the woman must be used. Many pro-lifers have reacted with anger and rejection when asked if their opposition to IDX is because they want women to be hurt or permanently damaged: apparently what they want is a return to the pre-IDX days when the only way to remove a dead or dying fetus from the uterus was piecemeal. This belief that IDX in particular is bad makes no sense to many people, but if what pro-lifers want is the reassurance that they’re better than people who support a woman’s right to choose, thus letting them tell themselves that this is the same thing as “being good”, then it makes sense that they want abortion to appear “extravagantly cruel“. Performing IDX means the fetus can be removed intact, allowing the parents to hold the body as they mourn their loss: to pro-lifers this is as unacceptable as legislation for social justice is to Trotskyites who believe in a worker’s revolution.

I was 27 weeks by this point. I was terrified. The moment I met the doctor, all of that ended. He was a wonderful and loving man. I came in on Monday and gave birth to our baby girl on Friday. We were able to hold her after, and say our goodbyes. That doctor will always be in my heart. (From A Heartbreaking Choice, the website set up to commemorate Doctor George Tiller’s work.)

Pro-lifers are the movement for setting fire to kittens. They are not interested in preventing abortions: they are not interested in protecting women from harm. They are not interested in saving fetal lives. What they want is to compare access to abortion with the holocaust, with slavery, with torture – they want abortion to be performed as dangerously as possible: they want to claim that abortion is dangerous and performed by uncaring people; they want to campaign against evil like brave, brave, brave Sir Robin without actually running any risks because the evil empire they tourney against is entirely of their own invention.

Unfortunately, the women condemned to suffer and die from their tourneying are not.

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!

June 1, 2010

Why doesn’t this surprise me?

Gerard Nadal, the pro-lifer who showed up on my radar a week ago when he argued that (a) it was wrong for a Catholic hospital to perform a life-saving abortion; (b) it would have been better to let a pregnant woman die than perform an abortion anyway; turns out to be the kind of pro-lifer who prefers a high abortion rate to the free provision of contraception.

He doesn’t like the idea of abortions being safely and legally provided, nor does he care for organisations which provide free health care to women and children in developing countries. Explicitly, he’s against Marie Stopes International for its provision of:

In 2008 alone, MSI provided over six million people in 42 countries with high quality health services, including family planning; safe abortion & post-abortion care; maternal & child health care including safe delivery and obstetrics; diagnosis & treatment of sexually transmitted infections; and HIV/AIDS prevention. Millions of people die unnecessarily each year from health conditions that could be prevented or treated at low cost because they do not have access to basic sexual and reproductive health services. Marie Stopes International is working to change that.

Nor is he the least ashamed to say so, right out on a public blog: he’s for women dying. Women in the US, if they make the mistake of going to a Catholic hospital where the local Bishop has recently made clear that pregnant women must be left to die if their pregnancy is killing them: women in undeveloped countries, if their only resource is humanitarian agencies like Marie Stopes.

In a way, Catherine Palmer and Gerard Nadal are the Two-Face of the Gotham villainy that is the pro-life movement. Catherine Palmer, who wrote the very sweet post that was the subject of my last rant, is all about saving the fetuses: she doesn’t want to look at denying women health care and basic human rights (and I imagine, never will: she’s also the only woman, and the newest, posting at Ethika Politika.) Gerard Nadal as consistently promotes the openly-misogynist pro-life cause: the belief that women do not deserve to live unless they can be forced to bear children, that no organisation that prioritises women’s health and welfare deserves to exist.

But, whichever face was turned towards you: Two-Face was always dangerously insane.

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: Liver and Chianti

Pro-lifers tend to be in agreement that forced use of organs is immoral: they just make an exception for using the uterus (using the organs of a pregnant woman) without her consent. As the essay The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion has already demonstrated, the anti-choicers are themselves unwilling for their own bodies to be used against their will: men can’t get pregnant,and pro-life women have abortions as often as pro-choice women.

“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

Many more eggs are fertilsed than there are babies born. For a baby to be created from a fertilised egg, a woman must be willing to use her body – not only her uterus, but her heart (which must beat for two); her liver, her kidneys, her guts – all of her bodily resources are used in the process of making a baby.

As I noted in a comment on Catherine Palmer’s blog Ethika Politika (the blog of the Center for Morality in Public Life) the pro-life argument against medically-required abortions is that women have no right to life or health if their bodies are being used by a fetus: explicitly, that fetuses are more valuable than women. (That the only way to keep a fetus alive, safe, and supported through pregnancy is to ensure that the health and life of pregnant women is made a priority, is something that does not appear to have occurred to pro-lifers.)

The pro-life argument against elective abortions, is that a fetus has the right to make use of a woman’s body against her will, because a fetus is a “person”. But that’s not a workable argument if a woman is a person: because then she has an inalienable right to decide for herself not to use her body to bring a fetus to term.

To rephrase the very basic statement of morality made by a member of the pro-life community against forced organ use: The [pro-life] community has tempted some to seek a weakening of the strict ethical rules which prevent patients—no matter how sick or catastrophically disabled—from ever being treated as a mere organ system rather than an equal member of the moral community.

The key rule is: Organs will be taken only if consent is freely given—either by the patient or by family members (if the patient is catastrophically disabled or otherwise unable to consent). That informed and freely given consent is both a legal and an ethical principle. Arguments that the use of an organ is for the “common good”, that saving life justifies taking the use of an organ against that person’s will, are profoundly immoral: A woman must never be treated as a mere organ system to be “submitted to the common good”. Not for the use of her heart, her liver, her kidneys – or her uterus.

Again, going back to the article about disrobing pro-life euphemisms:

This ideology is, broadly speaking, the pro-life ideology. This doctrine insists, sans sound premise, that certain human beings ought to be labeled non-persons and thus be denied rights. It insists further that it is fundamental to society that no woman who decides against pregnancy ought to be allowed her choice: that human rights for women ought not to be regarded as protected by the US Constitution or by any other human rights laws.

As Catherine Palmer herself notes: The ramifications of this mentality are unspeakable, but not unprecedented. Anytime unpopular human beings are reduced to something disposable, we see horrific effects. We saw it in our segregated nation under Jim Crow laws in the 1950’s, when African-Americans were lynched by the thousands because they were dark-skinned; and we see it in [Latin America] today with denial of medically-required abortions where pregnant women are allowed to die of preventable complications as a human sacrifice to a religious Law without humanity. (For horrid examples of pro-life Americans celebrating the ideal of human sacrifice to the Law, see the comments thread here.)

Like Catherine, I would like to think (and generally do think) that the propagators of these killings would never commit them were they to see them for what they really are.

But the pro-life movement is guilty of murder, terrorism, and other violence towards health service workers, and has recently and very openly made clear that where the choice lies between saving a pregnant woman’s life by performing an abortion, and letting the pregnant woman die even though the fetus dies too, they argue for the latter: they prefer two deaths to one.

Like Catherine, I say the first initiative is educational in nature. We have a responsibility both to educate people who have been deceived by pro-life lies about fetuses, pregnancy, and abortion, and to educate people in valuing women as human beings. The abortion question ultimately comes down to the moral status of pregnant women, but pro-lifers like to argue that it’s all about “saving fetuses” – and then tell further, complicated lies both about the nature of fetuses/fetal development and about abortion. Both contradicting the pro-life lies and affirming the equal humanity of women are required to correct the inimical pro-life mindset. Pro-lifers need intellectual confusion to make their case: the service of truth corrects their lies.

Like Catherine, I say the second initiative is active in nature. The pro-lifers have political and religious power and money on their side: she argues that “we see that the Civil Rights Movement required authors and activists, professors and preachers, to bare segregation for the world to see”. I agree with her that the Pro-Life Movement will likely prove no different: it is not enough for them to expose themselves as indifferent to women’s lives and opposing human rights for women, it is essential that they should be exposed for what they are.

The pro-life ideology is an inhuman ideology “parading in dress-up clothes and pretending to be human”. Catherine quotes a Narnian in one of C.S.Lewis’s novels saying “But in general, take my advice, when you meet anything that’s going to be human and isn’t yet, or used to be human once and isn’t now, or ought to be human and isn’t, keep your eyes on it and feel for your hatchet”. While a pro-lifer would naturally think in terms of violent action, which I oppose as I oppose all pro-life ideology – I agree with the recommendation to be wary of inhumanity.

The belief that other people exist to be used against their will is one of the most pernicious and deadly that humanity is rife with: and it is the pro-life belief in a nutshell. Pro-life euphemisms, be gone!

I should admit: I plagiarised large chunks of Catherine’s post with satiritic intent. The best satires were teaching rants. Catherine’s post presumes that if only those of us who believe that women are human and so support a woman’s right to choose, could understand the humanity of the cute li’l fetuses, we would somehow change our minds about the humanity of women. We do need to convince pro-lifers who have a sincere concern for humanity, that their concern is severely misdirected when they argue that because human fetuses are fully human, that must mean women ought to be treated as slaves, animals, or incubators. A fetus can have all the human rights that every human is born to: that does not mean that a fetus (or a pro-lifer claiming to act for a fetus) can force a woman to use her body as an incubator against her will. As humans we have the right to choose if, when, and how many children we will have: pro-lifer arguments that pregnancy is a “common good” for which women can be used against their will are straightforward arguments for enslavement and dehumanisation of women.

February 17, 2010

Pro-life terrorists: eight murders haven’t been enough

Pro-life terrorists in the US have already murdered eight people for working in clinics that perform abortions, and have attempted to murder 17 more. (cite) Now that the pro-life murderer of George Tiller has been convicted, pro-life terrorists and their supporters are working elsewhere to get more clinic staff killed:

A gynecologist who performs abortions in Tarrant County is the target of a vicious postcard campaign which lists his home and work addresses along with names of five of his staff members.

The postcard is printed in black-and-white and it is unsigned.

On the front is a picture of Dr. Michael S. Phillips next to the question: “Have you seen this person?”

When it’s flipped over, the postcard lists the doctor’s name, and three addresses — including his home.

It goes on to reveal names of five staff members.

When reached at his home, Dr. Phillips said he wouldn’t talk about it. “I’ve been dealing with it for 35 years, that’s all I can say.” (Texas, WFAA)

The card uses familiar pro-life hate rhetoric, calling the clinic staff named on the card “heart-stoppers” and promoting the usual pro-life lie that that the doctor and the clinic staff practice infanticide, claiming “They kill ‘em cheap and stack ‘em deep.”

Chuck Pelletier, apparently the clean face for the pro-lifer movement in Texas, claims that he has nothing to do with producing or passing out this card, but that everything on it is true. (He and his wife run the “Mother & Unborn Baby Care” crisis pregnancy center in Fort Worth: I have no idea what links this particular crisis pregnancy center may have to the coercive adoption industry, but “follow the money” is a good rule anywhere – and the adoption industry in the US is huge and has nothing to do with respecting women as mothers.)

It is, as always, ironic and worth noting that not only is the pro-life movement a terrorist anti-life movement… it is also deeply against provision of services which prevent abortions.

January 29, 2010

Pro-life terrorist found guilty of first-degree murder

Scott Roeder, the pro-lifer who assassinated Doctor George Tiller on 31st May 2009, has today been convicted of premeditated, first-degree murder.

Roeder will be sentenced on 9th March 2010 – the day after International Women’s Day, which seems fitting, given his role in the US’s homegrown terrorist campaign against family planning and healthcare for women.

George Tiller’s willingness to save women’s lives by aborting late-term pregnancies had made him a target for the pro-lifer terrorists for decades before his death. His clinic was bombed in 1986: in 1993 he had been shot in both arms. But, with literally unimaginable courage and dedication, he had carried on working

Roeder was inspired to commit his murder by American TV-style Christian evangelism: he had knelt down and accepted Christ as his saviour in 1992 after watching the 700 club. According to his own testimony, as early as 1993 he planned to kill Tiller, and had fantasised about many different methods, including mutilating Tiller by chopping off both his hands: he thought of shooting George Tiller at his clinic, using a sniper rifle from a nearby church… but in the end what this Christian pro-lifer did was very simple: he walked into the church where Tiller welcoming the incoming congregation, put a gun to his victim’s head, and shot dead a man who had saved thousands of women’s lives.

What can we say? Except be relieved that the US courts can in fact convict terrorists of their crimes. Except acknowledge, publicly, what happened: Doctor George Tiller was a hero. Scott Roeder, his murderer, is a Christian pro-lifer who drew inspiration for his crime from the misogynistic brand of Christianity that fuels America’s most active homegrown terrorist movement.

Anyone who identifies themselves as a pro-lifer in America is identifying themselves with Scott Roeder and the other terrorists and murderers who attack women, healthcare for women, and women’s human rights, as well as the doctors, nurses, and other clinic staff who live in fear of the ironically-named pro-life movement in America.

The basics: why pro-choice is the only moral option

January 12, 2010

Teenagers having babies: Just Not A Good Idea

I’m pro-choice. That doesn’t necessarily mean pro-abortion, as discussed earlier: it means I think that the woman who is pregnant is the one who gets to make the decisions.

But with regard to teenagers who get pregnant: I’d counsel very strongly towards having an abortion, and the younger the teenager, the more strongly.

Reason one, and the single most important one: Getting pregnant too young is bad for your long-term health. There are no circumstances under which an early abortion wouldn’t be far better for the teenager’s health than carrying a pregnancy to term.

Reason two: None of the options for a teenage mother – especially one too young to have a legal full-time job – are good. The pro-lifers who think teenage girls can be used as surrogates to produce healthy babies for their adoption industry, are the most callously damaging, but none of the other prospects are particularly good either – a teenager who has a strong supportive family behind her, willing to provide free childcare and financial support, may still manage to get the education she needs to get a job to be able to support her child, but the odds are against her.

So: a teenager who’s pregnant, ought to be told her first, best choice would be to have an early abortion. (And yes: there are circumstances under which I’d say that a parent is justified in ignoring a 13-year-old girl’s arguments that ABORTION IS MURDER, supposing she comes up with them, and saying firmly “We’re going to the clinic, you’re talking to the counselor” – the doctor shouldn’t perform the abortion against the girl’s will, but the parents should absolutely be doing everything possible to encourage the girl to do the right thing and agree to terminate. Including finding this 13-year-old an afternoon job in a baby nursery wiping up vomit, shit, and other baby messes.)

What if the teenager has unsupportive, abusive parents who think she should have the baby whether or not she wants to do that, and plan to force her to abandon the baby to the adoption industry?

Well, then the teenager should be supported by the law, medical ethics, and humanity, against her abusive parents: she should be able to have an abortion without her parents knowing about it. (Most of the time, I think, most parents would do the right thing even if initially they got mad at their daughter: but a child who says firmly that she doesn’t want her parents to know, may well have good reason to think her parents would be abusive.) Laws that force the government into the parent-child relationship, that require parental consent before medical staff can provide a pregnant teenager with the abortion she needs, are vile and inethical.

As Harriet Jacobs at Fugitivus says, the thunderous conclusion of a fantastic post that outlines how parental notification laws actually work to harm children by denying them essential medical services:

So, welcome to the reality of legal restrictions on medical services to teenagers! This is a thing to keep in mind whenever you read about a new law taking shape or being passed. If the new law does not explicitly identify standards and procedures, and if it does not explicitly identify service providers, and if those service providers do not actually exist in your community, you now have a pretty good idea of the intentions of the lawmakers. Passing a law that is undefined and inaccessible is passing a law you don’t want to see enforced. When lawmakers passed this notification law, they didn’t want girls to actually be able to acquire bypasses. They didn’t even care if girls notified their parents. If they had cared about these things, the law would have actually addressed what “notification” means, what “parents” mean, and who provides bypasses. It did not address these things, because these were not the things lawmakers actually wanted to see happen. The lawmakers purposefully made a law where it is impossible to ensure compliance, but is entirely possible to be punished for non-compliance. They made it this way because they did not want to see compliance. They wanted to see a full stop.

They wanted to see teenagers forced into either having illegal abortions or having babies they did not want and could not support, to provide products for an industry valued at $1.4 billion.

June 2, 2009

Pro-life is what they call themselves

Doctor George Tiller was murdered by a thug who had listened to rhetoric from the pro-life movement that told him over and over and over again that the life-saving medical care Doctor Tiller provided was murder.

The pro-lifers who used this rhetoric are now saying: “oh, this is nothing to do with us. Just because we claimed that women who got late-term abortions were selfish bitches who were murdering their own babies, just because we claimed the doctors who performed these abortions were killers – it’s got nothing to do with us and the language we use that one of our number ended Doctor Tiller’s work and his life by murdering him. We reject that murder! Those people are nothing to do with us! We’re standing right over here washing our hands, and we still think:

What Tiller did was wrong. Make no mistake. He was not providing emergency care to rape or incest victims. He was not treating sick women with appropriate medical procedures. He was performing late-term abortions, which means that he was destroying fetuses that might have survived outside the womb. In other words, he was killing babies.” actual pro-lifer without shame

Face-saving apologies and mouthed regrets: no shame over the rhetoric that led one of their number, a pro-lifer with a gun, to end the life of one denounced by the pro-life movement as a murderer.

George Tiller joins the sad record of others murdered by the pro-life movement for providing health care: Doctor David Gunn; Doctor John Britton, and James Barrett; Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols; Robert Sanderson; and Doctor Barnett Slepian.

We should also remember June Barrett, who was shot by the same pro-life attacker who murdered her husband, but who survived; Doctor Calvin Jackson, stabbed 15 times by a pro-lifer who wanted to kill him; Doctor David Gandell, injured by flying glass when a pro-lifer shot through the window of his home; and Emily Lyons, severely injured in the pro-life bombing which also killed Robert Sanderson.

These are all murders and attempted murders committed by the pro-life movement over the last 26 years.

There have also been 175 arson attacks, 179 instances of assault and battery, 41 bombings (and 642 bomb threats), and 406 death threats. Between 1999 and 2002, pro-lifers sent clinics that provide abortion over 640 anthrax threats. NAF statistics

That’s the pro-life movement. That’s what happens when you use rhetoric claiming doctors and nurses are committing murder, when they provide essential health care for women.

“Quit is not something I like to do,” [Doctor Tiller] said. He said he firmly believed his patients needed him and that he had the “strong support of his family”.

Dr Tiller outlined a conversation he had had with his daughters – two of whom are physicians – in which he said the importance of his work was crystallised.

“My daughters came into my study,” he said. “I was reading. And they said, ‘Daddy, if not now, when? If not you, who? Who is going to stand up for women with unexpected and badly damaged babies?’ I had the support of my family, and we were able to proceed ahead.” BBC

Doctor Tiller was a courageous and noble man: there is now apparently only one other doctor in the whole of the United States who will act to help women in this awful situation. Just one. The pro-life movement have either murdered or intimidated every other doctor who might be willing to help.

From Balloon Juice:

In 1994 my wife and I found out that she was pregnant. The pregnancy was difficult and unusually uncomfortable but her doctor repeatedly told her things were fine. Sometime early in the 8th month my wife, an RN who at the time was working in an infertility clinic asked the Dr. she was working for what he thought of her discomfort. He examined her and said that he couldn’t be certain but thought that she might be having twins. We were thrilled and couldn’t wait to get a new sonogram that hopefully would confirm his thoughts. Two days later our joy was turned to unspeakable sadness when the new sonogram showed conjoined twins. Conjoined twins alone is not what was so difficult but the way they were joined meant that at best only one child would survive the surgery to separate them and the survivor would more than likely live a brief and painful life filled with surgery and organ transplants. We were advised that our options were to deliver into the world a child who’s life would be filled with horrible pain and suffering or fly out to Wichita Kansas and to terminate the pregnancy under the direction of Dr. George Tiller.

We made an informed decision to go to Kansas. One can only imagine the pain borne by a woman who happily carries a child for 8 months only to find out near the end of term that the children were not to be and that she had to make the decision to terminate the pregnancy and go against everything she had been taught to believe was right. This was what my wife had to do. Dr. Tiller is a true American hero. The nightmare of our decision and the aftermath was only made bearable by the warmth and compassion of Dr. Tiller and his remarkable staff. Dr. Tiller understood that this decision was the most difficult thing that a woman could ever decide and he took the time to educate us and guide us along with the other two couples who at the time were being forced to make the same decision after discovering that they too were carrying children impacted by horrible fetal anomalies. I could describe in great detail the procedures and the pain and suffering that everyone is subjected to in these situations. However, that is not the point of the post. We can all imagine that this is not something that we would wish on anyone. The point is that the pain and suffering were only mitigated by the compassion and competence of Dr. George Tiller and his staff. We are all diminished today for a host of reasons but most of all because a man of great compassion and courage has been lost to the world.

From the National Network of Abortion Funds:

The Network has also received many requests from women who received care from Dr. Tiller and from activists in the reproductive justice community to set up a Fund in Dr. Tiller’s name. In response, we have established the George Tiller Memorial Abortion Fund to assist the women to whom George Tiller dedicated his life. The Fund will assist women in the second trimester to pay for abortion care, as well as pay for travel and lodging en route to providers. To donate to the Fund in Dr. Tiller’s name, please send contributions to:

George Tiller Memorial Abortion Fund
c/o National Network of Abortion Funds
42 Seaverns Ave.
Boston, MA 02130

You may also donate online at www.nnaf.org/tiller.html

July 30, 2008

The basics: why pro-choice is the only moral option

Pro-choice is often referred to as if it were synonymous with pro-abortion. It isn’t. Being pro-choice says nothing whatsoever about your own personal views on your own abortion, your best friend’s abortion, or a complete stranger’s abortion; being pro-choice means you believe that the pregnant woman ought to be the one to decide whether, and when, to terminate her pregnancy.

That’s because it’s thoroughly immoral to force a woman to use her body – at potential risk to her life, and likely risk to her health – to make a baby out of a fertilised egg, when she has decided she does not want to make use of her body in this way, and/or she does not want the baby.

If you want the complicated details, read on.

(more…)

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