Wednesday, June 10

The first entry that I have had to tag "tragedy"..and hopefully the last

Although Dr. Tiller was murdered a few days ago, I have waited to post a response. It seems strange to write a review about a Sylvester Stallone movie in one post, and the cold-blooded execution of a medical professional in the foyer of his church in the next. Yet my blog posts often range greatly across topics, and I don’t want to wait any longer before responding semi-publicly to this tragedy.

I do not personally know anyone who visited Dr. Tiller for a late-term abortion. I also never met him in person—although I did speak to him on the phone several times on behalf of Faith Aloud. So while his death does not affect me any more so than the violent death of any acquaintance, his murder means so much more for the reproductive justice community as well as the women and families he served for so many years.

It can be very uncomfortable to talk about later-term abortions, even for people who consider themselves staunchly pro-choice. The question of viability becomes potentially distressing, and there is something more tangible about a visibly pregnant woman seeking an abortion.

The few times I spoke to Dr. Tiller he seemed pleasant and rather funny. I can only imagine how much courage and compassion it must have taken to spend his days performing these abortions; abortions for women and their families who came to terminate often much-anticipated pregnancies due to serious complications. Dr. Tiller performed abortions that few others would do to save the lives of women and/or to allow them a measure of peace when they knew that their fetus would not survive outside of the womb. I literally can not imagine how difficult it must be to seek an abortion for a wanted pregnancy, knowing that the decision will preserve your own life or prevent undue suffering and pain for a potential child.

This type of situation is unbelievably tragic, and now women in the U.S. have one less place to turn when they need compassionate and medically indicated care.