Monday, July 27

Battle cry needed for women's rights?

I just finished reading David Barstow’s article “An Abortion Battle, Fought to the Death,” in the New York Times health section.

I found it really moving.
I never met Dr. Tiller in person, but I did speak to him on the phone several times while working for Faith Aloud.

My brief impression of him was that he had a rather dry sense of humor and that he seemed nice.

I think the article really captures his personality. It seems like he was indeed a rather funny, kind and incredibly brave man.

While I wonder how other people will feel about the article (I felt like the tone was fair, which means not always 100% complimentary of Dr. Tiller), I’m sure there will be debate.

I’m not really interested in the debate aspect, at least not on my personal blog.

What I did want to really post about is the last line of the article.

David Barstow ends his piece with a quote from one of Dr. Tiller’s long-time detractors. One of the men who called him “Tiller the baby killer” and organized protests of his clinic.
A man who planted crosses in front of his clinic and tried to shame women into breaking their appointments.

He is quoted as saying “A worthy adversary,” he said. “He was right back at us.”

To be honest, his statement made me irate.

A worthy adversary?
In what?
The battle for women’s lives?

I find it demeaning, frustrating, enraging, and almost deranged that this man can admit grudging respect for Dr. Tiller.

To me, it highlights that so many of these protesters use this issue to make political or religious statements about morality.

It isn’t ACTUALLY about the individual women and their families who seek care.

It’s about being the moral majority.
About saving other people from their own decisions.
About believing that you have the right to shame, harass, or even kill for a cause that’s a personal medical decision.

I will never understand how someone can shrug and spout battle jargon as if the fight itself is more important than the issue.

I believe that the hate mongering fostered by men like Mr. Gietzen led to Dr. Tiller’s death.

Mr. Gietzen might be able to now profess some admiration for his long-time opponent, but I doubt that the women who now have nowhere to turn, or the family and friends of Dr. Tiller feel similarly about a man who sees their lives as little more than a campaign in his battle.