Remembering Dr. Tiller and other anti-choice terrorism stories (Possible TW for frank discussion of violence)
3 years ago I had just woken up at my mom’s house. I had very recently come to stay with her for the summer since my semester in college was already over. I remember walking into the living room, somewhat bleary-eyed, and my mom (knowing me very well) just told me “They got him”.
I asked who.
“Tiller,” she said, “he was shot today”.
Usually when people are shot dead in their churches, surprise is the first thing that hits you. Or at least, shouldn’t it be? That’s not what I felt. What I felt was the opposite of surprise, because I knew that one day after repeated attacks his luck would have to run out. That’s just a numbers game.
I also felt scared, because I know people who work in clinics that provide abortions. Scared because of my own ideals and desires to work as an advocate for reproductive rights and justice.
That hasn’t waned. The numbers game is still continuing.
Anti-choice terrorism is still going on. I almost feel as though it’s getting worse. The attacks in the legislature are not enough for these people. Although pro-choice advocates know that anti-choicers who support and pass laws that restrict abortion have the blood of those who die in back alleys or even hospital waiting rooms on their hands, it seems as though that’s not enough. They seem to want to be able to see it. To make it real, to make it actual. To stand in a church - the place where many of them get these ideas of being “pro-life” - and put a bullet in someone else’s skull.
How many attacks does it have to be to call it terrorism?
Then again, I guess it can’t be considered terrorism if such violence is made legal.
How many people do we have to remember?
How many threats of violence must there be to be taken seriously?
How many times and by how many people or groups must we be targeted?
Today is a sad day for me and for a lot of pro-choice advocates, I imagine. I didn’t know Dr. Tiller, I never needed his services. But I’ve watched interviews with him and seen his dedication to his practice and seen his dedication to women*. He should be remember for the bravery that it takes to be aware of those that want you dead in the name of life yet still push on and do what’s needed and what’s right. He should be remembered because he was a fully aware sentient person who was killed for making choices others disagreed with - not only a martyr for the pro-choice cause but nearly a metaphor for it.
However, he should be remembered most for the two words most associated with him and most forgotten by legislators who think they’re qualified to micro-manage the very biology of others - “Trust Women” - although we must remember to trust everyone who is capable of becoming pregnant.
There’s little more powerful than that, and that is why Dr. Tiller will and should be remembered by pro-choice advocates and the people that used his services.
If only God-fearing people who gun down others in churches could have had that much faith. If only.
*as he states, although not only women need abortion services
Blog for Choice Day, a letter of thanks/apology to Roe vs. Wade
Dear Roe vs. Wade,
You’re turning 39 this year. Congratulations! I know that you’re much older than I am and so you probably don’t need my wisdom (if you can even call it that), but I still think you deserve a hearty “yahoo!” on your continued existence, because although it often has its good points, life can also be hard.
Life is especially hard for those that help people in unpopular ways. Or for people who help those no one else deems worthy of it. When an entity does that, there are others who fight against them. They either create head-on clashes and challenge that entity directly, or they go through back ways, manipulate, and disempower in ways that become invisible - creating stealth attacks on progress, forming the culture to make it seem like snatching dignity from others is something that’s ok to do.
People now know that you’re too powerful at 39 to challenge you directly, so they’re trying to bring you down little by little. They’re trying to take your power (and the power of your siblings, Griswold v Connecticut, etc.) piece by piece, and so far it seems like its working.
So this is where I’d like to offer an apology, Roe v Wade, because I personally feel as though I’ve let you down. You’re much older than me, you see, and therefore in my eyes you’re a monolith. Ever since I heard of your existence it seems you’ve been able to withstand any weathering brought your way - too tall, too strong to be toppled by lies and misconceptions offered by those that oppose your very being as well as the rights and protections you afford me.
But now I realize it’s not like that. While I’ve been staring at the summit, folks have been tunneling through the bottom.
They have attempted to bar you from the domain of those you most need to help. They have cut-off the resources you need to do your work. And for the most part, I stood by and watched because I thought you could handle it.
So I’m sorry for standing by while a record number of anti-abortion legislation was passed. I’m sorry for standing by while white cis-male politicians waxed poetic about the evils of your work. I’m sorry I haven’t offered you the support that anyone in a taxing and, in some instances, dangerous line of work needs to be successful.
So now, on the anniversary of the day your were handed down from the Supreme Court, I would like to thank you. Thank you, Roe v Wade, for being there for so many people that needed abortions. Thank you for being there to calm the nerves of people who haven’t needed that yet, but might. People may be trying to take you away from us, or rip you apart from the inside out, but you still have an enormous amount of power for the people that depend on you in order to be able to access safe, legal abortion.
I’d like to make existing a little easier for you, Roe v Wade, and as such I am re-offering my support to you and the rest of the decisions and laws that protect my freedom to my own reproductive choices. I am also offering my support to any new legislation which will also work to those ends, and I am promising my effort to the fight against the insidiousness of anti-choice attacks, be they through patient dismantling of reproductive liberties or full-on charges against the front lines.
I’m damn tired of politicians, pundits, and anyone else who thinks they can step all over you, wear you down, or disregard you all together. Your fight is for me, so my fight should be for you.
Thanks again for everything that you do to ensure me the independence and equal societal access that I deserve as a human person. I will do my best to make sure that you and other forms of legislation that secure my rights are treated with the dignity that you have afforded me these last 39 years.
(P.S. Hey Roe v Wade! Read other folks talking about how awesome you are here.)
In doing (more) research about fetal development for this hiatusy project…
I’ve realized just how many websites spout of problematic language about conception and pregnancy.
For example, the first thing said in a flip book about fetal development from Pregnancy Today is this:
“It will be around two weeks before your partner’s sperm fertilizes your egg and creates your baby”
This is just another example of male dominated language when discussing pregnancy. Apparently, all that needs to happen to create a new human is for a man to ejaculate with good timing. Man gets off, baby gets made. You can’t explain that.
But in all seriousness, why would someone ever say that? Do they not realize that it actually takes 9 months to create a baby? 9 months of feeding off of a woman’s body, 9 months of a woman sharing her body space?
It’s all tied together. When men get all the credit for creating new humans, why can’t they dictate what the people who simply exist for carrying them (for what must be some frivolous, unexplained reason) do with their bodies?
It’s really no wonder that we have anti-choicers spouting off at the mouth about embryos being more important that women. According to the dominant discourse, zygotes are the creations of men. Creations of men must be protected. It’s only after a woman’s work has been put in and a baby is actually born that these same men begin to not care.
Alice Paul, famous feminist. (via antichoiceactivist)
No. Just no.
First, Alice Paul wasn’t just a “famous feminist”. Alice Paul is prettymuch the reason why women in this country can vote. She is the mother of women’s suffrage. She also started the National Woman’s Party and took part in hunger strikes in prison in order to get the rights she knew women deserved. She also didn’t care what women did with those rights once they got them. In fact, she didn’t really touch the abortion issue because she knew back then it was too much of a political hot potato, and she was just as politically savvy as she was driven by an extreme passion for women’s human rights.
I mention all of this because the small amount of information given about her in the reblogged post is indicative of how little the person who posted this quote probably knows about her. I bet they also don’t know that Paul was the original author of the ERA, or Equal Rights Amendment. You know, that amendment that would have put women’s human rights into the Constitution for good so that they wouldn’t be subject to the whim of whatever attitude the congress at any given time might have toward women? That little old thing? The thing that was killed in the 80s by Phyllis Schlafly and her women-working-as-public-speakers-that-tell-women-not-to-work-brigade?
Yeah, Alice Paul wrote that.
As I said before, it is true that Alice Paul originally did not want to link abortion rights to the ERA. However, it wasn’t because she was necessarily morally against it. She knew it was a divisive, hot button issue, and she actually wanted the amendment to get ratified. So, she left it out. Funny that conservative fauxminists worked to make sure the amendment Alice Paul wrote died, yet now anti-choicers (especially anti-choice fauxminists) want to quote Paul to try to make her out to be anti-abortion as well! No shame, truly. There’s actually no record of Paul even saying this supposed quote. But hey, that doesn’t stop those without shame or commitment to ethics from makin’ shit up anyway, amirite?
So either way it goes, this supposed quote from Alice Paul doesn’t prove anything, other than an anti-choice commitment to misinformation (and dismissing women’s actual contributions/individuality/beliefs/humanity).
No really, anti-choicers, if you’re going to try to pretend like you’re not misogynists, it’s probably best not to quote women out of context (or to just put words in their mouth that they never said!) as if they support your goals. Are you really that desperate?
Let’s just be honest with each other (try really really hard): It’s time to stop bolstering your bad arguments with a philosophy you hate anyway.
Yeah, I know I’ve been posting about abortion a lot, but people seem to be heaping the most bullshit onto abortion rights recently. I can’t help it, I have an allergy!
As requested: Rebloggable version of the last post
Asked: Do you believe it’s possible to be a feminist, believe a woman has full autonomy over her body and the government should not interfere, but still think abortion should be something women use sparingly and in extreme cases after all other options are considered?
I think that a person can only be a feminist if they still allow women the option of abortion, completely unrestricted and unshamed, yet offer every preventative method available more so.
For example, getting your teeth pulled isn’t something anyone wants to do and people try to do it sparingly, yet no one is shamed for having to do it (well, not generally, there are some classist jokes/attitudes about folks who are missing teeth, but it’s not as taboo as abortion). Getting your teeth pulled is available on demand and without apology (albeit only if you can pay for it, but still, no one is legislating restrictions on the procedure). Yet, folks still try to push for prevention of tooth decay and the inevitable teeth pulling that would result not only by giving folks the tools to keep up with their dental care (toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, etc) as well as the education they need to use these tools (dental hygiene tips, etc.).
What I and what I think anyone (self-IDing as feminist or not, really) should want to see is a world in which abortion is treated like getting a tooth pulled - something no one wants to do, yet something no one is barred from doing when and if it’s necessary, and also something that folks have every tool/method available to prevent.
Each year, the abortion industry receives millions of our tax dollars to advance its destructive agenda. And, each year, more and more Americans demand that their hard-earned paychecks not fund the killing of preborn children, the wounding of their mothers, and the advancement of a culture of death in America. Last year alone Planned Parenthood Federation of America collected $363 million in taxpayer dollars.
And that’s not the only way the abortion lobby is funding its gruesome business.—
Kristan Hawkins for Fox News
Services provided by Planned Parenthood include contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, breast, cervical and testicular cancer screening, pregnancy screenings, pregnancy counseling, testing and treatment for STDs, sexuality education, menopause treatment, abortions, vasectomies, and tubal ligations.
In 2008, abortion procedures accounted for 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services.
Also, birth is about 10 times more likely to harm or kill a woman than an abortion.
Abortion is not an industry, it’s practically a charity. I’ve read estimates suggesting doctors who perform abortions make around $60,000 to 70,000 a year. An abortion provider could’ve been a dermatologist and made around $300,000/yr, or even been an ob/gyn but not focused on abortion and made over $200,000/yr. Any doctor who goes into abortion is not doing it because it’s some lucrative ~industry~ where they’re going to get filthy rich and live a comfortable life. They’re not going to make very much and their life will be threatened on a daily basis by anti choicers (who call themselves pro lifers, hah). They’re doing it because they care about women and about protecting their right to choose and access to abortion.
Also lol @ culture of death.
I love the logic behind defunding an organization that does more to prevent abortions than any other… in the name of preventing abortions. Keep it up, Republicans.
As I’ve said before, Planned Parenthood and other government funded efforts prevent up to 800,000 abortions every year. But who cares? Obviously preventing abortion is not the Republican/anti-choice agenda.
Reasons why Abortionno.com (graphic images warning) is a terrible source (in no particular order):
1. They have a video of an abortion/abortion images on the front page of their website, complete with dramatic music. DRAMATIC MUSIC. Just…lulz. Not necessarily at the images, before you clutch your pearls, but really? Dramatic music? Why? You can’t just let the images speak for themselves if they’re really supposed to be that arresting?
2. The Genocide Awareness Project. I’ve come against these folks twice in my stint as a pro-choice advocate. The first time, one of the folks that they had who was obviously one of their organizers and not a student (which means he was probably paid to boot) couldn’t even best me an an argument (I was 18 and a freshperson at the time).
3. They legitimately think the birth control pill is abortion. This one is almost as laughable as the dramatic music on the front page. You want to talk about what most scientists have agreed upon as factual basis for your arguments? How about the fact that pregnancy begins at implantation, which means that there’s no possible way, even if the pill does cause the body to reject a fertilized egg, that it can be considered an abortion. Sorry, but the science you claim to love proves you wrong (especially) in this instance.
4. They think Plan B is abortion, too. Yet the same principle applies. This one is particularly cruel, considering this is often the last ditch effort a rape victim has to prevent a pregnancy from occurring in the first place, not that they give a flip about rape victims.
5. They think abortion is genocide. This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so offensively inaccurate and culturally insensitive. Sorry folks, but just because a large number of supposed folks are dying and you need a powerful word to get your cause some more attention doesn’t mean you can misappropriate the actual cultural sufferings of other people.
6. When they show their giant dead baby billboards, they don’t even care that they could be triggering women who miscarried pregnancies that they wanted. Mostly because they don’t care about women. They have tiny signs (in comparison) up like 5 feet from the billboard sized signs. REALLY EFFECTIVE.
7. As stated previously, they are against condom use, even though it will prevent abortions.
8. The GAP demonstration is an enormous waste of money that could be used to support pro-woman remedies to ending abortion, like birth control (which is not abortion) condoms, and comprehensive sexual education (which includes abstinence). Oh, but wait, again, they’d have to care about women to support that.
9. The GAP demonstration billboards don’t even show women as being part of the equation. It’s like these people think that uteri float in peaceful, unicorn filled wonderlands until evil, mean (but misguided and ill-informed because they have stupid lady-brains) slutty women come and kill them in their tiny, exploitable slumber. Sorry, but uh, you can’t have an honest conversation about abortion without including the woman involved in the equation.
10. The pictures have been called into question more than once. Not necessarily for being fake, but for being mislabeled, which is just as bad, and totally not surprising since almost all anti-choice propaganda prefers to use pictures of fully grown infants in place of fetal images.
11. Why do we have to include Bible quotes in our abortion related articles? Oh golly, maybe be cause this is a religious crusade against women’s reproductive agency?
12. They still spread the myth that abortion causes “Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS)” even though every other reputable organization has said that a syndrome doesn’t exist. In fact, most women feel relief after their abortions, and those that regret it were either pressured into it or didn’t really want it in the first place, which of course is against the concept of choice.
13. They spread the million-times-over disproved myth that abortion causes breast cancer. Basically these people just don’t know how to science. Basically, if our big giant signs don’t scare women enough, we’ll just scare them with a heavily gender-biased disease that doesn’t actually have any connection to abortion! Totally ethical!
14. They partake in bullshit campaigns to “expose” Planned Parenthood a la Lila Rose and her idiocy, yet they fail to realize that the efforts of Planned Parenthood actually prevents up to 800,000 abortions per year. Basically, Planned Parenthood has the ovaries to do what groups like the CBR don’t - they give a shit about women and trust them enough to allow them to make informed decisions about their bodies and sexuality. That means that these women, who are not stupid unlike what anti-choicers think, make healthy choices which lead to them requiring less abortions. What a concept! If you respect women, abortion rates go down! Huh. Unfortunately groups like this have never thought to try that approach.
15. Basically, not only do they take the exact wrong approach, but they willfully spread lies. Folks at their demonstrations told me with straight faces that condoms don’t work. This is a lie. Everyone that isn’t anxious about other people’s sex lives going unpunished knows that. An organization that can’t put aside it’s problem with sex long enough to give out truthful information about condoms really isn’t reputable or trustworthy as far as reliable information.
Let’s see, fifteen reasons right off the top of my head? No wai.
If you need some good, unbiased, factual information, I recommend the Alan Guttmacher Instititute (although they don’t have flashy, dramatic music-filled gory videos, bummer, right?) or ReligiousTolerance.org.