Results tagged “George Tiller” from Blog for Choice
Today, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear a challenge to a law that protects women seeking reproductive-health care in Massachusetts - including checkups, birth control, and abortion care - from enduring violence, and harassment by anti-choice protesters outside of reproductive-health clinics.
Massachusetts has a 35-foot buffer zone (the distance of two parking spaces) that blocks anti-choice protesters from approaching women accessing health care. But anti-choice forces are fighting the buffer zone so that they can get even closer when shaming and harassing women entering these clinics.
Anti-choice protesters often hover around reproductive-health care clinics within a certain distance to protest, picket, and hand out anti-choice propaganda to women walking into the clinic - regardless of whether they're at the clinic to get an abortion or not.
These protesters are anything but harmless. Their tactics include screaming, using threats, taking photos, and even spitting on patients. In some of the more extreme cases, anti-choice protesters have been deadly. Most recently, Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas was murdered in his church by an anti-choice protester in 2009.
We reached out to some of our allies who volunteer as clinic escorts. These courageous supporters walk women through mobs to make sure they can get health care safely. They told us what it's like to escort and sent us pictures - we so appreciate their willingness to share their experiences.
This history of violence, harassment, and ripping away patient privacy is why the Supreme Court must rule in favor of women's safety and uphold the buffer-zone law. Nobody should be subjected to harassment or violence when getting health care or making a deeply personal health decision.
Dr. Tiller is an important figure for the pro-choice movement. His motto "Trust Women" has become a rallying cry for all of us who share his beliefs. And he refused to be intimidated by extreme anti-choice activists. Dr. Tiller was one of three doctors in the country that provided abortion service later in pregnancy, and that made him and his clinic the focus of anti-choice protests, harassment, and violence.
Ultimately, standing up for a woman's right to choose cost Dr. Tiller his life. He was murdered - in his church - by a radical anti-choice activist in 2009.
Since Dr. Tiller's death and the closure of his clinic in Wichita, women seeking access to abortion care in the area have been forced to drive more than 150 miles to visit an abortion clinic in Oklahoma City or Kansas City. That most certainly has made it more difficult and costly for many women to get the health care they need when they need it.
Thankfully in April, one of Dr. Tiller's former colleagues and director of the Trust Women Foundation, Julie Burkhart, re-opened Dr. Tiller's clinic, despite anti-choice efforts to keep the facility closed:
"First and foremost, we want to make sure that women who need to see us, want to come see us, are able to access care. We're looking at a few thousand women who now have to travel outside the area each year. Secondly, what it says is that no matter where you live in the United States of America, women will have access to reproductive health care."
Sadly, many abortion providers continue to live under constant threats of violence for providing necessary reproductive-health services.
Dr. Tiller gave his life to protect women from seeking unsafe abortion care, regardless of their circumstance. It's his courage that inspires so many of us to continue our work to protect and expand women's reproductive freedoms.
- 8,392 pro-choice Americans sent thank-you messages to Dr. Leroy Carhart of Nebraska (the new target of anti-choice extremism)
- 2,150 "Trust Women" wristbands purchased
- 10,481 individuals who thanked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for honoring Dr. Tiller and condemning anti-choice violence against doctors and women from the Senate floor
Dr. George Tiller was murdered one year ago today. We've said it before, but it really is hard to believe that a year has gone by so fast.
Before reading on, please take a moment to watch this tribute video that we made when we honored Dr. Tiller at our Roe v. Wade luncheon this past February:
This week, NARAL Pro-Choice America payed tribute to Dr. Tiller's legacy of service in a number of ways:
- Activists sent messages of support to Dr. LeRoy Carhart of Nebraska, who became the top target of anti-choice extremists after Dr. Tiller's murder.
- We're urging our supporters to thank Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for making a strong statement in opposition to violence targeting abortion providers.
- Last week, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, remembered Dr. Tiller's life and reflected on the year since his murder in a piece in The Huffington Post. She urges us to honor his memory by speaking out about our pro-choice values.
There's still time to take action on some of the items listed above. So if you're interested, please consider sending a message of thanks.
Either way, we hope you'll take a moment today to remember the strength and courage of Dr. Tiller. Share your positive thoughts and memories in the comments below and remember the words of Dr. Tiller, "trust women."
Scott Roeder has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a Kansas abortion doctor in church. He won't be eligible for parole for 50 years, when he would be 102 years old.
Here are the final blog posts I'll be able to highlight today... but that doesn't mean there aren't more out there. Please take a moment to do a quick blog search for "Blog for Choice" and you'll be overwhelmed with the plethora of solid Blog for Choice day posts to read.
And here's why I trust women: Because women know the situations they are in. They know whether or not the condom broke, or whether or not the baby's father was a rapist or whether he wouldn't step in. They know the risks of having a child, either medically or situationally. And I trust women to be in the care of a physician rather than in the care of an unlicensed quack who uses unsanitary equipment. And I trust women to be in the care of a physician rather than taking extreme measures to terminate their pregnancies.Chasing the end of my rainbow writes:
"Trust Women" means understanding a woman's right to make decisions about her body. It means trusting that we can, and must, make our own decisions regarding our reproductive choices.GRITtv's Laura Flanders took a creative approach in her answer, writing:
Trust a woman to know when she's ready to have a child. Trust a woman to decide if she's not ready for a child.
All women, regardless of class, income, religion, or color, should be able to make decisions about their own bodies.
For the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, NARAL Pro-Choice America holds Blog for Choice day. To participate, we're reposting some of our best segments related to abortion, choice, and reproductive health. Last August, Dr. Susan Wicklund joined us in studio. We wrote at the time:Be sure to visit her blog post to watch the various clips.
A recent report from the Center for Reproductive Rights reveals that abortion doctors and clinics face continued threats, assaults, and harassment. Are doctors under siege? Dr. Susan Wicklund, author of This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor, on the political climate after the death of Dr. George Tiller and why she's speaking out.
Frau Sally Benz at Feministe writes:
Like I said, there's a lot discussed, but there are two points in particular I want to focus on. The first is the notion that reproductive rights are human rights. To me, that's the crux of what Trust Women means. Abortion is simply a medical procedure that allows a woman to do with her body what she wants and needs. Having a fertilized egg inside of her doesn't suddenly make her incapable of making decisions, yet she is suddenly deemed unworthy of retaining her rights. The second point is closely linked to the first, in my opinion, and that's education and information. If women are given access to accurate information about contraception, abortion, adoption, childbirth, etc., then why should anybody else be allowed to interfere with her decision and her rights?Amanda at Pandagon writes:
I get really angry when I see headlines like the one in this article in GQ about Scott Roeder murdering Dr. George Tiller: "Savior vs. Savior", with the blurb equating Dr. Tiller and Roeder as men who "believed they were doing right" and as having "convictions". No one would dare say such a thing about a non-Christian terrorist, that they somehow have a conviction worth respecting. But when the argument is between the conviction that women are people vs. the conviction that women are subhuman incubators, then all of a sudden this false equivalence enters into the situation.Bitchphd writes:
The bottom line about abortion is this. Do you trust women to make their own moral judgments? If you are anti-abortion, then no. You do not. You have an absolute moral position that you don't trust anyone to question, and therefore you think that abortion should be illegal. But the second you start making exceptions for rape or incest, you are indicating that your moral position is not absolute. That moral judgment is involved. And that right there is where I start to get angry and frustrated, because unless you have an absolute position that all human life (arguably, all life period, but that isn't the argument I'm engaging with right now) are equally valuable (in which case, no exceptions for the death penalty, and I expect you to agonize over women who die trying to abort, and I also expect you to work your ass off making this a more just world in which women don't have to choose abortions, but this is also not the argument I'm engaging right now), then there is no ground whatsoever for saying that there should be laws or limitations on abortion other than that you do not trust women. I am completely serious about this.
It's January again, and I'm gaga for January. Why? First - it's my birthday month... and I'm celebrating a big one this year. Second - It's the beginning of a new year which always leaves me renewed and refreshed and ready to fight even harder to protect women's reproductive rights. Third - it's the anniversary month of Roe v. Wade, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you why that date is important to someone who works for NARAL Pro-Choice America.
But - do you know what else is in January? NARAL Pro-Choice America's 5th annual Blog for Choice Day 2010! And boy am I excited...
As you might remember from Blog for Choice Days past, NARAL Pro-Choice America poses a question to bloggers before the anniversary, and then asks them to blog their answer on January 22. Last year more than 500 people participated in this effort. We'd love to beat that record this year, so we hope you will join us.
So what's this year's question? Oh, I am so glad you asked!
In honor of Dr. George Tiller, who often wore a button that simply read, "Trust Women," this year's Blog for Choice Day question is: What does Trust Women mean to you?
Maybe you were one of the thousands who wears a Trust Women wristband to pay tribute to Dr. Tiller's legacy and demonstrate that you won't let those who use violent and hateful rhetoric win. Whether it's Dr. Tiller's tragic murder or another issue altogether, you can write from your heart about what Trust Women means in your daily life. The possibilities are endless and your support is critical.
Please take a moment to sign up using the form below (or use this link if you prefer). While signing up, you can also download a Blog for Choice Day graphic to let your readers know that you're participating.
Once you sign up below, a link to your blog's URL will appear on the sign-up page. And for the forgetful folks out there, we'll send you a reminder about the date! So it really couldn't be easier. Just be sure to tag your post "Blog for Choice" so that we can track it that day.
Please consider signing-up using the form below and join us so that we can ensure that the blogosphere is positively flooded with pro-choice blog posts on the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade!
Without question, the pro-choice community lost two great champions in 2009 with the murder of Dr. George Tiller and the passing of pro-choice Sen. Edward Kennedy. They will forever be remembered as heroes for having lived the credo, "Trust Women."
Who is building on this legacy in 2009 and deserves to be in this year's Hall of Fame? And who has earned entry into the Hall of Shame for working to take away a woman's right to choose?
Cast your vote in NARAL Pro-Choice America's end-of-the-year, 2009 Hall of Fame and Shame!
Hall of Fame 2009 consists of:
- Dr. LeRoy Carhart
- MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show"
- Baltimore City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
- Rep. José Serrano of New York, Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, D.C.
- Rep. Bart Stupak and Sen. Ben Nelson
- Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona
- Oklahoma's Anti-Choice Legislature
- Personhood USA
Don't be left out... cast your vote today!