2 years ago today.
That date will live on for those of us close to the Reproductive Rights movement. Gunned down at a Church, his murder celebrated by anonymous pro-lifers and those within that scary movement. It was an ugly reality check that reminded us that the violent rhetoric of the vicious right wasn’t always just talk and that those doctors who choose to perform abortions do so under great risk. They may give up their lives to give us safe access. His motto “trust women” has been echoed and he is remembered by those of us who cherished his work and keep the fight alive. Many heartbreaking stories can be read around the internet from women he had helped and his compassion knew no bounds.
He was shot before, in 1993 by Shelley Shannon who was a supporter of Michael Griffin, the man who killed another abortion provider, Dr. David Gunn. At the hands of Scott Roeder is when he lost his life, and thus we lost someone vital to women everywhere. He was one of only 3 doctors in the country who provided late-term abortions.
Know who doesn’t remember, or care? The religious right and the repugnant politicians who have been scaling a massive assault on our rights to our own bodies. A record amount of legislation trying to cut us all off at the knees. Bills defunding the one place a lot of poor women can’t count on in the name of lives they wouldn’t care to help out once born. Unnerving bills in some states making murdering someone “harming a fetus” justifiable. Cancelling funds for abortion training. An attempt at redefining rape and taking away even the medical exceptions…letting us know once and for all that WE don’t matter, our breeding does. Even more disturbing was the arrest of Ralph Lang barely a week ago, who told a police officer that he planned to gun down abortion providers like it wasn’t anything wrong.
2 years ago today, and nothing to show for it….at least that’s how it feels. Not only is this day for mourning and reflection, but I’m also using this day to ramp up. It’s so very easy to be discouraged in times like these, but we need to honor the people that died or got injured while helping us with our choices. We need to shrug off the stigma and keep these injustices visible, so that no one ever forgets. We need to be willing to put faces to the stats and move beyond places like imnotsorry.net, while a good place to pour still has the anonymity of the internet. We should be able to say it without fear of stigma to those around us, damn the consequences or shunning by people who just don’t get it.
I had an abortion. It was safe and it was legal. It was my right to choose and I thank doctors like George Tiller for braving the fanatics, and sometimes paying the ultimate price.