"Abortion is not a cerebral or a reproductive issue. Abortion is a matter of the heart. For until one understands the heart of a woman, nothing else about abortion makes any sense at all." - Dr. George Tiller
I know I should blog about Dr. Tiller, because when you have a lot of feelings (as I do), it’s good to get them out. And in case you hadn’t noticed, I get a lot of that stuff out by writing.
I am not a journalist. This has already been reported, opined on and blogged about all over the internet. The best coverage, comments, and things you can do are on Feministing, and they’ve also rounded up some of the other very good coverage and opinion. Anyway, I just want to talk about my feelings; this is more for my benefit than your edification. Read at your own peril.
When I first opened the email from ARCC this afternoon and read that Dr. Tiller had been killed, I was shocked. Since then I have been riding a roller coaster of emotions. I’m not really good yet, and I probably shouldn’t be writing about it yet (my hands are still shaking on the keyboard), but I gotta get it out.
Sadness – obviously, first and foremost, I’m devastated for his family and loved ones. How horrendous to have someone you love and support gunned down in a place of worship and peace. It breaks my heart to think what they must be going through right now, and will continue to go through for a long time.
Anger – this is the main one. I’m so fucking mad I can’t even see straight. George Tiller was a courageous, strong, compassionate person who gave up his safety and ultimately his life to help women who had nowhere else to go. Abortion providers go through so much more shit than anyone could ever know. You don’t do that to get rich. You do it because you care. What kind of sick piece of crap thinks it’s justified to take his life?
What makes me even more livid is that any anti-abortion organization or individual has the temerity to speak out about this – for or against. Fuck you. You created the atmosphere of fear in which abortion providers live every day of their lives. You put their names and faces on your websites, you spew lies, you draw in people with just the right amount of crazy and need to belong that they would go out and shoot someone because of your cause. YOU MADE THIS HAPPEN, and you can go fuck yourselves.
Hopelessness – not much to say about that. Coming so soon after the appeal win, it’s like we’re back to square one in the fight against the anti-choicers.
Fear – I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the protesters in terms of the threat they present. The ones at our clinic seem harmless enough. But it just takes one person to take one step over the edge, and that’s it. How hard would it be for them to find out our names, addresses, habits? How hard would it be for them to bomb us? This changes everything; I feel very on edge about going to work at the clinic after this. I’m scared for the volunteers, I’m scared for our doctor, I’m scared for the staff, I’m scared for the patients, I’m scared for myself.
So, in conclusion, I pretty much want to curl up and die. I feel a deeper sense of loss than I thought possible for a person I met once, very briefly. I feel like it’s a lot easier to say “we can’t let them win” when it’s over things like signs and pink hats. I still believe it, of course – we can’t let them win. I just feel like this is going to take us a long time to get over. I know it’s going to take me a long time.
But you know, like Dr. Tiller said, “attitude is everything”. I have to believe we can recover, and fight back, and be stronger than ever. Pro-woman, pro-child, pro-choice. Rest in peace, Dr. Tiller. You will be greatly missed.