Clinic was pretty tame on Tuesday, which is convenient for me because I don't want to blog about clinic today. I want to blog about Dr. Tiller's death.
It has been (almost) a year since Dr. Tiller was shot in the head, in his church in Kansas. I didn't know him personally so I can only speak to how I feel as a person who has lost a hero and a leader of the pro-choice movement. His death is not a personal loss to me so much as it is a symbolic one, and I hope that it does not offend anyone for me to address it in this way.
I don't have a lot of experience with loss, but I do know that there is a big difference when someone goes before their time. A friend of mine took his own life three years ago. While I did love him and consider him a friend, we weren't particularly close and didn't hang out a lot. And yet, I still feel that loss every day. Literally every single day, for three years, I have thought of him. His suicide is an open wound for me, and I imagine for others who loved him. I don't feel the same way about his death as I do about, for example, my 95-year-old grandmother, who passed much more recently. For both I am sad, but for Nathan I am also angry.
So when I went back in my blog to find my reaction to Dr. Tiller's murder, I was not surprised to see that it was overwhelmingly angry. I am still angry. My entire professional life is changed by his murder; every security decision we make is seen through the lens of what happened to George Tiller. I feel that will be the case for a long time. But also on a personal level, I am deeply angry about his premature death. His MURDER. I think about it all the time.
I have already written my thoughts for Abortion Gang and I will let you know when my post goes up. There will be reflections from the whole gang about Dr. Tiller's murder this weekend, so make sure you check it out (if you're interested). I just wanted to say, over here at my own blog, that the loss of Dr. Tiller continues to affect everyone who works in reproductive health care and especially abortion services. No one should have to fear for their life because of the choice they have made to help women in need. When I think about our doctor, it makes me so angry to think that someone would want to harm her. She is a warm and lovely person who has sacrificed A LOT to perform abortions, to help women.
I still get scared. When I think about how much was spent on keeping George Tiller safe, the fact that he was shot in his church...it makes me feel hopeless. I read Susan Wicklund's book, This Common Secret (highly recommended), and there is one part where a fellow provider explains to her that he no longer wears a bulletproof vest to work, because "they know to shoot for the head". And they did. We live in a world where people who want women to be able to make decisions about their own bodies GET SHOT IN THE HEAD. Are we so afraid of women's freedom?
This is all feelings, no flow. Sorry. If you are thinking about Dr. Tiller and you have a couple bucks, you can donate to the George Tiller Memorial Abortion Fund, or if you are looking to help out women here in Canada there is always the Morgentaler Defense Fund. We will keep fighting, friends.
If you are about to comment to tell me that maybe I shouldn't be so angry, please stop, reconsider, check your privilege, and then go fuck yourself. Thanks.