liz_marcs (liz_marcs) wrote,

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This is How You Lose Hearts and Minds: One Murder at a Time

It's all over the Web by now that Dr. George Tillman was murdered in church today.

Yes. In church. In front of his wife, who was in the choir, and in front of his fellow parishioners.

WWJD, indeed.

[info] - communityontd_political is all over it.

Be sure to read the comments. There's some important information in there, including comments from a couple of Dr. Tillman's grateful patients. These were desperate men and women who didn't want an abortion, but needed to have an abortion because carrying to term would result in a dead woman, or a fetus so riddled with birth defects or genetic disease that if it wasn't going to be born dead it was going to die shortly thereafter in unbelievable pain.

Look up anencephaly and harlequin fetus as prime examples. I dare you to keep down dinner when you do. (No. Not linking to definitions, because it's triggering on a massive, massive scale.)

Their testament to Dr. Miller's compassion and kindness, to the professionalism of him and his staff, to the fact that this brave man was willing to help them in their hour of need when no other doctor would, is a fitting epitaph for a man whose epitaph was written too soon.

But I'm not going to talk about it, and instead let the information talk for itself.

Because this, this right here, is how you turn people against you. You do it one murder, and one act of terrorism, at a time.

This is how people see you for what you really are.

See, it's not even a bet that it's going to come out that the alleged shooter is connected to Operation Rescue.

Not. Even. A. Bet.

I know these people. I know these people from waaaaaaay back.

I suppose I should thank 'em, because they're the reason why I'm militantly pro-choice today.

Too bad people had to wind up dead for me to see the light, right?

It may surprise you that once upon a time I was anti-abortion.

I know, a total shocker, what with me waving the People's Republic of Massachusetts Flag Signaling Unapologetic Progressivism.

However, I was a Catholic School student starting from the fifth grade. Do you seriously think that any Catholic School student is not going to be anti-abortion? Really? I may have gone to a fairly liberal Catholic School, but it wasn't that liberal. Pro-choice was not an option, if you get my meaning.

You really think we didn't get to know all about Randall Terry and Gary Bauer before anyone else did?

Oh, shit yeah. We got to know all about them in our little Catholic School classrooms, and we're talking early middle school classrooms, not high school classrooms. Complete with dead fetus pictures. My brother and I are still scarred by that. And we both, to this day, get unreasonably angry when we see anti-abortion protesters waving those damn signs.

It doesn't help that even a little knowledge of biology pretty much tells you that those pictures are selling a lie. Because a first trimester fetus does not look like those pictures. (Don't worry. This links to the Mayo Clinic site about fetal development.)

But that is another argument for another time.

Even to my anti-abortion believing self, Terry and Bauer were still scary motherfuckers. When those two dudes were on a roll in front of people who agreed with them, there was some ugly spew coming out of their mouths. Ugly enough that even semi-brainwashed Catholic School girls would look at each other with "What the Fuck?" painted across our faces.

Even back then was as clear as the noses on our faces: These guys did not like women very much. They didn't trust them. They didn't think they were very smart. And they were damn well sure that women did bad things just for shits-and-giggles, while poor, long-suffering men had to put up with the bad things women did to them.

Women, in their twisted reasoning were evilly despotic in their rule over men, while still being the weaker sex incapable of deciding what to shoes to wear that day.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Leading Lights of the Pro-Life Movement. You may weep now.

Considering all of us Catholic School girls were at that age where the boys were playing "grab-a-boob" in the school halls and the girls had taken to stabbing them with pens and drawing blood out of self-defense, this did not sound like any kind of reflection of our reality at all.

See this? This right here? This is where the cracks form and the doubt creeps in, and you realize that all the big movers and shakers in this anti-abortion movement look a whole lot like men.

Or more specifically, men who don't trust women and aren't shy about saying so.

Since those early days, Bauer and Terry have slightly modulated their public statements (only slightly), and a couple more female faces are serving as a front, but they haven't much changed their spots.

Trust me when I tell you: At the beginnings of their respective infamous careers it was a whole lot worse.

So it really shouldn't have been a surprise, what with Bauer and Terry shouting some pretty ugly shit at the assumed-to-be-converted, the violence against medical personnel and patients started happening.

And by the way, that link to anti-abortion violence does not even get into the harassment and threats the medical providers have to put up with every day. It does not even get into the harassment that women have to put up with every time they the use a women's health center, whether it be to get an abortion or just to get a damn pap smear they could actually afford because they have lousy insurance or no insurance at all.

Yet, despite the ugliness of their words, more than a few of us Catholic Girls managed to convince ourselves, "Well, they don't speak for everyone. Not everyone is like that. Some people are genuinely well-meaning. And hey, we all know kids who were adopted into loving homes, right?"

This reasoning, by the way, completely misses the point of pro-choice. Going through with the birth and giving the resulting baby up for adoption is still a choice. No one is running out into the street and randomly grabbing pregnant women and forcing abortions on them. And no one, not even people who are pro-choice, are at all in favor of forced abortions. No one is even rooting for anyone to get an abortion as a general policy (although individual cases may vary).

It also misses another point: Any child born after Roe v. Wade who was given up for adoption is still a child of choice. The legality of abortion, or even the lack of it, came very little into play in the birth of that child, if at all.

See? Your conscience says abortion is wrong and you go through with the birth and give that kid up for adoption, it's your choice. If for various reasons you can't go through with the birth (your reasons are immaterial), it's still your choice.

How hard is this to understand?

Well nigh impossible it appears.

Anyway, that's still getting away from my point.

The point being: How I Figured Out that Anti-Abortion People Shouldn't Be Given Any Power Over Anyone. Ever.

Fast-forward a number of years. All those words of hate from Terry and Bauer have been swirling in my brain for awhile now. And the more I think about it, the more it bugs me.

Then I think about this priest I know. Let's call him Father T.

Father T is a good guy, a good priest even. The kind of priest who is everything a priest should be. He's kind. He's compassionate. He makes the time for even the least of his flock. He's always there to help you out.

He's a pacifist, for Christ's sake.

And he protests the local Planned Parenthood every morning with his peeps from Operation Rescue right there on Main Street.

Okay, you tell yourself. Terry and Bauer are fucknuts to the nth degree, but how bad can Operation Rescue be if Father T is okay with them?

Until the violence against abortion providers begins, and the local Boston stations decide to cover the controversy.

Hard as this is for some of you to believe, Tom Bergeron used to host a mid-afternoon news/chat show called "People Are Talking" on local Boston television, and he was good at it. In fact, Bergeron was all over Boston television and radio in soft news formats.

Anyway, one of Bergeron's shows involved anti-abortion violence. One of his guests was Father T, who was there in the role of chosen spokesperson for Operation Rescue.

Bergeron fielded what I'm sure he thought was a softball question to a priest, "What do you think of the violence against abortion clinics?"

After some thought, Father T gave a most horrifying answer. "I don't approve, but I understand that sometimes it's necessary to stop the slaughter."

Cue Bergeron's mouth dropping open and at an utter loss for words. Cue the entire audience of mostly women sucking in a sharp breath that hissed, whether they were anti-abortion or pro-choice.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your local pacifist Catholic priest who right about then started looking damn well like a monster.

That, right there is where your brain breaks and you start taking a very long look at the anti-abortion rhetoric. Right there is when you start comparing the movement's actions versus their words.

And believe me, I looked long and hard, and thought long and hard about it. And in every statement, and every word no matter who said it, I could hear Terry's and Bauer's disdain women, and Father T's the barely disguised threat of violence against women who didn't toe his line.

Make no mistake: I did not come to this pro-choice stance easily or happily. I came to it out of sheer self-defense and in defense of the women around me, even for those women who disagree and would call me a depraved murderer to my face for simply being pro-choice.

This pro-choice stance has caused friction with my family, and the abortion debate remains the one subject that's never, ever discussed. Every time we try it ends in screaming and tears. So, in the name of family harmony, we agree to not agree and say nothing at all.

Ironically enough, it's my mother who's at the opposite extreme. Both my brother and my father fall in the mushy middle, I think. Don't like it. Don't approve. But then again, they're not women, so what the hell do they know? So, let's throw in "it should stay legal" and leave it at that.

Word of warning here: I've got the work week from hell coming up, so I may or may not respond. Not because I don't give a shit, but because I just don't have the time.

Also, you're not going to convince me that I'm in the wrong here. If years of Catholic School didn't do it, and if my mother can't do it, and if debating back and forth with myself on the issue for years didn't do it, you sure as hell aren't going to succeed.

So think on that if you're tempted to let loose both barrels.

Also: Any abusive comments to myself or any other responder will be screened and reported. So if you're going to disagree, make damn sure you're polite about it. And even if you do agree, threats of violence is going to land you in the same hot water.

I'm biased, and I'm not afraid to show it.

ETA: I knew it. I knew it. I totaly called Operation Rescue bobbing up in Dr. Tillman's murder like a bloated corpse.

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