Yesterday, while walking into church, Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed. He was one of the few doctors left in the country who would perform late term abortions. Contrary to the propaganda of the Right to Lifers, late term abortions are not a casual affair, rather only done when the life of the mother is at risk.
But we should have those babies even if it means dying.
I started my "career" as an activist on abortion clinic lines. I believed strongly in the right to choose, although I know as an adoptee it would be almost impossible for me to have an abortion. Of course, I'm a lesbian so the chances of me getting pregnant by accident are ... um... next to none. Only rape or incest would cause me to be pregnant and in neither case would I carry a baby to term.
I was always blown away by the holier than thou attitudes of the other side. And yet, the complete and total disrespect they showed everyone who opposed their beliefs made me wonder what teaching of Jesus they were reading.
I was also driving down Beacon Street in Brookline the day John Salvi went on a rampage at two clinics. My wife and I were annoyed by the stopped traffic, only to hear on the radio moments later we were within two blocks of the first shooting, only moments before.
It reminded me of how scary the protesters could be, too. I don't remember any that ever seemed like average folks. Ever. Average folks don't carry around a fetus in a jar. They don't chain themselves to doors.
Dr. Tiller faced a lifetime of threats. His clinic was bombed in 1985. He still continued his work because he was saving lives. And one of the few willing to take the constant abuse thrown at him and his family.
Walking into church, a sanctuary if nothing else, he was shot and killed. I am certain the shooter believes he has saved countless babies lives. I am also certain he has cost countless women's lives.
Shot dead in front of his wife and daughter.
I no longer stand vigil at clinics. I believe deeply, though, that the right to choose was essential in the battle for women's rights, regardless of whether or not a woman would ever be in the position of making that choice.
No woman ever makes the choice lightly.
Our bodies. Our choices. Over the years, the anti-abortion groups have pressured so many decent doctors out of providing safe access to a medical procedure. Few are brave enough to continue.
Dr. Tiller was brave enough.
My deepest condolences to his family.
It is a reminder to all of us working in the LGBT rights movement that we need to learn from this. No matter how far down the line we get, no matter how secure our rights are, there will be always someone twisted enough to shoot us dead in the streets.