6.08.2012

Live-ish Thoughts on MSNBC's "The Assassination of Dr. Tiller"

Right out of the gate, let me say that I am pro choice.  I think that in a society that does a terrible job of being honest to children and teenagers about sex and child bearing and rearing, where rape is still a tool used to put women in their place (at a ridiculous rate, still), where a woman's likelihood to live her life in poverty can be easily determined by whether she has children and how many, abortion is necessary.  And I don't like the term that many other pro-choicers use - a necessary evil.  It's a legal medical procedure that can save the lives and/or futures of women.  Stop apologizing for it, it's not evil, but for a lot of women it is necessary.

That said, I've never been sure about late-term abortions.  I don't consider a fetus to be a "baby" until it can survive outside of the womb on it's own, which depending on the situation is generally somewhere after 6 months.  That's obviously not an optimal gestation period, but when I hear about premature births it seems like the infants are more likely to live if they're past the 6 month period.  So by my own personal definition, a 3rd trimester abortion is "killing a baby"... except, as I have learned in the past year plus of personally studying race, gender, and class issues, the issue of late-term abortion is not that simple.

Thoughts

  • I did not know that he was shot and killed at his church.
  • There are only 3 (now two, I guess) physicians who specialize in 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions?  I'm not surprised at 3rd trimester abortions, but I didn't realize that 2nd trimester abortions were also so contentious.
  • "Abortion is a matter of survival for women." - Dr. George Tiller, summarizing what the women who were patients of his father, who also performed abortions, taught him.
  • I love how determined, unafraid, and vehement he was that his services were necessary and he was not going to stop.
  • One of his colleagues points out that women just to pick up from all over the country, and some the world, and fly to Wichita, Kansas on a whim for an abortion - all of their cases were catastrophes.
  • Fetal Indications - late term abortions performed because something was wrong with the fetus.  More and more often I've heard stories of women who were having miscarriages and were turned away from their OB/GYNs or the local hospital because "they don't do abortions".  The fetus is literally dying or already dead inside of them.  If there is no chance that it will survive, then how the hell is aiding a woman in expelling her fetus to make sure that she doesn't become ill equal performing an abortion?  But this happens!  It's so illogical that doctors are allowed to say no to a woman in need of such desperate assistance.
  • Maternal Indications - late term abortions performed because of issues that the mother was having, such as mental health issues, patients who were basically children themselves, etc.
  • I fucking hate this guy, Randall Terry, from Operation Rescue.  "Don't let them murder your baby, mommy please don't kill me!  We'll help you!"  Really?  Like these women are just having a fun little lunchtime abortion?  Like they haven't thought of every option other than an abortion, especially in the case of the many women who were aborting because though they desperately wanted this child, but for whatever reason they cannot carry it to term.
  • Also, how exactly would they help these women?  Does Operation Rescue have a fund set up to provide poor women with monetary support for their unwanted children, pay the medical bills or funeral costs of women who were going to abort because maintaining the pregnancy would be a danger to their health, pay for the funerals of babies born dead for women who were going to abort because their OB/GYN told them that their fetus would be unlikely to survive?  A search on their website shows that donations go towards "exposing the sin of abortion" around the country, so no, they do not have such funds.  Also, they apparently do not have 501c3 status.  They should shut the fuck up and have a seat.
  • Oh O'Reilly.  "Tiller has killed thousands of late-term fetuses without explanation".  Explanation to who?  He doesn't need to give any explanation to the general public.  Or does he think that Tiller and his staff just let any woman who came in hop onto the table without asking them why they wanted to have an abortion?
  • It's such a simple-minded point of view to call an abortion provider a "baby killer" without wondering why so many women would choose to "kill our babies".  35% of all women of reproductive age will have had an abortion before they are 45 years old.  Are more than a third of women just degenerate baby killers, too?  Or maybe they have valid reasons to have made this decision.
  • "The ones who don't carry guns incite the ones who do carry guns."  Yep.  You can't spend years turning someone into a villain and then absolve yourself of responsibility when someone deems themselves the hero who will save all of the innocents from said villain.
Also, I don't like the assumption that women, their doctors, and abortion providers are all either so evil or so incompetent that they are all just eager to kill babies willy nilly, and it's the job of religious groups to show them the light.  And I name religious groups because I don't think that I've ever heard an anti-abortion opinion that was not based in religion.  I could not care less about what your religion says about abortion.  Your religion is not mine, and it should not be allowed to dictate the laws and lives that affect my life.  I'd love to hear a logical reason why abortion should be illegal that has nothing to do with religion.

Knowledge and empathy is what helped me decide that my support is completely pro-choice.  There are so many reasons why a woman and her partner may choose to have a late term abortion, and often these reasons have to be supported by an outside physician.  Rarely could someone have an abortion for "no reason" and really, is there such a thing as a frivolous reason to have an abortion?  In my opinion, no.  But if your's is yes, think up the most frivolous situation to have an abortion imaginable. Now would you want that woman and her partner to pass their genes on to, and raise, a child?  Probably not.