In this article we take a break from our regular posts on eco-friendly clothing to cover a topic we have at heart.
On Sunday Dr. George Tiller, who survived an assassination attempt in 1993, was shot dead in his church. Some may be shocked that a murder would occur at his church, but the church and all of its members had to endure protests for years.
I never had the chance to meet Dr. Tiller, but I have a good friend who escorted at his clinic for years. She would often remind me that Dr. Tiller could see a woman yelling ugly things at him and the patients one day and greet her as a patient the next. A few weeks later she’d be back out on the line yelling hateful things.
This murder is meant to not just kill one man, but to silence everyone who supports a woman’s right to decide when and if to become a mother.
A lot of press time was devoted to a recent Gallup poll that claimed that 51% of Americans call themselves pro-life. Despite being a person who clings to her own labels, I prefer to look at the policy questions asked in the poll than the label people choose. As Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn points out, the numbers we should be paying attention to are the most extreme sides:
Those who say abortion should be legal under any circumstances — April 1975: 21 percent; May 2009: 22 percent.
Those who say abortion should be illegal in all circumstances — April 1975: 22 percent; May 2009, 23 percent.
The person who shot Dr. Tiller is among that 23%, thinking in some manner that by killing one doctor, they are saving lives. And like Ann Coulter, the shooter thinks that murdering an abortion provider is akin to proving an abortion on them, only with a gun. And as upset and shocked I am at the terrorist act perpetuated on the women’s reproductive health community on Sunday, I know that they are outnumbered.
I know that 77% of this country knows that abortion is an optional part of every women’s reproductive healthcare. According to the Guttmacher Institute:
About half of American women have experienced an unintended pregnancy, and at current rates more than one-third (35%) will have had an abortion by age 45. A broad cross section of U.S. women have abortions:
- 56% of women having abortions are in their 20s
- 61% have one or more children
- 67% have never married
- 57% are economically disadvantaged
- 88% live in a metropolitan area
- 78% report a religious affiliation.
The women who have abortions are not all one thing or another. Except for one thing, you know one. You may not know it, but you know one. The odds are that 1 in every 3 women have one by the age of 45… that’s pretty good odds that someone you work with, ride on the bus with or love has had an abortion.
Where that 23% is not outnumbered is in the number of people willing to put their lives on the line for women’s health. Due to threatening rhetoric and pressure by anti-abortion forces, medical schools do not offer abortion as a requirement for OBGYN students. This has lead to a graying of our abortion providers, where 57% of providers are over 50. This also has lead to perhaps one lone doctor willing to perform late-term abortions in the USA:
Hours after the Sunday morning shooting death of late-term abortion doctor George Tiller in Wichita, Kan., a Boulder physician — who says he could be the only doctor in the world still performing the procedure — said Tiller’s assassination was the “absolutely inevitable consequence” of decades of anti-abortion fanaticism.
Only one doctor in our entire country who will be available to help women like Gretchen Voss.