Sitting at work earlier today, I kept thinking that I would write a “normal” blog post. Get back to writing about a patient story, or a funding story. Tonight I went to a memorial service for Dr. Tiller – I have been to a couple of others this past week. It made me want to say something on the subject.
I never met Dr. Tiller. To me his murder meant more of a general want and a need to continue to work in reproductive health, so that his death would not be in vain. It still does. And even though I was extremely saddened by what happened, and it filled me with a new fire to try to help women in whatever capacity I can, it wasn’t personal. I didn’t feel a personal connection to it until tonight. Tonight I sat at a memorial service listening to a friend of Dr. Tiller’s speak of him not only as a doctor, and a champion for women’s health, but also as a husband, father, grandfather, and friend. Someone who provided abortion services because there were women who needed these services and providing those women with health care was his duty and the right thing to do as a doctor. Because I never knew him I didn’t stop to think of him as that person, stop to think of his family.
I think of the sacrifice he gave and the sacrifice his family gave, so women could have access to safe, supportive abortion care. As I walk past a local abortion clinic daily, I now think of the staff who work there. I think of the sacrifice they are making, that their loved ones are making, so they too can help women. I think about the clinic escorts who volunteer early morning hours – Saturday, before work – to help women and their companions safely get inside to their appointments.
I want to say thank you. Thank you for putting yourselves in harm’s way. Thank you for not thinking of yourselves, but for what you can do for others.