I'm not an optimistic person. I'm good at pretending to be, but that doesn't mean I believe myself. After Dr. Tiller's death, I assured everyone I knew, as loudly as I could, that there will always be abortion and there will always be providers and there will always be access, and I would make sure of it. But 10:30 Tuesday night found me on the phone sobbing to my mom about how Dr. Tiller's death and the closure of his clinic signified the end of an era and the end of access.
And yet, I faced Wednesday morning like normal, with a smile on my face and a ribbon in honor of St. George on my lapel, because it would do no good for me to stop. I can't even conceive of leaving abortion work behind--whether it's legal or not. And today's announcement that Dr. Carhart will continue to provide third-trimester abortions in Kansas showed me that I'm not the only one. For every outspoken abortion advocate I know, there are ten more silent ones. It might be a young guy who stays quiet at his conservative workplace, but anonymously Twitters about injustices surrounding abortion access in his off hours. It could be a mother who never talked openly about her abortions, but who lived every day since then giving thanks for her experiences in 1971 (yes, 1971) and making periodic donations to clinics. And I work directly with doctors who are just as passionate and hardworking and brave as Dr. Tiller and Dr. Carhart are, but who are less apt to be in the spotlight. I have the privilege of knowing that they're available and they're on our side, even though no one would ever identify them at the grocery store. And as much as it pains me to see an anti-choice woman have an abortion, come to terms with it, and leave the clinic STILL not admitting that she's pro-choice, that tiny shift in her consciousness is a tiny bit of hope that the world of the Abortioneers will go on.