Sunday, June 5, 2011

For now, there is no in-between

To declare that The Wichita Divide evoked emotions I did not know I had would be making an understatement.

Rather, one evening after a long day of providing comprehensive, reproductive health care, I opened this newly released, 350+-page, hardbound account of the murder of Dr. George Tiller and the battle over abortion, then proceeded to carry it with me everywhere for seven lunches and seven bedtimes.

Some excerpts inspired web searches, journal entries, and visions of perfect health care in a perfectly open-hearted world, while chapters leading to the climax conjured sobs from my throat I’ve never heard before.

Do I recommend you read the truly terrifying
Wichita Divide? Absolutely, but not because it’s painful. Because it is necessary. A master hate-crime writer, Stephen Singular will cushion your grief with big-picture facts.

You knew so much about Dr. Tiller, and if you didn’t know, you found out once he was murdered: his commitment to helping women in the face of humiliating and dangerous opposition, in and out of the court room, arranging adoptions to pro-choice parents, providing free services to nine-year-olds, loving husband, father, and grandfather, abiding spirit gifted to lead and to sooth those in their deepest hour of need, the day to day regimen of a terrorized abortioneer.

Singular presents Dr. Tiller sheer as he was. Yet, unlike abortioneers who’ve returned to clinics with resolved *attitude is everything* to continue to provide and expand compassionate health care, Singular has been connecting with the murderer’s wife, Lindsey Roeder—a brave woman liberated by her ex-husband’s sentence to imprisonment for the rest of his life. He also presents a picture of rising American hate and seedy blending of church and state. He wraps a variety of stories into a compelling narrative with a neutral yet urgent tone.

I cannot recommend this book enough. We know what it is we provide. We know it is always crucial and often good. Do mild-manner, one-track-mind, pro-life activists know what they snowball? Is the violence inevitable, fact-of-life statistical in light of mental illness, greed, narcissism, capitalism?

The question remains: who will stand to care...

Reading this book will either shake you like a 2-year-anniversary/every-day-the-dumb-and-dangerous-stigma-you-face monster, or it will sadly dash right over your head as you kneel in the gutter before the abortion clinic and shoot bullets in the backcountry soil.


  1. Now I really, really want to read the book. What an interesting approach, to interview his ex-wife. After all, she lived with him for years. And from what I hear she went from being "mildly anti-abortion" with him to diverging toward pro-choice beliefs while he went off in his radical violent directions. Hope I can find a copy locally -- I heard from our pal Clinic Escort that none of her local Borders carried it!

  2. Yes, please do!

    For the sake of keeping facts (but as to not give away much), Lindsey was always pro-choice but unable to express herself in so many ways for fear of setting-off her husband who was the father of her son. I suppose in her silence, she was mildly, if not staunchly anti. However, she is also someone else entirely: one heroine in the book...


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