Thursday, May 31, 2012

An anniversary of a loss

Somehow it's already May 31 again. It's my sibling's twentieth birthday, and it's the third anniversary of Dr. George Tiller's murder by a "pro-life" gunman. It'd be hard to forget this day.

More than one of my colleagues have told me that brilliant blue-sky almost-summer days still remind them of the afternoon we learned Dr. Tiller was gone. It was a Sunday, the Sunday after Memorial Day, and every Memorial Day since then I've thought about Dr. Tiller, who was an Air Force pilot, but who lost his life decades later for being a doctor. "Our veterans died so you could have those freedoms." Except, for once, it's true.

It'd be hard to forget this day, but it's also difficult to remember it. Remembering sets me to wondering how many more years we'll remember to honor Dr. Tiller, and also whether anyone outside abortionland remembers anymore, or cares.

Remember? Remember how our president gave speeches shortly thereafter about finding "common ground" on abortion? Don't you wonder where, exactly, that common ground is? Is it on "Let's come to a compromise on how many healthcare providers you assassinate per year"? In the wake of a Southern string of 3 targeted burglaries at clinics and 3 women's health buildings set aflame (some of which don't even provide abortion care), wouldn't you really like to know what common ground looks like? "Let's agree that no one likes fires in the summer; you could at least save arson for the winter months"?

Where's a libertarian declaring "Those who would trade liberty for security..." when you could actually use one?

Dr. Tiller didn't fuck around like that. They massed outside his office, and he had a huge sign printed: "Women need abortions, and I'm going to provide them." No mincing, no equivocating, and no compromising his patients' care. He went to work every day to protect women's freedoms. Someone shot him in both arms, and he went back to work the next day. He had a gate at the clinic and wore a bulletproof vest -- but his murderer shot him in the head, at church. As you know, freedom ain't free, and that's why we as a society support our abortion providers LOL naw jk that would be crazy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My little coat hanger

I wear a little coat hanger pendant because I support abortion rights. The coat hanger represents a dark time in history during which pregnant people who did not want to be pregnant - and I mean really, REALLY did not want to be pregnant - resorted to painful and dangerous means to terminate their pregnancies. These included: drinking strange herbal concoctions, introducing chemicals into the vagina, intentionally falling down stairs or receiving punches to the stomach, and penetrating the uterus with coat hangers. I'm not sure that the coat hanger was the preferred method of self-induced abortion or if it was even that common, but it was gruesome. I mean, can you even imagine? Your cervix gets the heebie-jeebies from a mere cotton swab! So when we invoke the coat hanger, it's intended to a) scare the crap out of you so you don't forget what it's like when abortion is inaccessible, and b) remember the suffering and the sacrifice of those people who died for the opportunity to control their fertility. If I were one for blasphemy, I'd say it's the pro-choice equivalent of a crucifix.

I generally don't wield symbols. I have no tattoos, few bumper stickers, and even fewer politically motivated T-shirts. However, those that I do rock are all pro-choice. It's what I believe in. It's my religion. It's not one of the Big Three, but we've got a very strong following (1 in 3 women, in fact). Often, when others see my little coat hanger pendant, we have a private conversation. I guess it's akin to what members of other secret societies have when they discover one another:

"What's with the coat hanger?" [barely perceptible eyebrow raise]
"It's a pro-choice symbol." [nod of affirmation]
"Aaaaahhhhhhh...." [slight up-turning of the lip]

There's the odd blissful ignoramus:

"What a cute little coat hanger! Is that because you like fashion?"

I cringe a little, and imagine that 40 years ago someone's couture ended up on the floor because its hanger had a greater purpose. (I instantly forgive the offense though, recalling my own stupidity in telling a girl one sunny Ash Wednesday that she had a little schmutz). I can't blame them. It's a nice place to be at. I used to be ignorant once, and I lived a pretty happy life. But now that I'm here and can never turn back, I pay homage and I wear my little coat hanger. And I hope to receive many more winks and head nods and acknowledgments that our secret society is not, in fact, so secret after all. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pregnancy Poetics

Whether you believe in science, poetics, magic, or fetuses, this podcast will fascinate. Highlighting what every Abortioneer already knows: every day is mother's day.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

From an abortioneer and mother, on Mother's Day

At last count, 61% of women accessing abortion care in the US have given birth one or more times. (It's unclear whether the proportion has shifted lately due to the ongoing suckage of the economy, and if so, in what direction.)

Nancy Stanwood, an OB/GYN who sees women through all kinds of pregnancies (whether those are healthy or high-risk, whether they will end with abortion or miscarriage or stillbirth or live birth), has written a post for Mother Jones that describes the mothering decisions her patients have made in seeking abortion care. Here's a taste:
I became a mother seven months ago. By giving birth, I feel I made a solemn promise. I will be responsible for the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of this beautiful little creature for the next 18 years and beyond. I will put her needs first, I will always think about her welfare, I will make sacrifices for her.

This is the promise we celebrate on Mother's Day. Many women keep this promise by having abortions.

Right on. I hope you'll go read the whole thing, as it's not too long and plenty powerful: In the Shadow of Mother's Day.