This morning the unthinkable happened. Families in Wichita had breakfast, and got dressed in their Sunday best so they could join together in prayer. Dr. George Tiller’s wife, Jeanne, sang in the choir, and in the foyer of the Reformation Lutheran Church of Wichita Kansas, Dr. George Tiller was murdered in cold blood.
Dr. Tiller is no stranger to violence at the hands of those who purport to save lives. Dr. George Tiller was shot in both arms in 1993, by a virulent Pro Life Crusader. Dr. Tiller has been the beneficiary of police protection (as high as the federal level) due to credible threats on his life. A simple Google search of Dr. George Tiller will show you what a lightening rod he really was. Dr. Tiller continued practicing medicine and performing late term abortions on women who required them even after having been shot.
The feminism of my mother’s generation revolved around reproductive rights. My mother hid her pregnancy with me (she was a married schoolteacher) because she knew she’d have been fired for her pregnancy. My mother also explained to me that she and her counterparts took the first generation of birth control pills knowing that they’d grow mustaches, but they were, “so happy to have sex without worrying about having a baby or dying that no one cared.”
Really, that’s what she said. My mother’s generation grew up knowing that sex could kill you, because an abortion was that dangerous. I am a 39 year old woman; I grew up with Planned Parenthood and free clinics. It would be easy for me to forget that feminism isn’t just about women working. Feminism is about women living and dying.
Today a Church was victimized. Today women were victimized and a man who saved the lives of American Women was murdered. Contrary to what some of the fringe groups would have you believe, it is very difficult for a woman to have a late term abortion in Kansas or elsewhere in the US. Typically the child is incompatible with life and/or the mother’s life is in great peril.
There is no part of me that wants a woman to have an abortion. When I lay in bed at night, and I’m still I can recall the flutters of my children’s limbs in my womb. Within moments of a positive pregnancy test, I was thinking of names for my children and planning our time together, from trips to education and books to read. I believe in my heart of hearts that pregnant women are mothers.
Yet I believe in mothers, and women. I would risk everything I have on the mothers I have met, and I know that they are not killers, and that abortion, particularly late term abortions are not decisions made lightly. I know that just a few short years ago our daughters were made sterile from botched abortions. My friend lost his mother to a botched abortion about the time I was born.
The not so funny thing? She wasn’t even pregnant.
Today I cried a little, because the sacred was made profane. Our country has been polarized, once again, and women have lost a man that tended to their health without judgment.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia via creative commons.