PSA: Kansas NOW to Host Counter Demonstration against Reverend Patrick Mahoney’s Christian Defence Coalition

by matttbastard

KS NOW press release:

The Kansas National Organization for Women will counter-protest the “prayer vigil” organized by the Christian Defense Coalition and Operation Rescue on Saturday, June 20th outside of Women’s Health Care Services located at 5107 E. Kellogg in Wichita.

Kansas NOW is disturbed that anti-choice activist Patrick Mahoney would plan such an event after stating in regards to Dr. Tiller’s murder, “No one should use this tragedy for political gain”.

State Coordinator Marla Patrick stated, “I am astounded at the sheer hypocrisy of the anti-choice groups. They are using Dr. Tiller’s murder as an opportunity to grandstand their extremist beliefs.  While they claim they will be praying for the end to abortion, I would recommend they pray for forgiveness. Their inflammatory rhetoric played a part in Dr. Tiller’s murder.” She also stated, “They routinely speak of blood on people’s hands. By the rules that they have set and claim to follow, it is very evident that they are the ones with blood on their hands.”

Marla Patrick

KS NOW State Coordinator

785-227-3854

785-212-0162

coordinator@ksnow.org

The hypocrisy of anti-choice groups is profound, and on Saturday we plan to hold signs demonstrating that.  We know there are many pro-choice activists and who would like to join us on Saturday, but can’t.  In spirit we are asking for you to submit your favorite hypocritical anti-choice quote by anti-choice leaders and sponsor a protest sign for a $5 donation to KS NOW.

http://www.ksnow.org/KS_NOW/Counter_Demonstration.html

Please feel free to post and pass around.

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Quote of the Day: Alive and Living Now

by matttbastard

But let’s get one thing clear — being “pro-life” has absolutely nothing to do with compassion or saving the lives of babies or getting people to take responsibility for their actions. Instead, being “pro-life” has everything to do with ignorance and control. Being “pro-life” has everything to do with making judgments on what they know nothing about. If being “pro-life” were actually about being pro-life, then trustworthy health care, safe procedures, and birth control would be more accessible for all women, and the murder of a doctor would never have happened.

– Theresa, Pro-Life: Not About Life At All.

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When the Deeply Personal Becomes Deeply Political.

Guest post by L. Portes*

Dr Tiller’s assassination has riled up a semi-sleeping nest of vipers in the past few days. Even though it isn’t always reported in the media, the old same rhetoric has been going on, mostly under the radar, among the Armies of “God” and the Operation Rescues of the anti-choice movement.

Old arguments and old red herrings.

In the 1990s there were a string of terrorist attacks within the US and Canada aimed at abortion clinics and physicians who provide patients with abortion services after the (mostly) acceptable 12 weeks. Doctors were shot and killed, clinics bombed, staff harassed and terrorized. Today, career protesters still stand outside clinics, screaming and shouting at women who enter; there have even been cases where members of the police have conspired and handed over personal information to the extremists from those ID’d through their license plates.

There are some who consider abortion at any stage of the game unacceptable. In fact, some would ban contraception, as it may simply interfere with the plans of their god. But, on the whole, society has “decided” that early on terminating a pregnancy is less abhorrent to them.

It has been estimated that approximately 33% of all pregnancies spontaneously miscarry within the first trimester. That is just nature’s way of not completing a faulty conception or splitting of cells. But that magic number 12 when the first trimester ends is where what is deeply personal suddenly becomes deeply political; after 12 weeks of pregnancy it has been proposed that a woman must go forward for the next 28 weeks, no matter what–full steam ahead.

The most vocal abortion opponents would like you to believe that after 12 weeks the decision to terminate a pregancy is a matter of convenience, that abortions are being performed willy nilly up to the 40th week, that it’s simply a business venture for doctors like George Tiller. “Abortionists” perform “executions” for the money. They have said that Dr. Tiller would abort a fetus just hours before it would be born! This is not true, of course, but it makes for shocking material (and massive ratings) for those with no scruples (Bill O’Reilly comes to mind.)

But for what real reasons would a woman and her family require the services provided by a specialized clinic such as Dr. Tiller’s, or, here in Canada, the one run by Dr. Garson Romalis?

A primary one would be fetal anomalies.

You may know someone that this has happened to–a friend of a friend, a family member perhaps: A woman discovers she is expecting and, partway through the pregnancy, a test shows something that makes it apparent that the fetus will not survive. Or that if there is a live birth it will be a painful, short-lived thing. Or when the fetus is born it will be a life of nothingness.

Sometimes, carrying an anencephalic fetus to term can be detrimental to the woman. It may compromise future fertility, or the woman’s life due to infection. Hard to truly comprehend unless it has happened to you.

I can comprehend.

My pregnancy was a wanted one, very much so. The first weeks were uneventful, except for the happiness and the worry which intermingled. I’d had two miscarriages in my life already; never really accepted being pregnant again as a reality until the 12th week.

Hurdle one vaulted.

Entering into the second trimester, we were finally feeling confident and making plans for the new arrival. We didn’t have much at the time, but we were gathering supplies for the coming weeks: a second hand stroller, blankets. I could feel the baby moving already, at first a small quickening; that grew into more kicks and swimming sensations. I had been seeing my doctor regularly from about 12 weeks, as I had been out of the country when I discovered the pregnancy. He ordered an ultrasound, which was performed at about the 18 week mark.

Our baby had a heartbeat, which I already knew. But something alarming turned up as well. More detailed scans were ordered and the grim details were told to us by a special team who looked at them.

Broken bones, some healed already. Bowed legs and arms, etc. Ostegenesis Imperfecta Type II, they called it: Brittle Bone.

Our baby wasn’t going to live. And whatever time he spent in the womb, or out, was just going to be painful. Pain that you or I cannot imagine.

A boy.

We were given two options: Carry on with the pregnancy, knowing what was to come, ignore his pain, and ours.

Or terminate the pregnancy.

Not much else to be said, really; we made the most kind decision, one that no parent-to-be should ever have to make.

A harrowing, sad, anguished couple of weeks followed. I mostly just remember being in the recovery room, missing him so much. Alone suddenly after weeks of activity.

Alone with our broken dreams.

I had aborted at 21 weeks. My body thought it had delivered a baby who needed sustenance, so it began to lactate. Just another painful reminder of what was lost.

We talked to the doctors to ask what the odds were of this happening again and were told that it was less than 6%, as it was not recorded on either side of our families. So a few months later we tried again. We were on pins and needles until the 18 week mark, as this condition can only be seen on an ultrasound and can only be confirmed or discounted after about 17 weeks.

When we finally held our little baby girl in our arms, whole and healthy and screaming like thunder, we did not forget about our son; the love is still there. We have moved on as much as we can, knowing we did the right thing. The pain is still very real, less sharp, sometimes bittersweet.

But I also know that because of medical professionals like Dr. Tiller and Dr. Romalis (who in the past has also faced near-deadly harassment) there would not be the peace that we now feel. Indeed, if our son had died in utero (which also happens in cases like ours) there is a good chance that we wouldn’t know the joys of our two youngest children. Most distressing of all, so much suffering would have been inflicted for no real reason on someone we didn’t really know, yet loved and wanted with all our being.

And that is what the anti-choicers do not want you to know about: situations faced by families like ours.

Our stories are not often told; to do so makes many listeners uncomfortable. Some will not even look me in the eye when I tell them in person. A lot of women like me simply don’t say anything, as there is the very real possibility that we might be labeled, with much revulsion, as monsters.

We see reports of extremists screaming at women outside clinics, hear of those same extremists targeting medical professionals. These are deeply personal, deeply painful stories that have been made deeply political by those who really do not give a damn about babies, families, or people in general.  But it is time to start speaking up.

We are not monsters. We are parents who love our children, and love the children we lost. And Dr Tiller was nothing short of a hero.

Now, after so many years of personal sacrifice and personal pain he is now a fallen hero. We cannot let him have died in vain. We cannot let parents who face these sorts of tragedies such as fetal anomalies or a life-threatening pregnancy go it alone.

These anti-choice extremists must finally be dealt with, publicly denounced and called what they are.

Pro life? No. They are nothing but low life terrorists who, through fear and intimidation, want to force everyone to bend to their will.

And, because of them, families that face the same wretched news we did need help now more than ever.

*name changed for privacy and safety reasons

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Frank Schaeffer: “This is what helps unhinge a society.”

by matttbastard

That, Bill, is what’s called ‘accountability’.  You should try it sometime.

As pogge notes:

Schaeffer confesses that when he and other leaders of the movement in the seventies and eighties were moving to ever more radical rhetoric and tactics, they knew perfectly well what they were doing in the process: egging on those who would do exactly what Tiller’s murderer did.

And you knew it, too–which, despite your bilious protests to the contrary, makes you and all who unrepentantly continue to indulge in the ugly rhetoric of demonization and dehumanization just as culpable.  And no,  THE KOS! did not direct me to say that.

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Quote of the Day: Inevitable Consequences

by matttbastard

The Wichita Eagle:

Warren Hern, a Colorado physician and close friend of Tiller’s — who described himself now as “the only doctor in the world” who performs very-late-term abortions — said Tiller’s death was predictable.

“I think it’s the inevitable consequence of more than 35 years of constant anti-abortion terrorism, harassment and violence,” he said.

When Obama was elected last fall, Hern predicted that anti-abortion violence would increase, he said. Because Obama supports legalized abortion, Hern said, its foes “have lost ground…. They want the doctors dead, and they invite people to assassinate us. No wonder that this happens.

“I am next on the list.”

Related: Must-read article from the always-excellent Ann Friedman, in which she puts the assassination of Dr. George Tiller into the broader context of the concerted criminal harassment (sometimes deadly) of US abortion clinic workers:

It’s apparent that we need someone at the federal level who is paying attention. After all, Tiller’s assassin was not acting in vacuum. Even if no national anti-choice group directly ordered him to fire that gun, he is a product of a culture that thrives on systematically threatening reproductive health care providers and women who seek abortions. Militant anti-choice groups like Operation Rescue — which has endorsed intimidation tactics in the past — released statements yesterday condemning Tiller’s assassination.

But after years of sending the message to its avid base that Tiller was a sub-human monster, a press release expressing dismay at the killing does little good. On the sidebar of the Operation Rescue blog, near where the press release appeared, was a small image featuring Dr. Tiller’s face, some very sinister-looking flames, and the words “America’s Doctor of Death,” linking to a detailed dossier about all of Tiller’s offenses. Other groups keep databases of reproductive health providers’ addresses and phone numbers, all but daring their members to conduct harassment campaigns.

Elsewhere: Contra the disingenuous spin (h/t Mandos) from the forced-birth set, Jill Filipovic and former Religious Right icon Frank Schaeffer both join Friedman in placing the blame for Dr. Tiller’s murder squarely on the collective shoulders of the ‘mainstream’ anti-abortion movement. As Schaeffer (who readily acknowledges his role, along with his late father Francis and former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, in establishing the anti-abortion movement) puts it:

The same hate machine I was part of is still attacking all abortionists as “murderers.” And today once again the “pro-life” leaders are busy ducking their personal responsibility for people acting on their words. The people who stir up the fringe never take responsibility. But I’d like to say on this day after a man was murdered in cold blood for preforming abortions that I — and the people I worked with in the religious right, the Republican Party, the pro-life movement and the Roman Catholic Church, all contributed to this killing by our foolish and incendiary words.

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BREAKING: Dr. George Tiller Assassinated

by matttbastard

Oh, fuck:

George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.

Tiller was shot just after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. An anonymous police source confirmed Tiller was the victim.

NOW do all the pearl-clutching conservative bloggers get why that fauxtroversial DHS report on far-right activity was so goddamn pertinent?! As GallingGalla just said on Twitter, “forced-birthers are TERRORISTS on US soil.” This latest killing of a health care provider, martyred for daring to provide women with a vital medical service (in the same week that, here in Canada, the Ontario Provincial Police decided to let another anti-choice assassin evade accountability), only reinforces that all-too-clear fact.

Seriously, this is supposed to be an expression of ‘pro-life’ sentiment?! Look, Operation Rescue can offer hollow denunciations all they like. They are still morally complicit and should rightfully be held accountable for their inflammatory rhetoric and tactics.

Fuck them and their deadly, pro-natalist fanaticism.

h/t Atrios

Update: Via Ann Friedman, Cara writes at Feministe:

This is the first time an abortion provider has been murdered in over a decade. I have friends who work in abortion clinics. This is terrorism. And right now, I just don’t have the words.

As my co-blogger (and Wichita resident) Sassywho just said over IM,

[Tiller] was a prisoner to [Operation Rescue’s] tactics. And because “abortion is a divisive issue,” he wasn’t protected. I just fucking hope (!) that Obama gets that fucking message how framing it as such opens windows.

Sebelius better make sure he gets that fucking message.

Also, what Ann said:

I am also worried about what Tiller’s murder means for women in Kansas and elsewhere in the country who need the services that he provided. The simple fact is there are almost no doctors who provide late-term abortions, especially in rural parts of the country. I was in Nebraska several years ago to interview Dr. Leroy Carhart (whose challenges to abortion-restricting laws went all the way to the Supreme Court), and Carhart and Tiller were the only two late-term providers in their region. If one wanted to go on vacation or got sick, the other had to fill in. There was no one else. Perhaps it would be a fitting memorial to Dr. Tiller to contribute to Medical Students for Choice, and encourage more doctors with a deep commitment to reproductive rights to become abortion providers.

Signed. Off.

Update 2: Via Sylvia, KC Star columnist/blogger Mike Hendricks effing nails it:

At mid-day, police were still trying to figure out who pulled the trigger of the gun that killed Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller at his church on Sunday morning.

I’m betting they’ll find that person soon enough.

As for the murderer’s accomplices, we know them already.

They include every one who has ever called Tiller’s late term abortion clinic a murder mill.

Who ever called Tiller “Tiller the Killer.”

The groups who spent decades fomenting hate toward a man who simply believed that he was serving a purpose by being one of the few doctors in the country performing late-term abortions.

Hate. Not heated opposition. Not strong disagreement.

But blind hatred.

The kind of hate that would prompt some maniac to take a  gun into a church and shoot a man to death in front of friends and family.

The kind of hate that is on full display over in Freeperville (h/t AJ Strata, a right-of-centre individual who can smell the fucking coffee.)

Update 3: Police capture suspect in Tiller murder:

Police are not releasing the name of the suspect, but numerous media sources are reporting that a man named Scott Roeder has been arrested in connection with the crime

In addition to the links provided @ DKos, a quick google search brought forth this additional gem:

Roeder Cap

Lovely.

Update 4:  Must-read posts from Antonia & dbO.

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Apparently God does hand out cookies

by sassywho

As a resident of Kansas, I can’t tell you how much I laughed my ass off reading this trademark lawsuit, which basically boils down to a pissing contest between 2 anti-abortion extremists. I’ll break it down for ya: one charismatic dude is pissed off because another charismatic dude stole his namesake. This happened largely because extremist dude #1 (aka Randall Terry) did not register/trademark his gravy-train organization, the infamous radical anti-choice activist group Operation Rescue, fearing monetary damages  as a result of decades of harassment directed towards abortion providers (and women exercising their right to choose). Extremist dude #2 (aka Troy Neman) apparently saw the $$ signs and capitalized on the namesake and bidnez of embryo-saving.

It’s a long statement from extremist dude #1, and it does choke you up a bit when you read the part of how the guy lost his family, spent time in jail and basically became a savior for unborn bayyybeees, yet he couldn’t even save his own family from such unchristian-like behaviors. Honestly though, what would a trademark lawsuit be without the discussion of monetary value? The stakes are high when using a brand that became famous by terrorizing women and health care providers, and Extremist dude # 2 can’t afford to lose his place in the anti-choice hierarchy.

The pdf file is a bit lengthy to give a brief synopsis. However, it is summer, and if you are looking for a trashy read that includes Jimmy Buffet, The Chronicles of Narnia, bullies, threats and good ol’ fashioned blackmail, go check it out. Or, you can always wait for that used-car salesman snake oil salesman Troy Newman to roll into town with his Truth Trucks; I’m sure he would be happy to tell you why using the name Operation Rescue is valuable necessary.

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