Assassination in a dirty war
What Digby said.
People always act like this issue is simple. But pregnancy is one situation in life that falls across all kinds of moral, emotional and rational lines, calling into question the autonomy of the very body in which we live and lifelong commitments made in the heat of the moment --- painful choices and primitive imperatives in the most basic human drive we have. Whether it's the idea that women should be "punished" with pregnancy for failing to use birth control, to the idea that adoption is a simple and painless alternative, to the insistence that women who carry a child for seven or eight months must be forced to give birth when the child has no chance at life, to the spectacle of the Octamom, the fact is that there is no broad brush answer that can be applied to all these different circumstances. Certainly, the crude instrument of the law isn't the answer as even the anti-choicers tacitly admit when they refuse to consider the women who have abortions murderers and instead focus on the doctors.
Indeed, the murder of Dr Tiller in a demented defense of a "culture of life" should be all it takes for everyone to see that this is not the simple, straightforward issue they'd like to believe it is. And once you recognize that it's a unique circumstance in which the moral boundaries are blurry and indistinct, the only possible course is to trust the person with the most knowledge of the circumstances, the symbiotic relationship to the fetus and greatest stake in the outcome --- the woman. [emphasis mine]
Pres. Obama was right in his Notre Dame address that it's unfair to impute to every individual who opposes abortion an ideological right-wing drive to coerce women and control their bodies and sexuality. That's true as long as we're dealing with individuals. But the anti-abortion movement as a political entity is waging a war on women's right to choose, to control their own lives. Their extreme fringe is literally waging that war.
My heart goes out to the family, friends, co-workers, and patients of Dr. George Tiller. May we honor his memory by calmly proceeding with the work of
Update: 12:30 pm, 3 June - If a war is being waged on us, why not make it a real war by fighting back with "whatever it takes"? Because, as usual, war is not the answer. It strengthens the already-too-strong state and its mechanisms of repression, which will be turned against us far more than against the right.
But neither is this moment a time for mawkish hogwash about finding common ground with organized anti-abortion, anti-choice operatives (there isn't any; they don't support contraception or sex education, either), or how abortion is always a difficult and painful decision (it's not). Dr. Tiller's murder is a clarion call to end apologetic, defensive retreat and affirm our rights as autonomous human beings. Abortion must be safe, legal, and available. Contributions to Medical Students for Choice or another pro-choice organization help make that a reality. [links via commenter John Protevi at michaelberube.com]