Roeder the Tiller Killer

It is ironic, isn’t it, Alanis, that Scott Roeder, the crazy redneck who one year ago this week murdered Dr. George Tiller at a church, likely egged on by the rhyming urges of one Bill Orally, was sentenced to life without parole for 50 years and not to an appointment with a firing squad?

And that he was sentenced on April 1, no less?

Don’t get me wrong. Unlike most “pro-life” goons, I abhor the death penalty. In ALL circumstances. Even for such a misguided monster like Roeder. He got the right sentence. Let him sit in a cell for the rest of his life working his ass off at justifying to himself what he did.

Anyway. I wanted to note the anniversary. It’s horrifying that a guy can be gunned down WHILE USHERING AT HIS OWN CHURCH for conducting a legal medical procedure.

And just so it’s noted that Senate Majority Leader Hairy Reed isn’t altogether useless, he said this today on the Senate floor:

“A community in Kansas still shakes one year after the brazen murder of one of its own. This weekend will mark the first anniversary of Dr. George Tiller’s death. He was gunned down in front of his Wichita church the day before last Memorial Day.

“Dr. Tiller was killed at point-blank range, at his place of worship, in the middle of a Sunday morning, while his wife sang in the church choir just yards away.

“He was murdered by an unrepentant assassin who took a life in the name of protecting life. It was an indefensible crime and an incomprehensible excuse.

“Just as despicable as Dr. Tiller’s death was the fact that his murder wasn’t an isolated incident. It wasn’t even the first time someone tried to kill him. His clinic was bombed in 1985. He was shot twice in 1993. And over the next 16 years, seven clinic workers would be killed before Dr. Tiller would become the eighth. More than 6,000 other acts of violence have been launched at clinics and their workers – bombings, arsons, assaults and other attacks.

“The last doctor killed before Dr. Tiller was a husband and father from Buffalo named Barnett Slepian. He was an OB/GYN who also helped poor women access safe, legal abortions. Because of that, he was murdered in his home. I didn’t know Dr. Selpian, but I knew his niece. She came from Reno, Nevada, and she once worked in my office.

“The tragedy of Dr. Tiller’s death, and of Dr. Slepian’s death – and of every atrocity like it – is independent of the issue of abortion. It’s not about the legality of abortion or funding of abortion. These are emotional debates, and ones on which people of good faith can disagree.

“What so shook that Kansas town was rather an act of terrorism. What reverberated out to our borders and coasts from the center of our country was the violation of our founding principle: that we are a nation of laws, not of men.

“Everyone in America has the right to disagree with its laws. Everyone has the right to dispute and protest its laws. But no American has the right to disobey them.

“Not all of us would choose Dr. Tiller’s profession. Not all of us would seek his services or agree with his philosophy. But it is the responsibility of every American to respect another’s right to practice his profession legally.

“Those who believe in the sanctity of life cannot be selective. We must value every life – not just those with which we agree.”

NARAL has established a Web form where you can go write him a little thank you note. And, I’m sure that somewhere in the process they ask you for some munny. Might not be a bad time to consider a donation, eh? Here ya go.

Creative Sentencing

The murder of one of the few U.S. doctors who performed late-term abortions was “a gutless act of terror” and was as destructive as “an earthquake” for women seeking such medical services, the doctor’s friend and attorney said Thursday.

Attorney Lee Thompson asked District Judge Warren Wilbert to give the harshest possible sentence to anti-abortion zealot Scott Roeder, who admitted he gunned down Tiller in the back of Tiller’s Wichita church last May because he felt doing so would protect unborn children.

Roeder was facing a mandatory life prison term, although Wilbert had to decide whether to make him eligible for parole after 25 or 50 years. The 52-year-old Kansas City, Mo., resident was expected to be the last person to speak at the hearing and was expected to discuss his beliefs.

Let me tell ya what I think oughtta be done to Scott Roeder.

First, he should be forced to undergo a sex change operation.

Second, he should have an eight-pound bag of silicone sewn into his body, and after nine months, he would have to pass it through his surgically-created vagina.

I guess we might give him six months to recover before we had him go through it again.

And so on.

That would be about right.

WE'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!

Imagine that. I have gotten to quote the finest television program ever created twice on this blog’s titles in two days. What do you know. Tomorrow’s post will be titled “It’s In The Frakkin’ Ship!” Thank you.

Anyways. Out in Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert has signed a law under which a woman can be charged with murder for having a miscarriage.

That’s right. A woman can be jailed and charged with murder for losing her baby.

See, there was this Utah teen who got knocked up and then paid a friend $150 to beat the crap out of her. This attempt at homemade abortion failed. But, of course, a bunch of conservative white guys decided they needed an app for that. So they passed the “Criminal Homicide and Abortion Amendments,” and they hope to pass it along as model legislation for other states.

Now I’m not about to argue that I think that a pregnant woman should have every right to ask a friend to punch her in the gut. However, I would argue that this was an act of a young woman who did not feel that she had many other options. I betcha if you grow up in Utah, getting pregnant puts a bit of a mark on your forehead. Anotherwords, I’m saying that perhaps the state of Utah isn’t the kind of place that’s forgiving and/or accepting of a young woman who happens to get knocked up. You know. Maybe she wasn’t no Juno MacGuff is what I’m saying.

As we have discussed previously, laws that prohibit abortions are bad and do not work. Presently, there is a woman in Nicaragua—which has out-and-out banned all abortion—who has an aggressive cancer but is prohibited from seeking treatment because she is pregnant. The woman is, by the way, already the mother of a 10-year-old girl. Her country has decided that she will not get to see her daughter turn 11.

The law in Nicaragua—created to guarantee that President Danny Ortega would have the church’s political support—has had a general chilling affect on health care for women, as Amnesty International has reported. Doctors are reluctant to treat even healthy pregnant women, fearing they might be held liable if something happened. And problems with access for pregnant women translates directly to problems with access for women generally.

I will say it again for the benefit of all of my “anti” readers: There is no law in the known universe that can actually prevent a woman from having an abortion. If saving cute little babies is your actual intent, then empowering women, not disempowering women, is the only logical way to actually achieve that end. Throwing a little girl in jail because she asked a friend to punch her in the stomach does not actually save the baby in question. Creating a culture where women feel safe and powerful, that is how you save the cute little babies. And laws like the one they just passed in Utah achieve the exact opposite of that.

Trust women already. Jeez.

You Choose

I am surprised I have not run into Angie the Anti-Theist on Twitter before. But she is awesome.

Angie’s backstory is interesting enough, reared as a fundamentalist, now an advocate of atheism. But her latest stand, her decision to talk about her RU-486-aided abortion on YouTube and Twitter and such, is a hell of a thing. I am a fan.

Listen to Angie Jackson explain her choice—as if she owes anyone such—and then tell her you’d force her to carry a pregnancy to term. I think both she and her family will be very pleased that she made the decision to end her pregnancy.

This is something we don’t hear very often—testimony from the women. To most people on either side of this issue, the women are faceless; it’s just a bunch of slogans and protest signs. Well. Here’s a face. And she chose to lose a zygote rather than to risk not being there for the kid she’s already got.

It was the right choice. More important, though: It was her choice. And that is the way things need to stay.

Thanks, Angie.

Trust Women

Is it a coincidence that Scott Roeder’s trial is under way? Or that last night’s episode of Private Practice had Naomi go crazy and try to strong-arm her own daughter into having an abortion?

Today is the 37th anniversary of the Roe V. Wade decision. It’s also “Blog for Choice” day. NARAL offers a question to get the blogging started: What does “trust women,” the pithy slogan of the late Dr. George Tiller, mean to you?

Here’s what it means to me. And it’s pretty pithy.

I think Tiller chose that because “It’s none of your god-damned business” wouldn’t fit on a button.

Keep it safe and legal, people.

Abortion Abortion

So, what happens when a country bans abortion outright? Guess guess guess. C’mon. Guess.

If you guessed “unintended consequences of the new policy adversely affect women’s health care almost immediately,” well, you must have already seen the Amnesty International report about Nicaragua. Our friends to the south completely banned abortion in July 2008, and the results are extraordinary.

There are no exceptions. Nada:

The current law makes no provision for pregnancies where serious complications arise which require urgent and decisive treatment, such as a termination, in order to prevent the death or serious damage to the health of the pregnant woman or girl.

Health professionals who provide information about or who carry out abortions in Nicaragua can be sent to the slam, according to the AI report. The thing is, though, that such conditions don’t just affect abortion. It affects a whole range of medical treatment for women. Doctors are scared out of their minds about taking on risky pregnancy cases because, if there’s a complication or a miscarriage, they might be held criminally liable.

The new legal framework disempowers doctors and health professionals by making it harder, if not impossible, for them to make timely decisions about how to treat complications during
pregnancy. Doctors have now to consider the legal implications of administering medically indicated treatment to pregnant women for conditions unrelated to the pregnancy in case the effects of the treatment place them at odds with the law.

*

…The impact of criminalizing abortion in all circumstances extends far beyond this. It also restricts the provision of medically indicated treatment, such as cardiac surgery, which may, despite the best efforts of medical staff, end in the termination of the pregnancy.

Support for an outright prohibition of abortion == support for the rotting away of quality health care for women. Generally. I bet you four dollars that the incidence of obstetric fistula skyrockets in Nicaragua in the next few years.

The report is here. Thanks to Feministing.

Love the Glove? Take the Boot.

Rep. Ryan ‘Booted’ From “Democrats For Life Of America” For Supporting Contraception
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) has been, in his words, “booted” from the national advisory board of Democrats For Life of America. The group’s mission is to elect and support pro-life Democrats; Ryan served on the board for four years but the relationship had recently soured when he co-sponsored the “Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act”:

Ryan said he tried to convince officials with Democrats For Life of America, which he referred to Monday as a “fringe group,” that the use of contraception is needed as part of any plan to reduce unintended pregnancies but that failed.

This is, precisely, the beef I have with the “pro-life” movement, which I hereby move be referred to as the Barefoot Patrol.

Barefoot-and-pregnant-patrol just seems too damned long and cumbersome. Because that’s their true aim as a whole. It’s a broader issue to them than re: the fate of a foetus. These are folks who won’t be happy until every American’s only choice regarding birth control is to sit in a corner and bawl rather than to act out sexually in any manner. These people are nuts. Read the rest.

Kristen Day, Democrats For Life’s executive director, was ready to move on. “DFLA gave Congressman Ryan ample opportunities to prove he’s committed to protecting life, but he has turned his back on the community at every turn.”

Ryan insists he’s still a strong pro-life advocate. The proposed bill includes funding for comprehensive “teen pregnancy prevention” sex education and expanded coverage of “family planning” for low-income women. “We’re working in Congress with groups that agree with preventative options while [the DFLA] is getting left behind,” Ryan said. “I can’t figure out for the life of me how to stop pregnancies without contraception. Don’t be mad at me for wanting to solve the problem.”

Sen. Ryan. Buddy. It’s okay. I’ve been thrashing about regarding this idiocy for…well, let’s see now…17 years. That was the day that, as part of our Washington program at college, we went to visit Concerned Women for America. It was a group of 15 or 20 there, a group that was as politically diverse as the Knesset. And the little girl who’d gone to work for Vice-President Quayles office, she raised her blonde hand up and said, what is your organization’s position on contraception? And the nice lady said, oh, we don’t have a position on that. No, our board would never let us have a position on something like that. ‘Twasn’t one person in that room wasn’t blown away by that response.

Because it is insane, and it gets proven so time in, time out. Betcha didn’t see the headline, “Gawker).

In a report that will surprise few of Bush’s critics on the issue, the Centres for Disease Control says years of falling rates of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease infections under previous administrations were reversed or stalled in the Bush years. According to the CDC, birth rates among teenagers aged 15 or older had been in decline since 1991 but are up sharply in more than half of American states since 2005. The study also revealed that the number of teenage females with syphilis has risen by nearly half after a significant decrease while a two-decade fall in the gonorrhea infection rate is being reversed. The number of Aids cases in adolescent boys has nearly doubled.

The CDC says that southern states, where there is often the greatest emphasis on abstinence and religion, tend to have the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and STDs.

This and Jamie-Lynn Spears, not enough proof for them? Proof that loving blunt honesty early on with a strong sense of purpose and solid ground might be the way to go instead of wagging one’s finger at the kids and telling them their naughty parts will turn to Silly Putty if they partake?

Things do seem to be looking up in this arena. But remember, in this era of Obama’s spoken desire to find “common ground” on this issue, remember Rep. Tim Ryan and that abortion isn’t actually the aim here: What they want, in actuality, is a theocratic government that holds sway on your junk by fiat. The Barefoot Patrol. I hope it sticks.

We Know Of What We Speak

When the blogmeisters here at KIAV suggest that, once the birthers knock down a woman’s right to the medical procedure known as “abortion,” they’ll not stop there, but that they’ll also go after anybody’s right to sensibly plan a family, we know of what we speak. Behold:

Unable to turn the public against sex, the pro-life movement will be on the march Saturday trying to convince women that birth-control pills will kill them.

The right-wing American Life League and a handful of regional organizations will stand around outside U.S. pharmacies and Planned Parenthood chapters this weekend for the second annual “Protest the Pill Day.” Dispatches from last year’s protests, posted at thepillkills.com, offer a sense of what to expect.

“About two dozen prayerful witnesses testified to the facts of death about the pill,” reads last year’s ALL report from the protest at a Planned Parenthood in Napa, Calif. “For one hour the prayers were offered for the many uninformed patrons who come asking the staff of Planned Parenthood to provide chemicals, hormones, and sex-education as an answer to their problems with the natural consequences of abuse of sex.”

Not that one should have to explain oneself at all regarding one’s choice of prophylactic in this fine, free country, but, these are folks who continue to ignore a basic medical reality: “The Pill” treats more than just an unwanted blastocyst implantation. For some women, taking the pill provides a more basic medical benefit. When you protest the pill, when you’re a pharmacist who denies its sale, you may well be picketing and denying BASIC MEDICAL CARE.

These people will not be satisfied until the most powerful human drive and one of the most joyful things we’ve been offered in our natures is forcibly controlled by the theocratic, fascist nation for which they so crazily long. They want to tell you when you can do it, how you can do it, and what you can do it for. That is not activism. It is a mental illness. Sick, sick, sick. And if you support the overturn of Roe, you support this as well.

I hope you fail.