Posts Tagged abortion

Standing up for Women’s Lives in a Hostile Anti-Abortion Crowd

On Friday January 22, about 100 people, mostly women, had a pro-choice event in front of the Supreme Court in Washington.  There were also tens of thousands — perhaps 75,000 – people in the annual “March for Life” protesting that abortion was made legal 37 years ago.

Our side in the great debate got quickly surrounded by the other side, for about 6 hours.  They wanted to “save” us, tell us “god loves you,” scream in our faces, menace and threaten (that would be the old guys), pray over us, and/or kill us.  I heard that Randall Terry (founder of Operation Rescue in 1987) and Pat Mahoney, both of whom justified the May 2009 murder of George Tiller were in the crowd.

One of the points the mainstream media made on the March for “Life” is absolutely true: there were thousands of kids there.  Yes, the Catholic dioceses all up and down the East Coast and deep into the Midwest close school that day and herd them onto buses annually.  Many were compelled to come by friends, rules, tradition and authority.  But many also wanted to be there, and were completely convinced that they could “save babies” by marching.  I wanted to know why they think this, and hear their arguments.

High School Activists for Women's Choice

High School Activists for Women's Choice

But first, let me introduce you to the pro-choice supporters who were there mainly to counter the woman-hating message of the anti-abortionists.  They were mainly young also.  Student leaders of pro-choice organizations from Georgetown, George Washington, Catholic, and American Universities, and from two Maryland high schools brought other students.  The DC chapter of the National Organization for Women brought others, and their national leadership with out there all afternoon.  The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and the Fund for the Feminist Majority sent staff members.  The predominant sign was “Keep Abortion Legal.”  But lots of people brought their own signs.  World Can’t Wait had a simple bright orange banner with the message “Abortion & Birth Control for Women Everywhere!”

Women Are Not Incubators!

Outside the Supreme Court Jan 22 2010

I interviewed and met as many as I could.  Priscilla came because she remembers when abortion was illegal, and brought her friend in a sharp looking suit.  A nanny brought her two toddler charges, with the support of their parents.  A Chilean student dropped her research in the Library of Congress to join us, because “in Chile abortion is illegal”.  A man from El Salvador talked about the women who die everyday there because abortion is illegal, and a crime with which women are charged.  A energetic Brazilian student said “this is a problem all over Latin America that women have no control over our bodies.”   Hayley, a high school student, tried to get friends from her club to come, but they all flaked out, so she came alone with a beautiful “Trust Women” sign which reversed to “Women Are Not Incubators.”

Many of them had never been to an anti-abortion protest; others said they were sick of all the anti-abortion kids at their schools.  Some were determined to come even if no one had organized the pro-choice side. (Thanks to Robby from Peace of the Action/World Can’t Wait and to DC NOW for doing so!) while others came from a sense of responsibility to keep fighting, even as they see the Congress about to pass a sweeping ban on women getting abortion in the Stupak health care “reform” package.

See Rachel Larris’ blog on what choice means to people who were there.

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For George Tiller: Never Back Down, Never Stop Telling the Truth for Women

Susan Wicklund MD

Dr. Susan Wicklund

Susan Wicklund, M.D. sent this for the 37th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision which removed federal and state laws against abortion.  The National Organization for Women in Wichita KS is holding a vigil in honor of her friend George Tiller, M.D. who was assassinated in May 2009:

None of us can pretend to know what Dr Tiller would say to us right now. We know what he used to say about understanding the heart of a woman. We know what he believed about each woman having the knowledge to really understand what was best for HER. We know, tragically, that he gave his life for what he believed in. We know that his family lost a husband, a father, a grandfather, We know that the Pro Choice movement lost one of our biggest heroes, a compassionate, extremely competent physician, a voice that spoke truth, a rock we all thought could never be moved.

What we DON’T know is what will become of the women in this country if the right to safe, legal abortion continues to be eroded and compromised and marginalized and becomes even more inaccessible. We don’t know to what extent the anti-choice forces will go to deny even more women the right to control their own destinies. We don’t know how many more clinics will be burned, staff terrorized or doctors killed. We don’t know if our government will actually step up and make sure abortion is treated as the basic health care we all know it is.

But I personally know this: George Tiller would tell us to never back down, to never stop telling the truth, to never forget the individual woman who walks in the door of a clinic in need of help in ending a pregnancy she is not prepared for. And he knew that this is about us. All of us. And it is about your mothers and wives, your sisters and daughters and granddaughters and best friends. It is about someone else wanting to control us. It is about power.

Please, in honor of Dr George Tiller, use your voices and your presence and your hearts to keep abortion safe, legal and available to every woman, to every family that needs this care. This is not some esoteric concept. This is a matter of life and death.

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When Does Murder Become Manslaughter?

When does a charge of murder get reduced to a charge of manslaughter?  Possibly, when the murder victim is a doctor who does abortions.

Scott Roeder is on trial in Wichita KS for the murder of Dr. George Tiller on May 31, 2009.  Roeder, an anti-abortion activist for many years well known around Kansas, admitted to authorities that he killed Dr. Tiller by barging into the church where George was ushering, and shooting him.  George died immediately; Roeder fled, and was caught within a day.

The drama playing out in Wichita is not whether Roeder will be found guilty, but what he will be found guilty of.  He’s charged with murder by the state of Kansas.  However, his defense team has argued to the judge that they should be allowed to present evidence that Roeder was motivated by his anti-abortion convictions, and therefore should not be convicted of murder.

Jeff Schweitzer in Cold Blooded-Murder: An Angel Made Me Do it on Huffington Post:

Roeder claims that he gunned down Tiller at Sunday church services on May 31, 2009, in order to “save the lives of preborn children.” Based on this claim, Roeder intends to invoke the “necessity defense” predicated on the idea of “justifiable homicide.” If presiding judge Warren Wilbert accepts this defense strategy, and he appears to be leaning that way, he will give jurors the option of convicting Roeder not of premeditated murder but instead of voluntary manslaughter. That lesser crime is defined as “an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force” under Kansas statute. If convicted of involuntary manslaughter Roeder could be out of prison in five years.

We are investigating the report that Judge Wilbert was endorsed for his judgeship by anti-abortion groups in Kansas.  If he allows Roeder’s team to present testimony from an array of anti-abortion politicians and activists, it would be an extraordinary departure.

That would not necessarily convince a jury that Roeder was justified in killing Dr. Tiller.  But consider this: yesterday the judge shut out the media from jury selection, saying that abortion is such a controversial topic that jurors would fear to state their thinking on it publicly.

I think it is very relevant why Roeder killed George Tiller.  We’ve made the point repeatedly that he was influenced directly by Operation Rescue who relentlessly targeted George for over a decade, and by the Kansas politicians who harassed George with lawsuits and even criminal charges, unsuccessfully. (George always prevailed in court).  So what if Roeder does actually believe he’s saving fetal life by having killed George Tiller?  He killed a living human being, and that’s murder.

I, along with 5 other anti-war activists, will be going on trial this spring on misdemeanor charges of “disorderly conduct” for protesting in Philadelphia at the entrance to the Army Experience Center.  If we had been outside the doors cheering the Army’s recruitment efforts, we would have been welcomed, as the Army welcomed the pro-war bikers they allowed to jeer us. But because our message was opposition to the war and the recruitment of kids with video games, we were arrested.  It’s relevant to our defense that we were arrested for the content of our non-violent protest message.

We will argue that we should be allowed to mention why we were protesting.  Anti-war protesters Emma Kaplan and Patty Imani may be allowed to speak of their reasons for protesting at their trial on January 25 in Tacoma WA, where anti-war protesters were spied on by the military.

But what happens to the Roeder prosecution should be followed by everyone who cares about the safety of abortion doctors, and the humanity of women seeking abortion and birth control.

The National Organization for Women in Wichita will hold a vigil on Friday night, January 22, for abortion rights.  For the 36 previous anniversaries, of the Roe v. Wade decision making abortion legal, George was in Wichita, providing abortions.

Will the anti-abortion lunatics already be celebrating by the end of next week because in Kansas, you might be able to carry out a political assassination, and get made into a hero?


I cannot resist urging you to view The Onion’s insightful piece this week on the new abortion laws, designed only to help women through difficult times…

New Law Requires Women To Name Baby, Paint Nursery Before Getting Abortion

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Supporters of Abortion Doctor LeRoy Carhart Petition Nebraska Attorney General to Reject Politically Motivated Complaints

For immediate release

December 21, 2009

Contact: Debra Sweet 866 973 4463

Supporters of Abortion Doctor LeRoy Carhart Petition Nebraska Attorney General to Reject Politically Motivated Complaints

1,249 supporters of Bellevue, Nebraska abortion provider Dr. LeRoy Carhart are calling on Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning to reject Wichita-based Operation Rescue’s complaints against the doctor.

Senator Ben Nelson, a Democrat who forced abortion-limiting language into the Senate health bill passed Saturday, is also from Nebraska.

The petition, being sent via certified mail today, says in part, “We recognize the important national role that Dr. Carhart plays in defending women’s rights and strongly urge the Attorney General to ignore the completely baseless allegations submitted by the organization called Operation Rescue, or any other groups with an anti-abortion, anti-women agenda.”

Debra Sweet, Director of World Can’t Wait, said, “Operation Rescue, in correspondence with their anti-abortion agenda, focused on Dr. George Tiller, with years of clinic blockades, protests, as well as filing numerous legal complaints against him. Not long before Dr. Tiller was murdered in May of this year, allegedly by an anti-abortion activist, he had been acquitted of all charges after years of legal proceedings, stemming from similar allegations from Operation Rescue.”

Dr. Carhart recently announced that he has taken on new staff to provide abortions later in pregnancy as Dr. Tiller did before his murder.  The petition says, “Dr. LeRoy Carhart is a dedicated, caring abortion provider with decades of practice providing medical care to women in need of abortion. After the assassination of his colleague Dr. George Tiller this past spring, he has taken up the cause to ‘Trust Women’ and continued his practice in the face of threats both violent and legal. He is the sort of courageous, principled person who we as a society should support, honor and respect.”

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Ask Others to Support Dr. LeRoy Carhart

On Monday December 21, we’re sending a petition to the Attorney General of Nebraska against investigations the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue is demanding on Dr. Leroy Carhart’s practice.

SIGN the petition supporting Dr. Carhart

Please sign it.

Dr. Carhart, who worked with Dr. George Tiller for years before he was killed in May, is determined to carry on Dr. Tiller’s work of providing later term abortions for women around the U.S.  He announced earlier this month that indeed, he is performing abortions at 22 to 28 weeks in his Omaha clinic, and later if there is medical necessity.  This is at tremendous risk for himself and his family, and of tremendous benefit for the women who, without Dr, Tiller, were not getting the care they needed.

The goal is 1000 signers by Friday December 18. If you haven’t signed yet, you can now.  Please ask your friends and colleagues to sign and circulate it.  Put it on your FaceBook, your blog, and please send the link around quickly!

We don’t expect the Attorney General, who is anti-abortion, to back off from one petition.  But everyone involved should know this is a two-sided battle.


Friday, January 22nd counter-protest to the March for Life in front of the Supreme Court.

January 2010: The 30 minute film, “Abortion, Morality and the Emancipation of Women” with Dr. Susan Wicklund, author or This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor, and Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution newspaper will be available for campus showings.

Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can’t Wait

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Berkeley sends wire hangers to politicians

Berkeley sends wire hangers to politicians

Carolyn Jones, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, December 10, 2009

(12-09) 17:22 PST BERKELEY — The city of Berkeley mailed coat hangers to 20 members of Congress on Wednesday in protest of the anti-abortion amendment in the House version of the federal health care bill.

The City Council approved the action 7-1 on Tuesday night. Councilman Gordon Wozniak dissented; Mayor Tom Bates was absent.

Metal coat hangers were mailed with a protest letter to members of the House of Representatives who voted in favor of the amendment but have a history of supporting abortion rights.

The amendment would ban coverage of abortion for those who would receive government-run health insurance. It would also forbid people from choosing a private plan that covers abortion if they receive federal subsidies to pay for the insurance.

E-mail Carolyn Jones at

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