June 16, 2009
Surprised that a man would uproot himself and follow a woman for the sake of her career? Don't get me started! I'll write more on that later.
After we've settled in, you can expect plenty of new updates to slowly trickle in. For one thing, there's way too much Patriarchal Male Privilege crap to catalog. In addition to 30-odd draft entries that are in various states of completion, I have 1200+ web links to various bits of male privilege that I need to comment on, and a well-worn notebook bursting with sticky notes.
On top of all that, a traumatic encounter with a Star Trek movie trailer has resulted in my brain spontaneously generating tons of material  for an original, patriarchy-blaming, non-misogynistic, non-crappy sci-fi novel. The first three chapters of which are currently stuck in my head as I do not have the time to transfer them to paper. More on that later.
For now, it's back to packing boxes.
 I haven't even written down the first chapter yet, and the cast of this original, patriarchy-blaming, non-misogynistic, non-crappy sci-fi novel have already started hashing out scenes on their own for chapter twelve. Damn creativity bug, I definitely caught this thing from Snowdevil. She has been writing engrossing fantasy stories for years now. I never should have shared cups with her at breakfast last week.
Copyright May 2009 by F*ck M*sculinity
June 15, 2009
Mainstream media outlets like the AP, NPR, OnPoint, and the New York Times have already covered this story, but in an effort to
"These people aren't pro-life, they're killing DOCTORS! What kinda 'pro-life' is that? What, they'll do anything they can to save a fetus, but if it grows up to be a doctor they just might have to kill it? They're not pro-life. You know what they are? They're anti-woman. Simple as it gets: anti-woman! They don't like 'em. They don't like women. They believe a woman's primary role is to function as a brood-mare for the state."
~George Carlin, 1996
So, borrowing heavily from numerous news reports and blogs around the web , I fixed it:
Christian Terrorists Murder Women's Health Advocate in Apartheid State
A news mashup brought to you by F*ck M*sculinity
The Masculine Mystique Blamed Right
WICHITA, KS - Operation Rescue and other Christian militant groups continued their campaign of violence and terror in order in Kansas last month. Through terrorist acts, Christian militants hope to eliminate women's reproductive rights in the US by forcing family planning clinics across the country to close down permanently.
On May 31, 2009, a Christian terrorist shot dead Dr. George Tiller inside his own Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. Dr. Tiller was serving as an usher during Sunday service, with his wife in the choir and the congregation assembled, when Scott Roeder, 67, walked into the Church foyer and shot Dr. Tiller in the head. Roeder then threatened the lives of several members of the congregation before driving off in a powder blue sedan with a Jesus fish on the back.
Police later caught and detained Roeder, who had a prior conviction for criminal use of explosives that was overturned on appeal. Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security released a report warning law enforcement officials of the rising danger of right-wing extremism which, “may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”
Dr. Tiller provided critical reproductive health care services to women. His clinic was only one of three nationally that provided late-term abortion care. Dr. Tiller's services were critical for women who were facing difficult medical and financial circumstances; women who often had nowhere else to turn. Women in poverty are more likely to require late-term abortions because of the time they must spend trying to raise money to pay for an abortion. Others are pubescent girls who concealed their pregnancies because they were shamed by their community for having been raped by their fathers, brothers, uncles. Still others are women who discovered late in their pregnancy that their fetus has a fatal anomaly, and require a late-term abortion to save their lives. Women like Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Martha Mendoza, who carried a fetus that died in utero, and whoose own life was put on the line due to draconian abortion restrictions. Her story was covered by Ms. Magazine. Dr. Tiller courageously provided late-term abortion care to these women despite numerous attacks by Christian militants.
“Make no mistake, this battle is about self-determination by women of the direction and course of their lives and their family’s lives. Abortion is about women’s hopes and dreams. Abortion is a matter of survival for women,” Dr. Tiller said in 2001, after Christian extremists picketed him at the same church where he was later assassinated.
Dr. Tiller and his staff had survived numerous attempts on their lives before. Dr. Tiller's clinic was bombed in 1986. In 1991, protesters blockaded Tiller's clinic for six months during Operation Rescue's "Summer of Mercy" campaign. In 1993, Dr. Tiller was threatened and shot five times. Earlier this year, Dr' Tiller's clinic was again closed due to damage caused by an extremist attack. Dr. Tiller reportedly asked the FBI to investigate this latest incident shortly before his death.
Roeder was Encouraged by Christian Terrorist Groups
Anti-choice leaders deny that they encourage murders and acts of terrorism against abortion providers and clinics. Many would argue that Scoot Roeder acted in isolation. In a hastily convened press conference at the National Press Club, Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, denied playing any role in Dr. Tiller's murder. However, Terry also called Dr. Tiller, "demonic" and "diabolical," referring to him as a "mass murderer" who "reaped what he sowed." (video)
"We do not hold responsibility for saying the truth," Terry said.
Troy Numan, the current president of Operation Rescue, denied that Roeder was affiliated with his organization. "We deplore the criminal actions with which Mr. Roeder is accused," Numan said.
Despite denials, a quick search of Operation Rescue's website revealed a trove of hate-filled propaganda. The site included a report, ominously named the Tiller Report, which accuses Dr. Tiller of everything from running a "Nazi holocaust", to drug abuse, to "ties to the occult". The report encourages members to donate heavily to Troy Numan's coffers, and to use violence against Dr. Tiller. In the Tiller Report, Operation Rescue tries to legally distance itself from advocating murder though a coy disclaimer; "any reference to illegal acts is solely for the purpose of information and education, and are not intended to incite or encourage similar acts." However, the content of the document states quite the opposite:
"[George Tiller] sits in his multi-million dollar home watching the news about [convicted murderer] Scott Peterson. His future seems certain: He will continue living a relaxed and pleasant life, taking regular vacations and cruises, and funding this by committing acts of horror...Is childkilling something that one person can get away with while another is marked and jailed, and perhaps even executed? We think not. This should not be!...We are putting George Tiller on trial. Childkilling is the charge. Wichita is the jury. Soon the verdict will be rendered and the case will be closed...Can we count on you? What will your verdict be?" [emphasis added]A highly gruesome and heavily-doctored hate video [NSFW, Trigger Alert] from Operation Rescue states their intentions plainly:
"YOU may be the difference between life and death for a child. Together, we can put an end to George Tiller, Abortion and these horrific crimes." [emphasis added]Operation Rescue's website also lists the names, home addresses, and personal phone numbers of people who work with Dr. Tiller, and hosts stalker-like photos of anyone even remotely associated with Dr. Tiller. The photos include neighbors, young female college volunteers, and even an elderly women who joins in pro-choice counter-protests of operation rescue. These lists all but dare members of Operation Rescue to conduct campaigns of terror, violence, and murder against these people.
And in 1992 CBS's 60 Minutes caught Terry red-handed. 60 Minutes obtained a video made by staff of the Boulder Abortion Clinic in Colorado, who videotaped Terry duirng a prayer service outside their clinic, where he stated plainly what he would never put down on paper, "But pray that this family will either be converted to God or that calamity will strike him."
Terry's prayers of violence and terror were finally answered by Scott Roeder, who murdered Dr. Tiller after listening to years of coaching, pleading, and raging from Operation Rescue. Evidence of Operation Rescue's connection to Roeder was captured by KMBC Channel 9 of Wichita, Kansas, which took this picture of the inside of Roeder's car as he was arrested. A phone number is visible on an envelope, next to the name "Cheryl" and the words "Operation Rescue":
The phone number belongs to Cheryl Sullenger, second-in-command of Operation Rescue, who works directly under Troy Numan. Sullenger served two years in prison for conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic.
Initial examinations of Roeder's background revealed a history of mental instability, associations with anti-U.S. militias like the Kansas Unorganized Citizens Militia, and lengthy ties to Christian terrorism. "His anti-abortion rhetoric was very strong,” Lindsey Roeder, ex-wife of Scott Roeder, told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “He followed the view of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."
“He was very vocal about his feelings of abortion…he has been like this for several years. He was a part of different militia things… anti-government, anti-abortion, obviously, and just alot of anti-stuff," Lindsey Roeder said.
In 2002, a branch of Operation Rescue relocated near Dr. Tiller's clinic, raising money for itself and running a campaign of harassment and intimidation until they found a fall-guy who was willing to complete out their campaign of terror. They found Roeder.
On the anti-abortion site ChargeTiller.com, owned by Operation Rescue, Roeder showed that he got the message. Echoing the words of Randall Terry and advocating hate which he had picked up through Christian terrorist groups, Roeder wrote the following:
"It seems as though what is happening in Kansas could be compared to the 'lawlessness' which is spoken of in the Bible. Tiller is the concentration camp 'Mengele' of our day and needs to be stopped before he and those who protect him bring judgment upon our nation."After his arrest, Roeder reportedly called the Associated Press from prison and stated, "I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal."
At Tiller's funeral, a protest sign from a militant Christian read, “God Sent the Shooter.”
A History of Terrorism
This tactic of enticing members to violence has worked for Christian terrorist groups in the past. In 1986, John Burt, a former member of the KKK, and his daughter attacked an abortion clinic in Florida and assaulted two female employees. They two were tried and convicted, but upon release Burt became the local leader of the anti-abortion terrorist group, Rescue America.
In 1993, Dr. David Gunn was killed during an antiabortion protest at a Florida clinic by a member of Rescue America. The year before, a "wanted" poster with Gunn's photo and home phone number had been distributed at a Montgomery, Alabama antiabortion rally sponsored by Operation Rescue.
In 1994, John Salvi carried out terrorist attacks on two abortion clinics in Massachusetts, killing two receptionists and left several injured. Magazines found in Salvi's residence included The Fatima Crusader, a hate-filled publication by an extremist priest within the Roman Catholic Church.
Also in 1994, Paul Hill, a former Presbyterian minister and leader of the Christian terrorist group Defensive Action, murdered Dr. John Britton, his bodyguard, and shot the wife of the bodyguard outside another Florida abortion clinic. Hill claimed to be the new national spokesperson for abortion doctor killers, and later revealed his connections to the terrorist group, Army of God, which advocates a campaign of terror and mass murder against all who support abortion:
"We [Army of God] declare and affirm that if in fact Paul Hill did kill or wound abortionist John Britton, and accomplices James Barrett and Mrs. Barrett, his actions are morally justified if they were necessary for the purpose of defending innocent human life. Under these conditions, Paul Hill should be acquitted of all charges against him."Shortly after Hill's attack, five KKK groups demonstrated adjacent to an abortion clinic in Melbourne FL. They were opposed to abortions given to whites, but they encourage abortions to persons of other races. They named Hill their hero of the month. Christian terrorists now hold "Paul Hill Days" to celebrate their campaigns of violence, going so far as to theatrically re-enact the bloody murder itself to the cheers of their followers.
In 1997 and 1998, Eric Rudolph bombed abortion clinics in Atlanta and Alabama. Killing a part-time security guard and critically injuring a nurse. He also bombed a lesbian bar in Atlanta in 1997, injuring five. Rudolph ran form the police, and was on the run for nearly a year. Terrorists from the Christian identity movement hailed him as a "hero", and called for additional bombings. Rudolph written letters that claimed responsibility for the nightclub and abortion clinic bombings on behalf of Army of God.
Also in 1998, James Kopp murdered abortion physician Dr. Barnett Slepian with a sniper rifle. Prior to his capture, Kopp was on the FBI's list of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. He was affiliated with anti-abortion group The Lambs of Christ, and was well known in Christian terrorist circles under the nickname, 'Atomic Dog'.
And in 2009, the Wichita Eagle finds the posting on the Operation Rescue website where Roeder argued that Tiller, "needs to be stopped". Shortly thereafter, Roder killed Dr. Tiller.
Prior to this year, a NARAL report of clinic violence reports that there have been 7 terrorist-related murders at US abortion clinics since 1993 – including three doctors, two clinic employees, a clinic escort, and a security guard. 17 attempted murders have also occurred since 1991. Christian militants have committed more than 5,800 reported acts of terrorism against abortion providers, including bombings, arson, death threats, "anthrax letters", acid attacks, kidnappings, and assaults. In addition, more than 143,000 acts of disruption, including bomb threats and intimidating phone calls, have been reported. Over one-third of US abortion clinics have faced acts of terror during last four decades, as Christian militants organized in the wake of the landmark Supreme Court ruling: Roe v. Wade.
The number of women attacked and killed while seeking abortions has never been recorded by authorities.
Abortion clinic doctors and supporters have long said that these acts of terrorism are are part of an effort by Christian militants to intimidate abortion providers and roll back the progress for women's rights in the United States. "I think there has never been a time it has stopped, but just because things seemed a little quiet never meant to me that we were out of danger," said Dr. Warren Hern, an abortion doctor and friend of Dr. Tiller. "They are just waiting for the right opportunity."
Right-Wing Politicians Benefit From Christian Terrorism
Many claim that these terrorist groups are limited to the violent fringes of Christianity, but their violent actions have become useful tool for the conservative Christian mainstream. Even "non-violent" abortion clinic protesters capitalize on the fear and intimidation that Christian terrorism has created.
From screaming at patients, to setting up video recording equipment, to advertising the names, addresses, and personal details of clinic workers and escorts, these "non-violent" protesters make it clear that they are in-league with the violent extremists. From a clinic escort who commented at Pandagon:
The actions of terrorist groups like Operation Rescue also dovetail well with the political ambitions of right-wing Republicans. Christian terrorist groups like Operation Rescue find no lack of sympathizers in state and federal government. Sympathizers like Kansas City lawyer and radio personality, Phill Kline, who used Operation Rescue to launch his political career.
"Even the ones that don’t go after those providing reproductive services wielding guns, bombs, etc aren’t like protesters that protest other things they are trying to get changed. If they were, they would be outside political entities, outside congress-people, outside the White House. No, these ‘protesters’ stand outside hospitals and health centers, clinics and providers. They actively try to harass, intimidate, guilt-trip, etc both the women accessing necessary services, and the health-provision providing them.
"They aren’t protesters, they are specifically here to generate fear and scare people away. They may not kill directly, but they are most emphatically are using fear to cower people into achieving their political ends, to impose their worldview on everyone around them.
"And that’s terrorism ... it doesn’t always require a bomb or gun to achieve such, but that’s only a small step from the fundamentally similar ways they act."
According to The New Republic, Kline used Operation Rescue's "Summer of Mercy" campaign -which blockaded Dr. Tiller's clinic for six months- to launch himself into the Kansas state legislature in 1992. In 2002, using a political machine of churches for fundraising and electoral operations, and embracing an anti-choice platform that espoused extreme Christian moralism, Kline won the race for attorney general in 2002.
"Kansas leads the nation on social issues," he boasted.
As attorney general, Kline gave his allies in the anti-choice movement, and Operation Rescue, the power and publicity that they craved. During his tenure as attorney general, Kline echoed ChargeTiller.com by focusing almost entirely on Dr. Tiller, bringing over 30 frivolous criminal cases against him.
Kline even tried to illegally obtain the private medical records of women who visited Dr. Tiller's clinic. Kline insisted that the records would show that Dr. Tiller lacked justification for performing abortions. However, it doesn't take any imagination to see how those records would be leaked to Operation Rescue, allowing them to directly target women who had abortions.
Kline's associations with Operation Rescue go beyond the usual tit-for-tat. Kline appointed Bryan Brown, a veteran strategist from Operation Rescue's "Summer of Mercy" campaign, to head the state's consumer protection division. Brown was a longtime member of the Christian terrorist movement, had been arrested twelve times, and had no interest in consumer protection division except as a vehicle for attacking Dr. Tiller.
Kline's political ascension on the heels of Christian Terrorist groups was mirrored across the state of Kansas. For most of the last century, the Republican party of Kansas was led by moderate Republicans like Alf Landon and Bob Dole. At the conclusion of Operation Rescue's "Summer of Mercy" campaign, mainstream Religions Right leader Pat Robertson urged a crowd of 35,000 at the Wichita State College Stadium to transform the state's politics. The "Summer of Mercy" campaign became a vehicle for sympathizers of Christian terrorism to challenge the leadership of moderate Republicans.
Before long, far-right extremists were getting elected to office and taking over party committees from moderates. With their ascension came a radical change in the political discourse in Kansas, with the state becoming a bastion for creationism, and a safe haven for those committed to ending abortion by any means. John B. Judis, senior editor of The New Republic and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, underscores the seriousness of this disturbing political trend:
"There is also a fanatic fringe—as evidenced by an organization like Operation Rescue, or a politician like Kline—whose practitioners believe they are defending the purity of family and nation against the evils of modernity. The Taliban does not have a monopoly on this kind of political primitivism. It can also be found in Wichita, Kansas, and it provides the justification for horrible acts like the assassination of George Tiller."Nor is this interplay between conservative politicians and Christian terrorism limited to Kansas. Across the country, politicians buoyed by Christian extremism have passed legislation designed to make it easier for terrorists to target women's healthcare providers. Dubbed "Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers", or TRAP by Planned Parenthood, these acts require doctors and clinics that offer reproductive health services to women to meet more stringent building, licensing, and bureaucratic requirements than even hospitals. Moreover, these acts require women's reproductive healthcare clinics to be housed in separate facilities from hospitals or any other type of medical institution, making it much easier for terrorist to bomb the clinics.
TRAP legislation has been pushed at the federal level as far back as 1982, when the Department of Health and Human Services, under President Reagen, pushed for all abortion clinics to be isolated from other medical institutions.
"The guidelines have their worst effect on hospitals that offer both family planning and abortion services," said representative Henry A. Waxman, a California democrat at the time. The hospitals, he said, "cannot build separate wings, purchase separate equipment and print separate stationery to provide services which are, in fact, perfectly legal."
Dorothy Mann, then executive director of the Family Planning Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania, noted that abortion care is normally part of an array of reproductive healthcare services for women, and was never meant to be an isolated part of healthcare. "The hospital physicians who do family planning often also do abortion as part of the practice of medicine," Mann said. Enabling violence was the motive for the policy change, not medical care.
In addition to TRAP legislation, politicians sympathetic to Christian extremists have blocked efforts to counter Christian terrorism. They repeatedly block measures to enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or FACE Act. The FACE Act was passed by congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, shortly after the brutal slaying of Dr. David Gunn by Christian terrorists. The FACE Act forbids the use of "force, threat of force or physical obstruction" to prevent someone from providing or receiving reproductive healthcare services, and provides criminal and civil penalties for those who break the law.
However, laws need to be enforced in order to be effective. Without strong federal action, violence against reproductive healthcare clinics continued. Three more abortion doctors were gunned down by Christian terrorists since the act went into law. Politicians, buoyed in conservative polls by expressing sympathy for abortion extremists, have continued to block efforts to curb violent Christian extremism.
By willfully turning a blond eye to Christian terrorism, politicians gain favor among right-wing conservatives who condone the violent tactics of Christian extremists. "Militia-style vigilante rhetoric has become a cornerstone of the conservative media movement in America, and it's now proudly championed by Fox News on a nearly hourly basis," said Eric Boehlert of Media Matters.org.
Boehlert referrs to conservative media movers like Bill O'Reilly, whose talk show The O'Rilley Factor has 3.26 million-plus listeners and is carried by more than 400 radio stations. O'Reilly borrowed heavily from the hate-filled propaganda of Operation Rescue (video). On the air, O'Rilley only referred to the Wichita abortion provider as "Tiller the Baby Killer". From 2005 until Dr. Tiller's vicious murder at the hands of extremists, O'Rilley railed against him 28 times. O'Rilley called Dr. Tiller's clinic,"a death mill" that was, "the absolute shame of America." O'Rilley's attacks on Dr. Tiller himself were even more threatening:
"I wouldn't want to be these people if there is a judgment day," O'Rilley said of Dr. Tiller.
And in 2006, O'Rilley said:
"[I]f I could get my hands on Tiller - well, you know. Can't be vigilantes. Can't do that. It's just a figure of speech."
Fanning the flames of hate, Tucker Carlson backed O'Rilley's calls for vigilante murder. "Tiller was a monster, no doubt," Carlson said.
Meanwhile, the system in Kansas that so eagerly persecuted Dr. Tiller. is now tasked with bringing his murderers to justice. The political leaders that gained power from the persecution of women's reproductive healthcare providers are now tasked with bringing Christian terrorists to justice. Under such a system, Randall Terry and Operation Rescue will continue to operate for the forseeable future. "The failure of political and religious leaders to take strong public stands against groups and individuals that demagogically spread scapegoating conspiracist theories encourages this dangerous dynamic," said Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates.
If Operation Rescue evades prosecution once again, radical sympathizers within the media will continue to downplay the organization's role in promoting Christian terrorism, a trend that Berlet finds dangerous:
"This lack of meaningful coverage is especially dangerous when it comes to the hard-right anti-abortion movement. Until these issues are explored thoroughly in the mainstream media, and public figures speak out against the conspiratorial scapegoating and dehumanization by right-wing Protestant and Catholic anti-abortion militants, there will be more people like John Salvi resorting to violence in the belief that they are carrying out God's will...
"This failure to conduct even the most rudimentary research into the conspiratorial allegations of the militant hard right anti-abortion movement allows reporters to sidestep the political content, and report each act of violence against reproductive health workers as an isolated, anecdotal occurrence."
A Chilling Effect on Women's Healthcare
Shortly after Dr. Tiller's assassination, his healthcare clinic in Wichita, Kansas closed down permanently. Meanwhile, the fear and intimidation tactics of Christian terrorist groups continue. Dr. Joseph Booker, an abortion doctor and acquaintance of Dr. Tiller, continues to suffer harassment and violence at the hands of Christian extremists:
"[Personal threats to my life] have always come from the 'peaceful protesters' outside of the clinic. They have picketed my home on occasions and visited my neighbors, knocking door-to-door saying 'you have a babykiller in your neighborhood' ... in 1994, right after Dr. Britton was murdered in Pensacola, I was under US Marshall protection for 18 months."To view the effects of Christian terrorism, one has to look no further than the abortion clinics themselves. With high concrete walls, few windows, and bullet-proof entryways, the clinics look more like military barracks in Afghanistan than medical clinics in the US. Such security would be unnecessary if women's healthcare advocates were confronted with legal, peaceful protests. The fear of Christian terrorism has had an affect on more than just the architecture. Precious resources must be diverted from actual women's medical care to pay for security measures, and for the sky-high insurance rates that result from working in such a dangerous profession.
The actions of Christian terrorists and government sympathizers has stifled efforts to provide on women's reproductive healthcare in the United States. "These harassment campaigns also have a chilling effect on medical students who are considering whether to become abortion providers," says Ann Friedman, deputy editor of The American Prospect. "Would you choose a profession in which death threats simply come with the territory?"
Violence and threats of violence has led to a shortage abortion providers in the United States. According to NARAL, 87% of US counties lack an abortion provider, down 37% since 1982. "As clinic after clinic has shut down in the wake of violence and harassment, women's health is compromised and our very freedom is at risk. Each time a doctor retires or is murdered, and isn't replaced, even more women's lives are endangered," said Kim Gandy, president of NOW.
Hardest hit are rural women who depend on these clinics for all their reproductive healthcare. In rural counties, where Christian militants have focused their clinic-closing campaigns of terror, 97% have no abortion provider. Across the entire US, there are few doctors who provide late-term abortions.
Abortions, however, will never stop with the elimination of legal abortion. History has shown that women will still seek reproductive autonomy even after the state has criminalized it. As abortion and contraception are criminalized in accordance with fundamentalist Christian dogma, the the number of illegal abortions will increase dramatically, and there will be more deaths as the result. According to NARAL, in the years before Roe v. Wade, 1.2 million women resorted to illegal abortions each year. In the medical black market of illegal abortion before Roe v. Wade, assaults of pregnant women were common, and botched illegal abortions caused thousands of preventable deaths annually.
Women's Rights Workers Still Resolute
The brutal murder of Dr. Tiller has put the remaining abortion clinics on high alert in case other Christian terrorists become emboldened by the actions of Roeder and Operation Rescue. "We have been in touch with the FBI, who is reaching out to clinics around the country to assess their security needs," says Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation. "Nobody wants to see violence escalate once again."
Despite the increase in clinic violence and the increased demand on the remaining abortion providers, women's rights workers are still resolute. Gandy is confident that reproductive healthcare will continue in the US:
"[Dr. Tiller] knew his life was in constant jeopardy, and that he would likely die at the hands of an anti-abortion terrorist -- yet he continued to protect his patients and provide safe and legal abortions to women in often-desperate circumstances. Those who are behind this murder may believe that the killing of George Tiller will mean that these women will have nowhere else to turn, but they are wrong. On the contrary, I believe their depraved acts will inspire another doctor to take up the torch, and another, and another.""The cold-blooded murder of Dr. George Tiller in church this past Sunday is a stark reminder that women's bodies are still a battleground, and health care professionals are on the front lines....We are angered. We are saddened. And we will not be silenced," Gandy said in a NOW statement.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation's leading provider and advocate for sexual and reproductive healthcare, also vows to continue providing essential medical services to women, despite threats from Christian terrorists and their sympathizers. "From the people who work there and from those who support them -- be assured we will keep the doors open, no matter what," said Cecile Richards in a statement released from Planned Parenthood. "To those whose hateful rhetoric on the airwaves, in pulpits, and on the internet condemns medical practitioners, your words are not innocent. We implore you to stop."
Meanwhile, abortion doctors and clinics can only hope that the new administration will help to alleviate the atmosphere of hostility and violence towards women that has been encouraged to fester these past eight years.
"I think the president of the United States needs to go to a national television broadcast and say to the American public, 'Safe abortion is a fundamental component of women's health care. Anti-abortion terrorism and violence will not be tolerated. We will stop you,' " Dr. Hern said.
What You Can Do
Shortly after Dr. Tiller's death, thousands of supporters of women's reproductive rights gathered around the country to participate in memorial services and candlelight vigils for Dr. Tiller. The women's rights community mourned the loss of a compassionate doctor and champion for women's rights, but also stood together in solidarity against terrorism.
A group of those women's rights advocates have banded together to create a living memorial to Dr. Tiller. Called "I Am Dr. Tiller", the website features testimonials from abortion providers across the country who have taken a stand in Dr. Tiller's name. These brave women and men continue to work and fight for women's health and reproductive rights in the face of violence and terrorism.
Meanwhile, other activists in the reproductive rights movement are calling on the federal government to strengthen the FACE act by reinvigorating the National Task Force on Violence against Health Care Providers, so that it stops Christian terrorists from threatening, intimidating murdering abortion providers.
"The last time an abortion provider was murdered, when Dr. Barnett Slepian was killed in 1998, it was a wake-up call to the fact that passing the FACE Act wasn't enough." Friedman says. "Attorney General Janet Reno established the National Task Force on Violence against Health Care Providers, which committed the Department of Justice to enforcing FACE, coordinating information on national anti-abortion extremist groups, funding clinic safety efforts, and training local law enforcement. ... the task force was largely dormant for eight years under the Bush administration."
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights , agrees that it is time to reinvigorate the task force. Northup also believes it is time for everyone in the community to speak out against violence and terrorism. "We need to hear from our officeholders, from doctors, from religious leaders, from the community," Northup says. "[W]e can't stop the voices of those who will continue to vilify and demonize, but what we can do is we need to have more voices standing up for these doctors."
Ann at Feministing encourages everyone to write a letter directly to the Obama administration (or write a letter through NOW) urging them to enforce the FACE Act and reinvigorate the National Task Force on Violence against Health Care Providers.
You can also sign NOW's Pledge for Reproductive Freedom to show your solidarity with the women's reproductive rights movement, and to keep informed on the latest issues and threats to women's reproductive rights.
If you have money, you can donate to groups that train the next generation of abortion doctors, such as Medical Students for Choice, or to groups that provide women access to abortion care, such as the National Network of Abortion Funds.
If you have time, you can volunteer with the National Network of Abortion Funds, or volunteer to be an escort at an abortion clinic near you.
"It is intolerable that a fanatical group of religiously motivated terrorists have been able to so damage women's ability to exercise their fundamental right to privacy. Join us in working to turn the tide against those who terrorize women and their doctors and nurses and those who cheer the terrorists on, honor them and excuse their actions." Gandy said.
To learn more, you can watch a PBS video on Christian terrorism here.
 NPR's Kathy Lohr ran so far away from the issue of Christian terrorism that she referred to the brutal murder of Dr. Tiller inside his own church as, "extreme pressure from abortion protesters."
 For the sake of timeliness, I borrowed heavily from other sources in order to get this article finished. Eventually I will get around googling every sentence in my piece and cite it properly. Until then, please do not cite me as the definitive source. (Yes, this was timely for me. Snails write faster than I do.)
Copyright June 2009 by F*ck M*sculinity