By now, everyone has heard that Dr. George Tiller--one of only two doctors in the country to perform medically-necessary late term abortions--was gunned down at his church. Women whose pregnancies went terribly, terribly wrong documented the kindness, competence, and compassionate care they received at Dr Tiller's clinic here. As an aside, it is illegal to perform late-term abortions unless medically necessary. Dr. Tiller spent quite a bit of time in court proving that each and every abortion was medically necessary. You can read the legal documents here, if you like.
If the anti-abortion movement were really serious about preventing abortions, they'd ensure that women had access to contraception, the real preventer of abortions. Instead, there is a very large overlap between the anti-abortion and the abstinence-only crowd. There's an obvious problem with this. Making abortion illegal doesn't reduce, but rather, increases the number of abortions. So, I don't see any scenario where the ostensibly "pro-life" people really are. Pro-life, that is. Making abortions more difficult doesn't decrease the number of abortions, but rather, counter-intuitively, seems to increase them. Read about it here.
ROME, Oct. 11 — A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it....
Moreover, the researchers found that abortion was safe in countries where it was legal, but dangerous in countries where it was outlawed and performed clandestinely. Globally, abortion accounts for 13 percent of women’s deaths during pregnancy and childbirth, and there are 31 abortions for every 100 live births, the study said.
In Uganda, where abortion is illegal and sex education programs focus only on abstinence, the estimated abortion rate was 54 per 1,000 women in 2003, more than twice the rate in the United States, 21 per 1,000 in that year. The lowest rate, 12 per 1,000, was in Western Europe, with legal abortion and widely available contraception.
Also, the anti-abortion culture produces women who have more abortions than the pro-choice culture. How do I know? Women at private religious colleges have more--not less--abortions than women at public schools. So, yeah. Everything the anti-abortion fools do increases the abortion rate. You can find the report here.
Aside from all the women they're harming by not allowing access to safe medically necessary procedures, christian terrorists have now attempted murder 25 times, with 8 successes (four doctors, four clinic workers). Pro-murder equals pro-life? Not seeing it.
People like Dr. Tiller's killer are terrorists, and they have pretty much succeeded in terrorizing the entire abortion-providing population. Now there is only one doctor (in Colorado) who has the guts and integrity to protect the lives of women whose pregnancies have gone horribly, horribly wrong past 21 weeks. Oh, and could the "pro-life" people please call themselves something not quite so painfully ironic?
Prior to Roe v. Wade, women could get abortions only if they were really, really, really near death. What were things like for woman who had terrible complications but weren't near enough death back 1n 1971? Here's a personal story from here at comment 30.
I have known quite a few women who have faced the choice of abortion, all for health issues and including my mother, who was denied a life-saving late-term abortion in 1971 because she was not "close enough to death" for the judge who heard her case. Instead she bled out for 18 hours until the doctors could assemble enough pieces of the fetus to prove she was no longer pregnant. They were able to save her life but she was unable to ever have more children; she was 32 at the time. Needless to say, she was vehemently pro-choice.
Here's another testimonial, this time about Dr. Tiller here.
My x-wife worked in his office as an assistant. Few know he provided abortions for Middle Eastern girls who would have been stoned to death as a "mercy killing."
These girls would fly in from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and various other locations to have services they needed but could not safely get at home. Usually they had been hidden away until they could not be hidden anymore. Frequently money was raised by various sources to help these girls get out of their countries. He saved many girls lives this way.
Did you know that if you live in California (and many, many other states) and the fetus dies after 15 weeks, you cannot get a Dialation and Extraction (now known as partial birth abortion) even though the fetus is dead? So what do you do? I guess your only choice is to wait until sepsis sets in. Here's one woman's story.
Here's the story of a woman who had the good luck to have her pregnancy emergency prior to the "partial birth abortion" ban.
I was lucky. Are you surprised that I would say that? I was lucky because the partial-birth abortion ban was not yet in effect in October of 2004. If it had been, I would have been forced to undergo labor and delivery, no matter the risks to my health, and I might right now be either dead or so brain damaged I would be unable to type this. I was additionally lucky because even though I live in Philadelphia, one of the largest cities in the country--a city, Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton, you two will be visiting a great deal in the next month--my doctor happened to be only one of two doctors in this entire city that was willing and able to perform this life-saving medical procedure....
Here's a story of a woman whose fetus died in the third trimester and she began to spontaneously abort: even if the baby is dead, it's almost impossible to find a doctor to do a D&E (which now falls under the non-medical rubric 'partial birth abortion.')
Don’t come in, they told me again and again. “Go to your emergency room if you are hemorrhaging to avoid bleeding to death. No one here can do a D&E today, and unless you’re really in active labor you’re safer to wait.”
Thanks to many commenters on the Tiller threads at scienceblogs.com/pharyngula for various links and ideas.