Justice served for Dr. Tiller

After 37 minutes of deliberation, a jury yesterday found Dr. Tiller’s murderer guilty of first degree homicide.  I couldn’t watch the livetweeting of this case, but the verdict gave me a small and important measure of comfort.  In a world that wants us to think the pro-lifers are winning the culture wars, its validating to be reminded that not everyone has lost their minds.  I’ve written here about my confrontations with pro-life protesters, but I’d like to explain why this case means so much to me.

You have to go back a couple years, when Dr. Tiller was alive.  Two years ago, I found myself on the campaign trail, working for Hillary Clinton.  I spent most of 2008 on the road – 7 months for Clinton, 1 month for Obama – and the whole time I fought with my entire being to get a pro-choice Democrat elected.  In the 10 years I’ve spent working in campaigns, I have never taken such an emotional and physical beating.  I still listen to Clinton’s Glass Ceiling speech, and I still want to break things when I think of Sarah Palin trying to co-opt the spirit of that speech.  While I was thrilled to vote for President Obama, there will always be a persistent lump of pain, sadness and failure lodged in my memory.  It’s not ok to make racist or seemingly racist jokes or statements anymore, and that’s progress.  But make a sexist remark?  That’s still ok.  Threaten a women’s reproductive rights? Sure, use our rights like a football in Congress.

So how does this relate to Dr. Tiller?  When I read about Dr. Tiller’s murder, via twitter and new reports, a spark of rage woke up inside me.  I felt like the last 2 years had taken everything from me.  But the circumstances of this man’s murder – this father, grandfather, co-worker, friend and physician – were so offensive to me, I had to do something.  This time the rabble rousing was personal.  So I reached out on twitter and facebook, and a few hours later 100 people showed up.  Thousands of people did the same thing across the country.  Even though the circumstances were vile, I found my friends (my friends in real life, not just like-minded people) showing up, and lighting a candle.  And I remembered why I fell into the business of politics and campaigns.

I know there are millions of others out there that share my conviction – working on the political or legislative side, or on the front lines as women’s healthcare providers, as clinic escorts, as nurses and doctors.  We fight and take our knocks, but we still get up and keep fighting.  We fight because a woman’s choice to plan her pregnancies (including choosing to terminate a pregnancy) is still a PRIVATE matter, and IT’S STILL LEGAL.  We fight because honoring a spark of rage will sometimes lead you back to a place of renewal, back to your friends, back to yourself.  In a perfect world, Dr. Tiller would still be with us.  Since he’s not, I choose to honor his passing by working harder for a safer world for women.  And I am thankful for his inspiration, and that justice was served.

Please consider donating to those on the front-lines:

Planned Parenthood

The National Abortion Federation

NARAL Pro-choice America


  1. Excellent excellent post.

  2. Agree, excellent post. My thoughts:
    I’ve been pregnant when I didn’t want to be and not pregnant when I did want to be. I’m so glad it was nobody’s business but my own (and my husband & my doctor).
    Generally speaking, it seems that the anti-choice folks only care about children that are still in the womb. Once they’re born, to hell with ’em. (SCHIP is a great example)
    I refuse to call these people “pro life”. It suggests that the rest of us are either “anti life” or “pro abortion” and neither is true.
    That is all.

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