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June 01, 2009

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From the Colorado Independent:

"Hours after the Sunday morning shooting death of late-term abortion doctor George Tiller in Wichita, Kan., a Boulder physician — who says he could be the only doctor in the world still performing the procedure — said Tiller’s assassination was the “absolutely inevitable consequence” of decades of anti-abortion fanaticism.

“I’m profoundly sad and I’m furious and I think the American people need to understand that we have a fascist movement in this country,” Dr. Warren Hern told The Colorado Independent on Sunday. “We don’t have to invade Iraq to find terrorists. They’re right here killing abortion doctors.”

“Every doctor that does abortions has been under an assassination threat for decades,” Hern said. “The anti-abortion movement message is, ‘Do what we tell you to do or we will kill you,’ and they do. This is a fascist movement.”

Hern laid blame for Tiller’s death at the feet of the anti-abortion movement’s encouragement of violence against abortion providers and the Republican Party’s “exploitation” of the extremist rhetoric."


Now I suppose whe'll hear lots of talk from self-proclaimed pro-lifers who will do their usual self-aggrandizing about their superiority while trying at the same time to distance themselves from the terrorist.

Well I don't buy it. For years the prideful anti-abortinists have been claiming that abortion is murder. Well the terrorist acted on their claim. He believed the rhetoric.

It's unbelievable to me that there are men out there who hate women so much that they want to murder someone who saves their lives. I just cannot comprehend that level of hatred.

So sad.

I've been in the same situation as the woman in your last example. The only difference was that I wasn't hemorrhaging - and that I was lucky enough not to be in the US, I suppose.

We lived overseas back then, and had been visiting the US for some weeks for the summer. In retrospect, I'm now really really glad that it wasn't discovered until we were in Germany that our baby had died in utero.

There was not a question about what needed to be done. I was admitted to the hospital right out of the office of my Ob-Gyn. The nurse I talked to on the phone was very sympathetic and told me to drive slowly and carefully. She was relieved to hear I had my mother with me.

From the moment I stepped into that hospital -- just a normal German hospital -- I was being wrapped in sympathy and competence. Everyone knew what to do, and everyone felt with me. There was not a moment's doubt that it was about making the whole procedure as comfortable and painless (both physically and psychologically) for me as possible - but they also treated my son with utmost respect. After the extraction, he was washed, and the nurses took a photo of him, and his foot prints and gave them to me in a sealed envelope, to keep and look at if I wanted. They gently dressed him in a tiny little wrap. I had the option of holding him and saying good-bye to him.

I was in the hospital for three days, to recover and, as the doctor put it, to center myself. He knew I had two little boys at home and he thought I needed the time alone - and I did. I cried a lot. But I was amazed how even the cleaning lady was understanding and sympathetic. It took me a bit to work out that the little sign with a flower on my room door was the hospital code for "mother has lost her child, be gentle". On the second day, the hospital social worker came, and we arranged Benjamin's funeral.

In Germany, birth before 20 weeks is considered a miscarriage - the fetus is, technically, just organic waste. In this hospital though, parents are given the option of a common burial. Every few weeks, all "earliest born" children were laid to rest in the local cemetery with a short ceremony. The nurse who held my hand while I delivered my dead son was there. I have a printed card with my son's name on it and a little poem, and I have a place to go when I want to leave him some flowers. It's incredibly helpful to have had both the funeral and the burial site.

It is still painful for me to think about this time but I can't imagine how different this experience might have been just a few weeks earlier in the US.

Respect for life is more than just respect for a fetus.

thank you for posting this

Claudia, thank you.

The most frightened hours of my life were those in which my sister was suffering through a medically similar health crisis in a US hospital 600 miles from her home. She arrived by helicopter, unconscious, at the only non-Catholic facility in the state.

She might have died--because no doctor in her region had the experience or capacity or training to treat her medical condition--leaving her 4 year old motherless, and her husband a widow who had lost not just his wife but his wanted second child.

Claudia, I am so sorry for your loss.

Claudia: thanks for sharing that. Like mythago, I am very, very sorry for your loss.

Thank you all for your kind words. But... I didn't post this for sympathy, really. I just wanted to tell how differently the same medical situation is dealt with in another country - better, in my eyes.

In many European countries, the experience of pregnancy is a bit different than in the US. For instance, in Germany, almost every pregnant woman has a midwife whom she sees more often than her doctor. This relationship often lasts for years (with baby swimming, baby massage classes, gym classes, etc.). Mother's Leave (from work) is extensive and well paid. There is a strong ethic of supporting the mother. Partly this is expressed through government programs, but partly it's just something that everyone agrees upon. (Yes, I know, it doesn't explain sinking birth rates but that's a different topic.)

The point I'm getting at is hard to explain: the mother is put first, even though there is a great respect and joy for the unborn child. From the very start, a pregnant woman is handled differently here.

So the baby-centered way of viewing this seems strange and a little frightening. Does it encourage this fringe behavior? I think it does.

BTW, I have four children -- including a baby who's loudly asking why I am not paying her attention now? I'm also pro-choice (have always been) and horrified by the murder of Dr. Tiller. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

I am sorry for your loss, Claudia. I think we can all agree that the abortion laws in Germany are preferrable to those in the United States.

But that took its time too and every few years the Right tries to undo it (and there are some Roman Catholic bishops here that would love to join forces with OR).

Germany might have treated Claudia better than many states would treat a woman in her condition here, but as a whole, Germany has more conservative abortion laws than the U.S. has. See, e.g., the Wikipedia entry on abortion in Germany.

Also, her own account compares a certain hospital and the nation as a whole. More power to the public service they did to help her. Dr. Tiller, I reckon, served as such an island of justice for the women in his care too.

Something that hasn't been touched on much in this discussion (if at all) is pro-life women who need abortions. I happened across this collection of anecdotes:

http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/anti-tales.html
"The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion"
When the Anti-Choice Choose
By Joyce Arthur
Copyright © September, 2000

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