Tuesday, June 2, 2009

He wore a button reading Trust Women

I am trying, trying to find the sense of reason and justice in this piece from spiked, of London. Brendan O'Neill, its author says, "..the best way to make the case for the right to choose is not to criminalize the speech of the anti-abortion lobby, but to inject public debate with more and more convincing arguments for abortion rights. In short, we need more 'extremely vivid' speech, not less."

It's true that George Tiller, who wore a button reading Trust Women, was murdered by a nutcase. The world is full of them. We now accept that psychosis is responsible for John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy -- murderers like that. And yet, those guys were predators. When the urge to kill was upon them, they found someone who fit their (usually) physical requirements of a victim, and killed. Gacy and Bundy and Dahmer may have had voices in their heads. They did not have cable shows, websites, and talk radio -- much less sweet-faced old ladies on street corners and allegedly Christian preachers -- telling them that killing that specific person was A Good Thing. There's a difference.

George Tiller wore a button reading Trust Women. It's interesting that the radical right is working so hard to make empathy an obscenity, because their lack of it -- person by person -- prompts their politics. None of them, from O'Reilly and Limbaugh and Gingrich down to the picketing women, seem to have thought what it would be to be another person. Empathy: none.

In me there is a universe. There's a universe in you. My intellectual and religious positions are that your beliefs are as deeply considered and as deeply felt as mine. You know your truths as surely as I know mine. At a not-so-deep level, the view of the ultra-conservative is solipsistic. Your personhood and mine are not real to them. (Empathy: none.)

Because you cannot believe in the personhood of the fetus and not believe in the personhood of the pregnant woman. Down deep, the pro-lifers must not believe in either, because the inverse is not true. It is possible to recognize the pregnant woman's personhood and not believe in that of the fetus. I can't possibly extrapolate your beliefs from mine, nor your experience from mine. I know what it was to have a happy pregnancy with a dedicated partner, to be healthy and to have a healthy outcome. I can't imagine what it would be for those factors not to be present but if they weren't, I would sure not want the government, or leaders of any religion, or a bunch of lobbyists , to decide what will happen to me and my body in that horribly stressful (and possibly fatal) time.

So that's why I keep thinking how George Tiller wore a button reading Trust Women. Because nobody else can know what's best for you. I have a hard enough time making my own choices; I dare not assume the right to make them for another person. What I can imagine is the panic, the desperation, the crushing despair to come if all is not going well with a pregnancy after you've bonded with your baby. Why would the grief be any less than that of the mother whose newborn dies in her arms?

Imagine being surrounded by that grief, despair, panic, dread, every working day. You could not go on if you did not have faith in each woman to be the own best judge of what's right for herself. I am sure it wasn't the career path he'd set out for himself, for who would choose it? But he accepted the burden.

If you also trust women, go to Planned Parenthood and make a donation in George Tiller's memory. What better way to make it sacred and preserve what he died for than to underwrite Planned Parenthood's goals? You can direct your donation locally, nationally, or internationally, and choose the services it will provide.

1 comment:

Hydrocarbonaholic said...

On both the left and the right, there has long been a problem of what feels to me like "moral misfocus."

On the right, it's often, "revere the fetus; revile the woman."

On the left, it's often, "save the flies (see PETA vs. Obama); excuse me while I step over the homeless man to get to my cash machine."

In both cases, it's easier to focus on helping "the innocent" rather than addressing more complex systemic injustices.