Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Death of George Tiller

I rarely post about abortion. It falls squarely under the "dumb stuff I can't believe we're still arguing about" category.

However, after the death of George Tiller, by most accounts an extremely compassionate, courageous women's health care provider, I thought I would toss my basic thoughts on the matter out into the ether.

Many years ago, there was a consensus in this country that if a woman was pregnant she should be forced to carry the child to term and deliver it. There were laws against seeking abortions and laws against providing them.

As the rights of women advanced throughout the 60's and 70's, this consensus broke and eventually the Supreme Court recognized an affirmative right of doctors to provide abortions. Now, abortion is legal, and a comfortable majority of Americans consistently agree in polling that abortions should be legal and available to women who need them.

That's the state of play, though the large, vocal committed minority of people who want to make abortion illegal again do their best to obscure it. It is close to unthinkable that the old consensus, grounded as it was at least in part in the view that women were not fully citizens, will ever reemerge.

It's certainly possible that through the use of terrorist violence - gunning doctors down in church, say - some especially unbalanced abortion prohibitionists will be able to intimidate some doctors into ceasing to provide these procedures. What's much less possible is that Americans will ever again come around to the belief that women should be forced to carry to term pregnancies that they desire to terminate.

Given the roots of the anti-abortion coalition in the "born-again" social engineering movement sometimes called "evangelical christianity," I know as well as anyone that they will continue to fight on with whatever means are at their disposal - it is not in them to look around, consider the situation, and back down.

Count me as one lonely voice trying to wake a few of them up.

This one's over. You lost. If this truly is an inhuman horror, it is one that, despite your ironclad conviction to the contrary, your God can clearly abide.

Pick a different battle. The world is full of injustice.

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