Taking the Scenic Route

Tiller, part 2, the more personal post.

2nd June 2009

Tiller, part 2, the more personal post.

posted in Politics |

On a personal level, Tiller and the “Summer of Mercy” really shaped my beliefs. 

In 1991, when Randall Terry, Dobson, and Operation Rescue descended on Wichita, I was suddenly thrust in the middle of a fight that wasn’t mine.  I had never had an abortion, was pro-life, and didn’t really think much about the issue.  I had made up my mind, in that black and white world that the young inhabit, and didn’t really care to think about it much.  I was decided, that is, until I had to deal with the protesters.

I didn’t have the slightest idea where Dr. Tillers clinic was, but discovered that summer that it was right next door to the hotel I worked at. (you can actually see it in a lot of the news coverage of the clinic)  I remember being confused as to who all those people were that first day, but was suprised to learn what was going on.  I was supportive of the protesters cause.  That view grew thin as the weeks rode on. 

Every day I had to leave earlier and earlier to slog my way through the screaming crowds.  As time wore on, I found the protesters comments and insults yelled at me and my vehicle (I had the unfortunate combination of a very hot summer, a sweater vest as my work uniform, and no a/c, so I had to keep my windows down to keep from suffocating).  It wasn’t my fight, so why was I constantly being screamed at every day and had people trying to block my car?

I also started having to deal with the protesters personally.  They would follow guests into the hotel, harrassing them and being completely crappy to hotel employees.  Then, we started having groups of them come in to try and use our restrooms, then hang out looking for guests to come by, presumably patients.  The things they said were horrifying, and not words I would have EVER thought should come out of the mouths of supposed Christians.  We ended up having to hire security for the lobby to keep them out. 

By the time the six weeks was up, every one of us who worked there was about as fed up as we could be with the whole thing.  I just wanted the protesters to go home, and distinctly remembered starting to have the running joke as to whether I was going to go “people bowling” that day to get to work.  (just keep driving even if idiots jumped in my way again) because it was so frustrating.

I am pretty sure I am not the only one that started really looking at the issue during those weeks and found the pro-life movement to be lacking.  Their actions seemed to have very little resemblence to what they proclaimed to believe.  They were about the most un-Christ-like “Christians” I had ever seen (followed closely by the Franklin Graham representatives who all got drunk & rowdy in another hotel I worked at). 

The result of the “Summer of #$()#*$)%&” is that I utterly and completely did not want to be associated, in ANY WAY, with the pro-life movement.  I was still personally against abortion, but from that point on would always vote for choice.  There are a lot of things in this country that are legal, that I don’t agree with, but it is not for me to decide how everybody else should live. 

Even though I vote pro-choice, there was a part of me that was a little uncomfortable about that actual issues surrounding abortion.  After having 8 miscarriages myself, and a few friends who were faced with abortions, I knew that the feelings of an unwanted pregnancy were very similar to the feelings of both infertility and miscarriages.  At it’s root, it is the desperate feeling of being totally out of control of your body and your life.  

As I have gotten older, my views have only gone more towards pro-choice.  On the most major point, I realized that I will never be able to vote against abortions until there is actual, tangible, consistent support for children and mothers.  Frankly, the way the current laws are written, I think they are too restricting for that very reason alone.  When we, as a society, make sure that every child is able to be cared for and supported, then I would support restrictions.  I think it should always be available for cases of rape, especially incest, and for medical need. 

On a more personal level, I have seen, first hand, how difficult some of the severe birth defects are, both on the babies and the families.  I have seen instances where abortion can be the most selfless and giving act of a parent who can’t watch their child suffer any more.  Even though I think I would chose to deliver a child with severe, survivable defects, I do have more understanding of just how difficult that road is.  I can’t say “for sure” that I would never, because I have never been faced with it.  I am old enough to know that a lot of times your “nevers” are just a matter of “haven’t yet” because some things are out of your control.  Some things are beyond your understanding until it is laid out in front of you.

In an interesting way, Dr. Tillers death has brought me around to being more at peace with the pro-choice movement.  Some of the lingering questions were laid to rest as personal accounts, online and in person, have come to light.  Although it saddens me greatly that there is ever a need for an abortion, I am thankful that we do have the option.  I sincerely hope and pray that somebody with as much love, compassion, and expertise is able to step into Dr. Tiller’s shoes.  Until this week I didn’t understand why Tiller could be anything other than simply tolerated, now I understand why he is called a hero.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 11:34 PM and is filed under Politics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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