Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Domestic Terrorism Wins: Dr. George Tiller's Clinic To Close

Following the murder of Dr. George Tiller, allegedly by Scott Roeder, his family released a statement that his women's health clinic will close:

"The family of Dr. George Tiller announces that effective immediately, Women's Health Care Services, Inc., will be permanently closed. Notice is being given today to all concerned that the Tiller family is ceasing operation of the clinic and any involvement by family members in any other similar clinic.

"We are proud of the service and courage shown by our husband and father and know that women's health care needs have been met because of his dedication and service. That is a legacy that will never die..."

Abortion rights advocates understood the decision, but were concerned about women who may need the services he provided:

Many of these advocates expressed empathy on Tuesday for the decision of the Tiller family, which had been the target of criticism, protest and attacks for more than 30 years, but they also said the loss of the clinic might prove devastating to families of those few women who learned late in pregnancy of catastrophic health issues.

“It is unacceptable that anti-abortion intimidation and violence has led to the closing of Dr. Tiller’s clinic,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Not only have we lost a fearless defender of women’s fundamental health and rights in Dr. Tiller’s murder, but the closing of his clinic leaves an immediate and immense void in the availability of abortion.”

Is the murder of Dr. Tiller in his church is a "pro-life," "religious" act? Can the closing of his clinic through murder be anything but a victory for domestic terrorism?

Crooks And Liars points out that the availability of abortion in general has been on the decline in the U.S.:

The bottom line is that they're winning. It is harder to get abortions than it was 5 years ago, or 10 years ago, or 25 years ago. Abortion access peaked in 1982 and has been declining ever since. Consider that the US population has increased by approximately 30% since 1982. At the same time the number of providers has dropped by over a third. ...It's harder to get an abortion than it has ever been since Roe vs. Wade, because there are just less doctors who perform abortions.

Ultimately, if the U.S. is stripped of abortion services, whether legally or though terrorism, desperate, poor women will entrust themselves to amateurs, resulting in dangerous, botched operations, as happens in Tanzania, where abortion is outlawed. Tanzania exemplifies the conclusions of a study conducted by the World Health Organization, which found that outlawing abortion affects the safety of the procedure, but not the rate. That is one reason why safe, medically provided abortion services is a critical women's health issue. 

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