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"After Tiller": 40 Years Since Roe V. Wade, Abortion Providers Continue Work of Slain Kansas Doctor


Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, activists, americans, culture, death, dishonesty, education, ethics, family, freedoms, government, internet, media, law, politics, religion, rights, safety, society, violence, women )

Kit
- 666 days ago - truth-out.org
Forty years after the landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion, the new documentary After Tiller follows the only four doctors left in the United States who are known to provide abortions in the third trimester.



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Kit B. (276)
Friday January 25, 2013, 1:50 pm
Copyrighted This image is a faithful digitization of a unique historic image, and the copyright for it is most likely held by the person who created the image or the agency employing the person. It is believed that the use of this image may qualify as fair use under United States copyright law.

Geraldine "Gerri" Santoro (née Twerdy) (August 16, 1935 – June 8, 1964) was an American woman who died because of an illegal abortion in 1964. A photograph of her after death, published in 1973, became a symbol of the pro-choice movement.
*Do Not forget the sacrifice of so many women to establish laws for the safety and protection of all women.

**See Video at VISIT SITE***

Transcript of Interview:

Forty years after the landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion, the new documentary After Tiller follows the only four doctors left in the United States who are known to provide abortions in the third trimester. In 2009, their colleague, Dr. George Tiller, was assassinated while attending church in Wichita, Kansas. The four doctors depicted in the film have also braved threats, harassment and the emotional weight of the stories they hear to provide women with a desperately needed medical procedure. We’re joined by the directors of "After Tiller," Lana Wilson and Martha Shane.

TRANSCRIPT:

AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting live from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. This week marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that established the right to abortion. A new poll coinciding with the anniversary shows a record 70 percent of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade. For the first time on record, a majority believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Despite the apparent shift in public opinion, abortion rights remain under siege. Last year saw U.S. states enact the second-highest number of anti-choice restrictions in history. Recent restrictions include a wave of state bans on abortion in later stages of pregnancy.

Here at the Sundance Film Festival, a remarkable new film follows four of the only doctors left in the United States who openly provide abortions in the third trimester. The film is called After Tiller. That’s after Dr. George Tiller, a man who performed third-trimester abortions despite constant threats and attacks from anti-choice extremists. Tiller’s clinic was firebombed in 1985. Eight years later, he survived an assassination attempt. Then, on May 31st, 2009, Dr. George Tiller was gunned down by Scott Roeder while attending church in Wichita, Kansas. Tiller was 67 years old. The film After Tiller opens with the words of the late doctor.

DR. GEORGE TILLER: I would prefer, personally, to have a challenging, stimulating, emotionally and spiritually rewarding career that is short rather than have a long one that is filled with mediocrity, feeling as if you don’t make any difference to people.

SEDGWICK COUNTY 911: Sedgwick County 911.

CALLER: Yes, Dr. Tiller was just shot at Reformation Lutheran Church!

SEDGWICK COUNTY 911: What was that, ma’am?

CALLER: Somebody just came and shot somebody at our church!

AMY GOODMAN: That was part of the 911 call from the Sunday morning in 2009 when Dr. George Tiller was shot to death while he attended church. The film, After Tiller, which just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, is about the colleagues he left behind. The four doctors depicted in the film have also braved threats, harassment, emotional weight of the stories they hear to provide women with a desperately needed medical procedure. We’re joined now by the directors of After Tiller, Lana Wilson and Martha Shane.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Lana, let’s start with you. Why did you make this film? What inspired you?

LANA WILSON: Well, it really came from watching the news coverage surrounding Dr. Tiller’s death. As you say, he survived an assassination attempt, and not only that, but he went back to work literally the next day. And I couldn’t believe that someone would go through such an experience and return to their job immediately. And the news coverage of this assassination was just a controversial doctor has been killed, getting a talking point from each side of the issue, and that was about it. So I found it really frustrating that the human element was left out here. I was really curious what motivated this man to go to such lengths to keep doing this work, why women would ever need a third-trimester abortion—I had no idea—and also, now that he was gone, was there someone waiting in the wings to take his place, or would they be scared away from doing this? What would happen next?

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about these doctors, Martha, that you follow.

MARTHA SHANE: The doctors are four really incredible individuals. I think one of the things that people really notice is that they’re all average, very average, Americans. Dr. Carhart is actually a registered Republican and religious. Dr. Hern is much more on the liberal side. But they’re very—there’s their range of personalities. And so, getting to know them, that’s really what struck us the most, is they’re just doctors who are incredibly dedicated to caring for these women despite the incredible risks.

AMY GOODMAN: There are only four, Lana, doctors who perform these third-trimester abortions?

LANA WILSON: Mm-hmm, yes, there are. I mean—

AMY GOODMAN: Two of the doctors, the other two, worked directly with Dr. Tiller?

LANA WILSON: Three of them worked with Dr. Tiller. Dr. Carhart, Dr. Sella and Dr. Robinson were all trained by Dr. Tiller, and they all worked at his clinic in Kansas, alternating weeks. So they were left without a place to work after he was assassinated.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s turn to one of those doctors, Dr. Shelley Sella, who works with Dr. Susan Robinson at the Southwestern Women’s Options clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Both, as you said, are former colleagues of Dr. Tiller. In this clip, you hear the voice of one of Dr. Sella’s patients, but first you hear Dr. Sella talking about her work.

DR. SHELLEY SELLA: I think about what I do all the time, and I recognize what I do. And at times I struggle, and at times I don’t. But I always come back to the woman and what she’s going through. And, often, what life will this—will this baby have? What will it mean to be alive with horrific fetal abnormalities? It’s not just about being alive; it’s about life and what does it mean.

Thank you.

PATIENT: Ours is a corpus callosum. Obviously, if a baby didn’t get part of his brain, what outcome of that can impossibly be good? And ours has been guilt, because it’s guilt no matter which way you go. Guilt if you go ahead and do what we’re doing, or bring him into this world and then he doesn’t have any quality of life.

AMY GOODMAN: A clip from After Tiller. Martha Shane, tell us about this couple. Tell us about the patients, the women, their partners, who come in. Who wants a third-trimester abortion?

MARTHA SHANE: Well, the women—I mean, the interesting thing is that these women never expected to find themselves in this situation, and they come from a huge range of backgrounds. But as you see in the film, a large percentage of them are actually women with planned pregnancies who find out late in the pregnancy that there’s something terribly wrong with the fetus. So, they’re really not only—not only going through this very difficult procedure, but also grieving the loss of their child.

And then there’s a lot of the cases are also maternal indications, which is where, for some reason, the woman was not able to get an abortion earlier in the pregnancy. Sometimes it’s a young woman who didn’t know that she was pregnant, didn’t recognize the signs. Sometimes it’s, you know, a rape victim who’s in denial about what happened to her. So, it’s a range of reasons, but these are really the most desperate situations.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to Dr. Susan Robinson. In this scene in your film, After Tiller, a staff member has raised concerns about a young patient who seems to be having a hard time with her decision to have a third-trimester abortion. Dr. Robinson here talks with a staff member after she’s spoken with the patient.

DR. SUSAN ROBINSON: To me, she sounds completely clear. I mean, I said, "Look, of course you don’t want an abortion. Nobody wants an abortion. You have three choices: You can have a kid that you say you can’t take good care of; you can have a kid and give it to somebody else, who you know or don’t know; or you can have an abortion, which you think is the wrong thing to do. Those are your three choices. They all suck. But you have to pick one of them." And she said, "I am committed." She said, "I am committed," three or four times. And I said, "So, you have struggled with this decision, and you’ve arrived at what you think is the best choice that you have available to you? And you feel bad about it. You regret it already. But you think it’s the best of your choices." And she said, "Yes." And I said, "Do you want me to go ahead with this?" And she said, "Yes." And she said, "I’ve had plenty of time to think about it. I’m committed."

STAFF MEMBER: OK.

DR. SUSAN ROBINSON: Maybe she just couldn’t bring herself to say, "Yes, I want an abortion."

AMY GOODMAN: That is Dr. Susan Robinson. Lana, talk about the dilemmas these doctors face. I mean, you’re talking about doctors agonizing, who have been doing this for decades.

LANA WILSON: Mm-hmm, yeah. You know, these women come to these doctors with incredibly complicated situations, very desperate ones. And the doctor’s job isn’t to be a moral arbiter. They’re a doctor. They’re there to see, "Can I help my patient?" looking at the patient’s safety and wellness, above all else. So, it’s hard because women come from such different places. And these doctors do have to decide: Can I help her? But I think what Dr. Robinson articulates so beautifully is that no one wants to be here. These women are not making this decision frivolously. And if she can help a patient safely, then that’s what she’ll do.

AMY GOODMAN: Martha, how did you have this very intimate access to these four doctors? I mean, you are filming in with them talking to their patients. Obviously, I assume, the patients gave permission, though you never show the patients’ faces.

MARTHA SHANE: Yeah, the doctors and the counselors were really our best allies in helping us find patients who were interested in sharing their stories. And they would explain to all the patients who came in, you know, "There are these filmmakers here, but they won’t film without your permission." And the women who did participate really did so because they realize that people don’t understand why women seek third-trimester abortions, and they wanted to help clarify those reasons for everybody.

And I think the other—the other reason why we were able to get this access is just partially just being young female filmmakers. We were committed, and we told the doctors that we were committed to being totally unobtrusive in the clinics. We spent most of our time filming sort of pressed up against the walls, trying to be as invisible as possible. We didn’t want to ever disrupt the process that the patients and the doctors were going through. So—

AMY GOODMAN: Why did the doctors give you this access?

MARTHA SHANE: For the doctors, I think it was really about having a voice. They just—they know that they—that what’s missing from the abortion debate has been the voices of the people who are most intimately involved with this work. And they felt that—we were lucky that they trusted us to share their stories.

AMY GOODMAN: Lana, introduce us to Dr. Carhart. He has been pushed from clinic to clinic, from state to state. He started in Nebraska?

LANA WILSON: He started in Nebraska. He actually went to Nebraska because he was in the Air Force. He was in the Air Force for over 20 years. He opened a general practice there and never imagined he would become an abortion provider, and was introduced to abortion by a nurse friend of his who brought him into the clinic one day to hear the women’s stories. So that’s how he got started in this work.

AMY GOODMAN: So—but he had to leave Nebraska.

LANA WILSON: Yes. He’s now doing third-trimester abortions at a clinic in Maryland.

AMY GOODMAN: So let’s talk about that for a moment by going to a clip from this remarkable film, After Tiller. This is Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who now has this clinic in Germantown, Maryland. There, anti-choice activists targeted his landlord, Todd Stave, protesting outside Mr. Stave’s daughter’s middle school. This is Dr. Carhart commenting on what took place.

DR. LEROY CARHART: The thing with the school, it aggravated the owner enough that he got very, very—he took it really personally. And now, could Todd say tomorrow, "Move"? Yeah, then I’d have to move. And I think if we don’t fight back, it’s—it will go away. Abortion will not be available.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Dr. Carhart. Martha, talk about—I mean, there were protesters protesting the landlord’s—at the landlord’s daughter’s middle school?

MARTHA SHANE: Yes. That’s typical for—you know, one of the anti-abortion tactics is to try to prevent the doctor from having any place to practice. And Dr. Carhart was just incredibly lucky and smart in finding a clinic where the landlord was willing to stand up for him and for his right to continue to practice.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, not just willing, unbelievably—

MARTHA SHANE: Unbelievable.

AMY GOODMAN: —coincidentally, Mr. Stave’s father, wasn’t he an abortion provider, Lana?

LANA WILSON: Mm-hmm, he was.

AMY GOODMAN: This is the landlord.

LANA WILSON: This is the landlord’s father, was an abortion provider whose clinic had been firebombed. So, the landlord completely understood this. And that was a very rare and lucky circumstance for Dr. Carhart, because many other landlords would not nearly be so sympathetic. And, you know, who would want protesters outside their businesses all day, every day?

AMY GOODMAN: One of the focuses of After Tiller is the way the threats and attacks faced by abortion providers affect their personal lives. This is Dr. Warren Hern of Boulder, Colorado, talking with his mother.

EDNA HERN: What they’ve had in the paper about abortion this last month, I think, stirs up people, much more. They don’t give it much thought until they start putting a lot of things in the paper like they have.

DR. WARREN HERN: Right. How many times have you received threatening phone calls because of what I do?

EDNA HERN: Oh, I don’t know.

DR. WARREN HERN: How many times, do you think?

EDNA HERN: I don’t know, Warren.

DR. WARREN HERN: Yeah.

EDNA HERN: People call, and I just hang up. I just—you know, I can’t—

DR. WARREN HERN: But they call you.

EDNA HERN: Yeah.

DR. WARREN HERN: What do your friends say?

EDNA HERN: You know, I didn’t pay that much attention to it, Warren. I mean, you know, I thought you were doing what you felt like you needed to do. I mean, I would hope that one of these days that you feel you could enjoy the rest of your life.

DR. WARREN HERN: Yeah.

EDNA HERN: I would like for you to be able to say, "OK, somebody else is going to do this. I’m going to go do my thing now."

DR. WARREN HERN: Yeah.

EDNA HERN: That’s what I would like.

DR. WARREN HERN: Yeah, good. If it were possible, that’s what I would do.

EDNA HERN: I understand.

DR. WARREN HERN: But getting somebody else who wants to come do this is very difficult, pretty close to impossible.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Dr. Warren Hern of Boulder, Colorado, talking with his mother. Martha Shane, Dr. Hern has faced serious pressure, and certainly after the assassination, the murder of Dr. Tiller, and we hear it with his conversation with his mother, yet he continues.

MARTHA SHANE: Yes. It’s really—it’s been—it’s really amazing just to see how dedicated these doctors are to this work. They never—Dr. Hern started doing abortions right after Roe v. Wade, and he never expected that the abortion debate and the controversy would continue for so long. So, I think what really has allowed him to keep going is, first, just incredible dedication to these patients, and then also having a family now that’s incredibly supportive of what he does. His wife is actually Cuban, and she’s a former abortion doctor herself, so she really understands what he’s going through.

AMY GOODMAN: Before his assassination in 2009, Dr. Tiller faced constant threats and incidents of violence and vandalism in the decades. His clinic was firebombed in 1985. In 1993, he survived an assassination attempt with gunshot wounds to both arms. Speaking to the Feminist Majority Foundation in 2008, he described the danger he faced and his determination to continue.

DR. GEORGE TILLER: It has been impressed on me that there are a lot of people in the United States that don’t like what we do. And this is what an office looks like when it’s been bombed at about midnight. Our response was and still continues to be, "Hell, no, we won’t go!" I put up $10,000 as a reward. Nobody ever collected on it. That was 1986.

We tried to get back to being a normal clinic, but we had to put up some gates and take other security arrangements. And again, I had my head in the sand. I’m taking care of people, one patient—you know, we were trying to make the world a better place to live, one woman at a time. And I said, "No, this stuff isn’t going to happen again in Wichita." Well, I was wrong.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Dr. Tiller, 2009. Again, he was assassinated. But, Lana, the state crackdowns that we’re seeing now and the tremendous pressure on these doctors, like Dr. Carhart, who worked with Dr. Tiller, his horse barn was burned down. Seventeen of his horses died in the fire. So the violence, and then the laws changing.

LANA WILSON: Mm-hmm, yeah. You know, the laws changing, what they’re really doing is, yes, abortion and contraception are legal, but so many states are putting restrictions into place, like the law that drove Dr. Carhart out of Nebraska, which is now being copied by many other states, that abortion is in fact not accessible to many women. So, it doesn’t really matter if it’s legal if it isn’t accessible, and if women at a younger age aren’t educated about contraception and sex education. And I think that’s what we have to look at, moving forward, are these larger issues preventing access.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you so much for this film. Lana Wilson and Martha Shane, they are the filmmakers who made After Tiller, that premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival on this 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we go back and then go forward. We go back 50 years to a Supreme Court decision that guaranteed a right of everyone in the United States to a lawyer in criminal cases. What does that mean today? We follow a group of young, dedicated lawyers in the Deep South fighting to defend those who can’t afford to hire their own lawyer. Stay with us.
***

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! | Interview and Video | truthout |
 

Lois Jordan (56)
Friday January 25, 2013, 3:30 pm
Noted. Thanks, Kit. I ordered several purple bracelets in remembrance of Dr. Tiller after his murder and gave them out to friends. To this day, I can't stand the sight of Bill O'Really who commented on FuxNoise very disparaging remarks about the Dr. and actually called for his murder. I hope this film is spread far and wide and receives many awards.
 

Kit B. (276)
Friday January 25, 2013, 5:04 pm

Thank you, Lois.
 

pam w. (191)
Friday January 25, 2013, 8:37 pm
"And the doctor’s job isn’t to be a moral arbiter. They’re a doctor. They’re there to see, "Can I help my patient?" looking at the patient’s safety and wellness, above all else."

++++++++++++ And there it is....in the proverbial nutshell. Dr. Tiller knew it....professional, compassionate doctors know it....WE know it!

Thanks, Kit!
 

JL A. (272)
Friday January 25, 2013, 8:39 pm
Sounds like a film worth seeing if one gets a chance. I'm told being at the festival is a wonderful experience.
 

Kit B. (276)
Friday January 25, 2013, 8:41 pm

If some have their way ,doctors could be sent to jail for doing their job, so could women for seeking an abortion. So yes, that picture is most appropriate considering where part of the country wants to take us. Back to the horrible days of women attempting self abortion, or being in the hands of those who might try to help but, are not competent to do so.
 

Dandelion G. (386)
Friday January 25, 2013, 9:09 pm
Graphic photo but a needed one to remember what the not so good ole' days were about. I'm old enough to know of the sad stories of women who had abortions on kitchen tables with no anesthesia or ended up in the hospital near dead. I recall it was frightening growing up to be female; I certainly wouldn't want any woman forced back to this. However, it's starting to become so, as fewer and fewer places remain open. Women now must travel further and those on limited income it is not so easy.

Rachel Maddow, to her credit, has done many news stories on Dr. Tiller, and I agree Lois, I've no respect for Bill O'Reilly in his Tiller the baby killer remarks. He was very insensitive, out of line, and fueled the fire.
 

Rose NoFWDSPLZ (280)
Friday January 25, 2013, 10:23 pm
I have this photo at home Kit, all woman have the right to an abortion
 

Pia M. (86)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 5:15 am
One big part of the problem, it seems to me, is that in the US abortions are "outsourced" to private clinics and thus, to a handful of doctors who then get labeled as "abortion doctors". And as in the case of late-term abortions, there are only a few doctors in the whole country willing to practice. In Europe legislation concerning abortion varies from the religiously uptight Ireland and Poland to a more liberal approach, so I can't address the situation in the whole continent, but at least in the Nordic countries abortion is just one of the services that public hospitals provide. To my knowledge, there are no private abortion clinics, and also family planning is part of the public system. If you need an abortion, just book an appointment with your doctor to find out how many weeks you're pregnant and if you are eligible for medical abortion (up to 9 weeks of gestation) or if you'll need a surgical abortion, then you're directed to the local hospital for the pill or the procedure. There are no abortion clinics or "abortion doctors" - every hospital and every ob/gyn is performing them. A very rational approach to the subject, IMO.

Abortion laws, however, are less liberal than in the US - they're sort of a compromise between "a woman's right to choose" and knowledge about fetal development. Late term abortions, for example, are strictly limited to cases where the mother's life is in danger or severe fetal defects. (I think that in my country only maternal health can be a reason for an abortion during the third trimester - fetal abnormalities are usually detected during the examinations and tests at maternal clinic and abortions based on fetal defects are allowed until the end of second trimester, with an approval from the national supervisory authority of health.) And although I'm a fierce defender of free access to contraceptives and abortion, the thought of getting a late term abortion "on demand", just because procrastination or living in denial have prevented having it done during the early term, is quite uncomfortable.
 

Dandelion G. (386)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 7:03 am
If we had Universal Health Care in the USA then the few private clinics that perform the medical procedure referred to as abortions wouldn't exist. Under Universal Health Care it could be as you stated Pia, your Doctor and nearest hospital to you. This would add to expedience and better care at all levels as this would be as well known as the Doctor you call to make appointment for any other type of medical care.

Very few women have late term abortions since they became legal in the USA. If women know they have a place to go to that is safe, affordable, and accessable they will go earlier. It is when women have less access to these safe places, which has been happening over the years, that progress of pregnancy continues while women search for a place, try to raise funds to have this needed medical procedure done, deal with this alone and without counsel that time marches on before a solution can be reached. We don't want that solution to be what is shown in the photo above.

 

Mike M. (56)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 7:13 am
It is horrific to think that people wish to return to this
 

Angelica C. (84)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 7:50 am
This is why I have no patience left and 0 tolerance for the meddling busybodies in the right wing anymore. Terminating a pregnancy is a personal and gut-wrenching decision for a woman to make. No one needs this kind of interference into such a personal decision.

The right wing has shown its contempt for American women time and time again, and in every aspect of women's lives. We cannot leave any decisions affecting women up to them ever again.
 

Kit B. (276)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 8:27 am

Yes, it is horrific, and Dandelion and Angelica are correct, there is no reason to have patience with these people that wish to imposed their opinions or belief system on the whole country. Women can not be viewed as equal, when with the stroke of a pen governors can end or restrict abortion to such a limit that it is no longer available. Pia, addressed the attitude in many European countries, the one considered most Catholic is Spain, and yet in Spain the choice or need for an abortion is entirely between the women and advice for her health and well being, by her doctor. This is not a religious question, but one of personal choice and personal privacy. Religion is used as an excuse, a political tool to control and manipulate women, to subdue and restrict their choices and privacy, by a group of men and sadly some women.

With the passage of the ERA we would no longer be subject to a few making the decisions for the many. We would be fully free and fully responsible for our bodies, our lives and our choices. We hale each tiny victory, because we are trained into thinking that men have this right to determine our lives. We need only one victory the Equal Rights Amendment, With the passage of that historic legislation, the conversation comes to an abrupt halt. (We need but 3 more states to pass the ERA)
 

Dandelion G. (386)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 9:33 am
If you live in one of these 15 States please push to have the ERA ratified in that State.

Alabama
Arizona
Arkansas
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Louisiana
Mississippi
Missouri
Nevada
North Carolina
Oklahoma
South Carolina
Utah
Virginia

I'm hopeful for Florida, we picked up more Democrats in last election in many capacities, and once we can clear out some more of the Tea Bagger crap that fell into this State we will be doing a lot better and might be able to join the sanity that the other States have shown. I hate being listed up there with the likes of Arizona, Mississippi, and Georgia.
 

Thomas P. (468)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 2:37 pm
Noted...thanks Kit. Thanks to Dandelion for sharing the above and your comments about universal health care...I so agree.
 

Angelica C. (84)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 2:56 pm
Republicans do not understand or care about mandates from the people. Romney, while campaigning for the presidency, was asked about Roe v. Wade. He said he wanted to do away with it because HE didn't believe in it. Why do they not understand what it takes to live and thrive and be a functioning member of a Democracy?

They are not called "fascist" for nothing.
 

Esther Z. (96)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 5:32 pm
It's kind of hard to fight for what we think it's fair and right when you have those on the opposite side thinking they're doing God's work. Extreme right wingers will think, in their own twisted minds, anyone who doesn't follow their political ideologies as unpatriotic, and label them as such, and those who don't follow their religious beliefs, and act accordingly, as ungodly. It's amazing how similar they think and behave like the Taliban! Then, again, don't all fanatics behave in the same manner?
 

Pia M. (86)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 5:52 pm
I thought I sent a comment, but apparently either C2 is eating them or I screw up somehow. Anyway, just a quick comment to Kit about abortion laws in Spain: it was actually quite difficult to get an abortion in Spain until the latest leftist government changed the legislation. Unfortunately, the conservatives are back in power again (since 2011) and as far as I know, there's already been talk about stricter abortion laws... Catholic church and conservatives are in many ways the bestest of buddies, but the church doesn't have much support among the leftists. I'm afraid that certain rights must be defended over and over again - there are certainly several forces in Europe that could threaten women's rights, if they'll be allowed to grow and gain support. Catholic church is just one, but the most visible of enemies.
 

Bette-Ann Libin (11)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 6:45 pm
Pivotal moment in the fight of reproductive rights. Can not believe I am still fighting this fight. This historic image is a graphic reminder that criminalizing abortion will not END abortion, illegal abortion KILLS women!
How about a new concept? Men, wear condoms and carry a share of the responsibility here, Repuglicans leave me without words, their logic and ideology are incredulously out of step with reality. Poor, poor America. Against abortion? Don't have one!
 

Jaime A. (32)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 9:11 pm
Noted.
 

paul m. (93)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:22 am


This is a Woman's issue some, want it ,, some don't
 

Dandelion G. (386)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:31 am
Paul, this is a human rights issue. When a woman dies it affects not only herself but any children she might have already, be they male or female. It affects the parents who loved her, it affects any males in her life be they Uncles or brothers. That it is the woman that dies certainly places it at her door directly, but none of us remain untouched.
 

Kit B. (276)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:02 am

The woman in the photograph ( Gerri Santoro) , once well known, died in 1964. It was extremely expensive and difficult in 1964 to obtain a divorce or to claim and prove domestic abuse. She was constantly abused mentally and psychically by her husband as were her two children. When she tried to obtain an abortion she found a solid wall, she had no money, that was controlled by men - exclusively. She attempted a self abortion and died. That is a human rights issue. This is not a just a woman's issue, because some want an abortion and some do not. This is about far more than desiring an abortion.

That some can not see beyond the issue of abortion is sorrowfully pathetic.

Stand up for all human rights - women and minorities of all races and religions linger in a back room, waiting for those who make laws to awake to the realities that they are not protecting life, that is the straw issue placed out front for political expediency.
 

Anne P. (250)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:10 am
This is a critical issue of our time. I am so afraid for the future of women's reproductive rights in America. Thanks for posting, Kit.
 

Kit B. (276)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:14 am

This is an issue of health, some can afford health and others can not. Those can afford health seem to look at those without the ability to obtain healthcare with disdain.
 

Lin Penrose (92)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 5:34 pm
Thanks Kit. That photograph portrays to women how much pain, suffering and emotional turmoil that one women went through to become a dead woman. A women who would go through so much to avoid having a child she could not raise for hundreds of reasons, and for her personal future as an individual with dreams and goals. Perhaps a good life for her existing children or another child, when/if her future life permitted.

Many males (not all thank goodness) see that picture as - just where a woman should be, if she forgets who controls her life - and/or a pornographic picture. Often women and children are seen as 'product' and 'producers', not individuals with rights as humans. Similar to domestic animals; cattle, sheep, horses, dogs, even agriculture.

You are so right Kit when you say, "this is not just a women's issue" but then again, it is up to women, many intelligent males and social/cultural organizations (religions), to allow females, the freedom for individual reproductive decisions. Females and males at a young age, must learn to recognize potential "controllers" and evaluate each and everyone. Who shall be their teachers - the existing 'product' controllers, or those who will allow them to think problems and potentials through with truths as the guides?
 

Laurie H. (725)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:35 pm
I believe, NO ONE---has the right to impose their will or law on a women's body and her rights to do as SHE decides! This is definitely EVERYONE"S ISSUE---I pray that America's future on reproductive rights, will not be derailed in the WRONG DIRECTION! Many Thanks to you, Kit - & Sheryl- excellent commenting too & all participating.~
 

Kit B. (276)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:56 pm

I am tired of waiting for "rights" while others decide.
 

Dee C. (210)
Monday January 28, 2013, 11:24 am
You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last week.

It's all heartbreaking..frustrating..senseless..I could go on..but the bottom line is this needs to stop once and for all..This indeed effect everyone..except of course those who are so hellbent on sticking their noses and ignorant opinions on others..
Thanks kit..
Duly noted..
 

Kathy Chadwell (367)
Monday January 28, 2013, 12:19 pm
To my knowledge abortions for those in the third trimester are illegal in all 50 States unless there are special circumstances. Whether the child will not live once born, the baby will have severe mental retardation, (making the quality of life Zero and short lived) and a very few other life threatening reasons. This issue is not up to me nor anybody else in my opinion. It is up to the poor parents who have to make this discussion. I do know I have read where parents have to come here from the UK to have this. It is NOT a discussion they make over night, it is NOT one they EVER wanted to have to make. But these birth defects do not show up until the third trimester.
 

Emma S. (227)
Monday January 28, 2013, 1:37 pm
Thank you, Kit, for this terrible and necessary image. I'm not sure it's one I'll ever be able to forget. Thanks to you all for your reasoned comments. No woman deserves to be made a prisoner in her own body.
 
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