In Honor of George Tiller: What Does “Trust Women” Mean to You?

By Christine |

This post was written in connection with the annual Blog for Choice Day, Friday, Jan. 22. Apologies for the delay!

This year marks the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the fifth anniversary of Blog for Choice Day, started by Jessica Valenti and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

NARAL is dedicating Blog for Choice 2010 to the legacy of Dr. George Tiller, who was murdered last May in his church foyer as he welcomed parishioners attending morning mass. Tiller provided abortions to women who often had no place else to turn and whose health, or the health of the fetus, was threatened.

Scott Roeder, 51, a vocal anti-abortion advocate, admitted in November that he killed Tiller, and he claims the killing was justified. Roeder’s first-degree murder trial started on Friday — yes, Roe v. Wade’s anniversary. You can follow the trial coverage at http://www.kansas.com/news/tiller/index.html.

Tiller was the focus of anti-abortion groups for years; he had survived previous attempts on his life, including being shot in 1993. Committed to his work, he sometimes wore a button that said, simply, “Trust Women.”

This year’s blog question, “What does ‘Trust Women’ mean to you?” can be answered with an equally simple response: Everything.

If the world learned to trust women, women would not only control their bodies but would control their lives.

If the world learned to trust women, women would be welcomed into power structures, affecting every legal, political, social and economic arena.

If the world learned to trust women, women — and especially men — would no longer fear living outside of stereotypes and would be able fulfill their potential.

Trust Women isn’t just a mantra of tolerance or respect. It’s a phrase that changes the playing field, in every way imaginable.

It’s the right phrase to advocate for women making their own reproductive health choices, and it’s a much broader statement about our future.

For more reflections, check out Feministing’s Blog for Choice Round-Up, which includes this excellent post by fellow OBOS blogger Rachel Walden, and feel free to add your own responses in the comments.

More Suggested Reading …

- “Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us” by Carol Joffe

I just started reading this new, well-researched book and will write more on it soon.

- “Who Decides? The Status of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States

This is NARAL’s 19th annual report on current state and federal laws. A summary of the victories and setbacks are listed below.

Progress

In 2009, 14 states and Washington, D.C. enacted 21 pro-choice measures. Examples include:

- Wisconsin enacted a law that requires health-insurance plans that provide prescription-medication benefits to cover contraceptives and required pharmacists to fill valid birth-control prescriptions.

- Hawaii, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Washington enacted laws that improve sex education in schools.

- Utah and D.C. enacted laws to ensure that sexual-assault survivors receive information about and access to emergency contraception in emergency rooms.

Setbacks

In 2009, 14 states enacted 29 anti-choice measures, increasing the number of anti-choice measures enacted in states since 1995 to 610. Examples include:

- Virginia enacted a law that establishes “Choose Life” license plates. A portion of the proceeds from these plates funds anti-choice organizations known as “crisis pregnancy centers” that target women considering abortion and often mislead, coerce and intimidate them.

- Arizona enacted a far-reaching law that includes a litany of anti-choice provisions that, among other things, subject women to state-mandated lectures and waiting periods that delay access to abortion care. The law also allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide abortion services and to refuse to provide or dispense contraceptives.

Watch

Grit TV with Laura Flanders

This episode includes a discussion with Carol Joffe, author of “Dispatches from the Abortion Wars,” Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, and Silvia Henriquez, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Learn about the current state of reproductive health and rights and how anti-abortion efforts — whether through legislation or terrorism — hurt all pregnant women.

Listen

PRX: “Hyde-ing” the Right to Choose

While lawmakers in Washington mull over the nuts and bolts of health care reform, advocates are concerned that a woman’s fundamental right to reproductive health services is endangered. We explore how access has been denied for decades to young women and poor or low-income women who are disproportionately women of color. On this edition, Stupak, the Hyde Amendment, and religion.

Featuring:

Stephanie Poggi, Executive Director, National Network of Abortion Funds

Jenny, shares her story about having an abortion

Jon O’Brien, Catholics for Choice President

Guadalupe Rodriguez, ACCESS/Women’s Health Rights Coalition Program & Public Policy Director

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