Roundup: Remembering Dr. Tiller

Robin Marty

Memorial Day seems like an appropriate day to remember the one year anniversary of the man who touched so many lives.

Memorial Day seems like an appropriate day to remember the one year anniversary of the man who touched so many lives. Here at RHRealityCheck we’ve had the honor of having one of Dr. George Tiller’s colleagues remind us of the importance of both his life and his death.  Now, some stories from others on the anniversary of his murder.

First, a statement from Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Dr. Tiller’s murder is a reminder of the threat abortion providers face every day. We appreciate the efforts of the Obama administration and the Department of Justice to work with the reproductive health care community to address the threats and harassment that our providers deal with daily.

Planned Parenthood’s hope is that the virulent and inflamed rhetoric directed at abortion providers and women who seek abortion de-escalates. There is simply no place in civil society for this outrageous and frightening intimidation.

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We mark the sad occasion of the anniversary of Dr. Tiller’s death by remembering his family, his community and his patients across America who were touched by Dr. Tiller’s courage and compassion.

In Kansas, the local chapter of NOW has organized a vigil today, according to KansasCity.com.

On Monday, the actual anniversary of Tiller’s death, the Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women is planning a  candlelight vigil. The event, at 8 p.m. in Wichita’s Old Town Square, is a follow-up to an impromptu vigil that occurred there just hours after the shooting.

Kari Ann Rinker, coordinator for the state NOW chapter, said the event will feature speakers and “messages of peaceful resistance against extremist anti-abortion messaging, legislation and the continued harrassment of the doctors that provide necessary abortion care.”

“Abortion is a right for all women,” Rinker said in the announcement. “Dr. Tiller gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of that right… we have not forgotten his life and his service to the women he trusted.

In Wisconsin, a touching tribute becomes a search for the next hero or heroine in the movement to truly trust women and their choices.  Via the Executive Director of NARAL PRo-Choice Wisconsin:

Now we claim Tiller’s mantle of privacy and freedom — and his call to “Trust women.” We must not cede ground to violent anti-choice activists who seek to deny women the medical care they need and deserve. One year after Tiller’s murder, we must not forget what lengths the extreme right wing will go to in order to deny women freedom, equality and health. We must not forget his sacrifice and his family’s sacrifice.

In Wisconsin, the number of abortion providers declined from 16 in 1992 to nine in 2005. Today, there are just four abortion clinics in the entire state of Wisconsin — in only three counties. Limited access to training opportunities for medical students, an aging population of providers, and laws designed to drive providers out of practice make this a difficult trend to reverse. And the renewed commitment to violence from anti-choice extremists makes it even more challenging to recruit new providers and ensure women have safe access to abortion services.

NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin honors Tiller’s commitment to women’s health by naming an award in his honor. The first annual Dr. George Tiller Memorial Award will be presented to an individual or organization that has exemplified Tiller’s motto — “Trust women” — in their work to ensure Wisconsin women have access to abortion care. Awards will be presented at NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin’s Wine and Choice Celebrations in Milwaukee and Madison in August. Nomination materials are available at www.prochoicewisconsin.org and will be accepted through June 25.

Let us unite and remember the words of Dr. George Tiller, “Trust women.”

Via Tapped, Senator Harry Reid released the following statement regarding the anniversary of the doctor’s death.

The tragedy of Dr. Tiller’s death, and of Dr. Slepian’s death – and of every atrocity like it – is independent of the issue of abortion. It’s not about the legality of abortion or funding of abortion. These are emotional debates, and ones on which people of good faith can disagree. What so shook that Kansas town was rather an act of terrorism. What reverberated out to our borders and coasts from the center of our country was the violation of our founding principle: that we are a nation of laws, not of men.

And one woman tells her personal story of Dr. Tiller — a stark reminder of the type of women he trusted and helped.

I had to be escorted into the health center through a throng of protestors who screamed the most hateful things at me, pounded on my car windows, shook gruesome signs at me and told me I would burn in hell. And at the time, I believed them.

Once inside the health center, it was a completely different scene. The staff inside was calm, professional, and seemingly oblivious to the chaos happening on the other side of the wall. I was 18 years old, and that was the first time I met Dr. George Tiller. I was his patient.

He was kind, soft spoken and caring. He comforted me as I cried that I was a Catholic and that I wasn’t even sexually active. He asked me to trust him and was completely without judgment. He told me that he was going to help me and that he would make sure that I would be OK. And he was right.

It took me years to come to terms with the fact that the rape was not my fault and that I made the best choice that I could possibly have made at that point for myself. It wasn’t easy. But I have now become an activist for choice.

Sadly, this day is also a reminder that the violence of the anti-choice movement is still a threat to those who practice the procedure.  Amanda Robb of Alternet examines the frightening idea that these “lone gunman” extremists murdering abortion providers are part of a larger, organized network.

As soon as Scott Roeder was named the sole suspect in the point-blank shooting death of Wichita, Kan., abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in the vestibule of the Reformation Lutheran Church Tiller attended, a predictable story began to be told. Following the lead of a recent Department of Homeland Security report characterizing right-wing terrorists as lone wolves, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, ABC, NBC and FOX News all ran stories calling Roeder a “lone wolf” gunman.

It is the oldest, possibly most dangerous abortion story out there.

August 13, 1994, The Washington Post: “Many anti-abortion leaders have… denounced Paul Hill [who killed abortion provider Dr. John Britton and his security escort James Barrett]…as a lone, sick extremist.

October 26, 1998, The Independent (London): “A doctor defiant [is] shot dead for his beliefs by a lone abortion terrorist [referring to James Kopp, who killed Amherst, N.Y., abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian].

But for loners, these guys have a lot of friends. A lot of the same ones, in fact.

In honor of Dr. Tiller’s death, it is important to spread the message that women should be trusted with their own healthcare decisions.  But it is also important to remember how many people want to do anything in their power to take those choices away.

May 28, 2010

Nc Abortion Opponents Push For ‘Choose Life’ Tags – WNCT

Ohio Senate Passes Pro-Life Bill to End Abuse of Abortion-Judicial Bypass – LifeNews.com

Poll: Abortion Morally Wrong, Embryonic Research OK, Assisted Suicide Split – LifeNews.com

Marie Stopes ‘abortion ad’ draws 370 complaints – ashdowngroup.com

Church’s double standards over barred nun in abortion scandal – Irish Central

SC House, Senate panel OKs $5B compromise budget; keep coverage for rape … – CanadianBusiness.com

Clinic owner filing suit against doctor-registration law – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Morocco holds conference on future of abortion – AFP

Abortion commercial sparks outrage among Christian groups – The Way

Burris amendment enables abortions at military hospitals – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Oklahoma lawmakers won’t attempt to override latest abortion veto – NewsOK.com

A Nun, a Bishop and a Decision About Abortion – New York Times

Mexican Docs Can’t Deny Emergency Birth Control to Rape Victims – Latin American Herald Tribune

In Hu’s China, this baby doesn’t exist – The Australian

Teen pregnancy rates rising – Kawartha Media Group

Anti-HIV Drugs May Help Prevent Spread of Virus – BusinessWeek

May 29, 2010

Abortion doctor sues to overturn county law – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Compromise $5 billion spending plan approved in SC – BusinessWeek

Nuance matters in abortion debate – Los Angeles Times

Why Don’t Fetal Ultrasounds Prevent Abortion? The Answer Depends on Your Politics. – Newsweek

Anti-abortion “fetus dolls” handed out in Virginia elementary school – Sify

The fake feminism of Sarah Palin – Washington Post

Drop in rates of teen pregnancy is a good sign for the future – Vancouver Sun

A Nun’s Excommunication Over an Abortion Decision – New York Times

George Tiller’s Motto – The Moderate Voice

Groups seek to block health ordinance – Indianapolis Star

The Pill: Are women really better off with it? – PennLive.com

European women more likely than Americans to use pill – Chicago Sun-Times

Study Finds Condom Use Is Increasing – TheBody.com

May 30, 2010

Unrestricted abortion should be banned by high court  – Rome News Tribune

New abortion laws draw fans, foes in Oklahoma – NewsOK.com

The New Abortion Debate – Big Think

The ‘Abortion Caravan’ succeeded. Or did it? – Toronto Star

SC GOP gov hopefuls would sign abortion overturn – CNBC

US women to be shown ultrasound of their baby before being allowed to go ahead … – Daily Mail

Of Abortions and Sister Margaret McBride… – TODAYonline

Pill no cure for women’s ills – Times LIVE

Austin woman studied pill that ‘changed everything’ – Austin American-Statesman

Clinic would address what matters to teens – Online Athens

Female condom popular in US AIDS capital, Washington – Earthtimes

G8 warned of ‘moral betrayal’ over AIDS funding – Globe and Mail

Canadian teen pregnancy rate dropping faster that US, Sweden, England – Calgary Herald

May 31, 2010

Me, Feminism And Sarah Palin – Lez Get Real

A distinctly Quebec view on abortion – Globe and Mail

Lisa Subeck: Award will honor Dr. Tiller’s trust in women – Capital Times

Setting the record straight on abortion access – Daily Gleaner

Parents hiding millions of babies a year – Vancouver Sun

Planned Parenthood President Responds To New York Times Column On Global … – Medical News Today

Researchers Say People Waiting Too Long To Start HIV Treatment – AHN | All Headline News

Hopes for breast cancer vaccine – BBC News

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Republican National Convention Edition

Ally Boguhn

The Trump family's RNC claims about crime and the presidential candidate's record on gender equality have kept fact-checkers busy.

Republicans came together in Cleveland this week to nominate Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention (RNC), generating days of cringe-inducing falsehoods and misleading statements on crime, the nominee’s positions on gender equality, and LGBTQ people.

Trump’s Acceptance Speech Blasted for Making False Claims on Crime

Trump accepted the Republican nomination in a Thursday night speech at the RNC that drew harsh criticism for many of its misleading and outright false talking points.

Numerous fact-checkers took Trump to task, calling out many of his claims for being “wrong,” and “inflated or misleading.”

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 Among the most hotly contested of Trump’s claims was the assertion that crime has exploded across the country.

“Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement,” Trump claimed, according to his prepared remarks, which were leaked ahead of his address. “Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60 percent in nearby Baltimore.”

Crime rates overall have been steadily declining for years.

“In 2015, there was an uptick in homicides in 36 of the 50 largest cities compared to the previous years. The rate did, indeed, increase nearly 17 percent, and it was the worst annual change since 1990. The homicide rate was up 54.3 percent in Washington, and 58.5 percent in Baltimore,” explained Washington Post fact checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee. “But in the first months of 2016, homicide trends were about evenly split in the major cities. Out of 63 agencies reporting to the Major Cities Chiefs Association, 32 cities saw a decrease in homicides in first quarter 2016 and 31 saw an increase.”

Ames Grawert, a counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, said in a statement posted to the organization’s website that 2016 statistics aren’t sufficient in declaring crime rate trends. 

“Overall, crime rates remain at historic lows. Fear-inducing soundbites are counterproductive, and distract from nuanced, data-driven, and solution-oriented conversations on how to build a smarter criminal justice system in America,” Grawert said. “It’s true that some cities saw an increase in murder rates last year, and that can’t be ignored, but it’s too early to say if that’s part of a national trend.” 

When Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, was confronted with the common Republican falsehoods on crime during a Thursday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, he claimed that the FBI’s statistics were not to be trusted given that the organization recently advised against charges in connection with Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

“According to FBI statistics, crime rates have been going down for decades,” Tapper told Manafort. “How can Republicans make the argument that it’s somehow more dangerous today when the facts don’t back that up?”

“People don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods,” said Manafort, going on to claim that “the FBI is certainly suspect these days after what they did with Hillary Clinton.”

There was at least one notable figure who wholeheartedly embraced Trump’s fearmongering: former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. “Great Trump Speech,” tweeted Duke on Thursday evening. “Couldn’t have said it better!”

Ben Carson Claims Transgender People Are Proof of “How Absurd We Have Become”

Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson criticized the existence of transgender people while speaking at the Florida delegation breakfast on Tuesday in Cleveland.  

“You know, we look at this whole transgender thing, I’ve got to tell you: For thousands of years, mankind has known what a man is and what a woman is. And now, all of a sudden we don’t know anymore,” said Carson, a retired neurosurgeon. “Now, is that the height of absurdity? Because today you feel like a woman, even though everything about you genetically says that you’re a man or vice versa?”

“Wouldn’t that be the same as if you woke up tomorrow morning after seeing a movie about Afghanistan or reading some books and said, ‘You know what? I’m Afghanistan. Look, I know I don’t look that way. My ancestors came from Sweden, or something, I don’t know. But I really am. And if you say I’m not, you’re a racist,’” Carson said. “This is how absurd we have become.”

When confronted with his comments during an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric, Carson doubled down on his claims.“There are biological markers that tell us whether we are a male or a female,” said Carson. “And just because you wake up one day and you say, ‘I think I’m the other one,’ that doesn’t change it. Just, a leopard can’t change its spots.”

“It’s not as if they woke up one day and decided, ‘I’m going to be a male or I’m going to be a female,’” Couric countered, pointing out that transgender people do not suddenly choose to change their gender identities on a whim.

Carson made several similar comments last year while on the campaign trail.

In December, Carson criticized the suggested that allowing transgender people into the military amounted to using the armed services “as a laboratory for social experimentation.”

Carson once suggested that allowing transgender people to use the restroom that aligned with their gender identity amounted to granting them “extra rights.”

Ivanka Trump Claims Her Father Supports Equal Pay, Access to Child Care

Ivanka Trump, the nominee’s daughter, made a pitch during her speech Thursday night at the RNC for why women voters should support her father.

“There have always been men of all background and ethnicities on my father’s job sites. And long before it was commonplace, you also saw women,” Ivanka Trump said. “At my father’s company, there are more female than male executives. Women are paid equally for the work that we do and when a woman becomes a mother, she is supported, not shut out.” 

“As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce. And he will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all,” she continued before pivoting to address the gender wage gap. 

“Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties; they should be the norm. Politicians talk about wage equality, but my father has made it a practice at his company throughout his entire career.”

However, Trump’s stated positions on the gender wage gap, pregnancy and mothers in the workplace, and child care don’t quite add up to the picture the Trumps tried to paint at the RNC.

In 2004, Trump called pregnancy an “inconvenience” for employers. When a lawyer asked for a break during a deposition in 2011 to pump breast milk, Trump reportedly called her “disgusting.”

According to a June analysis conducted by the Boston Globe, the Trump campaign found that men who worked on Trump’s campaign “made nearly $6,100, or about 35 percent more [than women during the April payroll]. The disparity is slightly greater than the gender pay gap nationally.”

A former organizer for Trump also filed a discrimination complaint in January, alleging that she was paid less than her male counterparts.

When Trump was questioned about equal pay during a campaign stop last October, he did not outline his support for policies to address the issue. Instead, Trump suggested that, “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.” Though he had previously stated that men and women who do the same job should be paid the same during an August 2015 interview on MSNBC, he also cautioned that determining whether people were doing the same jobs was “tricky.”

Trump has been all but completely silent on child care so far on the campaign trail. In contrast, Clinton released an agenda in May to address the soaring costs of child care in the United States.

Ivanka’s claims were not the only attempt that night by Trump’s inner circle to explain why women voters should turn to the Republican ticket. During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Manafort said that women would vote for the Republican nominee because they “can’t afford their lives anymore.”

“Many women in this country feel they can’t afford their lives, their husbands can’t afford to be paying for the family bills,” claimed Manafort. “Hillary Clinton is guilty of being part of the establishment that created that problem. They’re going to hear the message. And as they hear the message, that’s how we are going to appeal to them.”

What Else We’re Reading

Vox’s Dara Lind explained how “Trump’s RNC speech turned his white supporters’ fear into a weapon.”

Now that Mike Pence is the Republican nominee for vice president, Indiana Republicans have faced “an intense, chaotic, awkward week of brazen lobbying at the breakfast buffet, in the hallways and on the elevators” at the convention as they grapple with who will run to replace the state’s governor, according to the New York Times.

“This is a party and a power structure that feels threatened with extinction, willing to do anything for survival,” wrote Rebecca Traister on Trump and the RNC for New York Magazine. “They may not love Trump, but he is leading them precisely because he embodies their grotesque dreams of the restoration of white, patriarchal power.”

Though Trump spent much of the primary season denouncing big money in politics, while at the RNC, he courted billionaires in hopes of having them donate to supporting super PACs.

Michael Kranish reported for the Washington Post that of the 2,472 delegates at the RNC, it is estimated that only 18 were Black.

Cosmopolitan highlighted nine of the most sexist things that could be found at the convention.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) asked, “Where are these contributions that have been made” by people of color to civilization?

News Abortion

Study: United States a ‘Stark Outlier’ in Countries With Legal Abortion, Thanks to Hyde Amendment

Nicole Knight Shine

The study's lead author said the United States' public-funding restriction makes it a "stark outlier among countries where abortion is legal—especially among high-income nations."

The vast majority of countries pay for abortion care, making the United States a global outlier and putting it on par with the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and a handful of Balkan States, a new study in the journal Contraception finds.

A team of researchers conducted two rounds of surveys between 2011 and 2014 in 80 countries where abortion care is legal. They found that 59 countries, or 74 percent of those surveyed, either fully or partially cover terminations using public funding. The United States was one of only ten countries that limits federal funding for abortion care to exceptional cases, such as rape, incest, or life endangerment.

Among the 40 “high-income” countries included in the survey, 31 provided full or partial funding for abortion care—something the United States does not do.

Dr. Daniel Grossman, lead author and director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California (UC) San Francisco, said in a statement announcing the findings that this country’s public-funding restriction makes it a “stark outlier among countries where abortion is legal—especially among high-income nations.”

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The researchers call on policymakers to make affordable health care a priority.

The federal Hyde Amendment (first passed in 1976 and reauthorized every year thereafter) bans the use of federal dollars for abortion care, except for cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. Seventeen states, as the researchers note, bridge this gap by spending state money on terminations for low-income residents. Of the 14.1 million women enrolled in Medicaid, fewer than half, or 6.7 million, live in states that cover abortion services with state funds.

This funding gap delays abortion care for some people with limited means, who need time to raise money for the procedure, researchers note.

As Jamila Taylor and Yamani Hernandez wrote last year for Rewire, “We have heard first-person accounts of low-income women selling their belongings, going hungry for weeks as they save up their grocery money, or risking eviction by using their rent money to pay for an abortion, because of the Hyde Amendment.”

Public insurance coverage of abortion remains controversial in the United States despite “evidence that cost may create a barrier to access,” the authors observe.

“Women in the US, including those with low incomes, should have access to the highest quality of care, including the full range of reproductive health services,” Grossman said in the statement. “This research indicates there is a global consensus that abortion care should be covered like other health care.”

Earlier research indicated that U.S. women attempting to self-induce abortion cited high cost as a reason.

The team of ANSIRH researchers and Ibis Reproductive Health uncovered a bit of good news, finding that some countries are loosening abortion laws and paying for the procedures.

“Uruguay, as well as Mexico City,” as co-author Kate Grindlay from Ibis Reproductive Health noted in a press release, “legalized abortion in the first trimester in the past decade, and in both cases the service is available free of charge in public hospitals or covered by national insurance.”