I’m inviting you to see why the so-called Right To Life movement is the hoax of the century.
I have been involved in the complex and fascinating work of providing abortion services since 1975. Despite the violence and the crazy politics, this is extraordinary work that has brought me in touch with extraordinary people. One of those is Bill Harrison, a doctor who has practiced in Fayetteville, Arkansas for nearly 20 years.
If you were searching for the most progressive community in the country, you probably wouldn’t choose Fayetteville. Yet women there need abortions just as women all over the country. And they have been grateful to have Bill’s excellent medical attention and warm heart. Dr. Harrison is one of the most courageous and eloquent people I know. He wrote about his career:
“I have dared to ride the tiger. This tiger is ignorance, intolerance and hatred incarnated in some of the anti-abortion Religious Right…I have chosen to ride this tiger unquietly, raking its side with verbal spurs, swinging my hat and whooping like a cowboy for the past 15 years.”
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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Over the years Bill Harrison has, not surprisingly, been the target of some horrible harassment by the RTL (I won’t give them the name they have chosen for themselves, because they gave up that privilege when they started murdering us).
Worse than that, he has been battling Leukemia. This summer he finally had to close his office as he went into Hospice Care. His illness has not been a secret. Everyone knows that he never would have given up or closed his office by choice. No one thinks he was defeated or intimidated by the self-righteous folks who show up on his sidewalk so certain they know what God wants every woman to do.
Yet these people are so without shame that they are celebrating the closing of Bill Harrison’s office as some kind of gift from God resulting from their activities. Posted July 28, 2010 on the 40 days for Life Newsletter:
“I had to share amazing news that, with God’s grace, could be repeated in YOUR community.
I just received word from our local 40 Days for Life campaign leaders in Fayetteville, Arkansas — and got confirmation from their local media — that their city’s one and only surgical abortion facility is CLOSING!
During three previous 40 Days for Life campaigns in Fayetteville, the abortionist grew more and more aggressive towards the prayer volunteers, taunting and ridiculing them in person — and in the media …
… but they did not react; they persisted in peaceful vigil and remained to pray for the unborn, the women entering the facility — and especially for the abortionist himself.
And NOW … that facility is closing down!”
When I first read this I was so furious and disgusted that they could be gleefully congratulating themselves and praising God for the terminal illness of my friend. Besides being far removed from any semblance of Christian Love, it was duplicitous to suggest to their supporters and donors that it was their actions that had caused the clinic in Fayetteville to close.
Then because I am a bleeding heart liberal I found myself pitying them because they are so hateful and they have tried so hard to control women for so many years with such little success. They must be terribly frustrated. Then I got angry again because, of course, that frustration has hypocritically led to anti-abortionists murdering 8 people in the name of life.
Then a huge light bulb went off in my head. It’s not that I didn’t know this before, but I found myself amazed that the antis have gotten away with this for so long. The RTL has succeeded in one of the most effective hoaxes of modern times—they have managed to con much of the public into believing that they are a morally-motivated group that loves life, loves babies and wants to prevent abortions.
BUT IT IS A LIE THAT THE RTL WANTS FEWER ABORTIONS. PERHAPS THE MORE CORRECT NAME FOR THEM IS ‘RIGHT TO LIE’.
How can I say that?
RTLs need abortion the way fire fighters need fires.
Picketing an abortion clinic to try to stop abortions is as effective as picketing an airport to try to get more people to vacation locally. It’s all show. And it is a cruel, bullying, vicious, smug and self-righteous show.
We all know that the RTL movement has enough politicians (mostly Republican) who vote lock step with them that they could change women’s reproductive health care overnight. All they would need to do is to support a few measures that are already supported by most Democrats. Here in no particular order, are a few simple things they could support that would be guaranteed to result in fewer untimely pregnancies, and hence fewer abortions in no specific order:
1. Make long-acting, effective reversible birth control methods like IUDs available free of charge to any women who want them. These birth control methods are effective for 5 to 10 years and don’t require a woman to remember to do anything in order to be protected from pregnancy. They can be used by women of any age. If a woman wants to get pregnant, she simply has the IUD removed and her normal fertility returns. This birth control method is widely used in Europe, but quite expensive and less frequently used in this country.
2. Cover all reproductive health care including all methods of birth control, infertility, tubal ligation, and vasectomy, under affordable health insurance.
3. Create excellent and affordable childcare so that women who want to have children can also make a living to support them.
4. Make sure young people learn how to create successful relationships as well as how to be responsible with their sexuality. That will give them the tools to create healthy families and be good parents with enough resources to care for their kids when the time is right.
5. Promote vasectomy as a very safe and inexpensive method of permanent birth control for men. This would be especially helpful for couples who have completed their families so that a late and unexpected pregnancy doesn’t throw everyone into emotional turmoil.
6. Increase research into developing safer, more effective and long lasting methods of birth control.
7. Make sure the Morning After Treatment is easily available, inexpensive, and covered by health care insurance.
8. Require by law that all pharmacies either fill prescriptions for birth control and Morning After Treatment, or else inform over the phone, in advertisements, and by posted signs that they are Anti Choice Pharmacies, and the location of the nearest pharmacy that respect a woman’s choices.
Now that I see this so clearly, my plan is to print out this list and make sure that every little grandmother with her rosary, and every obnoxious, loud, angry man with his bull-horn, and every self-righteous seminary student waving a Bible, and every teenage girl with her chastity ring and her secret sex life standing between a woman and her own moral choice REALLY HAVE TO FACE that they are not doing any of the things that could actually lessen the need for abortion. And they will have to face that either they have been duped into giving their time to insult, intimidate, and harm women OR that they are part of perpetrating one of the most insidious, cruel,and successful hoaxes of our modern day.