Hi baby girl...
I'm really sad and angry this week, and I worry about the world you are growing up in. I used to be passionate about issues regarding women's rights and freedom to do with what the need to do with their own bodies. I did not expect to be moved to tears over the senseless violence that occurred recently. I know that my response has been, in part, due to the shocking violence, but also in part, it is due to the fact that I have a daughter who will grow up in this society.... a daughter who should always be able to choose what is right for herself and her body.
This weekend, a man who had apparently been "over-inspired" by the religious right's constant inflammatory rhetoric took it upon himself to kill a doctor while he stood in the lobby of his church.
Many of the right wing organizations made half-hearted condemnations of this abhorent act, but what they need to do is apologize.
They need to take responsibility for the desperate and dishonest fear-mongering that they rely on to keep the money flowing in, to keep women "in their place" and firmly under control of the patriarchy, and to scare people into treating each other in unspeakable ways, sometimes resulting in senseless violence as we saw this past Sunday.
These are the same people who could not fathom a man of color in the White House and sent forward emails around the country implying that the candidate was a member of a religion often misunderstood, often feared due to some extremists and terrorists, apparently not unlike Christianity.
It's time for us to speak up, without vitriol, but with conviction...that we will not tolerate the perpetuation of fear in the interest of acquiring more power and money. We won't stand by and watch the rights of women to control their own bodies become a story about "the good old days" that we tell our daughters.
We won't stand by any longer when extremists use words and ideas to gain power, gain money, incite violence, and inspire more hatred instead of engaging in an open, respectful, and purposeful debate about issues that we are passionate about.
I hope that this situation is part of your history books, because it needs to continue to be discussed respectfully to ensure the rights of women, hopefully lessons will have been learned, and there will still be doctors willing to carry on this work, doctors who do not have to travel by armored vehicle, employ body-guards, and wear bullet-proof vests every day in order to do their job.
Dr. Tiller sometimes wore a button that said "Trust Women". Trust women to know what is possible and not possible for their own body, their own family, and their own particular situations. Trust that women do not make such decisions lightly. Trust that women need to maintain the right to decide exactly what happens to their body. Trust that women are much more than reproductive vessels.
I trust that you, if you ever find yourself in need of making such a decision, will make the choice that is right for you. And please trust that I will be there to help you and support you no matter what choice is right for you.