Privilege Watch: When is Domestic Terrorism Not Domestic Terrorism?

…when right-wing Americans do it, of course.

The Washington Post was trying to do the right thing when it published this article about the reticence of many medical students to take up abortion in their OB-GYN practices. This has been a problem for a while, of course; as the article notes, though abortions are utilized by up to a third of American women at some point in their life, almost 90% of U.S. counties have no abortion provider. Obviously, the right to obtain an abortion is hindered (if not negated) by the inability to access a doctor to perform the procedure. What makes this a particularly pressing issue is that most of the physicians who currently perform abortions are near retirement, yet few medical schools include abortion services in their curriculum.

Highlighting these scary facts should animate those of us concerned with reproductive health. However, I’m more than a little peeved at the Post’s perception of the causes underlying these problems, which they’ve summed up with the headline: “Abortion Stigma Affects Doctors’ Training And Choices”.

Stigma? Are you serious?

Not the absurdly restrictive state laws that foist medically unnecessary practices on clinics, which force doctors performing a safe, legal procedure to scare, deter, even lie to their patients?

Not the constant harassment from anti-choice activists, who – should doctors have the temerity to provide a safe, legal procedure – will put your personal information online as a virtual hit list, and even post videos of your daily movements?

Not the fact that, even if access to your practice of a safe, legal procedure is routinely disrupted by those same anti-choice protestors, in clear violation of federal law, those violators will face no penalty?

And certainly not the fact that when your practice of a safe, legal procedure is explicitly threatened, the Attorney General sees absolutely nothing wrong withdrawing your protection by federal marshals?

Although the opening paragraph makes reference to Dr. George Tiller, they continue to use mealy-mouthed phrases to describe his murder, referring to it as a “slaying”, as if this were a random act of violence. Like much of the media, they simply won’t come out and call this what it was – a cold political assassination, as clearly an example of domestic terrorism as the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Of course, the Post can’t come up with the moral stamina to call Scott Roeder a terrorist – after all, he was white! To label him a terrorist must mean that those who agree with his views, and implicitly defend his actions, are in league with terrorists. This doesn’t just mean Randall Terry, an anti-choice extremist the Post prominently quotes, it would mean a large proportion of the American right, and thereby a significant number of white Americans. And golly – if they were to do so, it would indicate that the right wing creates terrorists!

And they would be exactly right. Sadly, for the preservation of white male Christian supremacy, they would never go so far.

To help remember Dr. Tiller, Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance is hosting a memorial vigil today (Wed., 9/30) at 6PM in the Peace Circle outside Usdan. Members from various religious and secular groups will speak to his incredible courage in the struggle for womens’ lives, and all are invited to take part.


3 thoughts on “Privilege Watch: When is Domestic Terrorism Not Domestic Terrorism?”

  1. Art,

    Abortion providers do so with bars on their windows, and women don’t need to be escorted into clinics because they want company, it’s because they are afraid of violence. The threat felt by people providing and obtaining abortion increases the more “controversial” the abortion. Tiller’s death was not the first time he was shot.

    Threats of illegal violence against doctors providing abortions and women seeking abortions do what I said above. There is currently nothing approaching reasonable discourse about abortion, and while I may have taken the unreasonable step of calling anti-choicers something they don’t like to hear, or you don’t like to hear them be called, I didn’t murder anyone, and neither has anyone arguing for a woman’s right to choose. Violence is coming from one side, and anti-choicers can’t have their cake and eat it too. They have to move away from the violent rhetoric which inspires anti-choice terrorism.

    The death of any doctor offering late-term abortion, like Dr. Tiller, significantly impedes a woman’s ability to get one. Doctors willing to perform this procedure are few and far between, and it’s even rarer that they publicize it. There will certainly be even fewer in the future, given the consequences of performing a legal medical procedures. This de facto makes late-term abortions impossible to obtain in huge swaths of this country, as if it were illegal. That was the point I was trying to make above.

    President Obama says he wants a civil debate on abortion. I don’t share his optimism that such a debate is possible, given that one side of the “debate” is given to murdering famous and integral members of the other side.

  2. Let there be no doubt, Scott Schroeder was a terrorist, murderer, rogue in any capacity. Of that, there is no doubt. Violence is never a means of protest and demonstration.

    But to take it for granted, Jon, that abortion is a contentious issue, is to be as bad, if not worse than the crazy religious loons.
    Nat, to say that, all [if that was what you were implying,…
    “Anti-choicers want to subvert the basic legislative and judicial processes of this country. ” is to say that any and all opponents of, let’s say, euthanasia [a practice I strongly support] are wrong by sole virtue of their opinion.
    That is not the American way. In America, we allow both sides of an issue, and talk it out. Don’t be a verbal abortion clinic bomber.

  3. Thank you for remarking on this article. It’s actually quite compelling, but WaPo lacks the conviction to draw the obvious conclusions that flow from its points.

    Anti-choicers want to subvert the basic legislative and judicial processes of this country.

    “Terry, who lives in Northern Virginia, and other activists have long maintained that it is not necessary to make abortion illegal if obtaining it becomes impossible.”

    Given that violence is on the table, there’s really no other conclusion to draw.

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