I remember being in Washington, DC as a very young child, probably around the age of six or seven. My parents, along with hundreds, possibly thousands of people, had descended upon our nation's capital for some good old-fashioned "pro-life" activism. National Right to Life, along with other well-known anti-abortion groups, protested the legal status of abortion and the decision of Roe v. Wade, which at the time had been established law for 15 years.
At the tender age of 7, I had no idea of what those crowds were doing. The only thing that I could relate to was when thousands of people starting singing "Jesus Loves the Little Children" in the train station as we left to go home, and the famous "Abortion Stops A Beating Heart" bumper sticker I held in my hand.
As I got older, growing up in a right-wing church, I started noticing a near fanatic motivation that many people around me had when it came to the subject of abortion. Many, including my own parents, put out the very radical yet widely accepted notion that you could not be a Christian, President of this nation, or a respect member of society unless you viewed abortion as wholesale infanticide induced by the sin of... convenience.
What is so odd, yet something I'm infinitely thankful for, is the fact that no matter how far my family tilted to the Far Right, and how absolute and unwavering their beliefs on abortion were, I never fully bought in. I tried to avoid the subject for years, because I knew that it would not be a pretty discussion; growing up in a passionate, opinionated family, political discussions often became loud, and became louder as the echo chamber produced its results. I had always tried to maintain a balanced view of abortion, limited to cases of hazard to the mother or child's life, but there was no room for discussion, and no tolerance for dissent.
Then Dr. George Tiller got murdered.
After multiple attempts on this man's life and livelihood, to include being shot in both arms in 1993 by an anti-abortionist, the last doctor who practiced late-term abortions in the state of Kansas was gunned down May 31, 2009, in the narthex of the church he attended by Scott Roeder, a well-connected Far Right-wing extremist.
Tiller's murder confirmed to me beyond a shadow of doubt that there was something else motivating these people, many of which applauded and praised God for his death. The question had to be asked: Why were people who proudly and fervently called themselves "pro-life" so ready to embrace death? What type of mentality would allow for the shedding of blood to supposedly save the lives of the unborn?
The short answer is arrogance.
It is the same primal arrogance that breathed prima noctis into the world during the 15th century.
It is the same arrogance that rendered women illiterate, broken, beaten, then shot in the head during the Taliban's height of power in Afghanistan.
It is the same arrogance that drives people like Randall Terry, James Dobson, and Pat Robertson to goad church-goers across this nation into becoming hardened soldiers against women in need.
It is the same disgusting arrogance that gives complete license to monsters like Rick Santorum to say that women who have been impregnated through rape and/or incest should simply "make the best out of a bad situation" with a straight face.
It is the same arrogance that uses secret means and backdoor deals to make the largest breast cancer research advocate in the country cut longtime ties with an organization that does so much for so many women (and men!) around the country.
The arrogance I speak of is that of selfish, angry men and guilty, self-deprecating women who seek to pass moral and actual legislation over a woman's body, rendering her life, her health, and sexual wellness as nothing more than matters of property. So what if she could die in the stirrups? Preserve the life of the child, the anti-abortionist says. So what if you were raped by your father? Keep the baby and preserve life, the anti-abortionist says!
This arrogance must be defeated in America. Women's health, safety and rights must be protected and fought for at all times. It is hollow-hearted and shameful for anyone to belittle women's health and marginalise it as simply a way for a woman to kill a baby. Americans must push this primitive sense of morality into the realm of social irrelevance where it belongs.