In the Atlantic on dads and daughters; men and abortion

Two recent posts at the Atlantic. Why Do So Many Father-Daughter Movies = Feisty Kid + Bumbling Dad? ran last week. Excerpt:

Single fathers have long been a central presence in fantasy and fairy tales, as any reader of the Grimm Brothers knows. Until the coming of modern medicine, childbirth was among the leading causes of death for women—a fact that resulted in a lot of widowers. But while the fathers in these fairy tales were often stern and over-protective as in The Little Mermaid, or in thrall to the proverbial wicked stepmother as in Cinderella, it’s only very recently that they’ve become benign fools—fools who are mocked by the world but saved by a daughter’s love.

This paradigm shift began in 1991 with Disney’s hugely successful Beauty and the Beast, the first animated film ever nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. In From the Beast to the Blonde, her masterful history of fairy tales and their adaptations, Marina Warner argues that the depiction of Belle as a feminist heroine necessitated a loss in power for her father, “crazy old Maurice.” Disney “replaced the father with the daughter as the enterprising authority figure in the family,” Warner writes, a radical reversal from the 18th century French text on which the film was based. The runaway triumph of Beauty meant that Disney and its many rival studios have stuck to the same formula of heroic daughter and lovably inept (but always well-intentioned) dad ever since.

And yesterday, on how men can talk about their feelings around abortion:

When we’d gone together to see the doctor for a pre-abortion appointment, he told us the approximate due date: February 7, 1986. At the time I filed it away as the most useless of facts. But when that date rolled around, I was stunned by how heartsick I was. April and I were no longer speaking by that point, and I was off at university. I cried on that due date and for days after, stunned and bewildered by my own delayed reaction to loss. Though my wife and I now have wonderful two kids of our own, not a February goes by that I don’t think about a child who would now be 27.

For those of us who support women’s rights, there’s a paradox when it comes to men’s feelings about abortion, one that my very well-intentioned mother taught me years ago. We want and need men to care about every aspect of reproduction, from being enthusiastic users of contraception to (when invited) devoted coaches in labor and delivery. Yet the danger in publicly focusing on men’s feelings about abortion is obvious.

One danger is political: Anti-abortion advocates are all too willing to politicize any sign of grief or confusion after an abortion as evidence that the procedure is harmful and ought to be banned. Anti-abortion groups often frame the issue as one of father’s rights: the more evidence of men’s post-abortion grief or anger, the more potential fuel for the pro-life cause. Another risk is more personal. As my mum made clear, it can be very difficult for a woman to cope with her partner’s turbulent emotions as she makes a decision about abortion.

“A regressive change in service of a regressive change”: the looming disaster of H.R. 3

As a number of outlets in both the feminist and mainstream media have reported, the Republican-dominated House is considering new restrictions on abortion funding. The so-called “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” is bad enough on its face for those of us who believe that the right to choose an abortion goes hand in hand with the right to access a full range of reproductive services. The truth is, it’s worse than it sounds.

The most devastating aspect of the NTFAA is its unmistakable redefinition of rape. What does that have to do with abortion? A great deal, when you consider the politics around “exemptions” for rape and incest. Many who oppose abortion support exceptions for cases of rape and incest (as well, at least some of the time, for the life of the pregnant woman). Those exemptions are popular, and only a small committed core of far-right political activists oppose them. (One thinks of the execrable but entertaining Alan Keyes, the clownish former presidential candidate, who was fond of asking “How dare we sentence a child to death for his father’s crime?” whenever the subject of these exemptions arose.) Smart pro-lifers know better than to take the radical Keyes stance, so they call for “reasonable” limitations on women’s right to choose, admitting to the wisdom of rape and incest exemptions.

But the NTFAA’s authors want to make sure that those exemptions are defined far more narrowly in the future. As reported Friday:

Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion…

“This bill takes us back to a time when just saying ‘no’ wasn’t enough to qualify as rape,” says Steph Sterling, a lawyer and senior adviser to the National Women’s Law Center. Laurie Levenson, a former assistant US attorney and expert on criminal law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, notes that the new bill’s authors are “using language that’s not particularly clear, and some people are going to lose protection.” Other types of rapes that would no longer be covered by the exemption include rapes in which the woman was drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, and many date rapes. “There are a lot of aspects of rape that are not included,” Levenson says. Bold mine.

As any historian of women’s rights will tell you, the struggle against sexual violence and the struggle for reproductive justice are intertwined. The right of a woman to say “no” to sex and the right to say “no” to an unwanted pregnancy both rest on the same principle of sacred autonomy. Feminists fought hard in the nineteenth century for statutory rape laws that raised the age of consent. One hundred years later, we fought for women’s right to withdraw consent once given, and for the common-sense principle that intoxication vitiates consent. What we’re working towards is a culture that sees rape as defined not solely by the presence of life-threatening force but by the absence of enthusiastic consent. By insisting on the antiquated and inadequate definition of “forcible rape”, the House Republican majority seeks not just to limit women’s access to abortion, but to undo decades worth of expanded protections against sexual violence.

This is, as Thomas at Yes Means Yes put it, “a regressive change in service of a regressive change.”

Please contact your Congressperson, and urge that your representative to vote no on this unconscionable threat to women’s lives and safety.

That’s not hyperbole.

It was pretty to think so: from pro-choice to pro-life and back to pro-choice

The March for Life, the nation’s largest annual anti-abortion rally, takes place today in Washington DC. It’s normally held on or near January 22, the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in every US state.

I’ve written before of my evolving position on abortion. I grew up in a solidly pro-choice family. My great-grandparents had been original supporters of the Birth Control League, the forerunner to Planned Parenthood. Many of my family members, particularly my Aunt Marianna, were and are long-time volunteers with PP. (I note that they were mostly Republicans — fiscal conservatives but social liberals with strong environmental concerns. They’ve mostly become Democrats now, chased out by the rise of the religious right in the GOP.) When I was 17 and in high school, I got my girlfriend pregnant (I’ve told that story here and here.) I went with her to get the abortion.

I remained staunchly pro-choice until the dawn of the 21st century. In the midst of a long and convoluted return to Christ, I joined the Mennonite Church. In the aftermath of 9/11, I was drawn to the radical pacifism of the Mennonites and their Anabaptist brethren. Their views on war, poverty, and life seemed radically countercultural and tremendously appealing in a time of looming war. Still in the early stages of my spiritual rebirth after my 1998 near-death experience and horrified by the jingoism that was sweeping the country, I felt at home with the Mennonites. And I felt at home with their consistent life ethic. “Consistent life” is a position often associated with Anabaptists as well as some Catholics; it opposes all forms of violence. The consistent-lifers I met through the Mennonites were vegans who were against the death penalty, war, abortion, even (in some instances) armed policing. Many had volunteered with Christian Peacemaker Teams in dangerous parts of the world. They were sexually conservative, but borderline Marxist in their economic vision. They lived simply and sacrificially. And it was so unlike anything I’d ever known, I was enchanted.

From about 2001-2004, I took a consistent life position; I took it in my first eighteen months as a blogger. (Dig around in my 2004 archives here.) I never, ever advocated making abortion illegal. But I did advocate for making abortion unthinkable by winning hearts and minds so that women would be more inclined to choose adoption. I supported a combination of better sex education and more financial aid to help women keep their babies. I felt inner disquiet at the position I was taking, sensing that it was too simplistic and too extreme, but I felt deeply attached to the Mennonite ethic of radical non-violence. It seemed so beautiful a position. To paraphrase Hemingway loosely, it wasn’t workable — but it was pretty to think it was. Continue reading

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38 Years of Roe v. Wade

The good folks at the Center for Reproductive Rights are celebrating the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade this Saturday, January 22. As part of the commemoration package, they asked a bunch of us active in the reproductive justice world for thoughts on the great 1973 Supreme Court decision. To be specific, they asked me for a headshot and exactly 100 words. I obliged as best I could. I am humbled to be in the company of LeRoy Carhart, Roberta Schneiderman, and so many other wonderful activists and writers whose work I know and admire.

Here’s the link: 38 Years of Roe v. Wade.

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King and the Sanger Award

On Martin Luther King’s birthday, it’s worth remembering that among many other things, the late civil rights icon was a champion of reproductive justice. King received the inaugural Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood in 1966. Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, died four months after King’s acceptance of the award that bore her name.

Coretta Scott King accepted the prize on her husband’s behalf, and read a speech of his. It concluded:

…we are natural allies of those who seek to inject any form of planning in our society that enriches life and guarantees the right to exist in freedom and dignity.

For these constructive movements we are prepared to give our energies and consistent support; because in the need for family planning, Negro and white have a common bond; and together we can and should unite our strength for the wise preservation, not of races in general, but of the one race we all constitute — the human race.

Coretta added her own words about Sanger:

‘I am proud tonight to say a word in behalf of your mentor, and the person who symbolizes the ideas of this organization, Margaret Sanger. Because of her dedication, her deep convictions, and for her suffering for what she believed in, I would like to say that I am proud to be a woman tonight.”

And let’s be clear on our history: Planned Parenthood was passionately committed to abortion access long before Dr. King was honored. King would have known that by 1966, Planned Parenthood was headed by Alan Guttmacher, president of the organization from 1962-74 and a tireless and very public advocate for the right of women to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

Dr. King was not silent on the issue of abortion and birth control. His enthusiastic endorsement of Planned Parenthood and his praise for Margaret Sanger made clear his deep and passionate commitment to a full-range of reproductive services for everyone.

Remember that next time someone tries to remake Dr. King into a conservative.

Supporting Pathfinder

It’s election day tomorrow, and once again, my California endorsements are here. I’ve given time and money and energy to the Barbara Boxer campaign. I’ve been working with Feminist Majority’s Boxer team, and am pleased and proud that several of my students are now paid campaign workers devoting countless hours to re-electing a champion for women’s rights to the senate.

But in our relentless focus on protecting abortion access in the USA, we are all prone to forget that reproductive justice is a global issue. And while many agencies do great work abroad in promoting family planning and women’s health, I want to give a special shoutout this Monday to Pathfinder International. From their site:

Pathfinder International places reproductive health services at the center of all that we do—believing that health care is not only a fundamental human right but is critical for expanding opportunities for women, families, communities, and nations, while paving the way for transformations in environmental stewardship, decreases in population pressures, and innovations in poverty reduction.

In more than 25 countries, Pathfinder provides women, men, and adolescents with a range of quality health services—from contraception and maternal care to HIV prevention and AIDS care and treatment. Pathfinder strives to strengthen access to family planning, ensure availability of safe abortion services, advocate for sound reproductive health policies, and, through all of our work, improve the rights and lives of the people we serve.

Today only, November 1, Pathfinder has a challenge grant: every gift (up to $5000) will be matched by a generous anonymous donor. You can donate securely online here.

Whatever the outcome of the election tomorrow, the battle to secure a brighter future for women and girls worldwide will continue. With small budgets but great resolve, organizations like Pathfinder are fighting for the most basic and important right of all, that of reproductive health. Please join me in standing with them.

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Losing Cyril: politics, abortion, Dr. Tiller, and saying goodbye to a friend

My friend “Cyril” and I are no longer speaking. After more than a decade of friendship, we stopped talking recently. We didn’t get too busy for each other; we didn’t have a misunderstanding. We stopped talking because of abortion and sexual ethics.

Cyril and I met at a time when I was first coming back to Christ at the very end of the 1990s. Infatuated with progressive evangelicalism, I found a natural ally in Cyril, who was slightly to my right but still deeply committed to social justice. For years, we met for breakfast to talk theology and politics — and to talk intimately about our personal lives. He was the first person I told when I started dating Eira. Cyril and I drove half-way across the country together many years ago — to his wedding. We ran together, lifted weights together. For the better part of a decade, Cyril was my best male friend.

In 2004, when I left the Mennonite Church, I also abandoned the “seamless garment” position on the life issues I had taken since my conversion. A staunch pro-choice advocate from the cradle, a fourth-generation Planned Parenthood supporter (my great-grandparents gave money to that fine organization back when it was still the Birth Control League), I briefly turned in my religious enthusiasm towards an anti-abortion position. It was always nuanced; I never favored making abortion illegal, but did regard the termination of pregnancy as deeply tragic and problematic. I soon came back to the more emphatically pro-choice position, and that caused tension with Cyril.

We agreed to disagree about abortion, about gay marriage (he favored civil unions only), and about pre-marital sex. We were so fond of each other, and found each other’s company so refreshing, that we made our friendship work despite those differences. As I moved back to the left and he skewed more and more to the right, we each remained the other’s loyal interlocutor, debating enthusiastically over vegetarian burritos and guacamole each week at our favorite hole-in-the-wall.

But then came my post on Dr. Tiller’s assassination last year: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die”: of a doctor, an usher, and the answerer of a call. Writing in explicitly Christian language, I compared the martyred doctor to the great Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Cyril and I had read Bonhoeffer together and discussed his influence. For a staunch pro-lifer like my friend, the post (every word of which I continue to stand behind) created deep cognitive dissonance. Cyril loved me, but couldn’t comprehend how I could speak of a man whom he saw as a murderer as a martyr. Though Cyril repudiated violence against those who perform abortions, he had grave doubts about the state of Dr. Tiller’s soul. I made it clear that I thought the doctor had been doing God’s work. And the gulf between us, Cyril realized, had now grown too vast for even a history of deep friendship to span.

We didn’t speak for several months. I had moved to West L.A. and was busy with my expanding family; Cyril and his wife had also just had a child. My calls weren’t returned, but I figured he was just incredibly busy. Finally, I sent him an email, and got a kind, serious, thoughtful reply. Cyril explained that he loved and respected me and was grateful for our years of mutual friendship. But, he said, ideas have consequences, a view he knew I shared. None of us agree with one another on everything, but there are certain core issues that are so central that the absence of a common view can strain even the best of friendships.

Cyril suggested, and I agreed, that to smooth over our differences over abortion for the sake of friendship would do violence to the seriousness with which we held our positions and to our long history of mutual respect. We would still be cordial when we happened to speak; we are both men for whom civility is an important value. But we are also people for whom there are higher values still. And because of those higher values, our friendship has ended.

(Parenthetically, we both agreed that this was where friendship and family relationships differed. Neither of us would ever abrogate a relationship with a relative over even this issue.)

I miss Cyril. But I honor both what we had and why it ended. Politics is not sports; it does have consequences. Our beliefs should never be so passionately held as to render us incapable of decency and empathy. But our core beliefs shouldn’t be worn so lightly that they can be tossed aside for the sake of amiability. I’ve lost friendships in the past because of my reckless behavior (sleeping with other people’s spouses, for example). If there is a good and honorable reason to lose a friendship, it’s the way Cyril and I lost ours. I love him and his family very much, and they remain in my heart. But my commitment to justice (as I prayerfully understand justice) trumps even friendship.

Grief, Remorse, and Judgment: the Myth of a Right Response to Abortion (reprinted)

From February 2008.

In response to my post on Tuesday, I got an e-mail from a reader who wrote that while she had come to the point where she no longer believed in banning abortion, she still considered herself pro-life. Reflecting on how she had been raised (in a conservative Christian household), she noted that she had always been taught that women who undergo abortion will invariably experience regret and depression. Faced with the reality that that is not always the case, my reader writes that she finds it harder not to judge women who don’t experience regret.

One of the hallmarks of traditional sexism is its insistence that “good women” feel certain feelings and not others. “Good girls” are expected to be interested in romance, but not in sex — especially not the latter when it is disconnected from the former. Good girls are allowed, even encouraged, to daydream about marrying their handsome boyfriends; they are discouraged (via shame) from lusting after the hot water polo players in their Speedos. These messages about what the right emotions are for women (compassion, tenderness, romantic longing) and what the wrong emotions are (ambition, horniness, anger) are taught early, usually long before puberty. And the grip of this dichotomy of good and bad feelings can be intense, lingering for a lifetime, passed on to the next generation.

I know a lot of folks who feel as my reader does. In this world view, shaped both by sexism and popular Christian teaching, remorse and regret are prerequisites for forgiveness and understanding. A young woman who has had an abortion will have no trouble finding sympathy in even the most conservative circles if she says the right words. For example, this will do nicely:

“Oh, I was so confused and scared! I had no idea what to do. I I just wanted it all to be over with, and I had nowhere else to go, so I called up the clinic and I went and ‘took care of it.’ I cried afterwards for hours; it hurt so much. At first I felt numb, and then I felt relief, and then I felt this awful sense that I had done something terrible. Every day I ask God to forgive me. I regret it so much, and I wonder if I’ll ever stop feeling so horrible.”

Say that in private — or better yet, tearfully in front of the congregation — and you can expect the outpouring of warmth and forgiveness given to a Prodigal Daughter. The pastor will use you as an example, mingling admonition with a reminder about God’s grace and a wildly inappropriate but inevitable reference to Rachel the Matriarch weeping for her children. Folks will hug you and pat you and say soothing words. “We’re praying for you, sweetheart.” “Jesus loves you.” “You are forgiven.” “Thank you for speaking out; you may have saved another girl’s baby today.” And on and on it goes. Continue reading

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Don’t presume the Designer’s intent from the design: a long post on abortion, sexual ethics, and contraception in response to Jonalyn

Jonalyn Grace Fincher offers a long and nuanced (though unquestionably pro-life) Christian perspective on abortion and body sovereignty in this post entitled “Listening to Both Sides.” She links to and quotes from the post I wrote one week after Heloise’s birth: Pregnant women, personhood, and paternal reflections. She had some nice things to say about my piece, but took issue with the central thrust of my argument, which revolved around women’s right not to be forced to endure pain.

I wrote: Giving birth — whether by ceserean section or vaginally — hurts. The recovery hurts. That point is being driven home to me daily as I watch my wife recover. She considers the pain well worth it, well worth it because this baby was longed for and wanted. But we both shudder, more than ever now, at the thought of compelling a woman to go through this process against her will.

Jonalyn responds by noting that the real pain isn’t just in pregnancy and childbirth.

During pregnancy I slept long and well. I easily coordinated elaborate outfits with accessories and make-up. I worked out or spend hours reading and writing without leaking milk. Then I had a baby.

It’s not merely the pregnancy that women must count as a cost, it’s the life after the birth.

I believe more women would refuse an abortion if they could serve nine months and be done with it. It’s not the pain of the nine months; it is the idea of a life to be responsible for, to be guilty about, to wonder as to the painful, happy, fruitful or fruitless future of your offspring.

That’s right, I think. It’s certainly not an argument against the legal right to choose an abortion. My point was not that abortion should be legal solely so that women can avoid the discomfort of continuing a pregnancy, nor that it should be legal only so that a woman can avoid the pain of birthing. Indeed, I support abortion rights for precisely the reasons Jonalyn mentions: “the idea of a life to be responsible for, to be guilty about”, and so forth. Whatever moral arguments can be brought to bear on the issue, I believe the state has a clear interest in not compelling women to take up those particular burdens against their will. And while a birth parent can surrender a newborn for adoption, it is simply an unconscionable overask to insist that every pregnant woman unready for motherhood choose adoption.

Jonalyn’s views on sex are deeply traditional; like so much conservative Christian writing on sexuality these days, they resonate with the vocabulary of John Paul II’s odious “theology of the body”, with the insistence that sex be focused on sacrifice and radical openness to new life. Jonalyn writes:

My concern is that pro-choice advocates remain intent upon driving a wedge between procreation and sex. I don’t think this is appropriately human, nor that God created our bodies and souls to permanently cleave sex away from procreation.

For the religious right (a group of which Jonalyn appears to be a member, albeit a winsome and reflective one) sex that isn’t procreative, or sex with the use of contraception, is a rejection of self-evident natural law, a rejection of both the design and the Designer. I come from an alternative Christian tradition, one that honors what Marvin Ellison calls “erotic justice”, something I wrote about at length in this post. I wrote:

Our sexual desires are indeed powerful. They can easily be misdirected or warped. But they can, by God’s common grace, be used as an instrument for justice. More than that, our bodies can be used to worship the aspects of the divine we find in each other. In the old Anglican marriage ceremony, a husband and wife would pledge their lives to each other, saying “with my body I thee worship.” We are called to worship only that which is of God; blessedly, God is found in each of us. When we have sex that is grounded in justice, grounded in enthusiastic and mutual desire, we are engaged in an act of worship. Not every act of sex in marriage is an act of worship, as most married folks can attest. And sex outside of heterosexual marriage, can be deeply worshipful.

The purpose of lovemaking is not to make babies. Pregnancy is simply an ancillary and occasional consequence of one particular kind of sex. Folks who say that procreation and sex can never be separated are like those who say that the primary function of the tongue is to prevent us from choking on our food. It is true that one function of the tongue is to protect large chunks of dinner from being lodged in our throats. But our tongues are there to taste, and we taste both to discern what is rancid and to delight in what is pleasurable. Our tongues are also necessary for speech. And sexually, tongues can bring delight to others. The tongue has many uses, many purposes, all important, all wonderful. We cannot discern a single purpose behind the Designer’s design. It is hubris — poltiicised and pleasure-hating hubris — to suggest that we can.

I know how we made Heloise. I’m fairly certain I remember the specific night she was conceived. After years together as lovers, after still more years of all kinds of sex with all kinds of other people, my wife and I were ready and open to the possibility of conceiving a child. What we had worked assiduously to prevent was now something that we ardently sought. This wasn’t a contradiction, or a sign of hypocrisy. We were at a new season in our lives, emotionally and spiritually and financially equipped to be parents. Was the sex we had when we were trying to conceive different than the sex we had had when we weren’t? Of course it was. But we weren’t magically transformed into better people because after so many years of being sexually active humans, we were finally having intercourse to procreate.

Pleasure still mattered. The opportunity to worship the divine in each other still mattered. The fact that I wasn’t wearing a condom (always, for umpteen reasons, my favorite form of contraception) didn’t mean that I loved my wife anymore than the times I’d been inside her with one on. Sex made the daughter whom I love with all my heart. But as wonderful as she is, as wonderful as all the little darling babes of the world are, they are not the only reason, should not be the only reason, need not have anything to do with the reason why we bring our hands and mouths and genitals together with those of others.

As a husband, a father,a teacher, and a Christian, I know this as I know few other things.

Dr. Tiller week and the arrival of Justice For All

They’re back. One week shy of the first anniversary of the murder of Dr. George Tiller by a pro-life activist, the anti-choice outfit known as Justice For All has returned to the Pasadena City College campus, bringing with them their colossal graphic images purporting to show aborted fetuses. JFA, staffed mostly by earnest young students from Christian colleges, spent three days on campus last year. Many of my students were traumatized; on a campus where there are thousands of women who will have chosen abortion, the displays are cruel and misleading.

I urge folks to engage with the protesters only if they feel they must. I’m much more concerned with the emotional well-being of my students, particularly those who have undergone abortions themselves. I make my office available to them for conversation, and ask them to reach out to others, particularly in our strong and growing campus feminist community.

For those who do wish to argue with the pro-lifers, I always recommend asking them the famous question: “How much jail time should a woman do for having an abortion?” I recommend that they videotape the answer they receive. If they get the standard right-wing dodge that says “We don’t support jailing women who have abortions, because we think that they are victims too; we only want to go after doctors”, I suggest my students point out that that stance infantilizes women, calling into question their fitness to parent in the first place.

I am told Justice For All will be on campus for four days this week. In honor of Dr. Tiller, in honor of my own recent birthday and in honor of my wife and daughter and women everywhere, I’m giving $43 to pro-choice organizations for each day that the JFA display disfigures our campus.

Today’s $43.00 goes to the National Network of Abortion Funds.
Tomorrow’s $43.00 will go to Medical Students for Choice.
Wednesday’s $43.00 will go to Planned Parenthood.
Thursday’s $43.00 will go to Advocates for Youth.

I invite my current and former students in particular — and all others — to join me in this campaign for reproductive justice. Other worthy organizations besides those four named above include the National Abortion Federation, Feminist Majority, and Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice.

Like the great Dr. Tiller, I am a father, a husband, a feminist, and I trust women. My contribution to justice has been far less than his, but I want my name associated with his, and ask that those who would curse his name do the same with mine. And I ask that those who support and trust women, who believe that their wives and mothers and sisters and daughters deserve choices and sovereignty, join me in giving this week in his honor.

Here’s my post from last year, written the day Dr. Tiller was shot: ”When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die”: of a doctor, an usher, and the answerer of a call.