Impact of Tiller's murder on abortion

06/06/09 Mary Glenney
From A Woman's Point of View

Mary discussed the ramifications of Dr. George Tiller's murder and real cases of late term abortions.

comments powered by Disqus


My Story

I'm listening to the Women's Show (but then, I do every week). Abortion rights and Dr. Tiller... This is my story. (And yes, if you want to tell this over the air, that's fine. Maybe it'll help someone get off the fence on keeping abortion legal.) In 1993, I was in the process of leaving my abusive first husband. During our marriage, we had had 4 children. The younger 2 had numerous medical/developmental problems. Fortunately, they're doing better than expected, but still...All 4 kids were born while I was in my 20s. Just before making the final payment for the divorce, my husband raped me. I was on Medicare for my medical care (I'm visually impaired, so am eligible for Soc. Sec. disability and Medicare). Therefore, I could only get an abortion if (1) I called the police and charged my abusive husband with rape or (2) if my life was in danger because of pregnancy. On my way to make my last payment for the divorce, I went to a Women's Clinic in St. Pete, as I was a month late. The pregnancy test was questionable and I was told to come back in a couple of weeks if I hadn't started my period. As you undoubtedly know, divorcing an abusive husband puts his victim at greater risk; to add a rape charge to the mix is to make a dangerous situation even worse. That first day at the women's clinic, I told the nurse what I was going through. She went back to talk with the doctor, then brought him to talk to me. I then told him what I was going through. The doctor then told me that if I did indeed turn out to be pregnant when I came back, that he would terminate the pregnancy, putting on the chart that my life was in danger with the pregnancy. (Had I indeed been pregnant, I would have been 40 when the baby was born; the older a woman is when she has a baby, the better the chance that the baby will have medical problems. I already had 2 children with problems...) A week later (before I ended up needing the 2nd test), I had either a late period or a spontaneous miscarriage. But I will always think kindly of this wonderful male doctor who heard what I was going through and was willing to help me, had I needed it.

My Abortion Story

The topic of abortion is a big one in my life. I have always been a devoted feminist, meaning I am completely supportive of all things which give women a greater voice in our violent, male-dominated world. It is astonishing to me in this modern age how women are still oppressed and controlled and silenced in so many ways around the world. One of the greatest steps toward self-determination has been the U.S. legalization of abortion in 1973. I was a college student at that time, and remember the absolute terror women faced at the idea of an unwanted pregnancy. Because I remember the dark days, and also because of a personal experience, I strongly believe abortion is completely the choice of the individual woman, and no one else. No politician or preacher has any business interfering with my own private decision. My own story is one that is not often told, and proof of the complexity of the issue. I was a happily married mother of a 3 year old child when my husband and I decided to have a second child. I was almost 4 months into the normal pregnancy when I had an amniocentesis due to being past the age of 35. I was quite shocked when the doctor called me to say the test results were abnormal. Our joy became fear. We immediately sought counsel in another city at a genetic research center, where world renowned researchers told us the genetic problem they found was very rare and random, and they expected the baby to have an unknowable but grave mental disorder. We were then prepared with the facts, but still had to deal with the tragedy of choosing between two unhappy outcomes. Also, time was urgent upon us to decide quickly. It was heartbreaking, but we made what we felt, and still feel, was a responsible and loving decision. I had an abortion, knowing that I released this little spirit from earthly pain to God's infinite care. We felt that bringing a handicapped child into this world would prevent our 3 year old child from having the kind of carefree childhood we wanted for her, and I also knew that I was healthy and able to try again. Though it was very difficult physically and emotionally, I knew I was doing the right thing. Not long after the abortion, I became pregnant again and had my second baby with great joy. This was a happy outcome to a painful crisis. I believe I had the divinely inspired wisdom to have the prenatal test, and then the courage to thoughtfully act on those results. I still feel the sorrow of the decision that had to be made, but I also feel gratitude that I live in a place where our laws regard me as being intelligent enough to make a personal decision such as abortion on my own without interference. I cannot bear the thought that this right is in jeopardy today. Had I not had the choice, the child's life as well as my family's lives would certainly have been bleak and limited. Others may have chosen the other path, feeling morally bound to have a handicapped child. Some may never have had a choice, and have had to deal with great sorrow. The point is that abortion is a most personal choice, it can be vitally necessary for a woman's well being, and I believe it is truly immoral for the decision to be restricted. The religious fanatics have it all wrong---the decision to abort is never a light one, and as complex as people are, there is no one answer for all. I was a married mother, a person of faith, and wanting a baby--not the profile they so demonize. I am very angry that so many who are not personally facing such a decision feel they have a right to impose their narrow-minded beliefs on women. Today, my life is better for the choice I made. My husband and I have two beautiful healthy children to be grateful for. I will always do whatever I can to insure the freedom of choice for my daughter and all women.