soar1175 wrote: "Balance from both sides of this issue would be most appropriate."
Excuse me, but once you pick up a gun and commit murder in the name of your cause OR praise someone who commits such a hideous act, as a "hero," you no longer have a "side" in any civil discourse. Murder and the threat of murder is the line of demarcation between protest and terrorism.
There are two sides to the pro-choice / anti-choice debate, but that debate has really been over for a long time. Abortion is a legal and valuable procedure in women's health care. It is also essential in addressing the major moral and practical dilemma of the 21st century; that is over-population. There is no perfectly effective birth-control therefore no way to reach zero population growth (ZPG) without back-up abortion. The childish idea, that we can endlessly and irresponsibly expand the world's population without dire consequences, is both delusional and destructive.
Gather your data and I will debate that with anyone... anyone, that is, who is entitled to a place at the table of civil society. That excludes Randall Terry & Operation Rescue as surely as it excludes Osama bin Laden & Al Qaeda. Once you praise murder and advocate terrorism, you no longer deserve a place at the people's table.
Like the writer, I too confronted the vicious force of Operation rescue twenty years ago. In 1989, I was writing the "Voice for Choice" letters for Planned Parenthood in California and doing clinic defense. My experience was very much like to the one described in this missive. Not all anti-choice protestors are anti-American, but that's because not all anti-choice protestors are part of Operation Rescue.
If you want to understand the psychology of of the vicious leadership of organizations like Op-Rescue, study the psychology of rapists. When is a rapist most dangerous to the victim? Not when he penetrates her, but when he can't. When a rapist confronts his victim with impotent rage, than she is in the greatest danger of being brutally beaten or killed. That is why clinic violence went up in the Clinton years, down in the era of Bush, when these creeps had a friend in the White House; and now despite his best efforts at conciliation and finding common cause to minimize abortions, up again since President Obama was elected. That is both the statistical fact and the psychological profile of these anti-choice thugs. Now that these bullies have lost in court and now that we have an AG who will enforce the laws to protect clinics, it is reasonable to predict that their terrorist violence will escalate.
I also want to make clear that after doing clinic defense for many years I have met some decent people who are willing to debate their point without abusing the women who come into clinic. In my experience, none of the decent people in the anti-choice movement work with Operation Rescue or any of its toxic offshoots.
I am also prepared to predict that this time their terrorist tactics won't work. Americans have had it with being threatened by thugs. There will be a legal price to pay for illegal aggression. Randall Terry has no civilized allies. His strongest opposition could, in fact, come from within the pro-life movement whose honest efforts are often discredited his criminal enterprise.
Listen to Randall Terry's comments on the death of Dr. Tiller: "George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder." Terry called Tiller, "demonic" and "diabolical," a "mass murderer" who "reaped what he sowed," then he denied playing the lead role in creating the hostile environment that led to Dr. Tiller's murder.
I spent much of the 1960s protesting and organizing protests over the Viet Nam war as a patriotic American. When Jane Fonda went to Hanoi, I believed, not only that she should have been arrested for treason, but that she set back our work against the war by at least two years. A few thugs & fools can discredit the ethical work of thousands of decent people. Randall Terry is worse than Jane Fonda, he is the Osama bin Laden of the anti-choice movement. Terry admires and encourages violence without having the courage to commit the despicable acts of violence himself.
This time, there may be enough bloody hand-prints to implicate Op-Rescue in Dr. Tiller's murder. That would change the picture. We can hope.
I live in the middle of California's Silicon Valley (i.e. 2 miles south of Oracle HQ; 4 miles north of HP; 6 miles north of Sun Micro & 12 miles north of Apple) My office is in a business park where the only internet access available without the expense of installing a T-1 line is the lowest end AT&T dsl which the worst internet access I've endured since AOL dial-up... First, CONGRATULATIONS on the foresight and faith in the long-term value of universal internet access that your community has shown. Second, I'm jealous. <<< Joey Tranchina, Redwood City California
Very well written and thought out article on Jesse Helms faux conversion on HIV/AIDS. He is for AIDS work so long as it is in Africa and he can continue his morals crusade. He lacks the compassion for people in North Carolina who are suffering with infections that probably would not exist if ignorant/bigoted/backward Jesse Helms had not blocked funding for every rational prevention effort across America.
With the amendment that bares his name Jesse Helms disgraced himself and the state that sent him to the Senate, while he endangered the health of all Americans.
Once again, the only good thing to say about Jesse Helms is that he's dead.
I appreciate the thoughtfulness and the seriousness of the people who have made comments on this page about someone who you new well throughout many aspects of his personality and long life.
I bring the outsider's perspective of an AIDS prevention advocate and health care provider, from far away; someone who was forced to deal with the consequences of this man's vicious bigotry on national HIV/AIDS policy The impact of your Senator's ignorant agenda on my world was an unmitigated evil that lead to the preventable infection, disease, and ultimate death of literally hundreds of thousands of Americans (if you think that is hyperbole, I ask that you check the epidemiological data). Further consequences of Jesse Helms' ignorant idiocy can be found in North Carolina's HIV infection rates today. If we had been empowered to prevent the HIV infections that we knew how to prevent in New York, California, Illinois and Florida, the rate of infection among men & women in NC would be dramatically lower than it is today.
I find no excuse for his behavior or reason to think that stories of his quick-witted charm should mitigate my anger or comfort my anguish as the massive suffering that his mean-spirited, arrogant ignorance caused.. Even though I have come to appreciate the Machiavellian genius of this evil man, taken all and all the world would be a better place if Jesse Helms had never been born.
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