Last May, I had recently committed myself to a career of providing comprehensive family planning services, including all methods of contraception and abortion. Shortly after I made this decision, I read the tragic news of Dr. Tiller’s murder at the hands of an anti-choice terrorist.
After the murder, friends and family were surprised that the murder did not dampen my desire to provide abortion care. In fact, as many other providers will attest, the murder of Dr. Tiller strengthened my resolve to provide abortions. I was outraged that a deranged man murdered a physician in a church because he did not like the legal procedure he performed, and decided to make abortion a more prominent part of my practice than I had originally intended.
As I transitioned to my new role as a family planning expert, the number of abortions I provided steadily increased as my colleagues began to refer their patients to me for abortions. For some women the decision is quite easy, for others it is much more difficult. With every passing month, I better understand Dr. Tiller’s philosophy: Trust Women.
I have been there when women are ready to parent, as well as when parenting was not a good option for them at the time. I have been there when women have had an early miscarriage or a later intra-uterine fetal demise. I have been there for women who have found out halfway through their pregnancy that the fetus had severe anomalies; in some cases they have chosen to have a second trimester abortion, in other cases they have chosen to continue the pregnancy in order to spend a few minutes with their child after birth. I have been there to deliver healthy babies and I have watched them grow from fitful newborns to rambunctious toddlers.
I know that the choice to parent can be as weighty as the choice not to. I know that every woman’s life is marked by difficult decisions and that every woman is capable of making the choices that are best for her and her family. I know that only a woman herself can plot the course of her life.
Thanks to Dr. Tiller, I trust women.