A Worthy Adversary
I read this article on the closing of Dr. George Tiller’s clinic yesterday and I can’t get it out of my head. It’s the final two paragraphs that I can’t stop thinking about:
“A worthy adversary,” he said. “He was right back at us.”
Mark Gietzen is the chairman of the Kansas Coalition for Life. He made it his organization’s particular goal to shut down Dr. Tiller’s clinic. Speaking of his own work and that of other anti-choice activists, Gietzen said, ““We wanted it to get to the point where it was no longer feasible to stay open.”
Here’s my problem: If you think that abortion is murder, and if your objective is to eradicate it, shouldn’t you want an opponent to simply surrender?
Gietzen’s appreciation for his “worthy adversary”—not to mention his devotion to elaborate stagecraft and publicity—suggests that he is more invested in waging his battle than winning it. This, to me, unconscionable. I don’t have reason to suspect the sincerity of Gietzen’s opposition to abortion, but his comments make it seem very much as if his activism is not just about saving the “unborn”, but also about power and control.
Even a cursory look at the anti-choice movement shows that many—if not most—of its leaders are men, and that there is significant overlap between anti-choice groups and Christian churches that espouse a theological basis for the subordination of women. I will not be the first to argue that this is no coincidence.
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren
Ladies of Fantasy: Two Centuries of Sinister Stories by the Gentle Sex, selected by Seon Manley and Gogo Lewis
Pendragon: Arthur and His Britain by Joseph P. Clancy
The Viking Book of Folk Ballads of the English-Speaking World, edited by Albert B. Friedman