File this under Not Necessarily the News: a study that came out yesterday reported that abortion providers in at least six states “are routinely targeted” by anti-abortion forces. Being targeted means being threatened, being intimidated, and/or being attacked on a regular basis. That’s not terribly startling given this country’s deranged attitude toward abortion. The Center for Reproductive Rights’ report concluded that the Justice Department should do more to protect these health care providers. Not only are they in danger, as George Tiller’s murder proved, they are increasingly unable or unwilling to provide their services to women who need them.
Nancy Northup, the center’s president, said the number of physicians and clinics providing abortions has fallen by 25 percent since the 1990s. … Even in states with multiple clinics, however, most are clustered in urban areas, leaving women in less populous regions to travel long distances for the service.
The study was finished before Tiller’s slaying, but there can be no doubt that our attention has already strayed from the issue. When something that shocking happens, it’s easy to decry the level of violence aimed at these doctors, but when we’re done ranting, they still have to wear bulletproof vests and worry about who has their home addresses. It’s also easy to pretend that a crime that heinous was simply one man, acting alone. This report proves otherwise. Doctors whose services are needed by many women are wearing bulls-eyes, and if federal, state, and local authorities won’t cooperate in defending them, they’ll keep working under these ridiculous conditions until they give up – or are murdered. A woman’s right to choose means nothing if she doesn’t have a safe place to go where a licensed professional is waiting to care for her. Neither does a teenager’s, or worst of all, a pre-teenager’s. Some people pretend you can stop abortion by getting rid of all the doctors who provide it. Sadly, there will always be some women and girls who need it, and if they can’t get it safely, they’ll get it any way they can. Isn’t that why it became legal in the first place?