Saturday, January 19, 2008

*Defend Abortion Rights- Defend Kansas Doctor George Tiller

Click On Title To Link To May 31, 2009 Associated Press Article On The Murder Of Doctor George Tiller. Honor his memory.


No Dorothy You Are Not In Kansas Anymore- Nor Do you Want to Be

In the whirlwind around the ongoing intense presidential contests the issue of abortion, except the attempts by fellow Republicans to beat Rudy Giuliani over the head with his pro-choice position, has settled into the back burners as a dominant issue compared to the economy, health care and Iraq. The general election in November will be another and, perhaps, different story as will the next presidency when another Supreme Court Justice will probably be selected. This issue is, however, hot right now in the hinterlands and down at the base of society, or what passes for it, in Kansas. I am reminded that in the last presidential cycle the journalist Thomas Franks devoted a whole book to the subject of Kansas politics and the long term historic turn around from its devotion to prairie populism and socialism to its current hate-filled evangelically-drive bedrock Republicanism in defiance of all reason.

So why am I beating up on the land of Dorothy and Toto today? Well, the good citizens of Kansas and the citizens of a few other western states in the 19th century, that is during their more progressive days, enacted legislation that permitted citizens who gather a certain number of signatures to convene citizen grand juries to investigate wrongdoing that was ignored or neglected by the elected executive authority. The purpose then was to curb the rampant corruption, associated mainly with the expansion of the railroads, during the age of the ‘robber barons’. A good idea then? Yes. A useful idea for today? Hell, yes. I can think of any number of situations where we leftists would want to use this tool to investigate racial and sexual incidents, unfair labor practices and other issues that get short shrift from state and local prosecutors. So what is the problem?

The problem is that we leftists are not the only ones who know how to delve into the old books to dust off legislation in order to make use of it for our political perspective. Over the past couple of years Kansas anti-abortion activists have used this tool to convene citizen grand juries, most recently on January 8, 2008, to investigate the doings of Doctor George Tiller one of the few late term abortion providers in the country. That, my friends, is the raw and ugly heart of the matter. Is this meant to harass, intimidate and possibly imprison Doctor Tiller and scare away his patients? Hell, yes. Does that mean we want to do away with citizen-petitioned grand juries? Hell, no. What we do, as we always do is, fight to keep abortion legal by our own means. We also fight for the real issue here which is a different type of society where there will be free abortion on demand and nobody will think anything of it. Until then though- Defend abortion rights! Defend abortion clinics! Defend Doctor Tiller! Send messages of solidarity and support now!