Sunday, May 31, 2009

RIP, Dr. George Tiller

One of my heroes was assassinated by a domestic terrorist today. Dr. George Tiller was shot as he attended church services.

Dr. Tiller knowingly risked his life to provide much-needed services to women who had anencephalic fetuses, conjoined twins with little or no chance of survival, life-threatening conditions such as pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, or cancer diagnoses during later pregnancy that required chemotherapy in order for them to survive.

He was a brave man who knew the risks he faced, and he faced them anyway in order to protect women's lives. Now that he is gone, I fear more women will die being forced to bear fetuses with no chance of survival, to go through the multiple organ failure of eclampsia, or to forego needed chemotherapy. I am very sorry that someone hated him and his mission enough to carry out such a cowardly act, and that now he is gone.

Thank you, Dr. Tiller, for caring so much about women's health and welfare that you would put your life on the line. I hope your family finds condolence and peace in the knowledge that you made a positive difference in so many women's lives.

UPDATE: Mothers' personal stories of why they had to seek out Dr. Tiller's services (h/t Sully)

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Folie à trois

To say the least, it's not often that I cry in school, but today was one time.

I've returned to school as a pre-nursing student, which means I'm working on pre-requisites, and will apply to nursing school when I'm done with them. One of the pre-requisites is certification as a nursing assistant (CNA or NA-C), one of my current classes along with chemistry and developmental psychology.

Today's class was the required Washington state training in HIV/AIDS, the 4-hour version of which I've actually taught in massage school. This was the 7-hour version that CNAs are required to take. One part of the class was watching the video And the Band Played On, based on the book by Randy Shilts.

By the end of the film, I was crying. I think people who didn't live through the 80s just don't remember all the things the film evoked, but some of my friends lived and died during that time, and I have some memory of it. While the film was far from perfect, it was certainly faithful, and it was two hours well-spent.

As the video ended, and the lights came back on, I remarked to another student at my table that it was funny to go from Ian McKellen as Bill Kraus in the morning to Dumbledore in Harry Potter this evening, and she agreed. Mr thalarctos also agreed when I made the same observation to him when we met up later this afternoon.

Except it simply isn't true! Ian McKellen was offered the role of Dumbledore, but turned it down as too similar to Gandalf; perhaps he was afraid of getting stereotyped. Yet all three of us remembered him as Dumbledore--too funny!

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