Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dr. Tiller's Second Murder on Law and Order

Charlotte Taft wrote a piece, "Dr. Tiller Murdered Again on NBC's Law and Order," critiquing last Friday's episode in which shades of Dr. Tiller's murder became fodder for the "fictitious" storyline in which an abortion provider is assassinated in his own church.

Taft writes passionately, clearly from a place that most people cannot empathize. Most of us are not abortion providers or work closely with abortion providers who see first hand the complex and often heart-wrenching decisions that are often hidden in the shadows in the war between "life" and abortion.

With due respect to Ms. Taft's piece, I didn't pick up anything overtly offensive from the episode. Mildly surprised that it vascillated between the values of pro-choice and pro-life audiences, I was most pleased to see that some parts of the script were encouraging debate and revisiting what reproductive health means today, after almost four decades of Roe vs. Wade, where more women have access to care, where we know more about what women's health is and what is needed. We know more. We still have long miles to go, but what I took from that episode is that the water is murkier than ever. Unfortunately, the ringing question, "When does life begin?" seems to trump the fact that we know more in 2009 than in 1973. Women's roles and contributions have shifted. Our consciousness as a society has (slowly and painstakingly) shifted. We have not arrived at full equality, but we are not in the throes of '73 anymore.

Certainly, I can appreciate and support Taft's piece in RH Reality. If I were on the frontlines of abortion clinics, worked and befriended Tiller or people like Tiller, I probably would have been up in arms, too.

But I am not.

I'm a regular bystander of NBC. I'm a regular person who stayed in Friday night with a virus and ended up watching Law and Order because there wasn't much on TV. In many ways, couched in the heart of America, I am just like everyone else - trying to feel my way through this process of where this country is headed with the most contentious and violent issue in our hearts. And in my opinion, a 1 hour show that has a track record of simplifying issues, making them dance with good script-writing, and long up-close shots of usually Caucasian actors will never make the grade, but it does make a point.

The point I got was good: this issue is only resulting in more violence and staunch pro-lifers and staunch pro-choicers are not going to be the answer. The inflexible pieces of abortion and life keep us in circles, yelling matches really.

It's going to come from the compass of middle America. And middle America is torn.

1 comment:

  1. As I neither own a TV nor am American I can not say anything on the merits of the episode, but I do want to comment on this: "staunch pro-lifers and staunch pro-choicers are not going to be the answer"

    I believe that because we can not neither with our current morality nor scientific knowledge reach consensus on when life begins. All we can discuss is whether the states rights trump those of a pregnant woman. Pro-Choicers leave all options open to the woman. Pro-Lifers remove all but one option. I can not see how these two positions are anywhere comparable in their effect on people or in their extremity. Just because two things oppose each other does not mean both are equally valid choices.


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