Judy Norsigian Urges Support for Women's Health Care Providers

Our Bodies Ourselves Executive Director Encourages Dialogue in Support of Abortion Providers and Women Seeking Abortions

BOSTON, June 5, 2009 – Our Bodies Ourselves Executive Director Judy Norsigian is urging public support for women’s health care professionals who provide abortion services.

“Dr. George Tiller’s murder gives us all an opportunity to reflect upon and honor the work of women’s health care professionals who continue to offer abortion services despite ongoing threats to themselves and their families,” said Norsigian.

“Terrorist behavior like this is designed to deter other women’s health care practitioners from providing abortion services. And it is precisely because of this that we must all be outspoken in our support of physicians willing to provide such services — and of the women who seek these services.”

One way to show support is to contribute a story to the website I Am Dr. Tiller. Steph Herold, an abortion counselor and recent college grad who last month was inducted as an Our Bodies Ourselves Women’s Health Hero, created the interactive site with her partner, Yahel Carmon.

“The goal of this project,” Herold told OBOS, “is to serve as a memorial to the lifework of Dr. George Tiller and as a living testimony to the courageous lives of abortion providers.”

Donations can be made to the George Tiller Memorial Abortion Fund, created by the National Network of Abortion Funds to continue to provide assistance to women seeking second-trimester abortions and women facing significant obstacles to abortion care.

Norsigian also suggested community viewings of “If These Walls Could Talk,” a 1996 HBO film that examines abortion in three different eras, the 1950s, 1970s and 1990s.

“Young people, especially, need to see this film,” said Norsigian.

Tiller, an abortion provider in Wichita, Kan., was shot and killed May 31 at his church. One of a handful of late-term abortion providers in the country, Tiller was frequently harassed and his clinic was repeatedly vandalized. He survived a previous shooting in 1993.

Many general health care providers contacted Our Bodies Ourselves to affirm that individuals not associated with reproductive rights groups are also deeply concerned about such terrorism in reproductive health services.

Alice Rothchild, an obstetrician-gynecologist who has worked in health care reform for many years, said, “All of us in the medical community who support reproductive rights and who either do abortions or refer our patients to our respected colleagues for abortions, are horrified at this assault to human decency and to our safety and the safety of our patients.

“This moment is a giant step backwards as we all struggle to maintain an open society where women can obtain the health care they feel they need and clinicians can provide that care without fearing for our lives.”

Norsigian, Rothchild and other women’s health advocates are available for interviews.