Zoe Nicholson, Newport Beach, CA
First I want to tell you that when I was forty-four and my reading eyes weren’t what they used to be, I missed the tiny stamped expiration date on a birth control product that had been in my drawer for over ten years and, to my surprise, I found myself pregnant. I went to a clinic in New York and, as required by law, was counseled by a health care worker who happened to be half my age. I had to tell her that I had used my birth control but did not know that it could expire.
The next day I came back to be assisted by women, at the door, at the desk, in the OR. When the procedure was over I put out my hand and said thank you. The doctor, a bit bemused, removed his glove and shook my hand. I explained that I had been a free clinic director and I know the danger they live in every day. I wanted to thank him for his service to women.
I am telling you this to encourage you that if you have had an abortion; please talk about it, give others the opportunity to ask you about it. Take the opportunity to tell them that it has not destroyed your life. The decision was neither tragic or trivial. Peel off the stigma and shame. Openly discuss that all facets of reproductive health are part of every woman’s life.
Second I want to tell you in this ecumenical gathering, I am a Buddhist and I do not believe in heaven or hell. (That’s a relief!) That doesn’t make abortion easier ~ just different. I believe that an independent soul enters a human body with breathe, as most scriptures describe.
Also I believe in reincarnation. I believe that people are born to the next life based on what they designed through their previous life and the circumstances of their death. (It is not lost on me that another great soul died in prayer, by a point blank shooting, M.K.Gandhi.)
I believe that George Tiller’s soul is in that place between the worlds planning the next life. This is one daydream I hold about Dr Tiller’s soul ~ Sometime in the future a little girl will be born. She will be healthy and smart. In her world, women will have irrevocable domain over their bodies, birth control will be free and reliable, women who become pregnant will be able to make private informed choices with safe, loving care by well-paid professionals.
As a life-long activist, the question always arises, “what is our action item?” Today’s action item is to create such a world so this American Mahatma, this Great Soul, deserves to come back to.