Teeth by Frances Varian

Dear Army of God, Dear Operation Rescue:
 
Hello, It's me. Do you remember? You have frequently spat the words "Baby Killer" and "Nazi" at me. The kinder among you have promised to pray for my soul. There was that time my picture was placed on the Army of God website for entering a Planned Parenthood to assist in teaching nurses how to obtain accurate sonograms of developing fetuses. One day while sitting outside my clinic in Washington State an older white man in a cowboy hat approached me and I prepared myself to be shot. I remember when you showed up at my job with bullhorns and the stumpy arms and legs of dolls that you had painstakingly bloodied to teach me the error of my ways. Do you remember calling my partner and me "Godless dykes?" No?
 
Well, to be fair you have been busy; the Bush/Cheney years have been good to you. Let us not forget Terry Schiavo or South Dakota for that matter. Your anger, your trespasses, your flagrant abuse has always been justifiable beneath the selective umbrella you call the sanctity of life.
 
By now you probably know that 12 year-old Deamonte Driver died this past Sunday from a tooth abscess. Rather, I should say he died because his Medicaid paperwork got lost or buried as Medicaid paperwork often does and he had to wait just a little too long for his rotten tooth to be extracted. While he was waiting the bacteria from his abscess found its way to his brain. He spent more than six weeks in a Maryland children’s hospital, where his tooth was finally removed, and underwent two operations before losing his battle this week.
 
A 12 year-old boy died this past Sunday from poverty, in the United States of America. It's not as uncommon as it might seem.
 
Deamonte Driver had a right to life. He had the right to finish the 7th grade and do whatever 12 year-old boys do in the summer these days. His mother wanted this child so much she harbored him inside of her uterus for forty weeks. I believe she had a right to watch him grow up. I believe that every Mother has the right to watch her child grow up.
 
Will you organize protests? Will you gather in numbers and pray for the souls of the State Bureaucrats who didn't want this to happen just as much as the rest of us? Shall I join you outside the offices of dentists, medical doctors and surgeons who treat children and do not accept Medicaid? Maybe we can pluck the teeth from dolls and blacken them. We can hurl them at health care workers and insured patients as they scurry past us to get inside.
 
Will you take your anger to the polls and vote against war mongering politicians? Every night I go to sleep with my crooked teeth and every morning I wake up with my jaw clenched so tight I can't see straight, so many innocent lives are being lost. Is that the nature of the world? We all do what we can, except we don't.
 
I would join your protests over this boy's death but I doubt you'll organize any. Somehow I can't see you aiming your bullhorns at Maryland in one collective outcry of anger and grief the same way you flocked to Florida and wailed outside the window of a grown woman who wanted to die. Somewhere in South Dakota there's a terrified 19 year-old girl with a toilet full of morning sickness, no boyfriend and no money. Let us pray.