Another day, another abortion ban struck down. I am happy to see it happen, but frustrated at the vast sums of money and energy and time that are spent in the effort to keep women from having reproductive freedom in this country. I know it’s been said before, but it is so absurd to me that these resources aren’t directed toward things that would educate and support women and girls instead of punishing them.
I heard a story yesterday about a clinic in Montana that was so severely vandalized a year ago that it had to be shut down. And since the woman who has run the clinic for over thirty years can’t really afford to revive it, women in the Flathead region of that state are forced to drive 120 miles each way to receive care. Not just abortions, but any kind of reproductive health care, because the clinic provided a huge range of services to women in that rural area, like most clinics that are targeted by anti-choice lawmakers and protestors alike.
Toward the end of the story, the reporter noted that the man who destroyed the clinic was sentenced to 20 years in prison – fifteen of them deferred – and forced to pay restitution. I won’t get into the sentence that was handed down for a variety of reasons, but the notion of restitution was what piqued my interest. So many questions flitted through my head:
- like squeezing blood from a turnip. I wonder how much money he has, anyway, to pay restitution. Do you suppose it will ever be fully repaid?
- restitution to whom? To the clinic owner? To the staff that lost their jobs? To the scores of women whose lives are affected by his act? Does he have to give them gas money to get to Missoula? Does he have to pay child support for all of the babies that were born to mothers who now have no option but to raise them?
- how do you calculate the proper amount of restitution to compensate for the trauma someone suffers when their life’s work is brutally destroyed?