On the Murder of Dr. George Tiller

Anna Clark

While of course everybody has the right to personally oppose abortion, the killing and harassment of Dr. Tiller is beyond the pale. The hypocrisy of murder being the recourse of someone who is "pro-life" is so evident it barely needs discussing.

(cross-posted at Isak)

Many have heard the really terrifying news that Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider in Kansas, was gunned down this morning while he attended services at his Lutheran church in Wichita.

At this writing, a suspect has just been taken into custody.

The
chilling fact of Dr. Tiller’s death comes after years of being
terrorized: he’s had his clinic
bombed, flooded and vandalized; received decades of death threats; endured wild
lawsuits; and was the unfortunate target of conservative media that
hounded him. He’d also been shot before (in both arms)–and went back to work the next day.

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While
of course everybody has the right to personally oppose abortion, the
killing and harassment of Dr. Tiller is beyond the pale. (I’ve
articulated my own pro-choice feelings about abortion here, here, and here). The hypocrisy of murder being the recourse of someone who is "pro-life" is so evident it barely needs discussing.

What
does need emphasizing: Dr. Tiller’s courage in persevering with his
work–his commitment to the women who came to him–even in the face of
such cruelty is astonishing. His murder comes down in my mind to an act
of terrorism; it is, after all, intended to send a fearful message to
other abortion providers or advocates or women who seek abortions.
(Matthew Yglesias makes a powerful point about how effective this is.)

As Feministe points out,
this is the first direct shooting of an abortion provider in more than
a decade (after a fearful spate of them through most of the 1990s),
though the anniversary of Roe v. Wade last January saw one man smashing his SUV into a St. Paul clinic full of patients and employees. It seems that clinic bombings and murders increase substantially during pro-choice administrations.

A candlelight vigil in honor of Dr. Tiller is planned in Wichita tonight at 8pm in Old Town Square. Find more info on Facebook.

As
well, this is a wonderful time to donate and volunteer our time to
organizations that have Tiller-esque courage and compassion. Consider
showing your love for these favorites of mine:

Read more about Dr. Tiller–his life, work, and death–here:

 

Peace, my friends. Peace.

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