Monday, June 01, 2009

The murder of George Tiller

Cross posted from The F Word who put it far better than I:


On Sunday morning, US gynaecologist George Tiller was murdered. He was one of the few providers of late-term abortions in the US.

Christine at Our Bodies Ourselves gives some background - Tiller had faced many years of persecution:

In March, Tiller was found not guilty of illegal abortion. He had faced 19 criminal charges for allegedly violating a state law requiring an “independent” second physician’s concurring opinion before performing later term abortions.

“Tiller, 67, is one of a handful of doctors in the country who terminate very late-term pregnancies and has virtually become public enemy No. 1 to those who oppose abortion. For years, prosecutors and activists have tried to bring him down, and for years, Tiller has survived legal and physical challenges,” wrote Robin Abcarian in a L.A. Times story previewing the trial.

Tiller was shot in both arms in 1993; Rachelle Shannon remains in jail for the shooting. The clinic was bombed in June 1986, and vandals caused extensive damage, including flooding, to the building earlier this month.

“For almost two decades, Dr. Tiller and those individuals who helped provide care to his patients have lived under intense harassment tinged with persistent threats of violence,” Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement issued today. “Even under these adverse circumstances, Dr. Tiller never wavered in his commitment to providing abortion services and other reproductive health care to women and their families, often in the most difficult and heart-breaking circumstances.”

Sara at Bilerico says:

Dr. Tiller faced a lifetime of threats. His clinic was bombed in 1985. He still continued his work because he was saving lives. And one of the few willing to take the constant abuse thrown at him and his family.

Walking into church, a sanctuary if nothing else, he was shot and killed. I am certain the shooter believes he has saved countless babies lives. I am also certain he has cost countless women’s lives.

Shot dead in front of his wife and daughter.

I no longer stand vigil at clinics. I believe deeply, though, that the right to choose was essential in the battle for women’s rights, regardless of whether or not a woman would ever be in the position of making that choice.

No woman ever makes the choice lightly.

Our bodies. Our choices. Over the years, the anti-abortion groups have pressured so many decent doctors out of providing safe access to a medical procedure. Few are brave enough to continue.

Dr. Tiller was brave enough.

My deepest condolences to his family.


You are not pro life if you murder someone. You are only pro your own views. You do not get to say who deserves to live or die.

Yes, I am aware many anti abortion campaigners would take my words and apply them to doctors carrying out these procedures. Abortion is a complicated issue. I think that until you are in that position you never know what you will do. I also think it is a choice for the woman, and the woman only. Our bodies, our lives, our health.


When Fangirls said...

Completely agreed. The whole thing makes me sick.

Bookwormwithanattitude said...

Oops, uh, that was me. I don't speak for Maddy and Julie.

Sea-of-Green said...

The thing that gets me about the entire abortion argument is that (in Western civilization, at least) it's been going on for over two thousand years! The ancient Roman poet Ovid was anti-abortion, and wrote about it, YEARS before Christ was born -- so you can't really blame the "pro-life" movement on Christians.

Whenever abortion is made illegal or hard to obtain, the number of women (and their babies) dying from complications or back-alley abortions goes up. Also, the abandonment of babies (and their all-too-often related deaths) goes up. Just look at that poor baby that was found in a box by a Florida roadway over the weekend. And whenever abortion is made legal, the public gets into a self-righteous moral stink over it because they (mistakenly) think making it illegal will make it "go away." It's a vicious cycle that's been played out over and over and over again for centuries.

And with their current collective attitudes, modern populations are arrogantly wrong if they think they can solve what the ancients couldn't. It will take a major, profound, collective change in attitude AND culture for the issue to ever be solved to everyone's satisfaction.

Saranga said...

sea of Green: Too right. Whatever you may think about abortions, women will continue to get them. Moralising about how bad it is will not change this.
Somewhat similar to the whole underage/unmarried sex thing. People are going to do it, so give them information about the health risks, educate them and make it as safe as possible. Otherwise people die.

cerebus660 said...

Like you I find it unbelievable that someone will murder another human being in the cause of "pro-life". Abortions bad, killing abortionists good? This has to be the ultimate in Orwellian "Doublethink".