The Death of George Tiller should be troubling to everyone, regardless of how they feel about what he did for a living.
For those who aren’t familiar with his story, Dr. George Tiller was a specialist in late-term abortions out of his clinic in Wichita Kansas. He was shot dead while serving as an usher in a Wichita Lutheran Church on May 31 in cold blood. The police have arrested a suspect in connection with the murder.
This wasn’t the first attempt on Tiller’s life, nor on the lives of others who perform similar tasks. He had been targeted a number of times in the past by anti-abortion rights groups. Tiller regularly received death threats, and those threats culminated first In 1986, when his workplace was destroyed by an explosive, and again in 1993 when he was shot in both arms. Including Tiller, more than eight abortion clinic employees have been killed by pro-life violence in the last two decades, and many more have been injured, targeted, and threatened.
This situation hits close to home for me. I was born to a pair of parents that hadn’t yet graduated high school, and they had every right back in 1990 to have me aborted (before viability), but they instead chose to give me up for adoption. Had my biological parents chosen differently, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to write this opinion piece.
Regardless of your stance on abortion, what George Tiller did was allowed by law. The person who attacked him on the morning May 31 were no better than the terrorists our soldiers are fighting in Iraq. I don’t understand how people who value life so much to rally so strongly for a fetus’ chance at life, could consider killing another human being. To quote Jon Stewart, “If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.”
This is supposed to be a country where people are free to think what they think, and the people make the laws. If one feels so strongly about late-term abortions, they should become a politician and make it illegal, not shoot a figurehead in the face during a church sermon.
The most troubling aspect of the situation is the reaction from a number of talk show hosts and pundits. Popular Fox host Bill O’Reilly spent the three days after Tiller’s death implying that he got what he deserved, only denouncing the vigilante attack after facing pressure from the public to do so. Book author Ann Coulter also has been hesitant to denounce the murder, instead saying “As long as we’re deciding who does and doesn’t have an ‘absolute right to be born,’ who’s to say late-term abortionists have an ‘absolute right’ to live”?
These two talking faces are doing nothing more than promoting extremism. No matter what their opinion on abortion might be, their first instinct should be to denounce murder, but it seems that they are okay with terrorism as long as it lines up with their beliefs. It is a trend that needs to end. I may not be an advocate for abortion, but I am certainly not an advocate for vigilantism.