Death of an Abortionist

June 3rd, 2009

The headline of an opinion column written by James Kirchick in The Wall Street Journal reads: “The Religious Right Didn’t Kill George Tiller.” Of course that’s an accurate statement but the underlying sentiment — the “story” in the piece — is that anti-abortion activists are completely blameless, and that’s absurd.

When you use an emotional issue to stir up powerful sentiments, as the anti-abortion crowd does so well, and when, on a daily basis, you suggest and even call abortion doctors murderers — you need to take some of the blame for the death of anyone associated with abortions. It’s not hard to imagine a court of law finding all of them accessories before the fact.

Granted, most anti-abortion crusaders are not violent people, and just hours after the death of George Tiller the head people of every main-stream anti-abortion movement denounced the murder — and then they began distancing their actions and their approaches from any act of murder. So rather than looking at the hate they stir up, at the revolting literature they happily pass out, at the power they possess in the media, at the fact that the only basis they have for doing what they do are their personal religious beliefs — rather than taking responsibility for their own actions, they just stand on the balcony and wash their hands of any involvement.

Sorry, guys, that blood on your hands won’t wash off.

Tiller’s murderer now has a name. According to the article, “Tiller’s alleged killer, Scott Roeder, is a long-time radical antiabortion activist with reported ties to a militant antigovernment organization called the Freemen.” The “Freemen” is certainly an interesting choice for the name of an organization that advocates the denial of a basic right to pregnant females:  the right to complete control of their own body functions.

There are some on the far left who compare anti-abortion crusaders with terrorists, and that’s patently ridiculous. What anti-abortion crusaders are are provocateurs — they are simply agitators who loudly and graphically oppose a woman’s right to an abortion and try to pray that right out of existence. They sound the rallying cry for individual terrorists like Roeder and the organized ones like the Freemen. But since they perform no violent acts themselves, the anti-abortion crusaders manage to escape the appellation “terrorist.”

News links:

The Religious Right Didn’t Kill George Tiller, Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal
Clinics in the Cross Hairs, The Washington Post

Blog links:

Thoughts on Dr. George Tiller, Where’s The Outrage?
what should a pro-life Christian think about abortionist George Tiller’s murder?, Abigail’s Leftovers

(This article was also posted at My View from the Center.)

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10 Responses to “Death of an Abortionist”

  1. Larry |

    Not everyone feels as you do. Until his very timely death I had not heard of Tiller the Killer, nor did I know that he had personally done over 60,000 abortions. According to the media reports, “Doctor Death” specialized in so-called Late Term abortions. Late Term, as you know, includes the infamous Partial Birth Abortions.
    Your right about the sudden manner of his death. It was far to easy. I would much rather have seen the good doctor have to suffer for a very long time before leaving this life.

  2. doris |

    Now, I don’t think anyone, except a desperate woman, is for partial birth abortion, but just why does an unborn fetus, baby, deserve to live more than a doctor who is trying to help desperate women? He did not commit murder, as abortions are legal last time I checked, like his murderer did. This doesn’t do anything for their cause but make them no better, no, worse than the abortionists, they are murderers. A woman must have the right to her own body, do you not remember coat hanger deaths in back alleys? There will always be doctors who will perform abortions, and at least these are sanitary and safe for the mothers, some of whom are children themselves. Abortions must remain legal because they will never stop happening, and they must be sanitary. Can’t you understand that most of these babies are unwanted and maybe even hated and not adoptable, as most of our great anti-abortionists don’t want to raise them, and most want children from other countries to adopt. I say make every anti-abortionist take a baby that would be aborted and raise them, regardless of ethnicity or deformities.

  3. Tom |

    Harvey, you need to re-think your position — you seem to be justifying murder. No one has the right to take the life of another human being because he disagrees with him or what he does. Even if Tiller sometimes operated outside Kansas law in performing late-term abortions, as some have speculated, that doesn’t excuse murdering him.

    Even though I’m personally pro-choice, I agree that late-term abortions, particularly those performed after a baby has been partially delivered, are horrendous. It’s almost impossible to conceive of a circumstance involving the mother’s health that would make such procedures appropriate, although there may be a few rare instances. In any case, those who disagree with what the law permits must limit their opposition to attempting to change the law.

  4. Slapinions |

    “Can’t you understand that most of these babies are unwanted and maybe even hated and not adoptable, as most of our great anti-abortionists don’t want to raise them, and most want children from other countries to adopt. I say make every anti-abortionist take a baby that would be aborted and raise them, regardless of ethnicity or deformities.”

    In the case of the above, wouldn’t the moral duty fall on the shoulders of the *pro*-abortion crowd? If you argue that they are doing it to prevent unwanted and hated (?) babies from having a difficult life, then shouldn’t you be compelled to adopt or help raise them yourself?

  5. doris |

    No, I am pro-choice, thus allowing the mother to abort her unwanted child. I am not forcing her or me or you to foot the bill for her stupidity. You, however, must pay for your decision to force her to keep the unwanted child. Who will pay for 18 years of support and care of said child? Not I, I vote for her to abort; you, however, will foot the bill so it can live. The government must stay out of our bodies.

  6. Kevin |

    I think I pretty much agree with Harvey across the board on this one.

    Most of the commentary about this murder coming from conservatives has struck me as morally convoluted and generally reprehensible. But I did find a gem that really stuck out: Brutal murder by a domestic terrorist

    I don’t agree with everything he says but his basic handling of the morality of the situations is, IMO, defensible and respectable.

  7. Harvey |


    If I implied that Tiller’s death was “too easy” it must have been a typo. I supported the doctor and didn’t wish him any pain!

    You’re, of course, right that not everyone feels as I do — not surprising when you consider that I form my own opinions based on what I feel is logical and right — they are not opinions handed down for centuries in sacred texts.


    What an excellent point: “He did not commit murder, as abortions are legal last time I checked, like his murderer did.” And he didn’t deserve to die as some people imply and others state flat out.

    Perhaps some (many) are not old enough to remember the “coathanger” abortions and, for some reason, don’t understand that abortions have been around longer than the laws that now protect women from mutilation by amateurs.


    I have never justified murder — I don’t see an abortion as a murder and neither, in case your emotional reaction made you forget . . . and neither does the law! The only murder committed here was the murder of a doctor who believed that unwanted children shouldn’t be forced into the world. As to rethinking my position — I do that every time I bother trying to get people to see my point of view — I’ve rethought it dozens of times now, and it always comes out the same.

    Abortions, as you say, are best avoided and late term abortions are, I agree, very ugly and the only reason most people know that is because of the literature produced and distributed by people who want the legal procedure outlawed! It would be nice if every woman (and girl) who became pregnant wanted her child born but that’s as unrealistic as expecting every woman to want to give birth to four kids.

    Kevin and Doris,

    I’m sure the three of us have the right perspective on this subject — but so do them other guys and girls. It’s a no win subject but its good to ruffle the pro-life-at-any-cost feathers every now and then.

    I’ve said many times that IMO medical procedures are the business of a patient and his or her licensed physician; the government should have no involvement at all. Religion will naturally be involved to the extent that the individual patient is religious but religion is (or should be) a matter of free choice.

  8. Kevin |

    It needs to be pointed out here that not every abortion is about an unwanted pregnancy. There are a variety of medical reasons why abortions are performed and which have nothing to do with the desire to have a child or not. That applies all the moreso to late-term abortions.

    Off the cuff here I would say that I strongly suspect that the majority of elective abortions are performed early on and that the later term an abortion gets performed the more likely it is that it was medically indicated for one reason or another.

    I read a comment in the Portland Oregonian (newspaper of record in Oregon) where a woman discussed a particular type of fetal congenital defect where many birthing centers have special programs typically chosen by devout Christians for allowing the fetus to be birthed and then allowed to die naturally and there are apparently funeral or similar arrangements designed to be highly sensitive to the parents grieving. Less religious people like the woman making the comment choose an abortion under the exact same congenital defect circumstances. Either way the fetus or dies dies. The only thing that the abortion changes is the manner.

    That’s just one example. The point being that it’s actually not true to paint all abortions with the disinterested parent brush.

  9. Tom |

    Harvey, my apologies! My earlier comment was meant for Larry, and I somehow had a mental moment and typed your name. I agree with your excellent article and everything you wrote.

  10. Harvey |


    That certainly clears things up! Thanks!

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