“Pro-life” terrorist assassinates Dr George Tiller in Wichita

Dr Tiller was one of the few doctors in the USA providing late term abortions (SotBO: which are sometimes sadly necessary and usually involve a traumatic crisis in a wanted pregnancy. ETA: Tiller specialised in termination surgery which preserved women’s fertility as well as their lives in these heartbreaking circumstances. Because of successful intimidation through murderous violence of abortion providers in the USA, his was one of only two clinics in the country providing these specialist services.) He has long been a target of anti-choice activism, including being shot before.

He was murdered as he attended his church for the Sunday morning service. A suspect is now in custody. UPDATE: The suspect has been identified as one Scott Roeder and charged with murder. Investigations by bloggers have uncovered someone of the same name who has a history of tax protesting, bomb-making (charged and convicted) and online anti-abortion activism.

From BitchPhD:

Thus ends years of persecution of a righteous man, including a murder attempt, a bombing, vandalism, bullshit legal cases, and harassment by the KS attorney general. Just last month his clinic was vandalized again.

R.I.P., Dr. Tiller. And thank you for dedicating, and sacrificing, your life for the women you helped.

Condolences to his family and many friends.

This is not just a vigilante loner acting out. This is the result of a culture of demonising abortion and painting those who provide it as depraved monsters. This is what that reaps.

More from Cara at Feministe, Feministing,the NY Times, Matt Yglesias, SarahMC, Andrew Sullivan, Bastard.Logic, Pandagon, Pro-Science, Pharyngula (and again).

Jill at Feministe suggests honouring his memory by donating to one or more of a list of pro-choice charities.

Categories: arts & entertainment, culture wars, ethics & philosophy, law & order, social justice, violence

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10 replies

  1. In comments elsewhere it was pointed out that the first murder attempt on Dr Tiller came 8 months into the first Clinton presidency.
    This successful attack came 4 months after Obama’s inauguration.
    Elect a pro-choice president and the Limbaughs and O’Reillys on right-wing talkback and opinion shows escalate the hate rhetoric until someone in their demographic feels compelled to act. They will of course utterly deny that there is any connection.

  2. A testimonial from a former client, found in comments at Balloon Juice:

    In 1994 my wife and I found out that she was pregnant. The pregnancy was difficult and unusually uncomfortable but her doctor repeatedly told her things were fine. Sometime early in the 8th month my wife, an RN who at the time was working in an infertility clinic asked the Dr. she was working for what he thought of her discomfort. He examined her and said that he couldn’t be certain but thought that she might be having twins. We were thrilled and couldn’t wait to get a new sonogram that hopefully would confirm his thoughts. Two days later our joy was turned to unspeakable sadness when the new sonogram showed conjoined twins. Conjoined twins alone is not what was so difficult but the way they were joined meant that at best only one child would survive the surgery to separate them and the survivor would more than likely live a brief and painful life filled with surgery and organ transplants. We were advised that our options were to deliver into the world a child who’s life would be filled with horrible pain and suffering or fly out to Wichita Kansas and to terminate the pregnancy under the direction of Dr. George Tiller.
    We made an informed decision to go to Kansas. One can only imagine the pain borne by a woman who happily carries a child for 8 months only to find out near the end of term that the children were not to be and that she had to make the decision to terminate the pregnancy and go against everything she had been taught to believe was right. This was what my wife had to do. Dr. Tiller is a true American hero. The nightmare of our decision and the aftermath was only made bearable by the warmth and compassion of Dr. Tiller and his remarkable staff. Dr. Tiller understood that this decision was the most difficult thing that a woman could ever decide and he took the time to educate us and guide us along with the other two couples who at the time were being forced to make the same decision after discovering that they too were carrying children impacted by horrible fetal anomalies. I could describe in great detail the procedures and the pain and suffering that everyone is subjected to in these situations. However, that is not the point of the post. We can all imagine that this is not something that we would wish on anyone. The point is that the pain and suffering were only mitigated by the compassion and competence of Dr. George Tiller and his staff. We are all diminished today for a host of reasons but most of all because a man of great compassion and courage has been lost to the world.

  3. Best comment I’ve read so far today apart from the above, from Pandagon:

    kristin on 06/01 at 03:21 AM
    I think it’s crucial, right now, how we respond to the “pro-life” people who are genuinely shocked and upset by this murder. This is the face of the anti-choice movement. This is what it’s about. It’s about murdering doctors who save women, because they want women to die in childbirth.
    By which I don’t mean, of course, that most individual anti-choicers think it’s a good thing to murder doctors or for women to die in childbirth. The anti-choice movement has this PR thing sewn up. They have hordes of basically well-meaning, kind, decent individuals actively supporting a movement that if it succeeded would mean the bloody deaths of thousands of women. And yet these are people who would be absolutely horrified to think that they contributed to the death of even one woman.
    So we need to start being very clear about what exactly the anti-choice agenda entails. We need to take this opportunity to be aggressive about calling a spade a spade. We need to use language that includes phrases like “forced pregnancy,” “forced birth”, “want women to die of pregnancy complications”, “medically necessary care”, “livesaving procedure”. We need to completely drop the term “pro-life”; that’s their playing field, they created it, and if you try to play on it you’re a sucker. This agenda is an anti-choice agenda. It’s an anti-medical-care agenda. It’s a pro-women-suffering agenda.
    Dr Tiller’s murder is an opportunity to engage with the well-meaning but clueless anti-choicers in our lives and lead them to confront what’s really going on. It’s a wakeup call for the “baybeeeeeeeez” people. Nice people like them shouldn’t be connected to an ugly, hateful movement like this one.
    My MIL is anti-choice. She goes with groups to pray in front of women’s health clinics that perform abortions. When my husband told her about Dr Tiller, and explained that late-term abortions are done for lifesaving reasons and that the anti-“partial birth” bills refuse to acknowledge that fact, she was shaken and shocked. She said she was going to seriously rethink donating to her anti-choice organizations. It’s the most pro-choice thing that ever came out of her mouth in 70 years, I’m sure, and I’m really proud of her.

  4. Feministe has a thread on where Americans can donate, and in comments there are some suggestions of groups in other countries. Australian pro-choice groups include:
    Marie Stopes International Australia
    Children By Choice’s Women’s Access Fund
    Your State Family Planning org
    Reproductive Choice Australia

  5. Having read around the links and comments, I’m still amazed that there are people out there who genuinely seem to believe that abortion really IS available on demand (drive-thru service, perhaps?) and are dispensed as casually as chewing gum.
    DeusExMacintosh’s last blog post..Selective Termination

  6. @ DeusExMacintosh:
    The post I linked to in yesterday’s Femmostroppo about how anti-legal-abortion women cope with their own unwanted pregnancies showed examples of some of this thinking: expecting a separate back door entry so that no-one would confuse them with Those Unworthy Sluts Who Were Just Using Abortion As Birth Control, wanting to have a separate waiting room from TUSWWJUAABC, becoming outraged if other women in the waiting room chatted normally or shared a laugh because it “proved” that they weren’t taking it seriously, being really surprised that they were expected to undergo questioning and counselling to show the clinic that they really wanted a termination as their own choice (surely it should be obvious that they had thought things through properly) etc etc etc.

  7. And yet there is no one out there going on about how Christianity is a religion of violence.

  8. No one in the MSM, Mindy. It’s an important distinction. Try Violet Socks at Reclusive Leftist.

  9. I hate that too, Mindy, that we often hear of islamic extremists but never christian extremists.

  10. Yes, thanks Tigtog, I read that and was ROTFLMAO for ages. It took all my self-control not to post the link over on my skepticlawyer thread when saint described those seeking Tiller’s services as “the emotionally distraught, the cowardly and the self-centred”.
    DeusExMacintosh’s last blog post..Selective Termination

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