Abortion doctor killed in Kansas

May 31, 2009 • 1:21 pm

The latest news flash is that Dr. George Tiller, a well known abortion-providing doctor in Kansas, has been shot and killed — while going to church, of all places.

Media reports said the suspected killer fled the scene in a blue Taurus. Police described him as a white male in his 50s or 60s.

Tiller has been among the few U.S. physicians performing late-term abortion, making him a favored target of anti-abortion protesters. He testified that he and his family have suffered years of harassment and threats. His clinic was the site of the 1991 “Summer of Mercy” protests marked by mass demonstrations and arrests. His clinic was bombed in 1985, and an abortion opponent shot him in both arms in 1993.  Tiller’s clinic also provided group and individual counseling, as well as chaplain and funeral services for people who were grieving.

Operation Rescue, which ran a “Tiller Watch” on its website (subsite now taken down!), and has targeted him for action for twenty years,  issued a statement:

“We are shocked at this morning’s disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down. Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller’s family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ.”

This reminds me of Captain Renault’s tongue-in-cheek statement in Casablanca, “I’m shocked — shocked — to find out that gambling is going on here.”  Operation Rescue has had a long history of tacitly condoning or excusing vigilante action, and once had the slogan “If you believe abortion is murder, act like it’s murder.” Tiller’s murder is the forseeable result of targeting him on the website.

Operation Rescue’s statement is equally offensive in claiming that Tiller’s family will be able to find comfort and healing only in Jesus Christ.  That’s baloney.  Plenty of people find comfort and healing through their family, friends, and so on.  One might indeed speculate that someone’s faith in Jesus Christ is what lead to Tiller’s murder in the first place.
There is plenty of room for reasoned disagreement about the morality of abortion, but there is no room for settling these disagreements through murder.

Note: I have received several posts approving of Tiller’s murder and expressing desires that he rot in hell. I will not post these here, nor any other post that countenances murder. I have never before received such hate-filled posts. Draw your own conclusions about where they came from.

22 thoughts on “Abortion doctor killed in Kansas

  1. The filth of the fundamentalists will go to any length to force their aberrant world view on others.

    To paraphrase:

    It takes religion to drive a normal person to commit murder.

    1. —“It takes religion to drive a normal person to commit murder.”—

      Even though I don’t necessarily disagree, given what the topic is, I am however starting to have concern over how I’m seeing these ideas thrown around these days. I doubt highly you or Jerry Coyne care, and would rather put that sentence on flag and wave it around town (don’t take me to literally, though… Weinberg’s certainly; “But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” Though, incompleteness still applies, no matter how cute).

      As a general statement it is certainly incomplete, as are many others like it. Do I really need to start reminding atheist that there are more things besides religion that cause people to do ‘evil’? The response of reciting the evils done in the name of religion is no rebuttal at all.

      1. First of all I said paraphrase, because I didn’t feel like looking it up while angry. Of course there are other things besides religion that cause people to do evil, although a look around the world right now will show that a majority of the evil is done in the name of religion. The response of reciting those that are not is no rebuttal at all.

  2. Operation Rescue can go to hell. It’s because of psychotic people like them that this man is dead. And like they give a damn!! I’m sure that they’re partying today.

    If his death is in any way connected to what they’ve put out there, I suggest that they be charged with aiding and abetting murder.

  3. You may not agree with this, but the doctor was not doing anything legally wrong. Breaking the law to stop someone who was not breaking the law, all it does is hurt the anti-abortion movement, maybe a short term feel good for the anti-abortionist but all it really does is suggest that this anti-abortion movement smacks of being an armed violent radical group with perhaps some sort of organized assasin training and anyone not agreeing with their position will be hunted down and murdered. Kinda reminds me of the Neo Nazis, the KKK, the Weathermen, Black Panthers. To whip this person up enough so that murder takes place, all this does is to conjur up visions of a bonfire rally taking place in some corn field, drinking moonshine, spewing hatred, and perhaps have this murderer be selected as “God’s chosen one” to do God’s work.

    1. Skeetz,
      Let’s describe exactly what the doctor was doing. Letting babies go to full-term and then killing them. So it wasn’t legally wrong. Doesn’t make it morally correct. I’m definitely not defending the suspect in the abortionist’s killing. Just don’t lose perspective and forget about the atrocities this guy committed in the name of “choice”. http://littlehumans.wordpress.com/

      1. Mike, you are aware those late-term abortions were performed to save the life of the mother, yes?

      2. Skeetz,

        You’re a righteous, ignorant fool. Dr. Tiller was not allowing the “babies go to full-term and then killing them.”

        You think Dr Tiller advised the women after 8 weeks along to wait it out for another 30 weeks or so before they consider abortion? These were rare situations that put woman’s life at risk. You know nothing of the law, the morals or procedures in question so STFU

      3. Mike

        Let’s get together and talk about when you were young, single, pregnant and scared and made the difficult decision to carry the fetus to term. Let’s talk about how painful the delivery was, but having the baby was the best decision you ever made. Let’s talk about how supportive family and friends were during your pregnancy and after and how you would advise any pregnant man you know, “go ahead, have the the baby, man; you will never regret it.”

  4. Well, we don’t know it was an anti-abortion guy, I guess an abortion doctor can have other enemies. But it probably was.

  5. This from today’s NY Times:

    Scott Roeder, 51, of Merriam, Kan., whom authorities have described as a suspect in Sunday’s fatal shooting here of George Tiller, the doctor who had been a focal point for abortion opponents for decades, was once a subscriber and occasional contributor to a newsletter, Prayer and Action News, said to Dave Leach, an anti-abortion activist from Des Moines who runs the newsletter. Mr. Leach said he and Mr. Roeder had met once, and Mr. Roeder had described similar views to his own. Of Dr. Tiller’s death, Mr. Leach said, “To call this a crime is too simplistic,” adding, “There is Christian scripture that would support this.”

  6. The hypocrisy of some religious people is astounding. They avenge what they consider murder by committing it themselves.

    1. Yes, it is astounding. I wonder if this is due to the effect of trying to justify some of the irrational beliefs of some religions with the realities of the modern world.

      If one has to segment ones mind into a duality, does this cause somewhat of a separate personality? Is that why someone can condemn an action as murderous and unacceptable, but then commit murder themselves?

  7. LOC, does it really matter whether the baby is at 9 weeks or 9 months? The fact remains that an abortion kills that baby. I didn’t say that Dr. Tiller was counseling mothers who were only 8 weeks along to wait until they’re 30 or so weeks and then have the abortion. What I was saying was simply that he killed babies when they were close to full term. You are correct that these procedures put the mother’s life at risk. Oh, and don’t forget the risk to the baby.

    Veronica, sorry, but you can’t discount the argument against abortion by simply saying I’ve never been pregnant. Your whole argument is built on emotions–“scared”, “difficult”, “painful”. Try looking at the facts that the “fetus” you refer to is a living being. It is not the fault of the baby what the circumstances were when conception occurred. And there are plenty of organizations out there that will help new mothers, either with taking care of their baby or helping them put it up for adoption.

  8. Mike,

    If the gestational age doesn’t matter, than why did you post “Letting babies go to full-term and then killing them.” To bolster your argument perhaps?

    I wouldn’t expect you to be able to comprehend the development of a fetus (not baby).

    Be honest, if there was a fire and you were in a facility where there were 100 crying neonates and a freezer full of 1000’s of blastocysts, would you reach for the freezer door?

  9. I think it’s important to note that Dr. Tiller’s late-term abortions did not enjoy blanket protection under Roe v. Wade because they took place well after the average time period after which a fetus is considered “viable”.

    In fact, abortions of viable fetuses are against Kansas law unless two independent doctors certify that continuing the pregnancy will cause “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

    Despite several attempts to try Dr. Tiller, Kansas was unable to convict him of any wrongdoing.

    This leads me to believe that one of the following must be true:
    – The Kansas population is more liberal on the topic of late-term abortions than we think.
    – The Kansas jury pool is more liberal than the general population on the matter.
    – The Kansas AG is completely incompetent (I mean like Sheriff Rosco incompetent).
    – Dr. Tiller was abiding by the law, and the late term abortions he performed where deemed necessary.

  10. Mike,

    Is it that difficult for you to comprehend that the “late term abortions” that you speak of were performed on women who had a fetus that was NOT viable?

    The problem with pro-lifers is that they think every pregnancy results in a healthy fetus. Every pregnancy is different. There are medical issues that arise that make late term abortions necessary.

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