Sunday, May 31, 2009

George Tiller murder

Once again my humble state is making the news as the land of whack jobs. This time it's not the ones fighting evolution or protesting funerals to register your hatred for gay people but one Kansan shooting another Kansan because he provided abortions and, in particular, one of the few in the country who provided late-term abortions.

I grew up hearing about George Tiller. I can still remember watching the footage of the "Summer of Mercy" protests in '91. These protests were organized by a group called Operation Rescue that was founded by a guy named Randall Terry. During these protests thousands of protester descended on Wichita and nearly 3,000 arrests were made during the several weeks that this went on.

Two years later a woman walked up to George Tiller and shot him in each of his arms. A few years earlier his clinic was bombed so it's not like he was a stranger to violence yet he continued to be a tireless advocate for women's health issues (not just abortion).

My own personal views on abortion might be described as conflicted. Because I view it as a moral and health issue I think that the option should remain legal. I think many abortions could be prevented through education and the availability of contraceptives which is why it always strikes me as odd that many of the most vehement anti-abortion protesters are also against this type of education and dissemination of birth control.

It seems equally messed up that supposed "pro-lifers" continue to perpetrate this type of violence. There seems to be an increase in this type of violence as it reminds me of the shooting in Knoxville, Tennessee that also took place at a "liberal" church or a lot of the violent rhetoric aimed at our government. Nearly all of the anti-abortion groups out there condemned the killing (except for good old Randall Terry who took another opportunity to call Tiller a "mass murderer") but is there responsibility for their positions that demonize their opponents? In other words how often do they have to say "will someone rid me of this meddlesome priest" before they're held somewhat responsible when someone takes action on their words?

Either way it's a tragedy that this father and grandfather was gunned down in his own church in an action that will inevitably cause the chasm between these two groups to widen.

Update: My state may be full of whackos but at least we can spell.

1 Comments:

Blogger rcombs said...

Dude. I am so disturbed by this. I didn't even know about it till I was driving around today and NPR said they would be doing a report from Wichita Kansas later about Dr. Tiller's murder. I'm so shocked and just...sad. This shit is just sad and so so so so wrong. He was a champion for women's health in the middle of KS despite all the violence used to intimidate him. He would not allow these wackos to stop him from providing these much needed services to women of KS and around the country who came to him for help. Regardless of what anyone thinks about abortion, the fact of the matter is that George Tiller provided late term abortions to women whose lives were in danger due to pregnancy or who were carrying fetuses with severe genetic diseases. It was also routine procedure in his office that a sonogram be done before a woman consented to an abortion. He didn't take abortion lightly, by any stretch of the imagination. He saw a serious need and he filled it. The tearful woman interviewed in front of his clinic summed it up pretty well: "He helped a lot of desperate women. A lot of desperate women."

10:53 PM  

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