Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Are We Back to Assassinating Abortion Doctors?

Well, it appears that Dr. George Tiller, M.D., of Witchita, KS, a physician who would perform abortions, has been assassinated in his church by a “pro-life” activist.  We’re back to this.  A number of clinics where abortions were performed were bombed in the ’80s and there were a number of doctors and clinic personnel killed in the ’90s by anti-abortion activists.  This form of domestic terrorism then died out.  Anti-abortion activists stopped comparing such actions to attempts to assassinate Hitler during the Holocaust. 

But we’re back to it, it seems. 

I don’t think this is typical of the pro-life movement, but I have talked to many in it who seem happy that this kind of violence intimidates many doctors and hospitals into refusing to provide abortion services.  It is terrorism which works.

I connect this murder not to the mainstream movement against abortion, but to the rise in rightwing extremist violence that began late in last year’s presidential campaign–and includes the mass murder in a Unitarian church in Tennessee just after the election because “liberals gather there” and the murderer could not get to high profile liberals like Obama.  This kind of rightwing violence is being fomented by the ravings of those like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh who dominate much of American airwaves.

There is nothing “pro-life” about assassinations. It is not “justifiable homicide” no matter what one’s views of abortions are.  It is domestic terrorism. 

There is also nothing Christian about this.  I understand opposition to abortion.  For most of my life I believed all abortions were morally wrong and I still believe that most abortions are immoral, but some are tragically the best of bad options.  But killing “the born” to prevent killing “the pre-born” (as anti-abortionists refer to gestating fetuses) is a betrayal of anything pro-life.  It simply adds to the cycle of violence.

June 1, 2009 Posted by | abortion, assassination, terrorism prevention | 23 Comments