The Murder of Dr. Tiller
June 2, 2009
On Sunday, Dr. George R. Tiller, a late-term abortion provider in Kansas, was murdered while attending church services. For years, Dr. Tiller had been threatened and harassed by anti-abortion supporters: He was shot in both arms and his clinic was bombed and vandalized.
Dr. Tiller’s murder comes a few weeks after President Obama called on Americans to have an open and honest debate on abortion. Obama said he was “shocked and outraged” by the murder. “However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence,” he said.
We often forget about the power of words. Dr. Tiller was called a “murderer” and “baby killer,” and his murder is a tragic example of how words can incite violence. While Tiller was physically and verbally attacked, not all people who are anti-choice condone violence. In fact, Operation Rescue, an anti-choice organization, has spoken out strongly against the murder of Dr. Tiller. And while people on both sides of the abortion issue feel very strongly, we can all agree that violence is never the answer.
It would be great if we—whether we’re pro- or anti-choice—could come together in support of preventing unplanned pregnancies and addressing those hard ethical questions that come up when a woman’s life is endangered by a pregnancy.