THE POLITICS OF TILLER’S DEATH

Catalyst July/August Issue 2009

When abortionist Dr. George Tiller was killed in late May, the Catholic League unequivocally condemned the shooting. Bill Donohue told CBS Evening News, “We have to get the message out that life means we have to respect all life, including somebody as bad as Dr. Tiller was.” Unfortunately, his death occasioned a highly political response from his allies.

From what we know of the suspect, Scott Roeder, he is an ex-convict that fits the profile of a deranged man. Yet there were those who wasted no time in pointing their collective fingers trying to pin the blame on others. Andrew Sullivan and the liberal blog, the Daily Kos, fingered Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and featured a video which shows O’Reilly’s past denunciations of Tiller. Worse than this irresponsible accusation was the hypocrisy of the Daily Kos: above the O’Reilly video was an advertisement for an upcoming interview on C-Span2 with Bill Ayers, the urban terrorist who is a hero in some left-wing circles.

It took no time for MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann to throw his hat into the ring. On his first show following Tiller’s murder, Olbermann argued that Fox News was responsible for this action and pledged to “retire” O’Reilly from his show.

We noted that in all of O’Reilly’s denunciations of Tiller, he never once called for anyone to even post his address on the web, never mind call for his death. Yet he was blamed for the murder. If O’Reilly’s critics had any sense of decency or fairness, they would have condemned what Hustler icon Larry Flynt once said about the Fox News personality: In 2003 Flynt launched a National Prayer Day, calling for O’Reilly’s death.

Sullivan, Olbermann and the Daily Kos weren’t the only ones to collectivize the guilt. Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, referred to “those who are behind this murder,” suggesting that this is part of a pro-life cabal. Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, also blamed “individuals” for Tiller’s death. Similarly, Dr. Warren Hern, a late-term abortionist from Colorado, said that Tiller’s death was the result of a “fascist movement in this country.”

Accusations that the pro-life community shouldered some of the blame were not confined to the United States. Jill Filipovic, a writer for the British newspaper theGuardian, said that the killing of Tiller was “not an anomaly. It is part of a clearly-established pattern of harassment, intimidation and violence against abortion providers and pro-choice individuals. And mainstream pro-life groups shoulder much of the blame.” She went on to say that “mainstream pro-life groups and the people who run them do not care about life before or after birth.” She ended her piece by saying: “The responsibility for George Tiller’s death surely falls on the shoulders of the person who actually pulled the trigger. But when pro-life groups did everything but give him a gun, their hands are hardly clean.”

The worst of all maybe came from Bonnie Erbe of the Scripps Howard News Service. Erbe said that pro-life language referring to abortion as murder is inflammatory and “this type of language ought to be against the law. Anyone who issues statements containing such language ought to be prosecuted as an accessory to murder, as well as for partaking in domestic terrorism.”

So this is where we have come. The pro-abortion crowd can make sweeping generalizations calling the pro-life community accomplices to murder, but when we want to call a spade a spade and call abortion what it truly is—the murder of an innocent baby—they want to put us behind bars.


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Written by Bill