The Bloody Dénouement of Scare Quotes Around 'Health of the Mother'

By now, you have probably heard of the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, an ob/gyn who performed late-term abortions. Lots of other people have commented on this, but make no mistake about it: this will stem from demonizing abortion. It's really not that far from Republican presidential candidate John McCain's sneering about the 'health of the mother' exemption to pulling the trigger. As Digby puts it:

If you think that women should have to endanger their lives in order to give birth to a fetus with no brain, then you probably think this man was a murderer.

Or maybe it should be 'murderer'?

When medical grounds for abortion--a legal and safe medical procedure--are ridiculed by respected political leaders, and not just radio shock jocks, it creates an environment where harsher, more radical language becomes acceptable. Granted, theopolitical conservatives see words only as weapons, but to many people they have meaning.

If abortion is really the 'holocaust of the unborn', then committing acts of terrorism--and that's what this is--against murderers is legitimate.

And it's how we end up with murdered doctors.

I'm tired of coddling theopolitical conservatives who use eliminationist rhetoric* and then claim that they had no idea that someone would take them seriously.

One more thing: if this had been a Muslim who murdered someone for his or her support of Israel, I doubt this would be described--as it inevitably will be--the act of a deranged individual. Certainly, the right would be seeing Al-Queda in every nook and cranny.

This is terrorism, pure and simple.

By the way, Medical Students for Choice does good work. Why not support them?

*Never mind the inconsistency of such rhetoric as demonstrated by their unwillingness to defend the notion of jailing mothers who have abortions for the crime of murder. Of course, that would assume that women are independent moral agents....

Related: I wrote this before I heard all about alleged suspect Scott Roeder. He apparently posted this on an Operation Rescue (a militant anti-abortion group) website:

It seems as though what is happening in Kansas could be compared to the "lawlessness" which is spoken of in the Bible. Tiller is the concentration camp "Mengele" of our day and needs to be stopped before he and those who protect him bring judgement upon our nation.

Their unoriginality would be funny were it not so horribly murderous.

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The murder of George Tiller has brought some vile people creeping out from under the woodwork…especially the kinds of nasty minds that like to dress up in clerical collars. Looking for a good emetic? Look no further than this sermon by a Presbyterian minister for a great example of deploring a…
Scott Roeder found guilty of first-degree murder in death of George Tiller: A jury took less than 40 minutes Friday to find Scott Roeder guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting of abortion provider George Tiller in a [Wichita] church [â¦] last May. [â¦] The murder conviction carries a…
As you might have guessed from my earlier post, I was angered and saddened when I learned of the death of Kansas doctor George Tiller earlier today. Dr. Tiller was gunned down while serving as an usher at his church while services were underway. As I mentioned earlier, the suspect arrested in the…
James Kirchick has an op-ed up in today's Wall Street Journal that addresses the reaction to the murder of Dr. George Tiller. Or so he might want to believe. In actuality, Kirchick is responding to the portion of the reaction that he wants to see, and not to the range of opinion that is out there…

It's interesting how many anti-choicers are hedging their bets while emitting the obligatory "we deplore..." statements. Take this spiel from [Catholic] Priests for Life's Frank Pavone:

At this point, we do not know the motives of this act, or who is behind it, whether an angry post- abortive man or woman, or a misguided activist, or an enemy within the abortion industry, or a political enemy frustrated with the way Tiller has escaped prosecution.

Being acquitted on all counts is to Pavone "escaping prosecution", while trying to implicate the pro-choice movement is... well, for Pavone, business as usual.

As is this morning's statement from the Christian Anti-Defamation Coalition:

... we cannot allow pro-abortion activists and politicians to use this tragedy to manipulate public opinion or our laws.

Move along, folks, nothing to see here, this never happened.

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 01 Jun 2009 #permalink

And then there's this:

WICHITA, Kan.---- A man charged in the shooting death of a Kansas abortion provider claims more violence is possible.

Scott Roeder called The Associated Press on Sunday from the Sedgwick County jail where he's being held on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the death of Dr. George Tiller.

Tiller was killed last Sunday while serving as an usher at the Lutheran church he attended in Wichita.

Roeder told the AP he know of "similar events planned around the country" as long as abortion is legal.

So in spite of all the back-pedaling and soft-pedaling and language deploring the action while praising the actor from the Right, this guy calls the frickin' AP from jail to claim there's more where that came from. And there will be, because somebody out there will hear a voice from God... with a little encouragement from Mr. Roeder, of course.