Kansas Doctor Murdered By Anti-Choice Activist

tillerdeath060109Dr. George Tiller, a 67-year-old doctor who operated a woman’s clinic in Kansas, was shot and killed while he was serving as an usher at his church on Sunday morning. Tiller was one of the few U.S. physicians who still performed late-term abortions and it is believed that his killer may have been motivated by militant anti-choice opinions. Tiller had previously come under attack by anti-choice activists: his clinic was often picketed by protesters, his clinic was bombed in 1986 and he was shot in both arms by an activist in 1993. Tiller was also the target of sweet n’ cuddly pundit and noted women’s activist Bill O’Reilly who called Tiller’s clinic a “death mill,” his work “Nazi stuff” and Tiller’s alleged performance of abortions on young rape victims a form of protecting and encouraging rape. If Tiller’s killer is found to be motivated by anti-choice opinions, Tiller will be the fourth doctor to be killed over abortion since 1993. The previous three killers (perhaps it is interesting to note that they were all male, as were the doctors they killed) were all convicted of murder.

Although Tiller was the subject of attack by headdesk-stupid conservative pundits and anti-choice activists, he was not the bloodthirsty baby murderer that his critics painted him to be. Tiller was also acquitted in March of this year of 19 counts of performing procedures unlawfully. In an interview in the mid-90s, Tiller said that he would not perform elective abortions in cases where there was a chance of the fetus’ survival (he considered this to be after the second term, late terms abortions are performed in the third term). In cases where late-term abortions had to be performed, they were done at the discretion of the doctor. Peter Brownlie, the president of the Kansas-City regional Planned Parenthood, said that Tiller’s late-term patients were “almost always in circumstances where something had gone horribly wrong with the pregnancy.” Tiller was also the grandfather of 10 grandchildren and an active member of his community and church. His family released a statement after his death that asked that Tiller be remembered as “a good husband, father and grandfather and a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women everywhere.”

Scott Roeder, a 51-year-old man from Kansas City, Kansas has been charged with killing Tiller and two accounts of aggravated assault. He is currently being held without bond and is expected to appear in court this week. His motivation for the attack has not been made completely clear as of yet although it is strongly believed that he was motivated by militant anti-choice beliefs: the car he was arrested in had a red rose sticker, a symbol used by anti-choice activists, and people who knew Roeder said he felt that the murder of abortion doctors was justifiable homicide. He also had plenty of nutty right-wing conspiracy theories.

Anti-choice groups have condemned the murder as “cowardly” but the event has drawn, as one would imagine, mixed responses on the internet. A post about Tiller’s murder on Fox Nation drew out the trolls who said that Tiller’s killers “should of dragged his sorry corpse through town and hung it from the highest tree. GO PENGUIN’S [sic]” and that Tiller is “lucky” it happened to him instead of someone murdering his grandchildren as an act of “retro-active [sic] abortion.” Fox Nation, proving that they posses souls, took down the reader comments.

Is this going to usher in a new era of protection for women’s clinics across the country? Are women going to have to be escorted by security guards just to go get a pap smear and some birth control pills at their local clinic? Are clinic workers and doctors going to have to fear for their life for simply providing women with legal and safe abortions?



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47 thoughts on “Kansas Doctor Murdered By Anti-Choice Activist

  1. I’m sorry, I was distracted from reading the entire article by your constant use of the term ‘anti-choice’. I understand that what happened to this man was unfair and unjust, and that whoever murdered him should know justice.

    But there is no justice in those kinds of titles. It would be equally inappropriate for someone to refer to you as ‘anti-life’. I understand that a blog is a good place to air your feelings, and obviously you feel very passionate about these topics you share with us. I just found the name calling to be in extremely bad taste.

    • I dont understand what people dont get about the term anti-choice. “Pro-life” people are in favor of ELIMINATING women’s ability to CHOOSE about what happens to something growing in their body. Whether you agree with that view or not it, wanting to take away a womens right to choose IS anti-choice. Pro-choice people are not anti-life. In my case, i would never have an abortion nor would i really want anyone to, however i dont want the government to take away my right to choose what happens inside my body.

      You are either PRO-choice or ANTI-choice. You either think women should be able to choose or their shouldnt be able to choose. I just dont understand what is confusing about this?

      • Well, not to start a huge fire, but what is confusing is how people view the procedure as “my right to choose what happens inside my body.” What about the baby’s rights?
        As a society we are all blinded by “me, me, me”, “what I want”, “what is best for me”. No one looks past their own wants or needs anymore; everyone places themselves first. I know there a many ways a woman can justify abortion, and some even make some logical sense, but I have never heard of one that didn’t boil down to “this is what is best for me right now”.
        If a woman is raped, and it results in pregnancy, should she have the Choice to murder the rapist? No, and he deserves punishment. The fetus does not.

        • Roe v. Wade’s ruling says that the original intent of the Constitution did not require protection of the unborn. The right for a woman to have an abortion is found in the fourteenth amendment. (Right to Privacy)

        • A woman has a choice and that is part of the constitution of the United States. Pro-Lifers are scary hypocrites and gun-and-bible-thumbing nutcases. A fetus inside a woman’s body is just that: a fetus, a cluster of cells. A woman gives birth to a child and that’s when protection should start! Pro-Lifers, why don’t you concentrate on protecting BORN babies from neglect, abuse, violence, weapons….. And Pro-Choice does not mean anti-life. It means it is a woman’s right to choose what she’s doing with her body. The church better take care of those who are born!

        • patty,

          i’m so glad you mentioned that. i was immediately off-put by use the term “anti-choice” — as yeayea brought up, it is “technically” an accurate description of their stance on abortion. however, it has quite a negative connotation. whether or not you agree with a women’s right to choose, you should really come to the discussion table with an open mind. assigning names that tip the scales before the discussion even begins. i’m sure that pro-choice people bristle at being called “pro-death.” using the term “anti-choice” just seemed in poor taste.

        • daphne: “Pro-Lifers are scary hypocrites and gun-and-bible-thumbing nutcases. ”

          it’s nice to see how open-minded you are. has it ever occurred to you that the judgmental hatred and prejudice you harbor towards people who don’t think the same as you is a BIG part of the reason there’s so much violence, and abuse, etc. that you seem so concerned about.

          here’s the thought: instead of telling the “church” to make a difference, deal with the ignorance and intolerance that’s much closer to home.

        • What about the right of the FETUS? Something that hardly has the capacity to exist on its own.

          You know what you’re saying here? You’re saying that that fetus’s life supersedes that of the mother’s and who are YOU to make that call? She can’t choose because she’s selfish, but you and others like you, can?

          The government has jurisdiction over citizens, is a fetus really a citizen?

      • Agrees with Patty: You clearly missed the whole point, all patty was talking about was the term “Anti-choice”. Reguardless of the reason, if you believe women should NOT be able TO CHOSE whether or not she has an abortion it is ANTI CHOICE, if you believe somen SHOULD be able to CHOOSE whether or no she has an abortion that is PRO CHOICE. I dont understand what the confusion is. “Pro-life” people do not think women should be able to choose, so what is wrong with calling them anti-choice.

        • Maybe you’re confused and should re-read Patty’s statement. Patty is saying that it is INAPPROPRIATE to call someone ANTI-LIFE. You’re asking what’s wrong with calling people ANTI-LIFE. So really, YOU CLEARLY MISSED THE WHOLE POINT!

        • Dani sweetie, you are entirely confused. Reread Pattys comment…she clearly is annoyed that the author used the term “anti-choice”, not “anti-life”. So you are wrong and i dont even understand what your point is.

          Patty: its innappropriate to call someone “anti-choice”
          Me: No its not, it is accurate.

          Did that help you understand??

    • What I can NEVER UNDERSTAND, is that someone who is PROLIFE could MURDER. How is murdering a grown man helping a pro-life cause? Since he was 67, talk about LATE TERM abortion! If life is so fucking important, then his life should have been sacred as well.

      • I believe the justification lies in the idea of the ‘lesser evil’, ie. if the abortion doctor is murdered, that saves the lives of x number of babies that he would have ‘murdered’, and possibly saves the lives of more by influencing other doctors to quit the practice out of fear.

        For the record, I personally believe that this issue lies in our understanding of when a fetus becomes a human. I am pro-choice and I personally believe that human life begins post-birth and that women should have the choice to keep/adopt or abort at any time prior to this.

        • I think the viability argument can be valid. But what it boils down to me is that the GOVERNMENT shouldn’t tell a woman what to do.

          Criticism/judgment/telling you what to do? That’s the church’s/your family’s job. LOL. Let’s leave that to them.

  2. This is part of the problem with this issue. No one tells the so-called pro-lifers that there is no chance at anyone overturning Roe v. Wade. No one tells them their money they donate to politicals that claim to go to D.C. to strike down Roe v. Wade. They’re so worried about litmus tests and brainwashed into this brand of thinking that they’re unable to think of it from any other perspective. Republicans controlled all three branches of government for 6 years. They currently have the votes they need on the SCOTUS to overturn Roe v Wade. When is someone going to tell these people that they are being duped?

    • Holy shit. I can sure typo up a story at 8 AM.

      “No one tells them their money they donate to politicians that claim to go to D.C. to strike down Roe v. Wade does nothing to get it done” Should say that.

      • Anyone? No, most people, yes. Why donate money to a pro-life organization when you know nothing will ever get done? I don’t understand the draw… I could dig a big hole and you could throw your money into that if you’d like.

        • I think it’s fair to say the majority of pro-life people do not donate money to any pro-life organizations. Are they still stupid?

        • No, but they do donate to campaigns with promises of pushing their anti-choice agenda. There are a TON of single-issue voters and abortion is a big one.

  3. What I have noticed from this is the way in which the anti-choice movement claims to be so concerned with preservation of life, of their rights and yet, they bomb clinics, they make attempts and occasionally succeed in killing medical professionals carrying out a legal procedure.
    And yet, I can see why this person did what they did (understand I do not condone it) rather I mean the constant use of terminology by the mainstream pro-life, anti-choice movement. They call it “murder”, “holocaust”, “genocide”, they post addresses of their homes, business’ and where their children attend school. They post pictures, car registrations and itinerary’s. Then when someone is killed the mainstream lament over how they don’t condone it. How can they take a step back and claim that they do not agree with the extremists? They provided everything he needed short of the gun.

    • Who on Earth is “they”? The tiniest fraction of a percent of the pro-life population who commit terrorist acts against abortion providers? Please DON’T act like everyone who is pro-life is “in” on this.

  4. “you say serial killer, I say a doctor who clearly cared about women. I think it’s sad that he was murdered, especially because it was in the name of pro-life.” i agree! i also think its funny that 77% if anti abortion leaders are men. um, none of them will get pregnant.

  5. I think a lot of you don’t undrstand that he was also aborting babies that were viable outside the womb. These children could have servived on their own if given the chance.

    • Actually, on the Kansas news they mentioned that he only performed late-term abortions in situations where the fetus or the mother would not survive otherwise.

      • Not to mention he was acquitted of any charges of wrongdoing in a case involving these alleged illegal late-term abortions.

      • Also, don’t forget the ethics code that doctors all abide by.

        It’s funny that you’re so concerned with the life of one over the other. Whereas this man was thinking either both die or just one and opted to have at least one and you call him a murderer.

    • You are not correct in that statement. Most all of the abortions were performed because the child would die after birth, have to live w/ horrible birth defects, or the mother would die. Not directing this comment right to you but I have heard so many people say this, I wish they would do some research.

  6. In response to claims that people are either for women’s right to choose what happens in their body versus people who are opposed to a women’s right to choose, what about men? If the father wants to have the baby, but the mother does not, she can CHOOSE not to carry the fetus to term (makes sense as the women would have to endure an unwanted pregnancy for nine months.) However, if the mother wants to have the baby, but the father does not, he has no CHOICE. In fact, even if he decides not to be involved with the child in any way, he is legally obligated (if needed) to provide financially for a child he never wanted for up to 18 years. Does that seem fair?

    • Was it fair of him to shack up with a girl without protection and knock her up to leave her with the consequences of a 9 months while he can just go around knocking up other women? Is it fair that she is forever responsible in EVERY aspect for this life because of BOTH OF THEIR CHOICES and he MAYBE has to shell out some money? In fact, while you may be right that they’re legally obligated, so many men don’t do it because either: they didn’t get caught, the woman didn’t say anything or he bolted.

    • No, but if the man is having sex with a woman he knows one of the consequences is a pregnancy. Regardless of how he feels about keeping the child, it’s the woman’s choice.

  7. Prior to Roe vs Wade I studied Pharmacy in Austin where part of the curriculium was a course on Clinical Toxicology. The text book, by Polson and Tattersall Published 1959, 1969, 1973,74 and 75. ISBN 0 397 58054 1, was page after page related the physiological effects of chemical poisonings, almost 80% of the course was medical treatment for a wide array of common chemical in poisonings in women. Many references were made directly to attempted abortions but not all in respect for the families, keeping the focus on the real medical prognosis and treatment.

    Soon after Roe vs Wade the course was no longer offered, deemed unnecessary since there was no longer any wide spread social need.

    Life is real, not just a edict. If you choose a title to live your life by, how can you consider your self real? What is PRO-Life, PRO-Choice? Does PRO-Life just create another form of PRO-choice?

    The looming question I personally have alway had…..if we are part of God’s kingdom, why did God make us with the ability to procreate 12-13 times a year, and only make most other animals with this ability 2 times a year, especially since we cannot possibily fulfill this monthly-plus event? If that is not CHOICE, what is it? And since we now far out number any other animal in this kingdom and yet we still procreate at an exponential rate, if that is not CHOICE with RESPONSIBILITY what is it?
    I find only emotional politics in this whole matter. Politics designed for those who need to feel alive with a label and not really be alive, using labels as an excuse not face who they themselves are. If life is not reality, then please tell me what it is. If we promote the lack of reality, are we really PRO-life?

    As for me, I will continue to help those in need, particularily if they find their lives a questionable event by asking all the real questions, not just the ones I’ve be told I “should” ask.

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