Dr. George Tiller shot dead Sunday; Bloggers react to news of late-term abortion provider's killing

BlogHer Original Post

George Tiller, a Kansas doctor who performed late-term abortions, was shot to death at 10 a.m. Sunday outside his church in Wichita. Local police have arrested a suspect who will be charged with what President Barack Obama described at 6 p.m. as "murder." "However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence," Mr. Obama stated.

Randall Terry: "Mass-murderer", Kim Gandy: "Domestic Terrorism"

News that Tiller, 67, was killed in the lobby of his Lutheran church has resulted in an outpouring of blog posts and Twitter comments from women who blog, across the political spectrum. Some women wrote upon hearing the news, others wrote in response to statements from Operation Rescue Founder Randall Terry, who called Tiller a "mass-murderer" and NOW President Kim Gandy who described Tiller's killing as "domestic terrorism."

Reaction from pro-choice and pro-life bloggers

"Oh my fucking god," blogged Cara of Feministe. "Dr. Tiller was one of the few late-term abortion providers in the country. He had previously been shot, his clinic burnt down, harassed by ideological anti-abortion attorney generals, and threatened with death countless times. We’ve written about his many trials and tribulations here numerous times. Still, Dr. Tiller continued to provide abortions to women who desperately needed them, to save their own lives or health, or due to tragic fetal deformities. He put the health of women above his own life. And now he is dead."

"This is terrible news," blogged Barbara of MommyLife. "Sure to be used to paint millions of peaceful pro-lifers as rabid hate-mongers. *sigh* Prolife organizations were swift in condemning the act." Barbara linked condemnations from pro-life organizations Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, and the National Right to Life Council.

"This is terrorism," blogged Maha on The Mahablog. "I don’t have time to hunt them down and post quotes, but some rightie bloggers today lack the sense and grace to pretend to be sorry."

"Child Killer George Tiller Dead," blogged La Shawn Barber. "Today, Dr. Infanticide was shot and killed while walking into a church. Is “ironic” the right word to describe it? Who killed Tiller the child killer, cultivator of death?"

Twitter posts were so rapid that I collected nearly 1,000 in an hour at #Tiller, including one from a high school junior. "Rest in peace, George Tiller," Tweeted hayleytylerchin.

Nation's history of clinic clashes and violence - in rhetoric and deed

"Do I even need to say that murder is pro-crazy, not pro-life?" wrote Melinda Henneberger on Politics Daily. "And when hate speech meets insanity, this is the result. It's frightening to all who support abortion rights, a disaster for all who oppose them -- and not the common ground either side had in mind."

Blogger Sweetness & Light posted: "Needless to say, we never condone murder. No matter what the age of the victim. Moreover, if this crime was politically motivated, it couldn’t have done more to hurt the [pro-life] cause if the perpetrator had wanted to. And what timing. Now any criticism of [Supreme Court Nominee] Ms. Sotomayor, no matter how justified, will be met with words to the effect that “that is the kind of rhetoric got George Tiller killed.”

Blogging on Religion Dispatches, Frances Kissling agreed that rhetoric is fundamental to nation's ongoing and often violent conflict:

"To a considerable extent, groups like Operation Rescue have become marginal over the last ten years, but in some quarters, murder and abortion are still equated and in the case of Dr. Tiller, whose name provided an unfortunate rhyming quality, no insult was out of bounds. When Dr. Tiller went on trial in March, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council headlined his blog “Court Decides fate of Serial Tiller.” And, as control of abortion discourse moves to the moderate center with the President’s combined message in favor of women’s moral agency and reducing the need for abortion, the far right feels it has lost the moral high ground. In a column on Obama's commencement speech at Notre Dame Ann Coulter quipped: “how about having the President throw out the ceremonial first fetus like on opening day in baseball.”

"With the anti-abortion and anti-family planning administration of George Bush history, and an Obama administration clearly taking an approach that undercuts any effort to talk about abortion itself, focusing instead on preventing unintended pregnancy, we may well see frustrated antiabortionists take to the streets. The National Abortion Federation has reported that violence at clinics is on the rise."

Tiller family statement

The Tiller family has released this statement.

The Associated Press has posted a timeline of recent cases of abortion-related violence.

What are you reading and thinking about this man's killing? As you can see, I worked to provide an even-handed snapshot of what women are saying throughout the blogosphere, both supporters and opponents of legal abortion. I welcome your links and thoughts below, in the spirit of BlogHer's community guidelines

Photo credit: Wikipedia


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