Abortion is legal. The abortions provided by Dr. George Tiller are not mass murder according to the law no matter what Randall Terry and Bill O’Reilly think. If you believe that a fetus is a person, then, yes, Dr. Tiller and other physicians who provide abortions are killing. However if you do not believe that a non-viable fetus is a person, then abortion is not murder. The reality is that one side will never change the beliefs of the other and the law and the American Constitution protects the right of a woman to make a choice.
I have been a couselor at a Planned Parenthood and I know that the decision is never an easy one. I had several young woman decide on adoption, but most decided to terminate their pregnancies. They used to come with their boyfriends. They usually told their parents. These were women who were having first trimester abortions. I can’t imagine how difficult the decision to have a late term abortion might be.
John Nichols wrote “A Killing in Kansas” in the Nation
Fifteen years ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation discovered a “hit list” circulating among militant anti-abortion activists.
The top target for assassination on the list was Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas physician whose Women’s Health Care Services clinic in Witchita has been one of only three clinics in the United States that performs late-term abortions in order to end the pregnancies of women who doctors determine would suffer irreparable harm by giving birth.
The question is what good is a right to something if it is not available. What does it mean to call a person a murderer over and over for doing something legal? What does it mean to have had eight abortion providers murdered since 1977? There are many questions which I am sure I will write about over the days to come.
Peter Rothberg in his blog Act Now has two important links. First is the link to clips of Bill O’Reilly. The second is to Medical Students for Choice.
Beyond his courage and medical competence Tiller’s loss will be greatly felt becuase there just aren’t that many other peope with the will and wherewithal to do what he did. It would be a fitting memorial to Dr. Tiller, as Friedman suggests, to contribute to Medical Students for Choice, and encourage more doctors with a deep commitment to reproductive rights to become abortion providers.
Yes, President Obama is right in saying we need to reduce the number of abortions, but we also need to make sure that the right is more than something on paper.