Gravity's Rainbow

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George Tiller

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George Tiller was murdered a week ago in his church.  He was one of just a few doctors in the United States who provide late term abortions.

Ezra Klein points out that his murder was a political act and that Congress needs to act accordingly:

Tiller was murdered so that those in his line of work would be intimidated. In conversations with folks yesterday, I heard well-meaning variants on the idea that it would be unseemly to push legislation in the emotional aftermath of Tiller’s execution. I disagree. Roeder was acting in direct competition with the United States Congress. And it’s quite likely that he changed the status quo. Legislative language and judicial rulings had made abortive procedures legal and thus accessible. Yesterday’s killing was meant to render abortive procedures unsafe for doctors to conduct and thus inaccessible.

If a woman cannot get an abortion because no nearby providers are willing to assume the risk of performing it, the actual outcome is precisely the same as if the procedure were illegal. Roeder has, in all likelihood, made abortion less accessible. It would be, in my view, a perfectly appropriate response for the Congress to decisively prove his action not only ineffectual, but, in a broad sense, counterproductive.

Gloria Feldt, former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, demands more than candlelight vigils:

But I myself am done with candlelight vigils. I have participated in too many of them, from 1993 with the murder of Dr. David Gunn in Pensacola through the seven doctors, patient escorts and staff murdered over the horrifying five-year period thereafter….

Each time, we held vigils all over the country. We wept and we pledged to continue our work. Which we did, increasingly, in isolation. We were the ones who had been wronged, and yet we were labeled controversial, to be shunned rather than supported. The murders were only the tip of the iceberg, among over 6000 cases of violence, vandalism, stalking, bombings, arson, invasions and other serious harassment.

Later, during the nine years I served as president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, we dramatically beefed up our own security while figuring out how to make our health centers nevertheless welcoming to patients and workers alike. In fact, we got so adept at the task that during post-911 anthrax scares, we provided federal government agencies with model protocols for dealing with such threats. But though self-sufficiency is valuable, a just society should offer much more succor to citizens who are attacked.

That’s why today, after what happened to George Tiller, I know that the only thing that will assuage my personal grief over his shocking loss is for leaders across our nation to join me in expressing outrage at this heinous crime, this domestic terrorism. And yes, they need to call it out in exactly those terms. That’s what it is.

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