Thoughts on Dr. George Tiller (update)

I did not know Dr. George Tiller. I’m not sure if any my friends knew him. I do know that I’m deeply saddened by this act of violence. Dr. George Tiller, whether you believe in what he did or not, was the kind of physician we all would like to be. In the face of incredible danger, after being shot, after having his office bombed… he continued to serve his patients. His bravery needs to be commended.

I guess my question tonight is: Where’s our government? There were some people out there (including Bill O’Reilly who did 29 separate segments on Tiller since 2005 calling him Tiller the baby killer) that believe; no that’s not right… they Know that abortion is akin to murder. These people have sworn to stop abortion at all costs. It appears that this is the same type of jihad that Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden have been carrying out against the United States. We’ve used an enormous amount of resources to try to stop Al Qaeda. Have we use the same type of resources to try to stop domestic terrorism? I don’t know about you, but I see the bombing of abortion clinics as domestic terrorism. Has the FBI been diligent in infiltrating these groups? There is no reason, in my opinion, that a physician who is abiding by United States law should live in fear.

I applaud Dr. Tiller for his bravery and his devotion to his patients. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

There are multiple posts on the Daily Kos on abortion (here, here and here) and Dr. George Tiller.

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Update (from Huffington Post): In March 1993, three months into the administration of our first pro-choice president, Bill Clinton, abortion provider Dr. David Gunn was murdered in Pensacola, Florida. That was the beginning of what would become a five-fold increase in violence against abortion providers throughout the Clinton years.

Today’s assassination of Dr. George Tiller comes 5 months into the term of our second pro-choice president. For anyone who would like to believe that this is a statistical anomaly, a coincidence that doesn’t portend anything, again, you are wrong.

During the entire Bush administration, from 2000-2008 there were no murders.

During the Clinton era, between 1994-2000 there were 6 abortion providers and clinic staff murdered, and 17 attempted murders of abortion providers. There were 12 bombings or arsons during the Clinton years.

During the Bush administration, not only were there no murders, there were no attempted murders. There was one clinic bombing during the Bush years.

One can only conclude that like terrorist sleeper cells, these extremists have now been set in motion. Indeed the evidence is already there. The chatter, the threats, the hate-filled rhetoric are abundant.

In the last year of the Bush administration there were 396 harassing calls to abortion clinics. In just the first four months of the Obama administration that number has jumped to 1401.

And so the execution of Tiller, 67, is not only tragic but ominous. He was born into an era when being an abortion provider meant saving women’s lives. And the cold-blooded murder in church and in front of his wife of this stalwart defender of women rights and beloved physician, comes as a message for others, as well as tragic deja vu. (more…)

Video of O’Reilly ranting on and on about Dr. Tiller:

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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