Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Abortion, Homicide and Death

If you want to know why we should take seriously the killing of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas on Sunday, read this article on the deadly toll of abortion by amateurs in countries where choice does not exist.

Abortion is illegal in Tanzania (except to save the mother’s life or health), so women and girls turn to amateurs, who may dose them with herbs or other concoctions, pummel their bellies or insert objects vaginally. Infections, bleeding and punctures of the uterus or bowel can result, and can be fatal. Doctors treating women after these bungled attempts sometimes have no choice but to remove the uterus.

Pregnancy and childbirth are among the greatest dangers that women face in Africa, which has the world’s highest rates of maternal mortality — at least 100 times those in developed countries. Abortion accounts for a significant part of the death toll.

Maternal mortality is high in Tanzania: for every 100,000 births, 950 women die. In the United States, the figure is 11, and it is even lower in other developed countries. But Tanzania’s record is neither the best nor the worst in Africa. Many other countries have similar statistics; quite a few do better and a handful do markedly worse.
This is the world the more fringe elements within the anti-abortion movement want to create in the U.S., and calling for homicide (or worse) of abortion providers is merely the first step.
Although mainstream antiabortion groups largely condemned Sunday's shooting, Operation Rescue founder Randall A. Terry called Tiller a mass murderer who "reaped what he sowed." Terry said the antiabortion movement is facing irrelevance and must use "confrontational" tactics and "highly charged rhetoric."

Scott Roeder was arrested on an interstate a few hours after an assailant fired a single bullet from a handgun at Tiller at Reformation Lutheran Church as he handed out church bulletins. Roeder, suspected of acting alone, has emerged as a fierce abortion opponent once arrested with bomb components in his car.

Fellow abortion opponents described Roeder as a foot soldier convinced that killing an abortion doctor is not a crime because it saves the lives of unborn children. In a 2007 Internet posting, a person identifying himself as "Scott Roeder" said Tiller is "the concentration camp 'Mengele' of our day and needs to be stopped."

As news of Roeder's arrest traveled, abortion opponent Regina Dinwiddie remembered the day a dozen years ago when Roeder hugged her in glee after his encounter with [another abortion doctor]. Dinwiddie does not consider Tiller's death a murder. "I don't think he was murdered," she said. "I believe he was absolutely stopped in his tracks and it was long overdue."
While rhetoric like this is protected speech (and is certainly an interesting example of Labeling theory in action), it can also generate real consequences in the form of people dying when taken to the extreme.

Just ask the family of Dr. Tiller...or the women of Tanzania.

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