Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mournful Monday

Reader, weep. This weekend the pro-life movement demonstrated some contrary feelings about the value of human life by murdering abortion provider Dr. George Tiller while he attended church in Witchita, Kansas on Sunday. Dr. Tiller, who had survived another attempt on his life in 1993, had been a tireless advocate for abortion rights. As one of the few providers in the nation to provide third trimester abortions, he was a lightning rod for the anti choice movement.

Awful and powerless but the ladies at Feministing had some ideas about what people that care about woman having access to safe and legal abortion. Make a donation to Medical Students for Choice. I did so, in memory of Dr. Tiller. It doesn't really matter if abortion is legal if there are no trained doctors to perform them.

Onto a lighter note. The words I hear associated with laundry duties for families run along the lines of relentless, never ending, drudgery, etc. Ironic then, that ads for laundry products show laundering women in such orgiastic rapture. Sarah Haskins sets her laser focus on this particularly idiotic slice of woman-focused advertising:


jdub said...

PC: Not that I'm pro-life (well, my views are too confusing to label with any political terms) but the pro-life movement didn't kill Tiller. One domestic terrorist, or crazy person, or vigilante, pick your term, did. Pretty much the entire pro-life community, except for Randall Terry, who is a whackjob par excellence, criticized the killing of Dr. Tiller.

And lest we think that the rhetoric directly led to the killing, why haven't any of the nuttier folks on the left taken it into their heads to go after President Bush, or VP Cheney, or John Yoo, notwithstanding the overheated rhetoric of Code Pink and their ilk? Theyv'e called Bush, Cheney, Petraeus, Yoo etc. murderers, Nazis, and the like.

Don't get me wrong, I hope Mr. Roeder is locked up with a bunch of bikers who were charter members of the Hells Angels for Choice group, before he dies by lethal injection, but you can't blame the pro-life movement for the actions of one man.

Anonymous said...

jdub, I have to disagree with you. The extremist rhetoric and harassment does propel the lone operators by providing them with clear justification and support for their actions and a community that fuels their extremist views about what is appropriate. And you are wrong about Terry being the only one celebrating Roeder's actions - Rachel Maddow did the homework and you can read transcripts of her shows from Monday and Tuesday evenings for the references (on I do hold that movement partially responsible for this man's hypocritical and horrific actions.

One Urban Farmer

Professional Critic said...

I have to agree with Urban Farmer here. This act was simply on the extreme end of the continuum of actions intended to eliminate women's reproductive freedom. While folks with more moderate views may feel he doesn't represent them I don't believe it is accurate to say he doesn't represent the anti choice movement. I don't even want to look at the websites Maddow uncovered but I certainly believe this murder was celebrated by more than we would like to know.

jdub said...

If that's the case, then we should expect some liberal nutjob to take a potshot at John Yoo (he doesn't have Secret Service protection). The rhetoric the left has lobbed at the Bush administration rivals that of the nutjobs in the pro-life movement.

And I'm sorry, but Rachel Maddow is hardly an objective observer. She is extremely biased in almost everything she covers, which, again unfortunately, is the trend in cable news. I'm guessing that's heresy here but I find her as incredible as Sean Hannity.

Professional Critic said...

I think the point Urban Farmer raised re Rachel Maddow wasn't whether she was biased, as she obviously is, but whether this act was criticized by "pretty much the entire pro life community," as you maintained. As I mentioned, I haven't looked at her sources, but you indicated that because she isn't objective, what Maddow uncovered is suspect. Do you believe the references Maddow cited were fabricated?

There is plenty of heated rhetoric coming from the left as well. Does this rhetoric culminate in an assassination? Always curious to understand why it doesn't seem to. Your thoughts?

jdub said...

Yes. Rhetoric doesn't kill. It's the entire reason why the first amendment protects the right of both the left to call the Bush Administration "Nazis" and the pro-lifers to call abortion providers "murderers."

it's the same reason heavy metal with it's fascination with death and destruction doesn't actually cause Columbine. Disturbed people cause Columbine. True believers, who are going to commit a violent act, will do so even absent the rhetoric.

BTW, I haven't seen the websites Maddow provided, but I'd be curious whether these were legit sites in the pro-life movement (the equivalents of NARAL), or are they the product of a nutjob with a laptop? All of the major pro-life leaders, absent Terry, came out against it. So, it would be like your crazy neighbor in SF calling for a hit on John Yoo on her blog. Does that mean that the leftist peace movement wants to actually hurt him? Of course not. Simply because something is out on teh internets doesn't mean it has any credibility.

jdub said...

oh, and my comment about Maddow's bias is that she'd be willing to put up a few blogs of individuals to make a point that the prolife movement is happy Tiller is dead. Cherry picking one's sources is the bias, not actual fabrication.

Anonymous said...

Sure. The Left is just as full of extremists who are engaging in aggressive harassment tactics and touting murder as justifiable and supporting people in carrying out those threats. That's why so many right-wing evangelicals keep getting murdered. WHY IS IT that we don't hear those people on the news and see the results of their righteous vengeance?? I have to wonder... Where is the fringe rhetoric of the left on the news? Here is some from the right:

Another anti-abortion extremist group, Operation Save America, also put out a statement celebrating George Tiller‘s murder today, saying, quote, “He is now vowing before Jesus and confessing that Jesus is right and that he, George Tiller, was wrong.”

If you go to the Web site of the Army of God, you will find
on their front page today [Monday]—there‘s Dr. George Tiller, just murdered, under the caption, “The lives of innocent babies scheduled to be murdered by George Tiller are spared by the action of American hero, Scott Roeder.”

"The protection of health workers who provide abortion services in this country is supposed to be a federalized law enforcement effort—because of the history of terrorism against abortion providers in this country, because of the bombings and the acid attacks and kidnappings and arson and anthrax...threats and sabotage and harassment and shooting and murders, because there were seven murders of abortion clinic workers before Dr. Tiller, because these crimes are designed not only to target their exact victims but also to terrorize everyone involved in seeking or providing abortion services, because this isn‘t random.

"Policing the anti-abortion terrorist movement is a federalized law enforcement responsibility. After Dr. David Gunn was gunned down in Pensacola, Florida, in 1993, Congress passed a law that made it a federal crime—a federal crime to use force to intimidate or to physically obstruct individuals from entering reproductive health care clinics."

:Almost everybody in the country has condemned the killing of Dr. George Tiller. But in dangerous corners of the national debate about reproductive rights, Scott Roeder is being glorified, on talk radio, online, and among the adherence to anti-abortion terrorism with whom Mr. Roeder has associated himself, he‘s being praised."

Maddow then goes on to cite a talk-show radio host in Iowa, Steve Deace, who praised Roeder, and Dan Holman, a member of anti-abortion group in Iowa called Missionaries to the Preborn, who says that Dr. Tiller‘s death was something to cheer. Telling CNN (!) that he thinks abortion would also justify assassinating the president, calling him, quote, “Deserving of death.”

David Leach, who publishes a newsletter called “The Prayer and Action News” to which Scott Roeder subscribed and submitted articles. David Leach tells “The Associated Press,” (!) quote, “He will be the hero to thousands of babies who will not be slain because Scott sacrificed everything for them.”

jdub, I think we're all biased, we all have our own political views, but that doesn't change the fact that the fringe on the right has carried out far more violence and gotten more publicity (which leads people to find it more credible) and been permitted to engage in behavior that goes well beyond free speech in their harassment of people with whom they disagree. There is an imbalance here, like it or not.

Professional Critic said...

Thanks for the comments, readers! Interesting article in SF Chronicle today about incendiary speech:

jdub the first amendment absolutist said...

but note that the article focused on the effect of incendiary speech on the mentally ill. We shouldn't have to pitch our words to avoid setting off the crazy among us. If we're not actually inciting violence (the Brandenburg standard), that's just the price of living in a free society.

switching gears, have you heard anything about our 20th reunion? I've seen some pics on Facebook, but haven't heard much.