An Act of Domestic Terrorism in Wichita

The murder of Dr. George Tiller is yet another assault upon the nation and its sensibilities but this is no ordinary murder. This was a political assassination. George Tiller's assassin had a political objective. This murder is little more than a brazen attempt by Christian fundamentalist terrorists to shutter one of the few late-term abortion clinics in the country and as Matt Yglesias to "create a disincentive for other medical professionals to provide these services."

Dr. Tiller's Women's Health Care Services is one of the few reproductive health clinics in the country where late-term abortions are performed. It is one of two clinics in the Plains states that perform late-term abortions. The clinic was first bombed in June 1986, and was severely vandalized earlier this month. According to the Associated Press, his lawyer said wires to security cameras and outdoor lights were cut and that the vandals also cut through the roof and plugged the buildings' downspouts. Rain poured through the roof and caused thousands of dollars of damage in the clinic. Tiller reportedly asked the FBI to investigate the incident. In 1991, Dr. Tiller's clinic became the focal point of nationwide protests with Operation Rescue targeting the clinic with its "Summer of Mercy" protests. In 1993, Dr. Tiller was shot and wounded in both arms by Rachelle Shannon, a Christian fundamentalist who belongs to an organization called the Army of God. At her 1994 trial, Ms. Shannon testified that she had considered bombing Dr. Tiller's clinic after she learned that the shooting had not stopped him from performing abortions. She added that "if somebody kills George Tiller, I would not assume they did the wrong thing." Can it be any clearer that this is a lunatic fringe that will stop at nothing to impose its warped values?

The National Organization of Women released a statement in which they identify the murder of Dr. George Tiller as an act of "domestic terrorism."

Women across the country have lost a champion today. The cold-blooded murder of Dr. George Tiller this morning in church is a stark reminder that women's bodies are still a battleground, and health care professionals are on the frontlines.

This kind man and skilled doctor braved blockades, harassment, assault, and countless threats, including an attempted murder in 1993 when he was shot in both arms. He knew his life was in constant jeopardy, and that he would likely die at the hands of an anti-abortion terrorist -- yet he continued to protect his patients and provide safe and legal abortions to women in often-desperate circumstances. Those who are behind this murder may believe that the killing of George Tiller will mean that these women will have nowhere else to turn, but they are wrong. On the contrary, I believe their depraved acts will inspire another doctor to take up the torch, and another, and another.

Dr. Tiller's slaying is the most recent in a string of murders in the service of the anti-abortion cause, and hundreds of people have been injured or threatened because they provide legal abortion services. Bringing the killers to justice is not enough - the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security must root out and prosecute as domestic terrorists and violent racketeers the criminal enterprise that has organized and funded criminal acts for decades. We call on the new attorney general Eric Holder and head of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to treat these murders in the same way they would treat politically-motivated domestic terrorism of any other kind and put the full resources of their two departments behind that effort.


Update [2009-5-31 21:7:0 by Charles Lemos]: What others are saying. Shannon Moore at the Huffington Post also finds the assassination of Dr. George Tiller to be an act of "Christian Fundamentalist Terrorism".

t's shocking to write. But it's time to start calling it what it is. When Jim D. Adkisson walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church with 76 rounds and a shot-gun, he killed 2 people and was charged with murder. His motive was "he hated the liberal movement" and was upset with "liberals in general as well as gays." He should have been charged with terrorism. Today George Tiller, a Wichita doctor, was killed INSIDE the lobby of his Wichita church. Reformation Lutheran Church became a crime scene; fundamentalist terrorism. The right wing media hacks make targets of the left. The fundamentalist reverends blather their intolerance of other Americans. Their marriages are in jeopardy if the GLBT community can walk down an aisle. Their children are going to be molested if you have to rent to a same sex couple. Fear...fear...fear the queer. Bill O'Reilly's hit piece on Dr. Tiller is a training tape for Christian Fundamentalist Terrorists. Never did he ask the woman interviewed how she, as a 13 year old, got pregnant, who was the father, or where her parents were when she underwent an abortion at Dr. Tiller's clinic. I'm sure O'Reilly's drivel will insist on personal accountability for the murderer. I'm sure he won't be in line for any "accountability" for calling the doctor "Tiller the baby-killer" or his clinic a "death mill."

Andrew Sullivan also thinks that Bill O'Reilly bears culpability for demonizing Dr. Tiller. And the Colorado Independent spoke to Dr. Warren Hern who also performs late-term abortions.

Hours after the Sunday morning shooting death of late-term abortion doctor George Tiller in Wichita, Kan., a Boulder physician — who says he could be the only doctor in the world still performing the procedure — said Tiller’s assassination was the “absolutely inevitable consequence” of decades of anti-abortion fanaticism.

“I’m profoundly sad and I’m furious and I think the American people need to understand that we have a fascist movement in this country,” Dr. Warren Hern told The Colorado Independent on Sunday. “We don’t have to invade Iraq to find terrorists. They’re right here killing abortion doctors.”

“Every doctor that does abortions has been under an assassination threat for decades,” Hern said. “The anti-abortion movement message is, ‘Do what we tell you to do or we will kill you,’ and they do. This is a fascist movement.”

Hern laid blame for Tiller’s death at the feet of the anti-abortion movement’s encouragement of violence against abortion providers and the Republican Party’s “exploitation” of the extremist rhetoric.

“Dr. Tiller is dead by an anti-abortion assassin, and this is the absolutely inevitable consequence of 35 years of anti-abortion fanatic rhetoric and intimidation and assassination violence and exploitation by the Republican Party of this movement,” Hern told the Independent.

Hern, who described Tiller as “a good friend of mine,” said he doesn’t “know of any other doctors in the world doing late abortions like I am.” The Boulder Abortion Clinic, run by Hern since he founded the practice in 1975, has as its motto “Specializing in Late Abortions for Fetal Disorders”.

Hern declined to say whether he planned any changes to his security precautions after the killing of Tiller, who was shot to death while ushering at his Lutheran church.

Noting that Tiller is the "fifth American doctor to be assassinated," Hern told the Los Angeles Times he’s well aware of the dangers. "I get messages from these people saying, ‘Don’t bother wearing a bulletproof vest, we’re going for a head shot.’"

And via Ballon Juice comes a story of heart-breaking humanity:

In 1994 my wife and I found out that she was pregnant. The pregnancy was difficult and unusually uncomfortable but her doctor repeatedly told her things were fine. Sometime early in the 8th month my wife, an RN who at the time was working in an infertility clinic asked the Dr. she was working for what he thought of her discomfort. He examined her and said that he couldn’t be certain but thought that she might be having twins. We were thrilled and couldn’t wait to get a new sonogram that hopefully would confirm his thoughts. Two days later our joy was turned to unspeakable sadness when the new sonogram showed conjoined twins. Conjoined twins alone is not what was so difficult but the way they were joined meant that at best only one child would survive the surgery to separate them and the survivor would more than likely live a brief and painful life filled with surgery and organ transplants. We were advised that our options were to deliver into the world a child who’s life would be filled with horrible pain and suffering or fly out to Wichita Kansas and to terminate the pregnancy under the direction of Dr. George Tiller.

We made an informed decision to go to Kansas. One can only imagine the pain borne by a woman who happily carries a child for 8 months only to find out near the end of term that the children were not to be and that she had to make the decision to terminate the pregnancy and go against everything she had been taught to believe was right. This was what my wife had to do. Dr. Tiller is a true American hero. The nightmare of our decision and the aftermath was only made bearable by the warmth and compassion of Dr. Tiller and his remarkable staff. Dr. Tiller understood that this decision was the most difficult thing that a woman could ever decide and he took the time to educate us and guide us along with the other two couples who at the time were being forced to make the same decision after discovering that they too were carrying children impacted by horrible fetal anomalies. I could describe in great detail the procedures and the pain and suffering that everyone is subjected to in these situations. However, that is not the point of the post. We can all imagine that this is not something that we would wish on anyone. The point is that the pain and suffering were only mitigated by the compassion and competence of Dr. George Tiller and his staff. We are all diminished today for a host of reasons but most of all because a man of great compassion and courage has been lost to the world.

Tags: Christian Terrorism, Dr. George Tiller (all tags)



The alleged perp is arrested, unoficially ID'd

Scott Roeder is a tax protestor, served jail time for parole violations after a conviction of possessing bomb components.  He has posted at the Operation Rescue website, but no further connection has been established. roeder-held-as-pers_n_209551.html -murder-suspect-is-scott-roeder-connecte d-with-operation-rescue/

by Leading Edge Boomer 2009-05-31 05:38PM | 0 recs
Re: An Act of Domestic Terrorism in Wichita

These people represent the lunatic fringe, not the mainstream of christian america. Although I have total distate for late term abortion, that isnt a reason to murder someone.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-05-31 05:58PM | 0 recs
Re: An Act of Domestic Terrorism in Wichita

That's kind of a weird non sequitur.  I'd say the guy volunteering as a usher at his church was representative of mainstream American Christians.  This was a political murder, not a sectarian one.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is either putting up a strawman or trying to hide his support for political assassination.

by Endymion 2009-05-31 06:25PM | 0 recs
Even by stating that....

You are giving them cover.

These domestic terrorist wrap themselves in mainstream Christianity, because mainstream Chrisitanity allows them to.

Watch all the churces say the same thing.

This was ONE long gunman, acting along.

Then TOMORROW, they will go back to calling Aborton murder...

Charles is right, this was AUTHORISED DOMESTIC TERRORISM from the RR...

This was targeted at the most visible doctor to SEND A MESSAGE...A message THAT THE CHURCHES have incubated...

We must call this nothing else but sactioned domestic terrorism.

NOT the act of a long gunman, but the logical outcome of the Anti-choice movements MULTI-YEAR campaign against this doctor...

by WashStateBlue 2009-05-31 08:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Even by stating that....

I dont buy that...I have never heard anyone I know who opposes either abortion or late term ever say that those who perform it deserve to die. The guy was a lunatic and those few who think like him are lunatics. They dont represent the mainstream in any way. Like I said I oppose abortion but dont nor have I ever thought that way.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-06-01 08:50AM | 0 recs
of course you don't buy it....

You're a conservative, and you have an absolute blindspot here.

Sure, the main stream anti-abortion organization DON'T outright advocate murdering abortion providers.

Nor, am I saying you do.

That is not what is required to be an enabler.

And, that is what "the mainstream right to life" organizations are.  

They ENABLE this, by allowing the radical fringe cover.

They ALL  use the same language (abortion docters are murderers) and they NEVER until some egregious act call out the most extreme language and people in their movement. And then it is mostly to cover their asses.  If you think that a very large segment of the ant-choice movement is secretly happy about this, you have had no contact with these people.

They target and stigmatize legal abortion providers in thier male dominated jihad to control womens reproductive rights.

My GF has worked closely with Planned Parenthood, many at her company have worked for PP in the past.

Those folks always have one eye open for the fanatics in the Anti-choice movement. Many have been at PP when death threats were phoned it.

One of the women was actually at a clinic bombed in the midwest..She wasnt there. but it was the last straw for her. She has kids and she was forced for her own safety to quite PP.

That is how terrorism works.

This is a ONE WAY effect, it's always the anti-choice people bombing, shooting, killing the other side.

I call it terrorism, and that is what it.

Open and authorized Terrorism by the Anti-choice Religious Fanatics on the right, enabled by the entire movement.

by WashStateBlue 2009-06-01 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: of course you don't buy it....

I guess we are going to disagree here.I believe your statement that those of us who oppose abortion are enablers for those who would commit crimes in the name of that opposition. The same than would need to be said that Muslims who dont outwardly and vocally oppose terrorism are enablers. I dont see that. The fact is there are always going to be groups who practice a perversion of their beliefs and use it to do harm to others. It has been true of religion and political groups on all sides.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-06-01 09:54AM | 0 recs
Your arguements are usually better

You know making blanket statements like this is wrong. Every Christian and every church is to blame for this murder? Really? I've gone to church my whole life and I don't remember the abortion issue coming up even once. So explain to me how I am to blame for this murder?

Making a statement like yours would be like blaming the entire anti-war movement for the murder of the soldier in Arkansas today.

by tpeichel 2009-06-01 04:41PM | 0 recs
Re: An Act of Domestic Terrorism in Wichita

I think it's past time we started seriously considering how to make these acts of terror less effective.  Arming doctors isn't the answer, and with the Government necessarily infiltrated by Republicans a government-based (regulatory of law enforcement) solution is unreliable to say the least, but there has got to be a way to stop them from picking off our heroes one by one.  

by Endymion 2009-05-31 06:06PM | 0 recs
how about universal health care

including women's health services in ALL states.

by chiefscribe 2009-05-31 08:52PM | 0 recs
I think Bill O'Reilly should be investigated for

his hit piece on Dr. Tiller. Day in and day out, the rightwing terrorists had been calling for his head to roll.

by louisprandtl 2009-05-31 07:34PM | 0 recs
Re: An Act of Domestic Terrorism in Wichita

I'll say it, force is the only thing they'll understand.

by MNPundit 2009-05-31 08:48PM | 0 recs
Funny you should go there....

There is an article on Salon about Bill O'Rielly and his terror campaign against Dr. Hiller.

There is a outcry to have O'Reilly arrested as "A consipirator..."

But, while I agree with their anger, they are wrong.

It's the Republicans that want to use the Justice system in that way, ignoring civil liberties.

We MUST do a better job of indentifying the radical extreme in the RR AND their fellow travelers that give them cover.

And, call out the media.

I have YET to see a news coverage that didn't say

"Controversial" abortion doctor, to make sure this was fair and balanced....

To make sure we ALL knew, THIS doctor was singled out...

Yet, not many mentions that the controversy was a 20 campaign to drive him out of the legal category, to terrorize him, and finally to convince someone to kill him.

And, that in the end is what the RR fanatics did.

by WashStateBlue 2009-06-01 06:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Funny

Yeah, but unlike Islamic extremists, we can't stop messing with their country and their politics because it's our country too. They don't have problems with income--that's why they can afford to spend time killing people or encouraging the killing of people.

I'm sick of them being able to kill our side and we can't do anything except take it.

by MNPundit 2009-06-02 02:28PM | 0 recs


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