Monday, June 08, 2009

If President Obama Supports the Culture of Death, Then I Do Too

Those of you who do not get the New York Times may have missed the feature story describing the confusion and uncertainty abortion protesters in Wichita, KS have been afflicted with since the murder of Dr. George Tiller shut down all the women's health clinics in the city.

“I don’t know what the future holds,” said Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, one of the most well-known anti-abortion organizations. Seven years ago, Mr. Newman moved his organization’s national headquarters, its leaders and his family from Southern California to Wichita to focus a national spotlight on Dr. Tiller, whom he described as “the flagship” of the country’s abortion business.

“I think it’s too early to say what comes next,” he said.

Although Operation Rescue worked for years to close down Dr. Tiller’s clinic, his death was never the outcome Mr. Newman wished for, he said. Of the man charged with killing Dr. Tiller, he tearfully said, “This idiot did more to damage the pro-life movement than you can imagine.”

Well, cry me a river.

Operation Rescue denounced the murder of Dr. Tiller. Scott Roeder, who was unaffiliated with any organization working to end abortion, has been charged with the crime. But Operation Rescue is an organization that walks the line of illegality in its behavior all the time, and then is "shocked -- shocked, I tell you!" when some lonely, angry person takes them seriously and kills a doctor because his head has been filled with blood-soaked fantasies about the murder of darling little blonde and pink babies. In Operation Rescue-Land, they protest that propaganda issued on their website (like this and this) has nothing to do with the murder of George Tiller and other acts of extreme violence against women's health clinics and abortion providers. And yet, making unsubstantiated charges that Tiller himself was operating outside the law and that he was killing women with botched procedures misrepresented Tiller as a vigilante himself, when in fact he was operating within the law and within the best practices of medical care.

Fact number one: women want to choose whether to bear children or not, and it is within their legal right to do so. If it ceases to be legal to obtain abortions, they will still do it. Fact number two: fetuses are not babies. They are imagined babies. They are babies in waiting. But they are not babies.

The so-called pro-life movement houses a great many lunatics, if you ask me, and that all these lunatics aren't killers is probably something we should be thankful for. Another banner posted to the Operation Rescue website labeled "Obama wants you to click here" takes you to this portion of the site, where you learn that President Obama wants you "to sanction the killing of infants born alive" and "to embrace a culture of death." Click on the first link, and you might make your way eventually to Senate Bill 1095, the Born Alive Protection Act, which Obama voted against (in Operation Rescue-Land, he voted in favor of infanticide.) The bill, which passed in July 2002, is ntended to undermine Roe by creating a chilling effect. It means you could go in for a perfectly legal abortion and come out with a million dollars or so of medical bills after the hospital fulfilled its obligation to put your living but unviable fetus on life support.

Click on the latter link, and there is a large quote from an Obama speech where he asserts his support for reproductive freedom -- otherwise known as a culture of death. Got it?

But to get back to Troy Newman's fear that the murder of George Tiller will harm his group: it's hard to imagine how Scott Roeder could hurt Operation Rescue more than they have hurt themselves already. But I sure hope so. Who printed up those signs informing us that "God Sent The Shooter?" Operation Rescue certainly hasn't taken any responsibility for getting them off the streets, lest the misimpression be left that they and other so-called Christian anti-abortion groups are full of hate and bile. But perhaps Newman's real fear is that the foot soldiers of the movement, who devote themselves full time to picketing clinics where abortions are provided, will emerge from their fugue state. Perhaps they will realize that what they are involved in is violent and not Christian at all, and they will go home to make real lives devoted to actual people, rather than the innocent imaginary babies that populate their Manichean fantasies.

If the Tiller family has any strength left after this ordeal, and they want to do something to honor George, my suggestion is this: a huge, whacking civil suit against Operation Rescue much like the one Southern Poverty Law center founder Morris Dees won last November against the Imperial Klans of America. Not only do such lawsuits establish necessary links between the atmosphere created by hate groups and the violent actions of lone individuals, if they succeed, they impoverish the organization and starve it to death.

Now that's a culture of death I can get behind.


Liz in Ypsilanti said...

I consider myself a "pro-life" person, but I stopped supporting the movement in 1980 when the major groups endorsed Reagan for President. Even a 20-year-old college student could work out the "life" issues between a conserving environmentalist and a guy who wanted to heat up the Cold War.

I am reminded, when I read about Mr. Terry's protestations, of Henry II's muttering, "Will no one rid me of this man?" (in reference to Thomas Beckett); and then, when the murder was done, recognizing his role in it and doing penance. If Mr. Terry were half the "Christian" he claims to be, he and his fellow "pro-life" leaders would be doing public penance for this murder.

JackDanielsBlack said...

TR, saying that the pro-life movement harbors lunatics is like saying the Democratic Party harbors lunatics -- both are very large organizations of people who "harbor" a broad spectrum of opinions. I suspect that you know very well that the overwhelming majority of pro-lifers reject murdering doctors who perform abortions. I think the real problem with many pro-lifers is that they fail to embrace the "seamless garment" or "consistent life" ethic expounded by the late Cardinal Bernardin -- if you're against abortion, you should also be against capital punishment, euthenasia, most (if not all) warfare, etc. We don't need to be killing anybody.

Knitting Clio said...

TR, I agree with everything in this post except using "lunatic" to describe certain members of pro-life groups. I'm really tired of the indiscriminate use of this word (and "crazy" and "nuts") to describe people who disagree with one's position and/or do despicable things. See my blog for a related rant.

Tenured Radical said...


You reproved me for this once before, and I confess, I forgot. I'll try harder, and look for some other words. I do understand what you are talking about.

Maude said...

right on.

Anonymous said...

there was a post-it found in Scott Roeder's car with Operation Rescue's phone number on it. Operation Rescue has denied that he is/was a member.

Anonymous said...

'Fact number two: fetuses are not babies. They are imagined babies. They are babies in waiting. But they are not babies.'

Oh my god, are you really making this argument, you would fail and introductory level ethics class. When, oh wise TR, may I ask does a fetus become a "baby" in your mind and not just an "imagined" baby?

Tenured Radical said...

Anonymous 12:06:

An ethics class taught by who? I would fail any class I hadn't done the reading for. You, on the other hand, fail proofreading class.

A baby is a baby when it comes laughing and dancing out of the womb, with fully formed organs that can sustain her with minimal interference from the medical profession.

Anonymous said...

Now you'd just be digging your whole deeper TR. So the amount of "interference" necessary to keep the baby alive effects whether you deem it a baby? Thus an adult who needs lots of interference, say a kidney dialysis machine or a heart transplant is less worthy of protectio.n.

"Fully formed organs", so those with gross pathologies on one or more organs are less worthy of protection? You can keep making these silly arguments all day, but none of them are going to give a rational coherent explanation of why you think it is ok to such the brains out of a baby minutes before it is born, but it is murder I to do it after it is born.

The pro-life forces on the other hand do not have to tie themselves in knots like this, they operate from the simple principle that the fetus is a human life and that life should be protected from violence whenever possible.

As for grammar, I think you mean "an ethics class taught by whom".

Anonymous said...

please substitute whole->hole.

protecthumanlife said...

I have to agree with anonymous3:54, TR you are being far too cavalier about when the moral claims of the "imagined baby" outweight the mother's "right" to kill it.

Unknown said...

Nowadays is very important to know about different culture specially because many people travel from differents country. When we have some knowledge about the cultures we can understand better the people and we can understand ourselve in a simple way, and is easy to forget any taboo that impide the enjoyment of our life.
buy viagra