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An eye for an eye

I've been thinking a bit lately about the recent murder of George Tiller. In case you don't recall, he's the abortion doctor in Kansas who was gunned down last week while attending church. I remember first seeing the headline blurb on cnn and msnbc and wondering who the heck the guy was and why anyone would care that he was dead. It wasn't until a few hours later when the first stories hit the wire that I figured out the relevance. My first thought was the hope that he had been gunned down in a robbery attempt or perhaps even better, he was killed by his transvestite lover in some sort of love polygon gone bad. Despite all that, it looks like he was killed over abortion and that's started some predictable gnashing of teeth and churning of rhetoric.

I knew without a doubt that this murder was going to be used by pro-abortion individuals as a rallying point and an attempt to tar and feather pro-lifers in general. Considering the latest poll results, things haven't really been going all that great for them and they could use some point of leverage. I didn't think more of the whole incident than that, but as I read more about the man and the debate, things started to change.

First and foremost, there was probably no more odious abortionist in the whole country than George Tiller. He was the abortionist's abortionist. Because of his willingness to take on even the most morally questionable of cases, many doctors would refer their patients to him when they required late term abortions. In fact, late term abortions were practically his specialty and he noted on the advertising for his clinic that no man in the entire western hemisphere had performed more such procedures than he. So knowing this, one journalist on Slate raised the question of whether his murder was justifiable if we really do believe that abortion is murder. The author's point seems to be that if we say no (and he clearly believes that most people would say no) that it means that we don't really view abortion as being equivalent to murder. If we did, then we should not only celebrate George Tiller's death but considering knocking one of his colleagues off to boot.

At the start of this, I was of the belief that whoever killed the man had to be punished because we are a nation of laws but that I certainly wouldn't weep for Tiller's corpse. The more I read of the man and the more I thought about the situation and I'm led to believe that maybe killing him was the moral path in the end. The man was a monster who committed incredible atrocities on a daily basis. While his supporters would tell us that his work entailed abortions on the brain dead or those fetuses who would have had no functional quality of life if born, we all know that that was not the limit of his actions. He so believed in abortion that he would do what no other doctor in the country would and indiscriminate corpses lay littered in his path. The person who killed him will have to face justice and pay for his crimes, but at least George Tiller won't be committing any more.

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
nerveux
Jun. 4th, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)
I'm not here to debate your opinion, but you should really re-think your choice of words with using "pro-abortion" in place of "pro-choice" as it is a gross misrepresentation. One that's been coming out the woodwork for years, more so since the murder of Dr. Tiller (whose practices I was not against, but that's another story).

People who are pro-choice are not advocating abortions. They are advocating for a woman's right to choose. Saying that they are basically all for abortions is amazingly ignorant and inaccurate.
henwy
Jun. 4th, 2009 07:51 am (UTC)
If you are for the right of people to choose abortion and you don't personally have anything against abortion, then you're functionally pro-abortion. This is not advocating a neutral state. It's not as if you're simply indifferent or apathetic about abortion, nor are more abortionists or those who support them.

Take the death penalty. If you believe that juries should decide whether or not a murder deserves to be put to death as per the laws of the state and you also don't find anything personally wrong with the death penalty, then you are classified as being pro-death penalty. It's that simple because the people against the death penalty are for its abolition. As long as you believe the death penalty should exist and be an option for juries to choose as a punishment, you support the death penalty. It would be stupid to claim that you were simply pro-jury choice.
nerveux
Jun. 4th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
What's pretty stupid is when people use the death penalty to up-hold their argument about abortion.

Pro-choice and pro-abortion are two different things. Is it too far of a stretch for your mind to believe that it is possible to be politically pro-choice, as in you believe the government has no right to impede on reproductive choices while still being morally pro-life? Most pro-life people believe you must be politically and morally one way or the other. No questions. It's a false dichotomy. There are a lot of reasons that factor into abortion. It isn't so black and white.
henwy
Jun. 4th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
It's either murder or it isn't. It's possible to have levels of justification, just as we would weigh things like self-defense or mitigation in a homicide but in the end, it's still murder. If you want to kid yourself that it's not, that's your delusion.
nerveux
Jun. 4th, 2009 11:13 pm (UTC)
LOL

Go tell that to all the women who are victims of rape and incest and in-turn went and had abortions. I'm sure they'd love to hear you call them a bunch of murderers.

Good luck on not getting your eyes ripped out of your skull.

Edited at 2009-06-04 11:14 pm (UTC)
henwy
Jun. 4th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
Sure. Just line them up and I'll give it a go.

If you had read below, you would see that it's these instances that I personally find the hardest to judge. I would hope that I would tell them that it still would be ending a life, and an innocent one at that. That despite what they endured, I would hope they could think about the fact that another wrong won't erase what happened.

A fetus or a baby is innocent life and shouldn't be tainted by the crimes of either his/her mother or father. If she really couldn't bear to raise the child, then I would hope that she would at least give him a chance at life with an adoptive family. If push came to shove and a psychologist/psychiatrist really believed that there would be irreparable harm, and there were no middle ground, then I could see no other way.

Edited at 2009-06-04 11:31 pm (UTC)
nerveux
Jun. 4th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
Also you're missing the point.

My point was that you should not be categorizing everyone who is pro-choice in a "pro-abortion" label.

I know quite a few people who are morally opposed to abortion while still remaining pro-choice. Why? Because its none of their damn business or yours what a women does with her reproductive organs.
henwy
Jun. 4th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC)
And I think that's a pretty cowardly way out of the debate. It's one thing if you believe abortion is morally fine. It's one thing if the fetus is really just a clump of cells, like a glob of this and that. If you really truly in your heart believe that, then it's no wonder that you believe in abortion. In fact, you'd be baffled why the rest of us even care so much. It'd be like watching freakazoids spazzing out because someone wanted to get their fingernails cut.

I might not agree with a person like that, but at least I can see where they're coming from. Tiller was clearly one of these people for instance.

Those who say that they believe abortion is morally wrong, that a fetus is a human being, especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimester and it is murder but for some reason then abdicate their responsibility drive me nuts. Could you see yourself saying that you think pedophilia is wrong, but you don't believe the government has the right to decide whether or not it should occur? Insane no? But that's exactly how I end up viewing those who claim to be morally opposed yet be against restricting the procedure.
nerveux
Jun. 4th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
Stop bringing other issues into it, they bear no weight or comparison to abortion.

And I said I was not opposed to Dr. Tiller's practices, I never mentioned what my stipulations were. Other than that you have no idea what I do or do not believe it.

Thanks for playing.
henwy
Jun. 4th, 2009 11:45 pm (UTC)
Nor do I really care what you believe or do not believe. You'll notice that I didn't ask at any point. This was simply my entry where I was trying to think through what I believe. I don't think I added a poll or asked to know what each other person thought. I'm more than happy to debate the issue either way, but it's not as if your pov is going to be earth shattering.

As for why comparisons are useful, it's a tool of discourse. Metaphors and comparisons. It's often useful in debating a topic. The recent TNR article on Tiller was useful in that respect.
nerveux
Jun. 4th, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
Boohoo.

Your journal is still a public forum and unless you lock it or put some sort of disclaimer telling people to leave their opinions out of it...free game.
henwy
Jun. 4th, 2009 11:58 pm (UTC)
That's a bit of a reading comprehension fail.

I never said I'm against hearing other people's opinions. I said I didn't solicit then. Thus your statement of:

"Other than that you have no idea what I do or do not believe it." is a sort of 'No Duh'. I wasn't trying to figure out what you really, at the bottom of your little heart, believe. All I was doing was sketching out the broad views that most people take.
kahvi
Jun. 4th, 2009 09:49 am (UTC)
we all know that that was not the limit of his actions.

We do? Genuine question.
henwy
Jun. 4th, 2009 01:13 pm (UTC)
Yep. Tiller was a zealot in his own right when it came to abortion. He really believed in abortion. If you read any of the blurbs and bios being written about him and his life you see that he was the posterchild for late-term abortions for both the right and the left. Both because he did what no other doctor was often willing to do and pushed the line further.
kahvi
Jun. 4th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
I kinda meant in terms of actual fact; did he actually preform late term abortions on fetuses who were not brain dead or would have had no functional quality of life if born? (Though I suppose the latter is to some degree a matter of opinion.)
henwy
Jun. 4th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
Welp, here were the charges filed against him during 1 year's time:

Count One: On July 22, 2003, Tiller performed an about on a 14 year old patient who was 26 weeks pregnant, relying on a diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

Count Two: On July 22, 2003, Tiller performed an abortion on a patient who was 29 weeks pregnant, reporting the fetus as being not viable but not having any basis for the determination. Nor was their any determonation of what health problem in the mother that supposedly necessitated the abortion.

Count Three: On July 8, 2003, tiller performed an abortion on a 10-year old patient who was 28 weeks pregnant. The girl had been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Single Episode.

Count Four: On July 8, 2003, tiller performed an abortion on a 28-weeks pregnant woman without determining fetal viability. There was no note of any medical condition of the mother.

Count Five: On July 15, 2003, Tiller performed an abortion on a 15-year-old girl who was 28 weeks pregnant. She had a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, Single Episode.

Count Six: On July 15, 2003, Tiller performed an abortion on a patient who was 28 weeks pregnant. There was no note of any medical condition of the mother.

Dount Seven: On November 18, 2003, Tiller performed an abortion on a 16-year-old who was 29 weeks pregnant. She had a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, Single Episode.

Count Eight: On November 18, 2003, Tiller did an abortion on a patient who was 29 weeks pregnant, without any basis for the abortion documented.

Count Nine: On July 30, 2003, Tiller performed an abotion on a 19-year-old patient who was 27 weeks pregnant, relying on a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, Single Episode.

Count Eleven: On August 19, 2003, Tiller performed an aboriton on a 22-year-old patient who was 31 weeks pregnant, relying on a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, Single Episode.

Count Twelve: On August 19, 2003, Tiller performed an abortion on a patient who was 31 weeks pregnant, without any documentaion of what the supposed medical justification was.

Count Thirteen: On August 5, 2003, Tiller performed an abortion on a 15-year-old girl who was 26 weeks pregnant, based on a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, Single Episode.

Count Fourteen: On August 5, 2003, Tiller performed an abortion on a woman who was 26 weeks pregnant, without any documentaion of the supposed medical justification.

Count Sixteen: Blurred, so I can't determine the date of the abortion. The patient was 28 weeks pregnant. There was no documentation of the supposed medical justification for the abortion.

Count Seventeen: On August 12, 2003, Tiller performed an abortion on a 15-year-old girl who was 25 weeks pregnant, based on Major Depressive Disorder, Single Episode.

Count Eighteen: On August 12, 2003, Tiller perfomed an abortion on a woman who was 25 weeks pregnant, not documeting the alleged medical justification.

Count Nineteen: On August 19, 2003, Tiller performed an abortion on a 15-year-old who was 26 weeks pregnant, based on a diagnosis of Acute Stress Disorder. (A refreshing departure from the standard Major Depressive Disorder, Single Episode.)

Count Twenty: On August 19, tiller performed an abortion on a patient who was 26 weeks pregnant, without documenting the supposed medical justification.

Count Twenty One: On November 4, 2003, Tiller performed an abortion on a 15-year-old girl who was 25 weeks pregnant on the basis of a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, Single Episode.

Count Twenty Two: On November 4, 2003, Tiller performed an abortion on a patient who was 25 weeks pregnant, wihtout any documentation of the supposed medical justification.

Count Twenty Three: On August 26, 2003, Tiller performed an abortion on a 14-year-old patient who was 25 weeks pregnant, based on a diagnosis of Acute Stress Disorder.
henwy
Jun. 4th, 2009 02:05 pm (UTC)

Count Twenty Four: On August 26, 2003, Tiller did an abortion on a woman who was 25 weeks pregnant without documenting the alleged medical justification.

Count Twenty Five: On September 9, 2003, Tiller performed an abortion on a 15-year-old girl who was 25 weeks pregnant, reverting to Major Depressive Disorder, Single Episode.

Count Twenty Six: On September 9, 2003, Tiller did an abortion on a 25 weeks pregnant woman, wihout documeting whatever her supposed health problem was.

Count Twenty Seven: On November 4, 2003, Tiller did an abortion on an 18-year-old patient who was 25 weeks pregnant. This one was Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

Count Twenty Eight: On November 4, 2003, Tiller did an abortion on a woman who was 25 weeks pregnant, without documeting whatever her medical problem was supposed to be.

Count Twenty Nine: On Nobember 4, 2003, Tiller did an abortion on a 13-year-old girl who was 25 weeks pregnant, based on no established diagnosis whatsoever.


It was said he did around 70+ late term abortions a year on average. In many of the cases here, you can see that it wasn't a case of viability, or of a major health/life issue. Frankly, I don't even know how the law allows him to list depression/anxiety with a straight face. He wasn't a psychologist nor psychiatrist and the law doesn't require the consultation of either in these cases.

A lot of it just seems to be sloppy record-keeping and could perhaps be justified. Maybe for some of the times where he didn't enter something it was because the baby wasn't viable or something, but there are plenty of cases where it's clear that viability wasn't the concern. He basically provided late-term abortions on demand.

henwy
Jun. 7th, 2009 01:24 am (UTC)
Recent reported:

Peggy Jarman, a spokeswoman for Tiller, was quoted years ago in the Kansas City Star as saying that “About three-fourths of Tiller's late-term patients … are teen-agers who have denied to themselves or their families they were pregnant until it was too late to hide it.”

So it looks like most of what he did had zilch to do with viability.
austin_boo_moo
Jun. 4th, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
So.... question.

I believe that abortion is OK in cases of rape, if the child is going to be born with severe birth defects, or if the mother's life would be at risk.

Does that make me pro-abortion?

(Just curious as to how you see it.)
henwy
Jun. 4th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
I dunno. Does supporting the death penalty except in cases where the defendant is a minor or retarded or nutso-insane make you pro-death penalty? In that case, a person would approve the vast majority of cases so I would say they're pro-death penalty. If however they said they were against it for everyone except red heads name sean over 6 feet tall...then I'd probably chalk it down as a no.

I'm not completely against abortion myself though I draw the line more narrowly. If there's no viability, it's clear cut for me.

If the life of the mother is at stake (and I mean really, not some bullshit thing like PPD) then we have to go with the person who can express their desire to survive. It's like that old legal idea where if you were drowning along with another guy and there was only 1 life preserver, it's not murder if you clubbed him to claim it, or otherwise prevented him from getting at it. It would also have be somewhat of an even chance here. A .5% chance the mother might die of complications or something like that doesn't count. It would have to at least be somewhere near a 50-50 proposition.

I've waffled on the whole rape thing. It's repugnant to add extra burden to someone who's been the victim of a crime like that and no one wants to do it. Then again, it's an innocent human life. It'd probably have to be on a case by case basis.
austin_boo_moo
Jun. 4th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
You weren't questioning the validity of PPD, were you? I'm guessing you were moreso implying that PPD isn't a good enough reason to justify abortion. (In which I agree.)

When it comes to abortion in cases of rape... yeah, so, it sucks that a perfectly innocent life is taken. But I'll be honest - if the rape victim is given the morning after pill, or has an abortion within the first trimester, I'm not going to be all "Boo-hoo" about the abortion. I am VERY much against 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions, however, even if it involves a rape victim.

I know that a rape victim could still have the baby, and give it up for adoption... but honestly, there are millions of kids in foster care/orphanages. I'm all about population control, in this case... just as long as it's taken care of in the first 3 months.


Oh, and just because I'm a pain-in-the-ass.... I'm pro-choice, AND pro-death penalty. However, just like with the abortion issue, I have stipulations with the death penalty. I believe that there has to be obvious proof OR a confession, (or both), before terminating someone's life. Obviously, our jails/prisons are full, and we need to make a lil' room. It's pretty ridiculous that we're putting Grandma Hippie in jail for smokin' a lil' pot, yet letting Slashy McGee out after 17 years because of "good behavior."

Oh, and let's start offing the pedophiles while we're at it!

(Sorry, went off on a tangent... I blame my lack of sleep.)
henwy
Jun. 4th, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
PPD, by definition, doesn't even hit until after a birth and yet some people have used even its potential as justification for an abortion. It's crap like that that makes absolutely no sense.
ryanov
Jun. 4th, 2009 10:38 pm (UTC)
Hypocrite
You're not pro-life if you consider killing someone to be "the moral path." You are, however, a hypocrite. And unless you're female, you have no stake in a woman's right to choose in the first place.
henwy
Jun. 4th, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Hypocrite
I never said I was pro-all-life. There's differing levels of value and abortionists don't place very high in my scheme of things. Not that it really matters in the end. The douche is dead and won't be doing any more harm. All's well that ends well.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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