The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

One Third of All Late Term Abortion Doctors Killed Today

Dr. Tiller, whose Wichita clinic performed late term abortions, was shot dead in front of his church today. A lot of the focus is going to be on right wing terrorism, and the culture of hate created by folks who call abortion murder, setting up the justification for these sorts of murders.

Tiller was one of only three doctors in the US who performed these sorts of abortions.  That’s not because they’re illegal, it’s because the level of physical and legal harassment they and their staffs face is horrific, and it never, ever ends. It takes a very brave man or woman, and one who has decided to dedicate their life to the cause, to put up with constant threats, vandalism, legal harassment and the very real possibility of being murdered.

Tiller was incredibly brave and dedicated to do what he did.  It’s highly unlikely that anyone will step up to replace him.

A theoretical right which cannot be practically accessed is not really a right.  The right to abortion, both late and early term, has been under constant assault for decades.   Unless other doctors step up, and start providing for that right (and even early term abortions are hard to get in many States) then what happened today is, in fact, a tragic loss for the right for women to be able to have abortions when they need.

In the meantime, I mourn Dr. Tiller.  People as brave and dedicated as he was are so rare, that, well, there were only three of them in the entire United States.  A lot of women will suffer, and yes, die, because he was murdered today.

Rest in peace Doctor Tiller.  Hopefully someone will pick up the torch which fell from your hand today.


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  1. gtash

    I read this story at the TPM website and I am both sickened and angry. The religious zealots are celebrating. Just a few days ago , Ian, you wrote about religion and agnosticism; of empathy and it’s place or absence.

    My empathy does not extend to the doctor’s killers.

  2. Ian Welsh

    Oh, I can empathize. I just don’t sympathize.

  3. Oaktown Girl

    Thanks for this wonderful post.

    A theoretical right which cannot be practically accessed is not really a right.

    Exactly. On a related note, it makes me think of the right wingers who yell at protesters for protesting (unless it’s a right wing cause). They seem to believe that simply having the right to protest should be enough for us, actually employing that right, however, makes us anti-American.

  4. Cynthia Patouhs

    How dare anyone say Chistians rejoice in this? How dare anyone compare
    our passion for right and wrong to this murder, an obvious wrong. this
    man will get his justice. We are taught, as believers in the God of
    righteousness that nothing good comes from something evil. What then
    is the good that comes out of this abortion that you all celebrate?
    How can you justify this act of human insanity? What species does this
    to its offspring? What species values a college degree over itself?
    What species can survive when it no longer respects its own offspring?
    How dare you make this man a saint. He tells women that their children
    are a burden and a college degree is the ultimate happiness. What
    kind of human being kills for a college degree? What kind of woman
    hates her baby so much to kill it because her life may be inconvenienced? What kind of human beings are we that money and
    easiness trump life itself? That is the question. Our world and
    values are upside down. If you hate yourself so much so that you
    can rationalize this human civilization form of insanity, go ahead
    and laugh at those who look for justification and goodness in every
    way on this earth. Then look at the dead babies in a trash can in
    these abortion clinics that you have conveniently told yourself don’t
    exist. You are a slave to your own lies. I would rather believe in
    God than be the slave many of you are to your own rationalizing of the
    killing of human offspring desperately struggling to live in a
    womb where it’s own mother hates it because she hates it’s father.
    Now what kind of beautiful world is this you love so much?

  5. Ian Welsh

    Here are some stories, in their own words, of women who had abortions at Tiller’s clinic. Those were women with babies with extreme birth defects. Others, of course, had developed problems where if they took the baby to term, the mother would most likely die or have her health severely compromised.

    In states where abortion is more available, strangely, less of it is done, by the way. It’s an odd paradox, just as in the “liberal” blue states, there is less teenage sex and pregnancy.

    Tiller was indeed a hero. He was a man who believed women had rights, and who was willing to accept harassment and the (as we now know) real danger of death to make sure they could use those rights.

  6. Formerly T-Bear

    Cynthia P.

    I dare, and I dare again. Christians claiming that status have spewed forth a flood of Christian Hate, waved a Christian flag of morality, have fired Christian guns of intolerance and killed those who’ve disagreed with their Christian beliefs. Do not think you are safe hiding behind your god damned beliefs.

    Nobody celebrates abortion, only Christians celebrate the ignorance that tries to take away a woman’s choice through bigotry. Whatever it is that you are telling yourself about the issue is false, a lie, a deception that only happens in your head. Get help. You have absolutely no standing to begin interfering with a pregnant woman’s decision. You are absolutely wrong, absolutely out of order for any decision outside what you decide for yourself. God damn your arrogance to assume otherwise.

    Take your false propaganda and trite make believe scenarios and post them to the cretins who pretend to care. A good man is dead, a man who against the insanity of the world you represent here tried to help those needy of medical assistance and you spew your hateful bile. Take your false morality, your sewer of ignorance and keep it to yourself. Your opinion is worthless.

  7. Tallifer

    More arguments between the mutually incomprehensible worlds of the pro-abortion/anti-fur/anti-capital punishment and the anti-abortion/pro-stripmining/pro-capital punishment crowds.

  8. Jonathan

    Cynthia P.,

    Animals regularly kill their own offspring. Rodents males will eat their own young. Lions kill the offspring of rival lions. If you are going to participate in this conversation, a basic understanding of animal biology is necessary, regardless of whether it is human or lion biology.

    According to the bible, a fetus is a is not a person until its nostrils fill with air. God regularly encouraged the Israelite to go perform mass abortions against their enemies. If abortion is murder in the bible, then why did a man only have to pay a fine to another man when his wife to looses her baby? Wasn’t the cost of murder a life for a life? You can’t use the Bible and your narrow interpretation of it as a defense, because it is contradictory to your view. The Bible is effectively neutral on the subject.

    What it comes down to, is that you are uncomfortable with abortion. So, you project your feelings and views onto God and the Bible. In reality, you don’t have to use the Bible as your justification. It is okay to be uncomfortable with abortion. I am pro-choice, and I am uncomfortable with it. Abortion is not taken lightly by anyone who has one. It is seen as a serious decision. Unfortunately, the reality of human life sometimes requires it.

    What your writing shows is how little you think of human life and the decisions that woman have to make. It also shows how little you think of a woman’s reasoning ability. It shows how little you think of yourself.

  9. Ian Welsh

    I have no issues with fur, and my only issue with capital punishment is that too many mistakes are made.

  10. Caroline


    Just for the record
    1) According to the bible, a person is a person when the soul/spirit is formed or enfleshed. A lot of people think this happens at conception. Some believe it happens later.
    2) Acts of war is not abortion. To say so is to trivialize both.
    3) The ancient Jewish law code was very progressive in administering justice. Bear in mind they were a nomadic or semi-nomadic people so no jail terms feature in the law code. What you refer to in Exodus 21 is the idea of blood-price where a penalty can be substituted for the death sentence because the miscarriage was caused *unintentionally*. The penalty is what the husband demands and what the court allows which is quite fair and wise.

    I only post this because you were concerned enough to correct Cynthia.

  11. iluvbabies

    You really are a sick individual. Late-term abortions are rarely ever needed to protect the life of the mother. Less than a handful per year, yet this barbaric monster killed thousands every year. The man made a living shoving a scissors-like instrument into the base of a perfectly healthy and viable infant’s skull, then sucks its brains out with another instrument until its head collapses.

    Your mourning his death and suggesting women will be short-changed because of it is pure evil. May you rot in Hell with Tiller.

  12. Ian Welsh

    More stories from women who had abortions.

    They all seem to have loved their babies. But I’m sure they were all pure evil, and will rot in hell.

  13. Sonja Dalton

    Your premise is false. Unfortunately, Warren Hern, Kristin Neuhaus, Shelly Sella, and Susan Robinson are all identified as providers of (or participants in) late term abortions. And they’re not the only ones either… See this Jill Stanek piece ( — in addition to abortion mills, many hospitals are performing this barbarous, needless, murderous procedure as well.

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