Has U.S. abortion language created climate of violence?

June 1, 2009

The murder of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller has been condemned by prominent groups and activists on both sides of this divisive and emotive issue.


But the language used by some opponents of abortion rights who reviled Tiller for his work providing late-term abortions remained very strong.

Take this statement by Dr. James Dobson, founder of the conservative evangelical group Focus on the Family.

We are shocked by the murder of George Tiller, and we categorically condemn the act of vigilantism and violence that took his life,” Dobson said in a statement. He went on to say that the perpetrator must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

But he also said: “Tiller recently faced serious charges related to the killing of babies in violation of the law, by the most grotesque procedures administered without anesthetics or compassion.  We profoundly regretted the outcome of his legal case, believing the doctor had the blood of countless babies on his hands.  Nevertheless, he was exonerated by the court and declared ‘not guilty’ in the eyes of the law. That is our system, and we honor it.”

Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion rights group Operation Rescue, made Dobson’s strongly-worded comments about the “blood of countless babies” seem moderate by comparison. Terry didn’t even condemn the murder but he expressed concern about Tiller’s soul in his statement.

George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God,” Terry said.

Most of the opposition to abortion rights in the United States is faith-based and the movement has been led mostly though not exclusively by evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics.

Opponents of abortion rights regard the procedure as murder, though virtually all of the U.S. based activists insist that their fight must be done within the parameters of the law. That is why even the staunchest of opponents such as Dobson say that those who kill abortion doctors must be held accountable for their crimes.

But some supporters of abortion rights have long argued that the language used by opponents — with terms such as murder, blood-stained, destroy or holocaust frequently evoked — create an atmosphere that fosters violence. This angle was raised today on various U.S. news programs such as the Ed Show on MSNBC. Tiller himself had been shot before by an abortion opponent and his clinic was bombed in 1985.

If you really think abortion is mass murder why would you work within the law to stop it?

What do you think? Has strong language dangerously enflamed abortion passions on the ground in the United States? But if you equate abortion with murder or mass murder shouldn’t you be able to say so freely? Should the deplorable actions of the very few stifle free speech for others on this issue?

(Photo credit: Anti-abortion demonstrators unfurl a giant sign on the side of North Table Mountain in Golden, Colorado August 26, 2008 referring to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)


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I believe that everyone who uses inflammatory rhetoric is responsible for Tiller’s murder as well as every other murdered doctor. It is essentially putting a bounty on their heads. Randall Terry’s statement makes it clear that he views murder as a legitimate tactic. It is clear to me that “operation rescue” is code for “operation murder” and that “pro life” is totally ironic.

Posted by YON – Jan C. Hardenbergh | Report as abusive

It appears that for the most part anti-abortion activists did not condemn the killing of the doctor, and some even accused Obama of being at fault, which makes no sense. I’m not in favor of abortion, but admittingly the so-called mainstream pro life activists came out looking like extremist wackos and killers on this one. Really, they couldn’t have handled this more poorly for their cause.

Posted by Dr Reality Check | Report as abusive

People who oppose abortion do so because they believe that a foetus in the womb is not fundamentally different from a young baby after birth. So it would be very difficult to present that position if categorizing abortion as premeditated murder, legal only because our laws currently discriminate on a basis as irrelevant as skin color was when slavery was legal, is categorized as hateful or an incitement to violence.

Posted by John Savard | Report as abusive

I think that most pro-lifers would feel differently if they knew someone who needed to subject themselves to this horrible process. I feel this doctor was doing a service to mothers who were truly at personal risk or who were doomed to bring a severely handicapped child into the world. No sane person thinks late term abortion is a good thing, but life and death are a fact of nature. God set it up this way.
A lot of people thought God hated gay people until their son turned out to be one. People you need to have compassion for the mothers who are brave enough to save a child from a life of suffering.

Posted by Whitey from Mass | Report as abusive

Words matter and have set the stage for violence.

Pro-life should mean more than anti-abortion. Pro-life should encompass anti-death penalty, anti-war, pro-education, pro-nutrition and all those values that encourage and nuture life. Today’s acceptance of pro-life as only meaning anti-abortion does not call the anti-abortion community to the broader set of pro-life values.

Pro-life defined as anti-abortion allows the “ends justify the means” violence in words and deeds in support of anti-abortion point of view.

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

Were abolitionists to blame for violence against slave holders because they accurately represented the horrors of slavery?

Posted by Geoff | Report as abusive

A quote from a federal court of appeal:

“[A]lthough the words ‘killing’ or ‘murder’ are certainly emotionally charged, it is difficult to conceive of a forceful presentation of the anti-abortion viewpoint which would not assert that abortion is the taking of human life.”

Cannon v. City and County of Denver, 998 F.2d 867, 873 (10th Cir. 1993)

Posted by Florence | Report as abusive

Abortion is not murder. Murder is murder. Compare the act of a woman whose fetus has been diagnosed as seriously ill or dying in her womb– or a woman whose life is in danger, who chooses to have a late term abortion with the act of murder we just witnessed– the killing of doctor in his church. Tell me the two acts are morally the same.

The problem is that if you repeat something often enough, non-thinking people will begin to believe it. Unfortunately too many of us ignore language thinking it’s just words. But words kill.

Abortion is not murder. It’s a complicated act of choice by a pregnant woman who for whatever reason is unable to carry her pregnancy to term.

Posted by Melissa | Report as abusive

Let’s just call Tiller’s death a late-term abortion, and of course, as a previous poster so rightly noted “no sane person thinks late term abortion is a good thing, but life and death are a fact of nature. God set it up this way.”

Posted by Ginsing | Report as abusive

i think people that have secular beliefs can logically rationalize supporting the work that tiller did.the posting that suggested that he only carried out late term abortions on severely handicapped babies is not true.evidence that he would abort any baby at any term is overwhelming.what is as sad as his murder, is that he was allowed to function as a officer in a church in spite of his livelihood,this is an inditment against first, the church senior pastor, and the church board, and secondly the progressive lutheran denomination,shame on them.president obama was criticized for attending a church for 20 years while racism was preached from the pulpit,but this is nothing in comparison than to worship god in fellowship with a tiller.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Well, I happen to be quite secular, and I happen to liken the killing of a full-term baby as murder, whether or not it has exited the womb. You don’t have to be a christian, muslim, or a member of whatever religion have you to think that killing a child, especially one that is alive and on its way out of the uterus is infanticide. It sounds like Tiller even killed babies that survived abortions. How can we know what part of the 60,000 babies he killed actually needed to be killed, and weren’t deliberately mislabeled by this doctor as “non-viable” to justify their killings? We will never know, because of the legal complication of “privacy between the doctor and the mother.” I’m sorry, but this doesn’t wash. After a certain part of the pregnancy, that child is alive and its own separate person, and there can’t be “privacy” anymore. There needs to be more than one honest doctor that declares a fetus “unviable,” and doctors can’t just have the freedom of killing a child because it is convenient.

When a mother’s life is at stake, or the baby will have complications, that is a perfectly good cause to have the pregnancy terminated. When something is medically necessary, it’s perfectly lawful and acceptable medical procedure. When something is not medically necessary, it’s called medical fraud. And this is what the doctor faced in a trial not so long ago. Michelle Armesto-Berge claims that she was told 4 years after her abortion that the “good doctor” deliberately deemed her perfectly healthy fetus as “unviable.” This doctor killed a baby this woman would have wanted. But he got away because of law technicalities.

I’m sorry, but I’m secular, and even though Tiller was killed unlawfully, I can’t bring myself to feel sorry for this man. How can I trust that he was actually for women’s rights, and not in it for his own personal gain? He was an abortionist! Of COURSE he’d be “pro-women’s rights.” It suited his BUSINESS!!! How can I know which of the 60,000 babies that died actually had to? That they were actually babies that had complications and/or that they put the mother’s life in danger? Absolutely not. I absolutely cannot, will not feel sorry this man was finally dealt his own justice. A woman should have the choice to terminate her pregnancy. But after a certain point, there’s a live child in there. It must be considered a person. The laws don’t. The laws are wrong. The more I think about it the more it turns my stomach. There needs to be more education in contraceptives. People need to be taught to be responsible. Abortion should be available to women in the first trimester, or if there is absolute need for it. That need needs to be confirmed by honest doctors not in it for the money. After a certain point there should be no “right to privacy.” There is a third, unacknowledged person there. A woman can’t take her born child and kill it where nobody can’t see her. This would make her guilty of infanticide. But if a doctor can kill a full-term child in the womb before it comes out, it’s OK if it’s done “in private.” This is just disgusting. I can’t believe this is law. And feminazis are claiming this a “woman’s right?” No, no, no. Absolutely not. At some point the rights of the child must be recognized. This can’t be denied be cause it hasn’t come out of the womb yet. Honestly this is sick.

I hate to say it, but this is Mengele. It is the holocaust. It is worst than the holocaust; at least there are laws against holocaust deniers. People say doctors like these should be “protected!” For a good reason people want to kill them. They’re f*king sick. What a disgusting practice, that, of taking a full-term child, and justifying its death because its brains were sucked out INSIDE its mother, as opposed to just moments after removing the whole baby. I for one am glad this man is dead. It’s too bad he was murdered, and his murderer should be judged accordingly. But I cannot be brought to think of this man as a “hero.” He was sick twisted charlatan hiding behind the “women’s rights” banner. Nothing more.

No I will NOT deny that the emperor is stark naked, thank you.

Posted by Joe in CA | Report as abusive

From the time of conception you have some-ones life in your hands. It is your responsibility as a parent to protect that life. The pro-abortionists think its a modern concept that we just end a life because it is a spec of gloop. Yes we should turn the other cheek but how many times should some-one die before something is done to remind us that the right to life is not for the one who that life depends on. God can give & take life but we are not God. If you wish to take Gods place you will pay a price. The freedom you have been given has gone too far & America will continue to pay for it in one way or another. Are you so blind to see we have lost on our way & are in the darkest of hours. The ones we love are suffering we kill the innocent because they have no voice to speak against its murderers & America thinks that’s Ok. America will try to justify itself for what it does but really does know it is wrong & guilt that it is in shows in the youth of today. You tell them your freedom wealth & self is more important the innocence of an unborn & they believe it till it happens to them. Then they have to live with that guilt for the rest of their lives trying all sorts of ways to find satisfaction in obsessive behavior to try & stifle the guilt. Look at the changes of someone after they have had an abortion & tell me they have become withdrawn & less enthusiastic in life. Not only do we justify to take some-one else’s life, we also create a person filled with guilt that hates almost everything that will bring them true happiness. America will live in denial for a period but when some-one dies it’s a rude awakening that the blood shed is for a purpose. This will always bring conflict, because we have blind people trying to do something that the ones that can see & try to take the lead.

Posted by Stewart | Report as abusive

It was really a judgement day for the babykiller Dr. who had tried to protect himself with a bullet vest, fortified walls, and armor vehicle. He thought he could find a sanctuary in the house of God. His wrath came unexpectedly. How can a late-term abortion doctor be a christian? It is really troubling me. Even if there is an advancement in medical technology, nothing is 100% sure. Doctors told us that my baby had high chance of Down syndrome and adviced further ultrasound & genetic counselling. Doctors at genetic counselling the chance still high because there were a white marker in the heart and water retention pockets in the brain. We were given options but we decided to keep the baby no matter what would happened. We declined to further screenings and added worries. In December, we delivered a healthy and lovely baby girl. Doctors nowsaday relied heavily on lab test results and screening. They explained thing in probability because they were afraid of being sued. Young, ill-informed, first-time mother could easily fall victim for abortion as a way out of extra burden. I am pretty sure that there were babies, aborted in the name of women health in this country weren’t given to live. Who would speak for the speechless unborn?

Posted by Dustin Chau | Report as abusive

The murder of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller was done by pro abortion people themselves. He was made a sacrificial lamb to blame the pro-life activist of his murder and therefore capitalizing his death to divert the issue and demonize the conservative Christians. But what they don’t realize is that Pro-life activists uphold the sanctity of life on whatever stage whether that of a criminal or an innocent foetus and therefore their drama will not gain any believers.

Posted by Daniel Rosaupan | Report as abusive

Randall Terry’s statement makes it categorically clear that he does not support murder as a legitimate tactic.

Posted by Eric | Report as abusive

If you are Pro-life, why are you not shutting-down gun and ammunition plants? Or helping poor and starving adults? How about all those people who live in abject pain and misery? Why not help them? Why is it so important that one more deformed/handicapped baby be born into this vale of tears?

Posted by Whitey from Mass | Report as abusive

thank you “joe in ca”your posting helps me to have hope that people will take this horrible practice out of the realms of politics and womens rights and find some way of letting these babies live.as an middle aged man this gives me so much anguish,i can not bare to think about the ordeal of the unexpected baby.this is our darkest hour.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

About the only conclusion I can draw from this discussion thread is that pro-choicers stay up late and/or get up early, and pro-lifers get online later in the morning.

Other than that, what’s posted here contains far more heat than light.

Posted by Art Marriott | Report as abusive

if it’s wrong to kill a baby (born or unborn), what makes it okay to kill a grown man? i don’t understand why pro-lifers get away with picking and choosing their morality. as the mom of a nine year old and a nurse, i know what it takes to have a child and raise them. some people are simply not equipped to deal with that, and some don’t have the resources they need to raise a child. instead of acting like terrorists and spewing rhetoric, why doesn’t the pro-life movement get behind programs like educating parents to be and making sure the moms and the babies get the prenatal care they need? or maybe they could even-gasp-work to make adoptions more available. why don’t these supposedly good christians have any compassion for the women and families stuck in this situation and try to help them instead of condemning them? self-righteousness and bullets won’t solve this issue.

Posted by melinda sue | Report as abusive

This is in response to JOE:

Take a moment and put yourself in these shoes,

You are a woman (any age), single, and pregnant! The person, who you thought loved you, has left you bare foot and pregnant! At your next appointment, you find out your “baby” has terminal illness, and will not develop correctly or function! (They offer genetic testing for a reason) Financially, emotionally, and intellectually…abortion is the only answer! And aside from that, let me ask you a question.

In your state what are the father/mother laws? Child support, and custody. It seems rather ridiculous that, A MALE like yourself would think so repulsively towards abortion. It has been my experience, as a single mother that males basically have a choice…you can be in or out on a child’s life. Why shouldn’t a woman have a right to choose until the child is born? Ultimately she will be the one taking care of it and how many more children can be brought into this world which are unwanted??? Other than to boost economy at a WHOPPING $30,000.00 FOR ADOPTION!

So when you wake up tomorrow and legitimately think it is ok to MURDER a Doctor, and to put a FETUS out of misery is grotesque….please think further for that life which is taken! It is not a walk in the park for the woman to deal with!!!! It is extremely difficult emotrionally and mentally! You are just a male…you polk it in and BAM you are called Daddy… –

Posted by Jessica | Report as abusive

Calling abortion murder can lead to the conclusion that abortion providers should be killed to protect the unborn from being murdered. To me the abortion debate is a freedom of religion debate. There are those that define life as starting at conception and others who do not consider terminating a pregnancy as killing a human being. No one who is pro-life is ever forced to have an abortion, and countries that allow governments to have a say in this personal religious debate can force women to have abortions, i.e. China with its one child one family population policy. The pro-life movement should confine its efforts in their religious institutions and allow others to live their own religious convictions.

Posted by Jane Killgore | Report as abusive

A quick fact correction, all or nearly all groups that publicly oppose abortion have ROUNDLY condemned the murder of Tiller.

And secular or religious – if you believe that human life has ANY value, then you are a hypocrite to discriminate between a fetus that has been “born” and a fetus waiting to be “born”.

Interesting that so many reference a potential handicapped child as a valid reason to kill a fetus. Not so many years ago, being black (or gay!) was considered a “handicap” in America. Would that be a valid reason to kill a fetus? What if Mom believes her child might not be particularly smart or good looking? Is that a good reason to kill it?

Posted by Thomas L | Report as abusive

This hate and anger and violence kind of reminds us of the “red legs” and “Jay Hawkers” and slavery is fine of a Kansas-plains of the 1860’s Civil Insurrection (It was never a declared war, but was a Insurrection) periods.. Not a great deal of difference by these “god (small
“g”) is on my side and I am righteous to hate, bomb,kill, etc”. Doubt it, read some of stuff of that period, and today’s.. same ole same ole, how sad for the good people of that area to have to put up with such retched people whom will murder a doctor and find joy in it.

Posted by Chuck | Report as abusive

An unborn life inside a woman’s body is her business and responsiblity and no one else’s.
No babies are murdered in a typical abortion because there is no “baby”.
Late term abortions, in the 7th or 8th month, where there is legitimate debate as to viability outside the womb are extremely rare, and done only in the most extreme situations- where the mother’s life is at stake, or the unborn life is extremely compromised and beyond the realm of practical support- sometimes financial, sometimes medical in nature- but the parents or mother are either way emotionally challenged to continue the pregnancy. But no matter what, the current law decided this a long time ago- it is none of our business what is going on in that mother’s body- it is hers.

Posted by Sane and Scientific | Report as abusive

I want to start by expressing my hart felt condolences for the Dr.’s family for their loss. I am nether “Pro-life” or “Pro-choice” But I was wondering how any one could condone KILL IN A CHIRCH? I was brought up to respect the sanctity of the establishment, and we must all remember that Church is not for the Perfect.

Brian Lee, how could you boycott an entire family because of the Dr.’s actions in his job? Oh no he made a mistake let’s not talk to the entire family. Oh boy, There little boy beat-up my honor student lets kick there entire family out of church. Right? I am not saying that these examples are like the one in debate but the children have noting to do with the Dr.’s job or choices in it, get real. This kind of small mindedness has put the country in the state it is in today. Protect every one from there selves and oust anyone who has an opposing view. It reminds me the little girls fighting on the playground where all they do is get slap happy until one of them gets hurt and runs off crying.

I have read through nearly all of the post. I have come to the conclusion that most of you would prefer to live in a socialistic society where every one has to have your views. Though I am sure you all have read through all of the Dr.’s patients medical records and can not justify the act your self. Just because you are not there to discourage the patients does not mean he doesn’t try. Good lord people, when I went in for a vasectomy I had 3 separate 1 hour long appointments, 2 of which were there to discourage me from having it. And that was dictated by my HMO!!!! And when I attend a new doctor I receive a confidentially statement assuring me that my medical records are secure from other people viewing them. So how do you folks really know what is going on. Where are your facts coming from?

Posted by Mic | Report as abusive

“Abortion is not murder. It’s a complicated act of choice by a pregnant woman who for whatever reason is unable to carry her pregnancy to term.”

Good attemtp at twisting it

unless of course she just chooses not to have the child – funny how medicine is always advancing but somehow more and more women must be in life threatening danger in their pregnancies (the minority always referred to by the lefties to justify the overwhelming number of “choice” cases)

Posted by fred | Report as abusive

I support legalized abortion, not because it is right, but because I believe our society is better off as a whole with it legal. All you hardcore, fetus-squishing defenders, though… I have to say I am stunned by your absolute lack of compassion towards humanity. We sit around and contemplate murderous, fascist regimes past and present wondering, “how could they do that,” yet here are so many people so eager to defend similar behavior in their own back yards.

It causes me to reconsider my original stance. If so many people are so eager to see babies die, maybe the staunch pro-lifers are on to something with their rhetoric. I can’t believe someone would dare to talk about “being in her shoes,” without even addressing the one who will never get to wear shoes.

By the way, I don’t care who you are… if you think that the abortion of a fetus is not murder, you either:

– have no children
– have no humanity
– have no brain

…or any combination of the above. It is true, though, that we murder all the time for our own self interests. It is valid to contest whether one type of murder is better than another, but better to think of ways to stop all of it. No one around here seems to care about the latter, though.

Posted by Russ in PA | Report as abusive

To: Jessica

How beautiful a sacrifice indeed for a single mother to give up her ideal life by choosing to give birth and struggle to support her child. None of us want struggles. None of us wants hardship. None of us wants poverty. How beautiful to give life and face the challenge.

Posted by YJ | Report as abusive

Just listen to the fanatics who are trying to overwhelm this discussion. They are saying, in effect, believe what I tell you my loving god believes, or I will kill you.

Sounds more like the Taliban, to me.

Posted by Oberon | Report as abusive

I’ve yet to meet a pro-lifer with adopted children. You know, someone standing at the end of the bed and catching the unwanted, possibly disabled, baby as it exits the womb.
Every single pro-lifer should adopt unwanted children, especially disabled ones that require round-the-clock care.
Only then, when they are the ones feeding, cleaning, schooling and paying for the results of their demands will I recognise that they have anything to say about how women treat their bodies.
If God wants all babies born then God wants you to stump up the time and cash to do it. If you don’t, you’re a hypocrite.

Posted by Abe | Report as abusive

Luckily, the Bush administration gave the USA new procedures that allow for very effective actions against terrorist conspiracies. The pro – life movement can be wiretapped, their library records can be examined, and their property can be seized. In fact, members of pro – life organizations can be held by the President, indefinitely and without right to a lawyer (or even to have any contact with their families), in torture camps such as Guantanamo or Bagram. At the time I thought these procedures were vicious and un – american, but now I see how they could be used to the country’s advantage.

I would think that any conservative politicians, clergymen, or celebrities with ties to pro – life groups could also be detained indefinitely and without trial.

Good timing.

Posted by Mark Pauline | Report as abusive

If a abortion is not murder then how can a person be tried for murdering an unborn child while in the mother’s womb. If you have a car accident and it kills the fetus inside a mothers womb you can be tried for homicide. In the same aspect, if you purposely punch a pregnants womans stomach to cause the fetus to be aborted can you be tried for a crime against the unborn? This is a double standard for those on the pro-choice side.

Posted by Common Sense | Report as abusive

How exactly does one define unwanted children? If you do not reach the goals in life your parents set forth are you “unwanted”?

Posted by TO ABE | Report as abusive

I think the rhetoric only highlights the intensity of the ideological conflict. And what a conflict indeed. At stake a personal freedoms, religious freedoms, and separation of church and state. Too bad that most want to pick and choose which items on the grand list of freedoms are ok, and which ones are not, rather than adopting an intellectually honest position of either being completely free or not.

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive

My wife and I had an abortion together when we were younger and ill informed. It was completely out of convenience and not due to any medical reason. I have met many folks that have had abortions and talked to folks while we were in the abortion clinic. I can assure you that I have never come across anyone who had an abortion for a medical reason, it was always came back to convenience. I just wish the poro-choice crowd was more informed on the situation and did not hide behind the retoric of medical necessity.

My wife now volunteers for a pregnancy center in the hopes that other people will not make the same mistake as us.

Posted by been there already | Report as abusive

anyone who says abortion doesn’t end a human life must have slept through freshman biology. And ending a human life is ususally classified as murder.

Also, it’s not part of the woman’s body anymore than a tapeworm is a part of mine. Further, men should have plenty of say in the debate, because after (if) the child is born, it’s suddenly not the woman’s body anymore, it’s the father’s responsibility for 18 years.

Posted by Drewbie | Report as abusive

If the Pro-Lifers get their way, there will be a black market for abortions. The cops will have to spend their time and taxpayer money looking for makeshift abortion clinics, teenage girls will find themselves on death row for homicide, and abortions will still continue to occur. Making abortion illegal will end the “abortion” problem in the same way making foreclosure illegal would end the “foreclosure” problem.

P.S. I love the signs that say CHOOSE LIFE, because they are actually pro-choice signs. If the Pro-Lifers had their way, there would be no choice, only force.

Posted by kyle | Report as abusive

For every pro-lifer out there, I have three questions: 1)Are you pro-gun?, 2) Are you for the death penalty?, 3) Do you beleive that animal’s lives have no value compared to humans?. If your answer to ANY of these questions or all three is yes, then you are not a true pro-life advocate. Pro-life means you support ALL life on this planet (God created all life, remember) and you are against anything that harms life. Finally, unless you are willing to PERSONALLY pay to raise and care for children that people who get pregnant and later decide to abort, you have absolutely no right to tell that person how to live her life. If you talk the talk, then walk the walk. Otherwise go away, shooting anyone in a church, a holy place, is unlikely to please God. If you don’t believe that arguement, go and actually read your bible, the whole thing, not just the parts that you find convenient.

Posted by BB | Report as abusive

I would like to point out that the pro-life movement is ill-named. It should be referred to as the pro-human-life movement. This is because if they were really pro life then they would cherish all of God’s creations. Maybe they would become vegans (people that do not consume any animal products including honey, milk, eggs etc.) or vegetarians (people who do not eat meat). If this doesn’t make sense let me illustrate the point. Humans are animals most people agree to this. So then, what’s the difference between killing and eating a fully mature animal versus an unborn fetus? (uneaten of course) I would argue killing the creature that has experienced life, has learned from the world, has become self conscious has had goals and will have them left unfulfilled is far worse than killing a fetus that has had none of these experiences. All it knows is the womb which is not much of a world at all, and it’s not even self-conscious. It doesn’t even know it has life because it can’t comprehend that it even exists.
So the pro-life movement should really think about what they say they value. Either that or change their name.
This would simply be caring out the pro-life premise to it’s logical conclusions.
One last thing as far as having the potential to experience and to really “live”. Prince Henry will someday be king. If his father dies then, he will assume the crown. Thus, Prince Henry has the potential of being king. However, just because he has this potential does not mean we confer to the prince all the rights, powers, and responsibilities of being king.
Peter Singer is where I’m getting a lot of my information from. Feel free to read him and think.

Posted by George Harrison | Report as abusive

To kill anyone is wrong. One can’t use evil as a means to rid ourselves of evil. Abortion is an extremely violent act and must be described as such. People are indefferent towards abortion because they don’t think of it as the violent act that it is. To describe abortion in these terms of is meant to truthfully describe the act. To say that it provokes violence is like saying that violence on t.v. provokes violence.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

Single-digit are the number of violent acts against abortionists since 1992–eight under Clinton, none under Bush, one under Obama. Nearing 3,000 are the number of victims of violent, murderous acts against Americans by Islamic terrorists starting at 9/11, including one on Monday, June 1, 2009. It also turns out that Tiller’s murderer has a history of mental illness.

Posted by Richard L.A. Schaefer | Report as abusive

To answer B.B. 1)I don’t own a gun 2)The death penalty is vengeance not justice (murder is murder no matter who is pulling the trigger) 3)I value and respect the lives of animals BUT if it comes down to a choice between an animal life or a human life (at no matter what stage of development – fetus included) I will choose human life every time. Do I value a human life over an animal life? Absolutely!!! Anyone who doesn’t has an absurd set of morals.
You would find that the majority of the Catholic Pro-Life advocates would answer your questions the same way.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

I am 100% pro-life. My wife and I have 4 adopted children, one of whom has a moderate mental handicap and will have a rough time living independently. We adopted him knowingly and with love, even though he has made our lives decisively more difficult, they are more rewarding.
There is a fifth child we wanted to adopt some years ago, but were unsuccessful. The mother was an undergrad student at William and Mary. She was Catholic, and inclined towards adoption. We learned of her situation and offered to adopt thorugh a mutually-acquainted priest. Before things could progress, her “boyfriend”, who was so immature, sefish and cowardly that he was totally unwilling to assume even the slightest risk of any accountability for his actions (and none was even going to be directed at him), took advantage of the mother while she was extremely emotionally vulnerable, and verbally bullied her into getting an abortion (which he was more than willing to pay for) against her better judgment. After it was all over, he left her anyway. What kind of a “choice” is that? How quick a woman’s right to choose has become a man’s right to use. The fact is, most women who choose abortion do so with great regret afterwards and even beforehand. A woman chooses abortion not like a shopper chooses a flavor of ice-cream or a brand of car, but like a bear, caught in a trip, chooses to gnaw off its own foot because that is the only apparent way out. We like to celebrate “choice” but really most women are forced into abortion and feel like they have no choice at all. Why should a woman have to choose between motherhood and her eduation? Motherhood and her career? Motherhood or conditional love from her family/boyfriend/husband? Motherhood or respect from her peers? Our society *really* needs to rethink its priorities and come up with solutions that help women be mothers and active members of society, without having to choose one or the other. And men need to man up to the plate and become responsible for their actions. If you get your girlfriend pregnant, you need to decide: are we compatible and able to parent? If so, congratulations, you have started a family. Or: are we able to give up our child for adoption? If so, congratulations, you have done a good thing for your child, now offer your unconditional love and support to the mother because it is going to be hard for her to go through a pregnancy and then give up the child. Or, you can decide that the mother wants to raise the child alone. If so, buddy, you need to provide financial support. If you are not willing to play by these rules then get out of the sack. Maybe you shouldn’t be sleeping around with a woman unless you are ready to make the emotional committment to her and to the possibility of having a family.

Posted by Truth Beauty Goodness | Report as abusive

Aborting an unborn fetus is terminating it’s life. Call it, killing, murder, disposing, aborting, terminating or whatever you want but the fact remains the same, abortion is ending a life. It’s a life at the moment of conception and especially when the female is at the doctors’ office and her heart sinks to her stomach when she hears those words.. “your pregnant”. She knows it is a life right there and that is why she feels threatened. The extremely vast overwhelming majority of reasoning for abortions is unwanted pregnancies. It is often citied that rape, incest, and threat to the mother’s life are strong reasons for abortions to be legal but the statistics show they account for an extremely low percentage of abortions. With annual abortion statistics in the millions, abortion seems to be a form of birth control and I do not support legalized medical procedures designed to abort a life that is simply unwanted. Some, if not all, states will actually pay for this process, or give incentives at the public expense to others who provide services, if a mother cannot afford the abortion procedure meaning that personal tax dollars are going towards terminating unborn children. Also, the cost of legislation, representation, and regulation that tax dollars are spent on in the name of “abortion” plays heavy in the passion of those who oppose it. If you are personally against abortion it wreaks havoc on you when you consider your actually being forced to pay for this. If you are a religious type person the idea of the fruits of your labor (taxes) are producing such things has a profound effect upon your soul. It is wrong for people to put such demands on their fellow countrymen and women for such irresponsible activities and think they are not going to speak their minds about it and call it just what it is.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

every time we have this debate we see advocates for abortion that pontificate about the subject and have no personal involvement in this horrible event.i have a son who was extremely lucky he was not aborted,if he had ,this would have been a burden that would have killed me over the years.thank you “been there already “for your participation sadly we don,t get to my who have experienced the misgivings.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

I am shocked at some of the comments here.

First, the killing of this doctor was WRONG. Plain and simple.

Second, generally speaking, the killing of any human life is WRONG, plain and simple.

@George Harrison…I think you should start a nationwide tour proclaiming that eating animals is worse than killing an unborn human fetus – and that this is the official stance of the ‘pro-choice’ crowd (which it is in most cases). The abortion debate would be over in less than a month. Instead, most people on your side of the debate understand that they must be sneaky about how they frame the debate. At least you are out in the open.

@BB…Unless I am personally willing to pay? That is one of the main problems with the liberal school of thought. No personal responsibility. No consequences for actions. If someone is choosing to have unprotected sex, and gets pregnant, the results of that choice are THEIR responsibility, and theirs alone. Furthermore, you state that it is her choice, presumably stating that it is none of my business to interfere in another human’s life. If you truly are ‘pro choice’, and believe that a human’s right to choose is an important thing, what about the baby which is not given a choice? As you say, ‘walk the walk’.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

Trees throw seeds in the wind and hopefully they’ll find a place where they can find nurturing and grow into trees. That doesn’t mean the tree expects every single seed to develop like there is nothing guaranteeing a gestation will reach full term resulting in a healthy baby.
I don’t particularly like the late term abortion that is allowed under the law unless there is risk involved to the mother – and so doctors have to exist that perform abortions anyway. Rabid anti-abortionists seem blinded by the facts of life: that death is included in the odds of the life of babies.
I still think, though, that if a woman is going to abort, that she must do it as quickly as possible: Changing her mind at the last minute is cruelty unto herself and unto others, who are forced to do the dirty work. No doctor likes to do it, it seems.

Having said it, the murder of doctor George Tiller in the state of Kansas is not surprising. Neither is the state of neglect of poor children living there but since they’re not foetuses, they don’t count anymore.

Posted by Danny Boy | Report as abusive

I’m not a religious person. That being said, I believe that the problem with late term abortion is that we now have technologically advanced to where we can ‘save’ babies that are only 5 to 6 months along. If these babies are ‘viable’ (albeit with the help of medical aids) why do we not consider older unborn babies to be viable – or okay to abort? As mentioned by others, if a mother who is pregnant is murdered, the murderer is charged with two deaths – not one. Why is that the case unless you consider the baby to be viable? Some have suggested that ‘pro-lifers’ should be vegetarian because all life is sacred. Well, the problem with this is that a) humans are different from animals in that we have developed self awareness and b) we’re talking about humans taking care of their fellow humans here. If humans didn’t have rules to live by, we’d be like the animals and this is what makes us different. And one of our ‘rules’ is to not kill another human. I therefore do not condone the murder of this doctor by another human but I don’t condone this doctor’s actions of killing late term babies either. I believe that after a certain point in the pregnancy, it should be ‘too late’ to do an abortion unless the mother’s life is at stake and you can’t do a C-section to save her or there’s some other medical reason to warrant it. Otherwise, the best solution is for the mother to give the baby up for adoption.

Posted by Lori | Report as abusive

@The murder of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller was done by pro abortion people themselves. He was made a sacrificial lamb to blame the pro-life activist of his murder and therefore capitalizing his death to divert the issue and demonize the conservative Christians.
– Posted by Daniel Rosaupan

-Is there an evidence for this?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

On personal responsibility
This is a double edged sword. I mean, can’t you do the responsible thing and get an abortion? Do you see where I’m going with this? Personal responsibility to some may mean that it is in the best interest of the fetus to be terminated. Personal responsibility to some may mean that because of bad parenting skills, resource constraints or what have you it is better not to bring up a child in a world filled with pain, and deprivation.

To Ben
Let me ask you something are you racist? If not why not?
Now switch in different “races” with different species. Hmmm it might look at little different but it’s the same beast my friend. Choosing a human’s life over an animals any and every time solely based on the fact that one belongs to the human race and the other does not is as racist as they come. But I believe the distinction is called “specieist”. You are making this distinction solely based on whether or not something fits into a category and in this case it’s the human category. Blindfuly may I add, with out a second thought.
I’m not saying that all human lives are equal to all animal lives. Don’t get me wrong Einstein’s life does not = a cockroach’s life. What I’m saying is that animals need to be given equal consideration. We need to give their needs as much consideration as we give our own. Just because we’re hungry doesn’t give us the right to belittle an animal just as hungry as us. We have the same needs, how can we say ours matter and theirs don’t? And don’t give me self-preservation crap, that’s a two way street.
An animal has just as much a right to life as we do. That’s what I’m saying. Life isn’t reserved for the strong, or the weak, or for humans.
However, different lives have different values including animal lives. This is probably where our views differ. I don’t believe all human life is valuable. I believe persons are of value. (a fetus is not a person, it is human though) Now don’t get me wrong I haven’t said I was gonna kill the people I don’t find valuable. That’s not what I’m saying at all, nor where I’m going nor where my arguments will go. I’m simply making a distinction. I can give you a thought experiment to prove human lives are unequal to most people. I would give another but I feel this comment to be rather long and I would like for you to read all of it.

1.) Your house has caught fire, inside unconscious is your father (or intimate) and I (we were having tea). You drive by notice the fire and instinctively want to save us (assuming you are as well natured as you seem). However here is the situation the house is badly damaged the roof is cracking and on the brink of collapse. You know you can save one of us and yourself hands down. However, saving both of us might slow you down too much and you might not make it out alive, killing all 3 of us. What do you do?
Think it over.

a.) Save your dad and yourself–an intimate
b.) Save me and yourself–some bloke you met online who has much different views than you
c.) Try and save both of us even though the roof collapse is imminent and we will all get killed.
d.) Do nothing. Still a valid choice should you wish not to endanger your own life.
This is the situation, now you choose.

Those are the major choices I can think of to this question.
Anyway what most people pick is saving their father or intimate. This is a reasonable choice I mean they brought you up, provided for you, loved you etc. If you go with choice A then you value your fathers life more than you value mine. Completely reasonable.
Going with B is the pretty much the same thing except in my opinion a little less reasonable.
Choice C the way this is set up is that if you do this you will condom all 3 of us to death. This suggests you think all three of our lives are equal. Unfortunately we will have nothing to really show for it except a gravestone. Most people choose to save at least one person because they believe one is better than none, also because they want to live themselves.
Choice D suggests you find mine and your father’s life equal but unequal to your own. You cannot distinguish which is more important so you give us the same equal fate.
This is a very interesting thought experiment if I do say so myself. No disrespect for you or your family.

Posted by George Harrison | Report as abusive

I am curious to know the gender-based preference for supporting pro-life and pro-choice. For both liberal and conservative christians. Women’s views mught be more pro-choice in my opinion. But this is men’s world and in US especially is (proven by CEDAW not ratified; 1 among 8 countries in the world)–meaning this is all decided by men. So gender-based opinion of conservatives and liberal women will tell a lot.

ABE: Is that true about adoption that pro-lifers do not adopt (in your experience). I am sure it won;t be 0% but the reliable data must be existing on this. Ironically as many others pointed out this is clear that pro-life is such a ridiculous word because conservatives are more for pro-war, pro-gun…..

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

The stark tragedy of the Tiller murder underscores the obligation we all share to tone down our rhetoric, to reach, if not consensus, at least sufficient mutual respect to avoid demonizing each other. I believe this starts with the imperative to use phrases that are factually accurate to promote our views. In fact, if accuracy doesn’t serve our purposes, we should wonder whether there may not be something terribly misguided in what we are trying to promote.

This applies to both sides. A woman who claims “No-one has the right to limit what I may do with my own body” should acknowledge the falsehood of claiming that only one body is at stake. Within her is a second, living body, and its fate is not only significant, but at the crux of the entire abortion debate. On the other hand, I believe it is reprehensible for any pro-life activist to refer to abortion as the killing of an “unborn baby”. Fetuses are not babies. In early pregnancy, when most abortions occur, the fetus bears almost no relationship to a baby. A baby has conscious awareness, hopes, dreams, wishes, even regrets and expectations. The nervous system of the early fetus is too primitive for any of these preciously human attributes, or even for the primitive awareness of pain. The beginnings of these elements of being human develop gradually starting in late pregnancy and continuing through childhood.

If pro-choice women stopped saying, “It’s my body”, and pro-life advocates stopped claiming “you’re killing babies”, the arguments will probably continue, but in a more respectful and less violence prone environment.

If we who claim to be human can’t stop the demonizing, the angels who watch over us may wonder why any form of human life is truly worth preserving.

Posted by Fred Moolten | Report as abusive

I think a large part of the problem stems from the definitions used in the argument. A baby/infant, is a living being, whose daily activities include sleeping, crying, eating, and going through lots of diapers. A human fetus exists in a womb and is in development. A fertilized egg is what happens when sperm meets egg. As a female, I feel like my health and well being is more important than a fertilized egg. I also believe its more important than a clump of cells. And I find it insulting to be told by pro-lifers that the clump of cells attached to a uterine wall is more important than a living breathing human woman.

Abortion is tragic. No on wants to have an abortion or just wakes up and goes “hmmm I’ll think I’ll have an abortion today”. But often times abortion is necessary for the health of the mother or if the fetus is deformed.

Dr. Tiller performed late-term or 3rd trimester abortions. Any elective abortions occur much earlier. 3rd trimester abortions are dangerous for everyone involved. Women do not get these abortions without a good reason.

Oh and just to be clear, Dr. Tiller has nothing when it comes to Mother Nature. The number one abortionist in the world!

Posted by Eimi | Report as abusive

I don’t in any way condone the murder of Tiller, however I think it needs to be noted that his killer was very much more merciful in how he chose to kill Tiller than what Tiller was in the gruesome murder of thousand of unborn babies … George Tiller was not torn apart while still alive limb by limb nor did he have a sharp instrument thrust into the back of his neck and his brains sucked out as he did to HIS victims. It is our inept and corrupt “justice” system that is responsible for the reaction of people who give up on the system and take matters into their own hands, not the always life-affirming actions and words of the pro-life movement. Again, I am not condoning the actions of the George Tiller murderer but I do think we have to recognize that the man he murdered was a mass murderer himself.

Posted by Mary | Report as abusive

I do not understand, how people can condone murder for someone who was doing his job… Doesnt matter if you are pro or against abortion, people should not terrorize doctors for doing their jobs…

Posted by John | Report as abusive

It doesn’t really matter what you think, it is what is in the Constitution. Freedom of Speach and Freedom of Religion are both enumerated rights. We don’t need a government committee to tell us what words we can or can’t use. Advocating the murder of someone is against the law in some instances, but calling something murder isn’t. Unless you change the Constitution, that is the way it is, period. Don’t like that, pass a Constitutional amendment putting defined limits on free speach…but don’t try to bend/end run/reinterpret the the laws…you leftist are bending the laws so much to your will you risk snapping them all.

Posted by infocyde | Report as abusive

Language can be used to illuminate or to obfuscate. That which is inflammatory is far more subjective. Arguing for or against abortion, the death penalty, civilian bombing, euthanasia and war is not entirely without purpose. However the inconsistencies of many of our positions suggests we all should reconsider our views. Hopefully logic and reason will prevail for each and every one of us.

It is the understanding of the wise hunter that the herd must be thinned in order to insure it’s survival. In the process plant life is not over foraged and the hunter (predator) is sustained. Some times even the hunter must control his own numbers. This is all a part of the circle of life.

Man has created an alternate reality, civilization. We are still the hunter but are unsure as to how to exercise our nature in this new reality. Sometimes our nature exercises us. Perhaps we should teach our children who and what we are. Then we can teach them how to think rather than what to think. Indoctrination like ignorance is a formidable foe lending itself to encourage emotional reaction rather than reasoned action.

Climate change is devouring our fresh water and arable land. Our increasing numbers puts ever greater pressure upon these and other diminishing resources. If man does not change, the violence he visits upon his brother, sister and Mother Earth will lead to his and the planet’s demise.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

I believe 80-90% of this argument is based on religion alone, therefor a question of opinion not of common sens. The other 10-20% are people who think women use this as contraception.

I know quite a few women that had abortions. Or should I call them girls as in most cases they where between 19 and 24 when it happened: accidents, split-ups (the guy runs off), rape… Not one of them described it as being pleasant and none would have done it willingly.

The alternative to abortions are unwanted children and that to me is a much bigger crime. Do people really want to send all these children to orphanages? Or force parents to keep their children? How cruel?!

Of course you will hear of miracle tales where women chose to go through with it and love their children today, which you could say benefits society. Then on the flip side you get all these “alley kids”, millions, growing up in the streets (insert picture of homeless child sniffing gasoline here) and that sometimes turn out to be delinquents, and later criminals, which more than outweighs the nice happy stories.

Conclusion: you lose less than you gain. Abortions stay.

Posted by Sorcelon | Report as abusive

Pro-choice advocates say: “It’s not a baby.” Or, “it’s a defective baby.” Or, “it’s an unwanted baby” (by the birth parents).

So, in one case the argument is that an unborn human is NOT a baby, but in the other case it IS a baby, except it’s not “up to par.” Or, it’s an ill-timed or inconvenient baby (or thing?), who or which is not appreciated.

Whether you agree or disagree with the existence or non-existence of a “baby,” the fact remains that in late-term abortions, the procedure itself makes the arguments enormously complicated.

A late-term abortion (such as the many Tiller performed) means that the “whatever you want to call its” head is punctured, “brains” are suctioned out, skull collapsed, arms and legs ripped from the body and evacuated from the uterus. The
“thing” or baby squirms and fights against this procedure (read anything by famous abortionist William Hern of Boulder, CO to confirm). Further, the uterus is then excised of remaining tissues and vacuumed to avoid body parts being left behind, which can cause an unpleasant infection. After that, the body parts actually have to be reassembled to make sure everything is accounted for. The body parts, of course, are reassembled in what at least seems to mimic a very young human being: head, ears, arms, hands, legs, feet, torso, genitals.

So what is this “thing” anyway? Don’t we all know?

Inconvenience aside, maybe adoption is a better choice, and less “inconvenient” in the long run.

Posted by Tam Bruener | Report as abusive

Now lets have a look.

Shooting unarmed man in church = wilful murder. Set out in law. Set out in bible (near beginning, I recall). Shooter going to hell. No issues.

Abortion does not equal murder. It is not set out as such in law. In fact, I fail to see abortion set out as such in the bible. So whether the victim goes to hell is between him and the big guy, assuming the big guy isn’t actually Zeus or Baal or somthing.

So whatever you might think, religion wise or socially, will not change the fact that this doctor was not a murderer. Otherwise he would have been charged with murder. QED.

And why are people trying to create some moral equality between the murderer and murdered? Why all the hidden attempts to make it sound like he had it coming?

If you have any balls, then just say ‘he deserved to be murdered’. You might sound like a typical religio-nutjob condoning murder of people who fail to conform with your ideals, but at least you will be staying true to yourself.

And isn’t that the important thing?

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive

It is commonly stated that men oppose abortion more than women, but the facts are otherwise. Surveys consistently show that women are slightly more pro-life than men. (If you want to verify this, you can do so in mere minutes by using a search engine.)

Posted by Vegasprof | Report as abusive

If abortion is not the killing of lives, I don’t know what best describes it. Maybe doctor Tiller was killed at the will of God, as those babies aborted by Tiller for birth could not rest in heavenly peace. Late-term abortion is also dangerous to the mother giving birth. If we support pro-choice, we should also support the choice of someone seeking to be born to this world.

Posted by Malcolm | Report as abusive

You seem to be making the (faulty) assumption that legality and morality are the same thing when you say “he obviously wasn’t a murderer because he wasn’t prosecuted for it.”

By the same logic, drinking alcohol was immoral during prohibition, but is ok now. A flexable morality like that is no morality at all.

Posted by Drewbie | Report as abusive

Who ever thinks the Murderer has done the right thing by killing the Doctor, I have one question for them – Will you take the murderers charges and go to Prison ????

If not don’t support the Murderer – You are creating a murderer by supporting the murderer, are you not ? To become hero for you guys one more murderer will come from any where….. Don’t we already have lot of sick people who murder for 100 bucks robbing a Gas station or 11/7.

Don’t make people think that murdering someone is a great thing or that is what we need to do to solve the problem.

Don’t you feel the pain or sorrow of the Murderers family ???

Any one of you out here who supported the Murderer I beg you to understand that Murdering some one is not the solution or a right thing. Please don’t create Murderers..


Posted by Hellrazor | Report as abusive

Malcolm –

It’s logic like yours that makes me glad I left organized Christianity. Do you truly believe in a loving Deity with the powers ascribed to him by most of the world’s religions would happily and willfully withhold a peaceful spiritual rest from an unborn child lost through no choice or will of it’s own? I think it’s time we re-evaluate what true logic tells us should happen, rather than blindly following a book that doesn’t answer the questions raised by the world today, despite the best of efforts and intentions by good people to do so.

Posted by TheQuestioner | Report as abusive

(1) If you are not a woman, shut up about abortion.

(2) If you are a woman and don’t believe in abortion, don’t have one. If you are a woman and do need one, they’re legal in most countries not controlled by religious extremists.

(3) If you think your religion gives you the right to kill people who disagree with you – congratulations! You share your moral code with the people we’re fighting in Afghanistan. There is NO difference between you and them. Dr. Tiller would have been killed in Afghanistan for the same reason he was killed in Wichita, and by people of the EXACT same mindset.

Posted by J of S | Report as abusive

Even if you disagree with the process of abortions, making the process illegal will not reduce the demand for abortions. The Pro-Life Movement’s reasoning is the equivalent of believing that making foreclosures illegal will solve the foreclosure problem. There are reasons people want abortions. If you reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies, you will reduce the number of abortions. However, if abortion is made illegal, as the Pro-Life Movement would have it, a black market will sprout up, just like it did in the days of Prohibition. Pregnant women will become a vulnerable class, subject to criminal prosecution and social rejection. The best solution is to keep it legal, show people all the options, give people a choice, and support them in whatever choice they make.

Posted by cheesebox | Report as abusive

J of S-
I’m not a woman, but I’ll shut up about abortion when I have the option to pass up child support. You may think no man has a right to tell a woman what to do for 9 months, but then no woman has the right to tell me what to do with my paycheck for 18 years.

Posted by Drewbie | Report as abusive

The issue of abortion or other medical conditions and their treatments, becomes a complicated mess when viewed through the religiously inclined prism. It impairs rationality and clouds the judgement. Morality is not the birth right of a theist and we have seen examples of morality–pedophiles in the church. Many of US forefthers were agnostic or atheists but layed great foundations of a nation, whose pillars are rudely shaken by theists Bushes and the likes, who spit the Word “GOD” every other sentence and explain their actions–and we all know what those actions are. Pro-anti-life in Iraq.

HPV anti-cancer vaccine is another issue where religion does not allow science to step forward and offer preventive measures.

Also, pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion, it means both pro-life and if needed pro-abortion. Agreed the definiton of the need is where whole argument hinges upon. But religion should be kept for spiritual purposes and not jump in to impose morality-based solutions. Then why cry when Richard Dawkins jumps in to say that there is no Abrahmic GOD. Religion has to be OFF the mind of US policy maker’s head (US is not a christian state). At least there is one case where Christian theology meddled with science when Galilio provided provided evidence that earth is not central as the bible says—well he was prosecuted for that.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

But religion should be kept for spiritual purposes and not jump in to impose morality-based solutions for medical problems–not an area of their expertise.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

It is ashame that Dr.Tiller was murdered.
Yes, the man who did this should be punished.
Just as those who do Abortions and Late Term abortions as Dr.Tiller did. They also should be punished for Murder.
Regurlar Murder..Not ok. Not Legal.
Authorized Murder..OK..Legal. (Abortions)

Posted by Shirley | Report as abusive

The bible does not say Earth is the center of the universe. Galileo was prosecuted because the chruch adopted the geocentric idea from Aristotle.

Posted by Drewbie | Report as abusive

@the bible does not say Earth is the center of the universe. Galileo was prosecuted because the chruch adopted the geocentric idea from Aristotle.
– Posted by Drewbie

Drewbie: You are right. Catholic Church’s view was based on Aristotle and Ptolemy’s ‘earth in the center’ idea and Galileo’s work was in conflict with the Church’s those beliefs and poor guy was sentenced.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

yes the death of tiller was cold blooded,the perpetrator should be executed.to appeal to our fair minded liberals,when it occurs let him sit on the knee of guy who killed the young solder outside the army recruitment center.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

[…] Has US Abortion Language Created Climate Of Violence? (Ed Stoddard/FaithWorld/Reuters; June […]

Posted by Religion & Dr. Tiller | AnAtheist.Net | Report as abusive


On the contrary. You seem to be the one thinking that morality and legality are the same.

Abortion does not fit the legal definition of murder. Hence, by definition the doctor is not a murderer.

And no amount of perceived immorality as to his actions can change that fact.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

There are approximately 500,000 children in the foster care at any time in the United State — many of those children are adoptable, but will not be adopted — why don’t “pro-life” advocates step forward to adopt them now? Do they want the forced return to warehouse orphanages for still more unwanted children? I’ve never heard a so-called “pro-life” advocate answer those questions honestly.Making abortion illegal will not stop abortions, it will just stop safe abortions.

Unwanted children in the world

They had names and faces once. Now they have coroner’s numbes. — Social workers call them their “worst outcomes”.

Those children’s voices call out from small graves to those who truly care about child welfare. Learn more about them…..Read their stories.

Children Who Didn’t Have to Die – Website http://suncanaa.com/

Posted by Suncana | Report as abusive

what an convenience that,s the impression that is been given by some of our contributors.it is all that dam fetuses fault,i can imagine that if an abortion doctor screwed up and the mother died during the procedure they would blame the fetus.stop shifting the blame the sad reality is bad parenting, full stop,over the last 30years.at one time when a baby was born it was given priority but not now the modern idiom is self first,my life, my own interests are paramount.remember the old saying “what goes round.comes round “that is why we have so many screwed up people these days,you can not suppress the guilt of murdering you own child i don,t care what they try to tell you.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

To Drewbie

I thought alcohol became immoral first then with the consensus of the majority of the public it became illegal. Then some viewed it as a necessary evil, while others viewed it as moral so long people have personal responsibility ”temperament” while still others held their original stance. Now I would argue drinking is a socially accepted behavior, and I would even call it moral because so many people do in fact drink.

As far as I can observe from history morality is relative in both time and space. Assuming the definition of morals to be intimately felt convictions, that a person feels, of what is ”right” and which they will choose above all else when conflicted. (sort of like a default opinion)
Anyway, marriage for example a while back was considered to be very ”right” some would say it still is, and back in the day if you weren’t married you had something wrong with you, now people do the same thing as get married but with out the tittle. However to some, they are still immoral for not being recognized in the eyes of the church/God. Another classic example is atheism.
Divorce is another issue, it used to be ”wrong” or immoral, then under the ”right” religion it became ”right” or moral. However, to some it’s still considered immoral. However, today divorce is very common. Even arguably a necessity.
Note that divorce became ”right” out of convenience. Hmmm abortion may display some of the same characteristics.

Anyway my final point is that because people hold different VALUES they will come to different conclusion regarding moral obligations. Hence this whole debate.
So if we really want to debate lets look at the values we hold and why we hold them, and contest those.
I think this debate can best be compromised by the pro-choice stance. Someone alluded to this earlier.
Here’s why.
By keeping abortion a personal choice you are allowing people with different values to make different choices regarding this ”moral” issue. Thus satisfying both parties. So, the pro-lifer can choose to have a child, while the pro-choicer can choose to have an abortion.
I think the problem is, it’s a tough compromise. Maybe leaving it up to the states may appease the pro-lifers more, but I haven’t thought about the consequences or legal obligations of that situation. That’s probably a whole other debate. May polarize this country more so than it already is.

Posted by George Harisson | Report as abusive

The short answer to this essay is yes. The longer answer is that the religious right has not only created a climate of violence but has also hijacked the language of late term abortion to suggest, even in the minds of the pro-choice, that these are had by people too lazy to get around to a termination before the start of the second trimester.

I had a late term abortion. If you’d asked me before I would have said, “I will never have a late term abortion.” But I didn’t understand who exactly it is who is having late term aboritions, and you probably don’t either unless you’ve been through it yourself.

I was forced to choose to terminate a much wanted pregnancy in the 20th week due to a poor prenatal diagnosis. I wouldn’t wish this choice on anyone. It is the hardest choice a parent will ever have to make.

You don’t just wake up one day and think “I’m going to have a late term abortion.” These procedures are painful, protracted (at least two days and usually more), and will forever live on the patient’s heart as an emotional scar.

Thank goodness there are compassionate doctors who risk their lives, as Dr. Tiller did, to provide these terminations for medical reasons. I hope you will never have to know their compassion personally as I did because with it comes devastating heart break.

Posted by sadpatient | Report as abusive

I don’t believe speech should in anyway be regulated. If I did, then there a lot of things that liberals and the media say that I find inflammatory or false and should be regulated.

Maybe the news media should be regulated. After all, accurate information is necessary for proper functioning of society and so that voters can make informed decisions. Maybe the media should be prosecuted for biased news stories. Does freedom of speech mean freedom to lie or mislead or to misrepresent opinion as fact? Maybe freedom of speech means the freedom to express an opinion, not to present misleading or biased news stories as fact. That would be fraud not freedom.

Posted by questionmark | Report as abusive

Operation Rescue held peaceful protests at Tiller’s clinic. One can disagree with them but one can’t disagree that they were totally dedicated to working within the law. Immediately after Tiller was murdered, Operation Rescue and others condemned the act.

In contrast, the day before, a soldier was murdered at a recruiting station in Arkansas. I checked one of the leading Muslim organization’s (CAIR) website. Any apology? Nope. Why are the liberals trying to impugn organizations like Operation Rescue and imply they are complicit but are totally silent on the Muslims’ “complicity” in the murder the day earlier? Why? Because they are hypocrites only looking to score points against the pro-life groups.

(And Obama who is over kissing the hind-quarters of some of the world’s leading despots – who routinely persecute Christians – he says nothing about the murder of the soldier.)

Posted by robroy | Report as abusive

It is terrifying that the religious right has hijacked political discourse and discussion in this country to such a disproportionate level.

Having to be subjected to the drivel these people spout in many ways makes any reasonable person feel like they’re losing IQ points. What’s worse is these people are actually a minority.

It is hate speech, nothing more, nothing less – and these people, these heartless, thoughtless fundamentalists should not be allowed to broadcast their messages of intolerance any longer.

Perhaps it’s time everyone with a functional sense of perspective took action, stood up and said “no more!” to these religious crazies.

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

Words create the climate for deeds. There can be no doubt that the language used by those who hold themselves out as morally justified give tacit permission to those who then kill. I’d like to see tort litigation against those who justify violence to compensate the families of the victims of politically based violence.

Posted by Rosemary Williams | Report as abusive

andy,the headline of this selection of blogs is called FAITHWORLD,so you would assume that the discourse would be between people of faith, with perhaps different opinions ,but the dialog would be between people who look at subjects from the prospective of their beliefs.but answering to remarks from your posting it has always been the trade mark of liberal thinking to close down any remarks that goes against their agenda.(proud to be a christian fundamentalist)

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

@George Harrison:

First, I would like to point out that there are two people going by Ben on here, and in my only other post, I used the same “@name” convention as above.

To address your points:

Personal Responsibility –

If you have resource constraints, believe yourself to have poor parenting skills, or consider having a baby ‘an inconvenience’ or ‘a mistake’, then you should not have unprotected sex.

The same world that is filled with pain and deprivation is also filled with love, joy and beauty.

Racism/Speciesism –

I do not consider myself a racist, nor do I think anyone else (but you) would. Your position as a Veganarchist is quite disturbing, at best. I suppose that if, as you say, it is WORSE to eat the meat of an animal than to abort a baby, we would be better off eating an unborn baby than an animal. Is that REALLY the position you are taking?

If I had to choose between preventing the death of a human or an animal, I would choose to save the human in every case. If that makes me a ‘racist’ in your book, I’m a little scared that there are people like you on the earth. Your moral compass seems to be broken beyond repair.

Let’s take a couple of your arguments out to their logical conclusions:

One, you stated that animals need to at least be given equal consideration. Since, in your view, humans are animals, should not an unborn human at least be given the SAME consideration you are willing to give animals? You seem to be a specieist AGAINST humans!

Two, you used Einstein as an example of a human that was more valuable than at least some animals, correct? If Einstein would have been aborted, the world would have been deprived of his genius. I am sure that at least a couple of Einsteinian style humans have been aborted. Who knows what diseases they would have cured, lives they would have saved, inventions they would have brought forth. That’s one of the troubles, there is no way to know.

Just because we are hungry? So do you propose outlawing all killing of animals….by other animals? Have you ever watched the Discovery channel? It’s a cruel world out there. If I am in the forest and happen upon a hungry bear with a taste for human flesh, I will most likely be lunch. Eating other creatures is how the whole circle of life exists on this planet, like it or not.

I am not even going to touch your whole ‘not all humans are valuable’ statement, as it is clear by your defensiveness that even you don’t believe that. And any idiot can see that institutionalizing that argument is what lead to Hitler’s Germany. ‘Nuff said.

On your thought experiment:

I choose to save you. I know where my Dad stands with God. I also know that he would prefer to die if it meant someone had a chance to get to know his Savior. Since it seems quite obvious that you know nothing of God, I choose to save you to give you a chance to perhaps know God before you die. Perhaps he could teach you about the value of a human life…

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive


The real problem is people like you (on both sides) who are unwilling to even look at any viewpoint but your own. If people like you had your way, the constitution would be out the window tomorrow. Hate speech is one step from the thought police.

What would happen if tomorrow a law was enacted punishing anyone saying something bad about Christianity as ‘hate speech’. You would be guilty of it. Think it can’t happen? The UN is already looking into something like this right now (specifically to protect Muslims, but I believe it covers all religions). Hate speech laws must be abolished now! The right to free speech was enacted SPECIFICALLY to protect unpopular speech.

I do not agree with what you are saying, but I defend your right to say WHATEVER you want!

@George Harrison (again) :)

The problem, morally, with saying that abortion is a personal choice – to those of us who believe that life begins at conception – is that it is akin to saying murder is a personal choice. I don’t see ANYONE here arguing that the idiot that murdered this doctor should not be punished because he was making a ‘personal choice’!

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

Hear, hear on the J of S reply!

Many in the pro life camp do exactly that. As a matter of fact, my Grandmother got an award from the state for being a foster parent to more than 35 children over the years. Two of which got adopted and are my Aunt and Uncle now. How is that for an honest answer?

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

Hypocrisy in Religion, my favorite.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment that you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

Christianity. Matthew 7.1-5

Also that thing about “Thou shall not kill”

And if you stop and think about it, those unborn children are not even born of sin, their soul has no stain upon it.
Where do you think those unborn souls go? Pretty sure they go back to heaven in Gods mercy.
Is this just God testing those people who wish to be like him, like God, and be a Judge over the actions of their brothers and sisters?

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive

George Tiller was a fine man. He was able to transcend a boundary and a subject that most people could never approach with an open mind. He was a faithful man and spirtually strong. I think he can handle his accountability in his afterlife.

There are plenty of strong people that understand the necessity of this task. It is regretable that so many of us are weak and believe ourselves strong that this practice scares us.

Crucify me if you will, human life is cheap. It has been and always will. Crying for American babies does nothing to stop genocide in other countries. Only educated persons with the knowledge and a worldview can comprehend the damage we do with overpopulation.

Humanity is a bastion of art, culture and technology in the universe. Its also a plagued civilization, because it is ruled by fear and ignorance. In broader context we need to educate ourselves to understand that sometimes hard decisions are needed and required.

Either on the birth or near death end of business we need to make some tough choices about who stays and who goes. I personally beleive mothers should be able to make their choice about a child they carry. Those that are incapable of doing so, usually request not to be resucitated and yet we keep them on life support against their own living wills.

Its not about God and if you wiegh this in morale light; the answer is that these women need their choice and sometimes life is not worth keeping for the greater good.

Posted by Anthony Rodriguez | Report as abusive


Let me present you with a scenario to prove a point:

You are standing on the edge of a very tall building. Which is the worse crime by me:

a) For me to see you starting to fall and do nothing when it was within my power to act.

b) For me to push you off while you are solidly standing on the edge.


Neither are good, but B is the worse crime, right?

If that is your contention as well, then the answer to solving your ‘overpopulation’ problem (have you been in an airplane recently?) is to deny healthcare to all citizens. Then at least we are following the crime in path A rather than actively killing them as in path B.

My obvious contention is that they are both crimes, and neither is an option we should follow. If we can save, we must.

Do you not see where your thought process leads, and how dangerous it is? Hitler thought along the same lines. Some life just isn’t worth much. I vehemently disagree.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive


Furthermore, you wrote, “Sometimes life is not worth keeping for the greater good”. What, then separates you from the person who took George Tiller’s life?

Judgement, you will say. And you may indeed be right. However, since I can not trust your judgement anymore than you can trust the murderer of George Tiller, don’t you see that your solution will never work? It requires SOMEONE making a value judgement of human life based on a set of metrics that may be inaccurate, as was the case in this murder.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

c,d. walker,your remarks about unborn children and newly born children not being born with sin,is this part of a progressive interpretation of biblical text?or is it your own interpretation?i hear many new theories from our “all roads lead to god “new age christians which confuses people like me with fundamental original beliefs.in the old testiment when a jewish baby was born it was suggested that the mother had brought sin into the world because the baby was born with the sin of adam and eve,so there was a period of time that had to elapse, and i think there had to be some sort of separation before they were accepted into the community.also because there is no specific mention about abortion rights in the bible, this is always used as an excuse by progressives that want their faith to compliment what they believe politically,so their interpretation is stretched beyond imagination and normally to follow a particular lifestyle.the scripture about the plank and splinter in the persons eye is used to make us all aware of our own faults,before we comment on some other person,s sin.but as true believers although we cannot chastise none believers we are expected to gently correct each other.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

I always thought the ‘virtuous unbaptised’ were supposed to end up on the first circle of hell? Or was that just in Dante’s fiction?

I know the Vatican recently said that unborn children end up in Heaven (and not Limbo as they had previously insisted for centuries).

But this might just have been part of the “Super Fun Happy Overhaul” that the church did under Pope Spud to try and become more friendly to the young people.

So much for a simple issue…

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Someone here said “crying for aborted babies here will do nothing to help genocide in other countries”. Actually the more that we desensitize ourselves to the fact that what grows in the womb is human life–(is it a vegetable, mineral, or animal living and growing inside?–no , its human life) the more lives outside the womb become just a little more cheap, a little less worth getting worked up over. If mothers’, who ought to be the most sensitive human beings to human life being precious, as they carry it in their wombs for 9 months, are helped to devalue that life within when its inconvient or posses a difficutly for their future, well then we have dulled the sensitivity to life of a voice that might othewise cry out immediatly, loudly and long about all the other human lives taken in various ways. To have ever to have allowed abortion to be evil was to cause us to see each other as less valuable, and when that happens its all the more easier to do things on both sides of murder that are injust, to ones fellow man

Posted by ED | Report as abusive

Just as abortion in general is considered without regard to cause and effect to the likes of; I am pregnant now what rather than considering ahead of time whether to engage in pregnancy causing activities the question “Has U.S. abortion language created climate of violence?” misses the point that it is abortion that, by its very nature, created a climate of violence—abortion is violence itself.

Posted by Mariano | Report as abusive

Perhaps the real question should be:

Has U.S religious views created a climate of violence?

Or has it just created a climate where people try to implicitly justify a murder, by trying to equate the murder of a man to a medical procedure they personally disagree with?

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

anon, not one posting from conservatives have tried to justify the killing of tiller.the guy who perpetrated the crime should be charged with 1st degree murder and executed if found guilty.i disagree with baby dismemberment, not that tiller should have been killed.my only concern as a “spirit filled” christian that this guy could be accepted in a church congregation and carry out greeters duties as though he had a normal occupation,this is so bazaar.although he seemed to lavish money on people that justified him,like the state governor for instance, i feel sorry for his family but i feel no remorse over his demise because what he did was despicable in my opinion.but the bible says”vengeance is mine says the lord”it is not ours and most of the god fearing people i know would not hurt a fly, me include

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Reply to Ben

Point / Counter Point
Personal Responsibility
I agree if you find yourself in circumstances unfavorable to becoming a good parent / taking care of children then you should not have unprotected sex. However, accidents do occur, and when they do occur I feel that you should have the choice of rectifying them to the best of your ability. If for you that means getting an abortion I feel that, that avenue should be left open. Why punish yourself, your partner, and the child? Abortion is not a push button solution. It is a difficult road for those who choose it. It is also a lesson hard learned. Yes there are repeaters but, I would argue the majority of people learn their lessons, and if they are taught and encouraged by society to be more responsible i.e. that abortion is not to be taken lightly, it is not the only and final option on the table, then it may save more people’s lives. This I feel even you would agree with me on. (the whole education about abortion should not be taken lightly)
Yes the world is also beautiful but, pain and pleasure they are not equal. They do not rain down on us all equally. Some of us feel one more than the other. Unfortunately. So, for some it may be in their best interest.
Firstly, I am 100% not advocating for the consumption of fetuses. Furthermore, I am not advocating the killing and consumption of any living animal. I would like to point out that we humans have a choice when selecting what we will eat for nourishment. Hence, the vegan/veg. lifestyle. Other animals, such as lions, crocodiles, and many others do not have that luxury or even perhaps the mental capacity to defy their instincts when finding/eating food. We do and that’s where morality steps in.
Secondly, I do not consider you a racist. (I trust you on this) However, I do consider you a specieist, and here’s why.
“If I had to choose between preventing the death of a human or an animal, I would choose to save the human in every case.”
By this statement you are saying that no matter what, under any circumstance a non-human animal will die. You are not giving the animal equal consideration of whether or not it deserves to live. You are simply selecting the human to live as a blanket win all trump choice. The whole equal consideration thing means you think about it, you weigh out the pros and cons of each scenario. What I’m arguing is that humans and non-humans are closer than we think and we should rethink our relationship to animals.
As far as being specieist against humans this is entirely not true, and my statement about Einstein should have proven this. However, if faced with a situation I would look at both the human and the animal to try and make a justifiable conclusion. I would not choose the animal over the human in all cases. In many human fetus example-cases perhaps I would, depending on the animal, but I can’t concretely tell you which one I would save unless more information is presented. So, in fact I am giving both equal consideration.

Posted by George Harrison | Report as abusive

Reply to Ben Continued

As far as outlawing the killing of animals by other animals (non-human animals) goes… really? First off as I said we humans have a choice as to what we eat, animals for the most part do not, and in any case we most likely would want to leave their diets to them because we would probably disrupt their ecosystem / food chain. This is a minor point. My central argument is that animals don’t have much of a choice, where as we do, and thus it is in my opinion immoral to kill an animal for consumption when perfectly good alternatives exist, and in many cases are healthier. As far as eating animals is concerned I could make the compromise that if they are not factory farmed it’s not too bad, or if their farming methods are sustainable it is in my book an acceptable loss, because it is an acceptable gain. No, I’m not being a hypocrite, I still have my ideals I’m just being a incremental realist. In any case if you wish to discuss any issue here further we can exchange e-mail addresses and continue our polite discussion.
As far as Einstein is concerned, yes I 100% agree if he were to be aborted the world would have been deprived of his genius, and that would have been a shame. You may be also correct that the world may have seen many more Einstein types or Da Vinci or other arguably great genius however, this argument of potential is not good. The world may have also aborted some Hitlers, Stalins, Mussolinis, (insert despot/tyrant/mass murders here). So in this case it would have saved us from their wrath. Because we cannot really quantify nor make very good probability statements about this argument I would say it does not help, nor hinder this debate, at this time. So, as you said there is no way to know.
My defensiveness was well placed, and you agreed with me that not all human life is equal, which is what I was trying to prove, by choosing to save me instead of your father in the thought experiment. I’m not advocating for a state sponsored human sterilization program. What I’m more leaning to is the right to die, and abortion, it’s more the choice of these things. This is also a good point on logical extensions. Just because something is logical does not mean it is necessarily neither smart nor correct. I think you agree with me on this statement. So, because it would be ill-advised to sponsor a state run human killing program, let’s not. End of story. If you think my arguments lead down this road I’m afraid you’re mistaken. All I was trying to prove was that human lives are unequal, and that people should be given the choice to do what they want with them in very specific situations.
As far as the thought experiment is concerned, it seems you placed more worth on my own life than your fathers. So we were not equal. Had we been equal then we both would have died or all three of us would have died. So it seems that not all human lives are equal. I think that human lives are plenty valuable; I just find some to be more valuable than others. Well, I know some things about God, however you are correct in believing me to be an atheist. I don’t particularly prescribe to your God, however I would be more than willing to talk to you about religion, the bible, etc. As I’ve said I would be more than willing to set up a communication link outside of this blog to further discuss any issue here or new ones. You’re a pretty intelligent person.
Oh and technically murder is a personal choice, and one lives with the consequences—lawfully and consciously. Abortion is the same way, I’m sure some people regret it, however where we disagree is the law portion and whether it is applicable in the same way to the abortion of a fetus as it is to the murder of a person.

Posted by Georg Harrison | Report as abusive

I know most religions profess peace, but hasn’t history taught us a different lesson? How much blood has been spilled, how many lives lost, due to religious wars?
One could argue that religion itself produces a violent culture-it inspires a believers with beliefs so powerful they blind people from their once commonly shared humanity and give way only to divisive branches of “salvation”.
So maybe it’s not the abortion debate that may produce a climate of violence, it may be the way the religious climate interacts and behaves.
Religion is a personal choice, and our founding fathers knew that, the first European immigrants knew this as well, and so that may be the only compromise. If religion is a personal choice doesn’t it follow that abortion is too?

Posted by George Harrison | Report as abusive