Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why what Dr. Tiller stood for - and his muder - is still relevant

As time dampens the feelings of outrage and connectedness we all felt after the murder of Dr. Tiller, the importance of bringing a stop to the dangerous rhetoric that the sorts of men like Scott Roeder and James von Brunn ascribed to becomes little more then background noise.

I cannot express how dangerous that sort of apathy is.

We must not let these situations become just another statistic or example of what’s wrong with American rightwing extremism. This time should be used rather then discarded.

What exactly needs to be done I’m not sure, but I know that doing nothing will only cause more division and more killings.

Jen Boulanger is the executive director of the Allentown Women's Center. Her piece, Come Together to Prevent My Murder, should be read by everyone.
I see a great opportunity for both sides of the issue to come together with the Obama administration to take action to prevent future violence. It is time for mainstream pro-life groups to step up and promote reasonable dialogue and stop the hateful rhetoric. At the same time, President Obama must also do more than just say he is outraged by Dr. Tiller's murder. He can work with his administration to put forth new and improved legislation that addresses the weaknesses of FACE, protects free speech, and provide local law enforcement with the ability to act quickly when protesters break the law which is often the first warning sign that violence might follow. The Obama administration needs to immediately convene pro-life groups, the Justice Department, pro-choice groups, abortion providers, and anti-violence experts to formulate a tangible plan before someone else is murdered.

There are effective solutions that both sides can agree to including safety zones around the entrances of clinics that allow patients and workers to enter and exit buildings and parking lots safely. Pro-life advocates can agree to assist law enforcement in identifying sociopaths like Scott Roeder, who have no qualms breaking laws. Restrictions on home pickets could be put into place that help protect providers who have been targeted outside of their homes. An alert system can be put in place so that authorities can act quickly to apprehend those who break laws designed to protect clinic staff and preempt any further acts. And FACE legislation can and must be improved so that there are clearer guidelines and more strict enforcement.

Dr. Tiller's murder could have been prevented. My murder can be prevented. President Obama, I need your help.
The least we can do for Jen, and women health care providers everywhere, is keep the dialogue going.

Because I can’t help but feel shameful that these sorts of pleas for help have to even be written.


  1. Since Dr. Tiller's murder I've considered volunteering for my local Planned Parenthood clinic, or similar womens health organization. We can all pitch in.


  2. I totally agree! I was upset to learn that Utah got an "F" in women's health services (though not surprised).


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