Abortion Opponents Find Common Ground—in TragedyJune 02, 2009
I woke up yesterday morning to NPR news reports of the death of women’s rights advocate and abortion doctor George Tiller. Setting my position on abortion aside, I was sad to hear that someone felt the need to make a stand about pro-life through the death of this 67-year-old doctor. To add to the scope of the tragedy, the man was shot at his church. A statement issued by the family of the deceased said, “This is particularly heart wrenching because George was shot down in his house of worship, a place of peace.”
One of the first things that stood out to me about the reports was that proponents on both sides were condemning the actions of the shooter. According to a story by Reuters, Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, deplored the ill timing of the murder considering Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s pending nomination to the Supreme Court. “If they make it seem that people who embrace the pro-life movement are kind of this extremist violent group, that could diminish some of the passion and energy on confronting Sotomayor,” the director told Reuters. Mark Gietzen, head of the Kansas Coalition for Life said in a local report by the Wichita Eagle, “If this person’s connected in any way to the pro-life movement, it’ll set us back 20 years because the people of America do not approve of this behavior.”
One the other side, pro-choice advocates are holding vigils around the country to show their support for the Tiller family and those who continue to ensure women are afforded all choices under constitutional law. Social media sites like Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc. are buzzing with debate about the murder, but one comment I read over and over was the condemnation of violence. It’s distressing to me that it takes something as tragic as murder for these two opposing sides to find common ground.