Abortion Opponents Find Common Ground—in Tragedy

June 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.

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Avatar By:   |   June 02, 2009


  1. Avatar Mandy says:


    Thanks for your comment. You raise a good point about raising awareness of all women’s family planning options. And I would add, making sure that the rights guarenteed by law continue to be viable options.

    To read more about Judge Sonia Sotomayor on the AAUW blog, visit http://blog-aauw.org/2009/05/26/on-president-obamas-nomination-of-judge-sonia-sotomayor/.

  2. Avatar KRH says:

    I feel that it was wrong of Dr George Tiller to perform abortions of any type, especially late-term abortions, because it involves taking the life of an innocent child.

    It was also wrong for that man to take the life of Dr. Tiller. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    I feel that it’s a sad day in America if someone feels that if Sonia Sotomayor is prolife that it may turn the clock back 20 years with regard to women’s rights and that the American public doesn’t want that. Let’s start paying attention to the numerous citizens who are voting to set some restrictions on when a women can obtain an abortion. We should be working to ensure that a woman is aware of all her options, including adoption for the child she is caring. not just taking the easy way out. Abortion scars many women later in life.

  3. Avatar Mandy says:

    Thank you for your comment.

    In your own response to this issue “Abortion and a Casualty in a War By Idealists”, I particularly liked when you said, “As with many movements, the harm comes when the ideal becomes more important than mere individuals.”

    I also thought the commenter made a good point about the importance of responsibility as it can be applied in many different ways to this story.

  4. Avatar burrdeming says:

    Dr. Tiller was killed by idealism. He encountered the most dangerous creature on earth: the man who knows that God is on his side.

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