Posted by: mollyrossiter | June 1, 2009

Murder is murder, regardless of the politics

Dr. George Tiller had a lot of enemies.

One of few American physicians to perform late-term abortions, Tiller was often the subject of threats at his Wichita, Kansas home and clinic, his clinic was bombed and broken into, and in 1993 he was shot in both arms by an abortion protester.

On Sunday, Tiller was handing out bulletins in church when he was shot and killed. The suspect in the shooting is a man that church members said wasn’t a member of the church.

A handful of abortion opponents see Tiller’s death as a victory, leaving comments on online stories and posting blogs about the justified actions his killer took. It’s that extremist view that worries some evangelical Christian leaders.

“The thing that I fear most is that people would identify this man, this assailant, with people like ourselves, and I don’t want that to happen,” said the Rev. Tye Male, middle adult pastor at New Covenant Bible Church in Cedar Rapids. “I want people to understand that Jesus was extremely clear in our mission: love God, love people and tell the world about this good news.”

“I fear that we’ve been branded because we disagree with abortion, we’ve been called ‘anti-abortion,'” Male said. “‘Pro-life’ is a better term, the other makes it sound like we’re against people.”

Directors of the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City had a working relationship with Tiller, having referred clients to the doctor’s Kansas clinic for years. They said they are “deeply saddened” by his death and bothered by those who see it as a positive step in the fight against abortion.

“I would respond to them with one of Dr. Tiller’s many mottos or mantras: ‘Trust women,'” said Francine Thompson, director of health services for the Iowa City clinic. “Those who are working to restrict abortion, including those who believe in the use of justifiable homicide, don’t trust women.”

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