Monday, June 01, 2009

"Don't blame the crazy lone gunman, mainstream prolife organization are at fault!"

Jill Filipovic has an misleading piece a in the Guardian which blames mainstream prolife organizations for the murder of George Tiller. She writes,
Not surprisingly, his killer is strongly suspected to be affiliated with the "pro-life" movement.
Ummm.... how is Scott Roeder affiliated with the prolife movement? He apparently left one comment on one Operation Rescue blog post and now he’s affiliated with the prolife movement?
Some pro-life groups are issuing statements of condemnation and attempting to paint this murder as the work of an extremist. But this latest act of terrorism is, sadly, not an anomaly.
I guess it depends on how you define anomaly. George Tiller isn’t the first abortion provider to be killed but it certainly isn’t a regular occurrence.
It is part of a clearly-established pattern of harassment, intimidation and violence against abortion providers and pro-choice individuals. And mainstream pro-life groups shoulder much of the blame.
Pro-life organisations routinely refer to abortion as "murder", a "genocide" and a "holocaust".
So prolife organizations are to blame for the murder of an abortionist because they use terms Jill disagrees with to describe abortion? If some crazy, anti-war loon killed a soldier who returns home from Iraq, should the ladies of Code Pink shoulder much of the blame if they’ve used terms similar terms to describe the deaths from the war in Iraq? If some crazy, pro-choice loon kills a prolifer should those pro-choicers who call prolifers “fascists” shoulder the blame? If someone attacks an individual who is opposed to same-sex marriage because of their political views should those in favor of same-sex marriage who use words like “bigot” to describe opponents of same-sex marriage shoulder the blame?

Here’s where Jill goes from bad assertions and starts to intentionally mislead people:
They post the full names abortion providers on their websites, along with their addresses, their license plate numbers, their photos, the names of children and the schools those children attend (sometimes with helpful Wild-West-style "Wanted" posters offering $5,000 rewards).
They?? Who’s they??

The way Jill words it, it sounds like all (or at least a good deal of) the prolife organizations issuing condemnations are the same organizations who are encouraging violence against abortion providers and providing their home addresses.

She continues and again acts like mainstream prolife organization who condemned Tiller’s murder are giving out the addresses of abortion providers.
When you convince your followers that abortion providers are the equivalent of SS officers slaughtering innocents by the millions, tell them that "it's all-out WAR" against pro-choicers and then provide the home addresses and personal information of the "monster" "late-term baby-killer" abortion providers you're supposedly at war against, you can't act surprised when those followers conclude that it's morally justified to use the information to kill doctors.

If you recall, Jill has a history of attempting to equate mainstream prolife organizations with those on the extreme fringe. When I noted her error of thinking the Army of God’s Rev. Spitz's more friendly-sounding “Pro-Life Virginia” wasn’t a mainstream prolife organization, she quietly edited her post without a note.

She continues:
Words mean things. Anti-choicers should certainly have every right to express their views, but they must also realise that actions have consequences and their rhetoric is not harmless.
So prolifers have First Amendment rights as long as they don't call abortion “murder” because simply calling abortion “murder” could cause someone to kill an abortion provider?

Then Jill again goes back to “they’re providing addresses” line for the third time:
If you yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, it's reasonably foreseeable that people will panic and someone will be injured. And if you yell "Murderer!" "Baby-Killer!" and "Holocaust!" long enough, it's reasonably foreseeable that someone will take it upon themselves to make sure that vigilante justice is done (especially if you provide the name and address of the person who you claim is committing "genocide").
Yes, because National Right to Life and its state affiliates, Family Research Council, Americans United for Life, Feminists for Life, Focus on the Family are all providing the home addresses of abortion providers.
This was not the act of a lone extremist. It is one more act of violence to add to a long, long list of crimes committed by anti-choice terrorists, and it is the logical outcome of years of increasingly violent, dehumanising and threatening rhetoric and action on the part of supposedly mainstream pro-life groups.
Which mainstream prolife organizations have taken part in violent, dehumanizing and threatening rhetoric and action against abortion providers? Or is simply calling abortion “murder” now considered violent, dehumanizing and threatening rhetoric?
The responsibility for George Tiller's death surely falls on the shoulders of the person who actually pulled the trigger. But when pro-life groups did everything but give him a gun, their hands are hardly clean.
Oh... so lone, crazed killers are responsible for their actions except when it’s an abortion provider being killed. Then the movement made them do it. “Did everything but give him a gun” must mean “call abortion names I don’t like.”

What Jill doesn't seem to understand is that the vigilante killing of anyone (including abortion providers) undermines the main tenet of the prolife movement: human beings have inherent worth, are intrinsically valuable and it is wrong to intentionally kill them without proper justification. This is why all those prolife organizations have non-violent position statements. Even though prolifers view the abortions George Tiller did daily for years as vile and inhumane, we think killing him is just as vile and inhumane.

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