This article in the Times is pretty interesting — now that Dr. Tiller has been killed, anti-choicers no longer have a center on which to focus their hate. Wichita was long the focal point of anti-choice activism, and Dr. Tiller was a large part of that. I recommend this Rolling Stone article nearly every time I write on this subject, but really, if you haven’t read it yet, go. It illustrates just how much of a battleground Wichita really was, and the kinds of violence-inducing tactics that anti-choicers used. They made a point of publicizing the addresses and personal information of clinic staff so that other anti-choicers could stalk and harass them. They claim now that they had no idea people would take matters into their own hands and commit murder, but that’s a bald-faced lie. Abortion providers had been killed before, in their homes and in their clinics, because anti-choice groups publicized their information. They knew exactly what they were doing. But it turns out that anti-choice groups may have been their own worst enemies:
Since what is known here as the “Summer of Mercy,” when thousands of people from around the country converged here in 1991, blocking clinics and being arrested, the city has been a hot spot for the nation’s abortion debate and for an ever-shifting array of organization names, leaders, protesters and preferred tactics.
“There’s so much disagreement,” said Mark S. Gietzen, president of the Kansas Coalition for Life. Mr. Gietzen spent his time last week juggling calls from volunteers who wondered what would come of their regular shifts outside Dr. Tiller’s clinic, where they planted rows of crosses each day and tried to talk to women going in.
“If you went to a meeting, sometimes you would think the enemy was other pro-life people, not abortion,” he said.
Not all anti-abortion advocates, he said, favored the bloody “truth truck” (“Abortion is an ObamaNation,” it reads) parked outside his house or agreed on what protesters should call out to women going inside the clinic (obscenity-filled insults or offers of help) and how loudly.
Even now, Mr. Gietzen said, they were not of one mind about statements many groups here have issued condemning the killing of Dr. Tiller. “You can’t be pro-life and go around killing people, but some people are really mad at me for saying that,” he said.
So while anti-choicers are fighting over how loud they should scream at women entering clinics, they’re also shrugging off all the blame for Tiller’s murder:
Scott P. Roeder, a Kansas City man charged with murder in Dr. Tiller’s death, was not a member of Operation Rescue or a contributor to it, Mr. Newman said. But the authorities found a slip of paper with the organization’s name in Mr. Roeder’s car when he was arrested, as well as the name of one of its leaders and her telephone number. He had also met Mr. Newman at least once.
“I have been racking my brain to see if there was something I could have done,” Mr. Newman said of Mr. Roeder.
Dr. Tiller’s clinic was the one — the big one — Mr. Newman had always hoped to close. Still, he said, if it closed now it would be no victory for Operation Rescue.
“Good God, do not close this abortion clinic for this reason,” he said. “Every kook in the world will get some notion.”
Oh please. Troy Newman isn’t an idiot, and he’s not going to tell the Times that he’s happy Dr. Tiller is dead. But really, Tiller’s clinic was the major target. It’s what Newman and his hordes focused on for years. The only reason he’s disappointed that Tiller is dead is that now he’ll have to re-focus his efforts elsewhere.
And that’s exactly what anti-choicers are doing: Tehy’re already planning on protesting any doctor who fills Tiller’s shoes:
Despite the family announcement about the clinic’s uncertain future, some here seem convinced that it will secretly reopen on Monday. On Sunday, Mr. Gietzen said some of his more than 600 trained volunteers already were organized in shifts for a new week, in case visiting doctors were flown in.
“If it happened,” he said, “we’re going to act like the Minutemen and be there.”
But no no, they don’t actually want any harm to come to abortion providers…
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- Responsibility. by Jill June 8, 2009
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