George Tiller, the infamous Kansas abortionist (and old pal of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius), was murdered today at his church. A suspect is in custody. The pro-life community is denouncing the crime, as well they should—evil though George Tiller was, he was also a human being living in a nation of laws. Vengeance is not the same thing as justice, and we simply cannot permit people to take the law into their own hands. His murder was un-American, un-Christian, and certainly not pro-life.
That won’t stop the propagandists of the Left from using this crime to demonize the pro-life movement—indeed, scumbags on the Daily Kos and Huffington Post are already claiming this is indicative of a broader threat of right-wing, fundamentalist terrorism (thanks, Department of Homeland Security!).
What do the facts really show? NARAL’s own statistics on pro-life violence (PDF link) cover both the United States and Canada during the time between 1977 and 2007. According to them, there have been:
– 7 murders
– 17 attempted murders
– 41 bombings
– 171 arsons
– 82 attempted bombings & arsons
– 574 fake anthrax letters
– 92,000 “acts of disruption” such as bomb threats & harassing calls
Assuming none of the other cases were counted among the “acts of disruption,” that’s a grand total of 92,892 acts of pro-life extremism in two countries over three decades. That sounds like a lot, but consider the following. About 99% of the acts come from the “disruption” category, and we should question exactly what constitutes a “harassing call” in NARAL’s view—I highly doubt they only counted truly violent or uncivil calls; chances are there are quite a few in that number which only consisted of arguing abortion’s morality and/or offering to pray for their forgiveness. Say what you want about the productivity or decorum of such calls, but they certainly can’t be described as malevolent in any way. Also, NARAL puts the bomb-threat number at 596, which means the overwhelming majority of the pro-life extremism in general, and of the disruptions in particular, consists of lesser acts.
As for the incidents of actual violence and genuine threat, each is inexcusable & deplorable, and no pro-lifer should tolerate them in any way. The good news is, the fanatics make up only a tiny sliver of abortion foes—consider that Pro-Life Wisconsin alone boasts the support of 14,000 families (and that many pro-lifers only belong to one of a state’s multiple pro-life groups given their differences on things like rape exceptions), and that 51% of Americans call themselves pro-life, and the serious, honorable pro-life movement easily dwarfs the unhinged.
Besides, when was the last time a liberal decided that eco-terrorism or animal-rights extremism discredited the central arguments of the environmental or animal-rights movements? How about how Muslims who flirt with violence reflect on claims of Islamophobia?
The truth is, none of this really matters to the Left. After all, you can never let a good crisis go to waste.
Update: Predictably, Andrew Sullivan piles on, including implying that Bill O’Reilly is partially culpable (and, incredibly, denying he did anything of the sort just hours later), and the genocide lobbyists at NARAL lecture pro-lifers on the need to denounce the murder, regardless of the fact that they already have. To his credit, Alonzo Fyfe does the right thing. A couple of his readers, though…
Update 2: More extremism for which the Left has a different standard:
– The Black Panthers
– The Nation of Islam
– The utterly wretched Keith Olbermann
– The hate-filled antiwar protests of the Bush years
– The most unhinged of Proposition 8’s opponents
– Rhetoric about killing President George W. Bush, including an entire movie devoted to the sick idea
– Left-wing violence against American soldiers (let me be clear: I am referring to the Flashback links Michelle Malkin has compiled, NOT to the man who killed a soldier today, whose motive we do not yet know)
– Slashing tires to sabotage your opponents’ grassroots efforts
– Actor Alec Baldwin’s tirade about killing Rep. Henry Hyde and his family
– Vile cartoonist Ted Rall
– Columnist Julianne Malveaux saying, “I hope [Justice Clarence Thomas’s] wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter, and he dies early, like many black men do, of heart disease
– Sen. Ted Kennedy’s famous rant about “Robert Bork’s America”
– Then-Sen. Obama’s racial demagoguery on the campaign trail
– Charming blogger Amanda Marcotte in the employ of presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards
– Wild–eyed intolerance of global warming skeptics
The movement to abolish slavery had its share of violence, too. For instance, John Brown famously advocated, and participated in, armed insurrection. Yet somehow I don’t think anybody would take that fact as evidence that the slaves should never have been freed.
And lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that President Barack Obama’s statement about Tiller’s murder, in which he reminds us that “However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence,” comes from the same man who had no problem with unrepentant terrorist William Ayers.