Ignore That Self-Affixed Halo: Anti-Choicers Know Just What They Are Doing to Incite Violence
Immediately after the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in the vestibule of his church in Wichita, Kansas just over two years ago, anti-choice leaders who had long used stridently violent language to describe Dr. Tiller specifically and abortion care generally, fell all over themselves proclaiming innocence of any connection to the murder. Among these was Troy Newman, current president of Operation Rescue, who stated:
"We are shocked at this morning's disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down... Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning."
But the fact is that Newman and his cohorts regularly used imagery and language that depicted Dr. Tiller himself as a monster and in many ways indirectly if not directly suggested him as a target for someone willing to commit a violent act. That someone turned out to be Scott Roeder, who had, it turns out, several links to Operation Rescue.
And, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Any doubt of Newman's own gruesome feelings of glee about Dr. Tiller's murder can be summed up in a photo showing Newman standing at the site of Dr. Tiller's assassination giving a thumbs up.
Operation Rescue and other anti-choicers have now turned their sights on Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who is providing late abortion care to women in need several times a month in Germantown, Maryland. During the several hours I spent on three days in Germantown, to help with clinic defense, I saw suggestions of violent action everywhere, courtesy of the anti-choicers marshaled by Operation Rescue and its colleague organizations.