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June 2, 2009

Murder in a Church

Roy Meachum

A brand-new U.S. citizen emerges from the courtroom waving his legalizing papers exuberantly. He hits a passerby on the nose. The man knocks him down. The new citizen protests: I am an American and have the right to celebrate. The passerby replies: Your right ends where my nose begins.


A murder in a Kansas Lutheran church Sunday brings the story to mind. Gunned down as he served his faith as an usher was Dr. George R. Tiller. His assassin succeeded where the state's highest law enforcement officers failed; they wanted him out of business. Dr. Tiller's chief "crime?" His Wichita clinic provided late-term abortions to those who sought them.


This is an important factor in considering the murder: the doctor did not proselytize, seeking women for the concept that abortions were allowed at whatever stage. To ask Dr. Tiller's help was indicative of a very troubled state of mind; to go the last step proved the baby wasn't wanted. And that meant – with rare exceptions – it looked forward to resentment and childhood neglect.


Every day's news brims with stories about such young people. Growing to become a productive and reasonably content member of society is difficult at best. The argument can be made that society has the right to protect itself against malcontents. It does, which is why we have a penal system.


The man murdered Sunday was intent on upholding a woman's right to control her own body; that's how the Supreme Court saw it, in Roe v. Wade. I genuinely don't understand how people contest that decision. Under what major force do the anti-abortion crowd demand women give up that right? They claim they speak on behalf of the unborn who is silent.


But science splits on that score. Those who claim life begins with conception cite a medical opinion, but the findings are very sorely divided. That leads both sides on the issue to shop around for the study and survey that say what they want to say.


In the last week of March this very spring, a Kansas jury found Dr. Tiller not guilty of breaking the state's law in 19 separate cases. The case before the courts was prompted by citizens' petitions. Contrary to the petitions, with strong legal advice, he had sought medical counsel as to the patient's physical and mental well-being if she had gone through the birthing experience. Individual women were considered by the physicians at a time; there was no mass rush toward abortions. This is not my opinion but how the courts held.


Abortion foes believe the courts wrong; they transgress by holding demonstrations that can become violent. Dr. Tiller was shot through each arm a few years back. Clinics have been bombed and employees killed. The F.B.I. and state law enforcement forces do what they can. I have seen no public polls that show most Americans oppose a woman's control of her own body.


Hitler took control. The fuehrer's regime ordered pregnancies and abortions to suit its fancy; in the pursuit of an Aryan race, people were murdered, as happened to Dr. Tiller. The Nazis went on to purge races and produced the Holocaust; they justified gas ovens, at least to themselves.


In this land of the free, we support individual differences. Under American law, bigotry exists illegally. We have absolutely no choice: we must promote rights for all, and that includes abortion's foes and proponents.


All those who support George Teller's murder in his church Sunday stand guilty of criminal conspiracy. That's not opinion but reality.


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