Closing George Tiller's clinic

What the shuttering of the murdered late-term abortion doctor's clinic means for the U.S. abortion debate

Apparently, "terrorism works," said Mary C. Curtis in AOL's Politics Daily. The family of slain late-term abortion doctor George Tiller said his Wichita clinic will not reopen for business. There is "shock and sadness on both sides of the abortion debate" over Tiller's murder, but you can't get around that fact that the murderer achieved his goal through fear-inducing violence. Pro-life activists may or may not believe that "this turn of events is a victory," but it's a sure win for "vigilantism."

George Tiller was the victim of tragic "terrorist violence," said Ross Douthat in The New York Times, because he was willing to abort a fetus "we wouldn’t hesitate to call a baby if we saw it struggling for life in a hospital bed." But the small number of hard cases Tiller handled—including rape, incest, life-threatening complications—needn't define the abortion debate. If we decided questions of abortion through the "democratic process," rather than "enshrining" it as a "near-absolute" constitutional right, we might defuse everything from peaceful protests to "crimes like George Tiller's murder."

Debate might be preferable, said Ian Welsh in Crooks and Liars, but the bottom line is that "right-wing terrorism against abortion rights" has been succeeding for some time. George Tiller was reportedly one of just three doctors performing such late-term abortions in the U.S., but there are fewer and fewer doctors willing to perform even first-term abortions because of the risk of violence, theft, and harassment. The right to abortion choice is meaningless unless there are doctors "willing risk their lives" to provide it.

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We'll certainly "press forward" with our campaign to rid America of abortion, said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. The closing of the Tiller clinic is a "bittersweet moment for us," because we had hoped to shut the clinic down through "peaceful, legal channels." But "we are thankful that Tiller’s clinic will not reopen and thankful that Wichita is now abortion-free."

Pushing extreme views for or against abortion gets us nowhere, said Susan Koscis in The Christian Science Monitor. "It is only by standing on common ground that we can begin to resolve the issue." We finally have a president who is calling for bringing both sides together to reach goals both sides share, such as reducing and preventing teen pregnancy, so let's get to work.

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