The murder today of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas confirms what many of us have long known. Among those who call themselves pro-life, there are plenty who are anything but. They are terrorists, plain and simple, who seek to subordinate women to the religiously fanatical, patriarchal dystopia of their theocratic fantasies. At best, they are pro-fetal life. They love the pre-born but could care less for those children already here, whose poverty they will blame on their parents, whose illness and lack of health care they will shrug off as "not their problem," and whose humanity they will altogether ignore or even cheer as it is destroyed, so long as those children be Iraqi, or Afghan, or just Muslim in general.
But now let me say something you might not expect, something you might even find shocking, but something which is also inarguable, at least from a position of intellectual honesty. Namely, in a bizarre way, those who would murder abortion providers like Dr. Tiller, are actually the only anti-abortion forces who are consistent, and whose actions coincide with their rhetoric. On the other hand, those who oppose abortion access and yet would condemn the killing of Tiller, or other abortion providers, or the bombing of clinics, are actually, by virtue of their squeamishness, demonstrating the fundamentally flawed logic of the anti-choice position.
Think about it: those who oppose abortion claim that a fetus is morally equal to an already-born person in every way. They are not only life, but life imbued with rights, both God-given (in their minds), natural, and (they would prefer) legal. But if one really believes that--if one truly believes that a fetus is morally equal to, let's say, my 5 or 7-year old daughters--then that belief would literally require such a person to intervene against those who would end such fetal life, even to the point of killing them if need be. I have little doubt, after all, that if you were walking down the street and saw someone about to kill a small child, you would feel justified in intervening, even to the point of using lethal force, in order to protect that innocent child. And if you did, you would not only be acting within the confines of the law, but within the boundaries of virtually any moral or ethical system you can construct, or of which you might conceive.
While killing Tiller on his way to church might be hard to rationalize under this rendering (since he was not about to perform an abortion, and thus there was no immediate threat to which the shooter could claim to be responding), had Tiller been killed going into work, or had the clinic where he operated been blown up, killing the employees inside, under simple notions of the vicarious defense of others, such an act would be justified: at least it would be if one accepts the underlying premise of fetal personhood put forth by the anti-choice side.
To say otherwise--to say, for instance that lethally intervening to save a 7 year old from an attacker is morally justified, but doing the same to save a fetus is not--is to admit, however implicitly, that fetal life is not equal morally speaking to the lives of born persons. However we might agree that a fetus is not without value, and that the decision to terminate a pregnancy is a serious one (about which women often struggle, for that very reason), it should be obvious that such life is not equivalent to that of born persons. And the mere fact that most in the anti-abortion movement aren't willing (thankfully) to commit murder, as in the Tiller case, suggests that at some level, despite their claims to the contrary, even they know it.