“Obama is a murderer!!!” shouted the all male anti-abortion activists as they disrupted both the worship service and the faith panels at the DNC in Denver.  “Obama kills babies!” they yelled as they were escorted from the room, one after another. 

This is a common framing of the abortion question by the pro-life movement.  Abortion is murder, anyone who has an abortion, provides abortion services, or is pro-choice like our President is a murderer.  And now we see how this rhetoric ends, in the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita.

In a statement issued through Tiller’s lawyers, his family — a
wife, four children and 10 grandchildren — said their loss “is also a
loss for the City of Wichita and women across America.”

“George
dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality health care
despite frequent threats and violence,” his family said in a written
statement. “We ask that he be remembered as a good husband, father and
grandfather and a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women
everywhere.”

The question is – what next? How can we have a serious debate about abortion in this country when the primary rallying call of the pro-life movement is that people who are pro-choice are murderers?  Randall Terry, of Operation Rescue continued this rhetoric in his comments after the shooting of Dr. Tiller:

“George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not
have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned
that the Obama Administration will use Tiller’s killing to intimidate
pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions.
Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper
name; murder.

Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers
according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our
communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and
yes, even their churches.”

Other pro-life group have responded to the killing of Dr. Tiller with condemnation.  But will they adjust their rhetoric in a way that allows them to remain true to their core beliefs, while not inciting violence against those who disagree.  The men who were calling Obama a murderer were egged on by these same organizations who are shocked today.  The pro-life movement must respond with more than condolences for Dr. Tiller’s death, they must change the way the talk about those who disagree. 

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