The Kansas abortion clinic physician, Dr. George Tiller, was murdered today in a church. It’s hard to imagine a more animalistic and nihilistic gesture than to enter a church to murder someone, and it put me in mind of a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Claudius, testing the resolve of Laertes to murder Hamlet, asks for suggestions as to how, and Laertes enthusiastically responds, “To cut his throat I’ th’ church” (4.7.144). The implication of the line is one of both horror and comedy, for surely one could not be more absurdly hell-bent and overwhelmed by an irrational passion than to murder someone in a church.
But today, a man was murdered in a church.
Below is a video of Dr. Tiller briefly talking about his experiences as a doctor who has spent many years, in the teeth of active resistance, supporting women’s constitutionally protected right to terminate their unwanted pregnancies:
And since many in the Republican Party these days claim to be influenced by the libertarian philosophy of Ayn Rand, here’s Ayn Rand on abortion:
Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living: the right of young people to set the course of their own lives. The task of raising a child is a tremendous, lifelong responsibility, which no one should undertake unwittingly or unwillingly. Procreation is not a duty: human beings are not stock-farm animals.
The authoritarian theocratic wing of conservatism has once again done something at cross-purposes with the professed message of its libertarian wing. And Bill O’Reilly has, for years, been maligning and demonizing Dr. Tiller. It will be interesting to see how Fox News and America’s far-right radio noise machine treats this tragic news story, or fails to treat it by simply ignoring it (which would be, in itself, telling).