Jacqueline L. Salmon
For the anti-abortion movement, the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller could be seen as big trouble. And anti-abortion groups know it.
Jim Hughes, president of Canada’s Campaign Life Coalition and vice president of the International Right to Life, told LifeSiteNews.com last night that “this sort of violence [is] seriously damaging to the pro-life cause.”
As soon as news broke that Tiller, one of the few doctors in the nation who provided late-term abortions, had been shot while serving as an usher in his Wichita, Kan. church, the statements of regret from anti-abortion groups about the killing started to roll in.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said: “As Christians we pray and look toward the end of all violence and for the savings of souls, not the taking of human life.” From Operation Rescue president Troy Newman: “We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place.” Anti-abortion groups plan to gather in front of the Supreme Court this morning to discuss the impact of the killing on the anti-abortion movement and on the Supreme Court.
The murder, and reports that authorities are trying to determine whether suspect Scott Roedert had any connection to antiabortion groups, comes at a particularly awkward time for the anti-abortion groups that operate within the system.
After getting mostly trounced at the ballot box in November, they have gained some momentum recently. Public opinion polls have started to swing their way, at the same time that President Barack Obama has been reaching out to them, and they had hopes that the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court would put the debate over abortion back in the spotlight.
But the murder threatens to paint all abortion groups with the same brush–as wild-eyed kooks who will stop at nothing to end a practice they regard as heinous. Even if the suspect, or suspects, are found to have no ties to any well-known anti-abortion group, it could be damaging.