Dr. Tiller Update

Here’s an update on Dr. George Tiller, who is on trial for violating Kansas abortion law. A reporter for television station KAKE, Cayle Thompson, is live blogging the trial. From the blog —

Monnat asks why so few doctors perform abortions now. Tiller says it’s because of the threat to the doctor’s families, themselves and their lives. He recounts how his clinic was bombed in 1986. “It takes people who are dedicated to the care of women and their health care rights after such a bombing,” Tiller says. The bombing caused around $100,000 in damages.

In 1991, Tiller’s clinic was the sight of the Summer of Mercy, where hundreds of protestors gathered to picket. Tiller says on days when women would come to his clinic, protestors would block the entrance and have to be forcibly removed by police for patients to get through. Tiller says police made approximately 2,000 arrests during the protests. …

… In 1993, Doctor Tiller was shot by an abortion protestor. It happened as he left work. Tiller said he saw somebody approach his car. He thought it was an abortion opponent preparing to hand him literature. But when he saw her clearly, he realized she was carrying a gun.

“She shot at me five times,” Tiller told jurors. “She hit me in each arm. It was attempted murder.” …

… In 1994, one year after Tiller was shot, FBI investigators learned he was the #1 target for assasination by radical abortion opponents. He was given protection by federal US Marshalls from 1994 to 1997.

This is terrorism. Why isn’t the government treating it as such? Well, I know why. Let’s go on.

Tiller tells the jury how some abortion protestors have broken into his church during services and disrupted worship. He tells them his staff has been picketed outside their own homes, with photos of aborted fetuses plastered around the neighborhood. …

… He also tells jurors how protestors would picket the hotel where his out-of-town patients stayed. Some would even follow patients to their rooms, and slip anti-abortion literature under the doors.

State and federal governments have coddled these people. Anti-abortion extremists are dangerous, and it is way past time they were treated as such.

Update: I see that in the afternoon testimony, the prosecutors asked Dr. Tiller how much money he makes. This is one of the obsessions of the Fetus People; that the abortion “industry” exists because it’s a big money maker.

Dr. Tiller, whose practice includes more difficult late-term abortions, says the average abortion in his clinic costs $6,000. But if he were just in it for the money, he’d do a lot better delivering live babies.

For patients not covered by health insurance, the typical cost of a vaginal delivery without complications ranges from about $9,000 to $17,000 or more, depending on geographic location and whether there is a discount for uninsured patients. The typical cost for a C-section without complications or a vaginal delivery with complications ranges from about $14,000 to $25,000 or more.

Monsters Without Hearts

For years anti-reproductive rights goons have been trying to take out Dr. George Tiller. His Kansas clinic was bombed in 1985. A “pro-life” fanatic shot him in both arms in 1993. Patients trying to enter his clinic are viciously harassed.

Now the state of Kansas is trying to convict Dr. Tiller for violating Kansas abortion law, and opening arguments in the trial began yesterday. Robin Abcarian writes in the Los Angeles Times, “by day’s end, it was clear that the case could hinge on such nonmedical issues as who paid for copy paper and toner, the meaning of a hug and whether selling a beat-up sedan to a colleague can constitute proof of guilt.”

Copy paper? Hugs? Indeed, yes.

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Crazy Day

I’m sorry to leave this site hanging. I’m having a crazy day, with things getting published and unpublished. I may have more to say later.

I will only comment briefly on Steve Benen’s post on the Right’s outraged surprise at President Obama’s stem cell decision. The Right is acting as if Obama had promised not to mess with Bush’s stem cell policy, but as Steve says, Obama clearly said during the campaign that he would change it just as he did change it.

I don’t think they are really surprised. I think it’s just part of their feigned outrage shtick. Utterly phony.

Update: I’ve written in the past about why I think embryonic stem cell research is moral and stopping it out of some rigid absolutist position is immoral. But if you want to see what is self-evidently wrong with it, see “Vetoing Henry” by Laurie Strongin in the July 23, 2006 Washington Post.

“The absolute position, when isolated, omits human details completely. Doctrines, including Buddhism, are meant to be used. Beware of them taking life of their own, for then they use us.” — Robert Aitken Roshi, The Mind of Clover