Monday, June 1, 2009

Could Rhetoric Like O'Reilly's Have Led To The Murder Of Dr. George Tiller?

Speaking about abortion during his commencement address at Notre Dame, President Obama called for dialogue and respect:

Understand - I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away. No matter how much we may want to fudge it - indeed, while we know that the views of most Americans on the subject are complex and even contradictory - the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable. Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.

Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words.

Contrast Obama's fair-minded words with those of Bill O'Reilly, who constantly referred to Dr. George Tiller, murdered in his church, as "Tiller the Baby Killer." His accused killer, Scott Roeder, believed that killing abortion doctors was "justifiable homicide." His family said that he "suffered from mental illness at various times in his life." Could he have been the kind of individual who would be inflamed by the rhetoric O'Reilly engages in? Watch:

Kate Harding, writing in Salon, offered a different perspective on the work of Dr. Tiller:

Anti-choice activists often cast late-term abortions as the murder of a viable baby at the whim of a woman who doesn't wish to be inconvenienced, carried out by a doctor who looks at her and sees only cartoon dollar signs. They're egged on by relatively mainstream figures like Bill O'Reilly, who declared that Dr. Tiller "destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000." Such misinformation and outright lies about procedures that are in fact rare and only performed when medically necessary are what led anti-choice activists to call Tiller "America's Doctor of Death," and accuse him of running a "murder mill." The reality of what Dr. Tiller did, however -- helping women in absolutely desperate circumstances, when almost no one else would -- is what led one woman who had to terminate a wanted pregnancy because of a terrible late-term diagnosis to call the doctor and staff at his Women's Health Center "our heaven when we were living in hell."

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