Terrorizing Women, and Their Healthcare Providers, Gets Different Rules

I've got a new piece up at The Guardian's Cifa about the phone interview Scott Roeder, murderer of Dr. George Tiller, has just done from prison and is being hosted at YouTube.
Roeder, like the other violent actors of the anti-choice movement – including Shelley Shannon, who was convicted of shooting Tiller five times in 1993 – call themselves "pro-life", and are routinely referred to in news articles by the innocuous phrase "anti-abortion activists". But they are not mere activists; they are terrorists.

After Tiller's death, I wrote: "Tiller's murder was an act of terrorism, against Tiller personally but also part of a decades-long campaign of intimidation, harassment and violence directed at abortion providers and abortion seekers. It is one of the most brazen, unapologetic terrorist campaigns in America, its co-ordination and orchestration frequently done right out in the open – at meetings, on websites, in email alerts. Yet the US government has largely failed to acknowledge its existence, even as groups like Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center have documented its breadth and effects."

...Dr George Tiller provided abortions because "abortion is about women's hopes, dreams, potential, the rest of their lives. Abortion is a matter of survival for women … It is my fundamental philosophy that patients are emotionally, mentally, morally, spiritually and physically competent to struggle with complex health issues and come to decisions that are appropriate for them."

This is a sentiment other physicians share who have nonetheless chosen not to provide abortions, or late-term abortions, because there exist people like Scott Roeder who will kill them in retaliation for providing a necessary and legal medical service. That's how terrorism works.

Yet Roeder is not being treated like a terrorist (except, perhaps, by his fellow extremists who regard him as a laudable martyr). Unlike the detainees at Gitmo, who mustn't even be allowed near sunlight lest they convince the sun to join with al-Qaida, Roeder is allowed to conduct interviews from his cell in which he delineates justification for his crime in such a way that tacitly urges his compatriots to repeat the act.
Read the whole thing here.

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