Dr. Tiller’s Murder and the Government’s Pursuit of Anti-Abortion Terrorism

On Monday, we posted about the murder of Dr. George Tiller–an abortion provider who offered critical services to women–and how the media is covering the case and how the government has responded. We noted that it hasn’t been labeled “terrorism,” even though the action was clearly aimed at intimidating doctors and abortion rights advocates.

Environmental writer Will Potter–who has written extensively on the radical environmental and animal rights movement–wrote a thoughtful piece earlier this week that asks why the murder isn’t being called terrorism. Potter points out that even though the chief suspect in the case was arrested back in the 1990s ammunition, gunpowder, a blasting cap, and a fuse–the government is not calling this shooting “terrorism.” Potter says that this is due to the fact that clinics do not have the lobbying power of multi-national corporations, that it’s not a threat to profits, and that it doesn’t “threaten the American way of life. Potter argues that companies that exploit animals have sought and won protective legislation, but doctors and pro-choice advocates have been unable to make similar gains.

Sadly, news has also come out that the FBI was warned about Dr. Tiller’s shooter within the past week. Democracy Now reports:

New information indicates that Scott Roeder, the man arrested and charged with first-degree murder for Dr. Tiller’s death, was seen vandalizing a Kansas City women’s health clinic called Aid for Women on two separate occasions last week, a week before Dr. Tiller was killed and a day before his murder.

The clinic manager, calls himself “Jeff Pederson” to protect his identity, says he called the FBI and local law enforcement, but the vandal, Scott, was not arrested.

The first incident was discovered on Memorial Day; the second, this past Saturday. That’s May 30th. Pederson and other clinic staff recognized the vandal as “Scott” from anti-abortion protests and gave the FBI his first name, his license plate number, and video footage of the incidents from a security camera at the clinic.

However, the FBI allegedly did not act on the tip according to the manager of Dr. Tiller’s Aid for Women clinic.

Democracy Now! also interviewed one of Tiller’s colleagues about law enforcement’s unwillingness to pursue anti-abortion protestors. In addition, The Michigan Messenger published a piece looking at how few prosecutions are pursued against anti-abortion groups.

To be sure, there is a lot to focus on with this murder–the radical anti-abortion movement, the need for the government to take this crime seriously (as it hasn’t done in the past with anti-abortion terrorism), the critical importance of the abortion services offered by Dr. Tiller, and the need to support women’s access to abortion–the media’s coverage of the murder is just one facet.

Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org