Burke’s Law VII: On the Pro-Life Deathwish

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By Elizabeth Burke
Special to the Clyde Fitch Report

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Two Sundays ago, while at his church handing out a bulletin, Dr. George Tiller was gunned down by a self-proclaimed pro-lifer. What the killer — a right-wing, anti-government fanatic, Scott Roeder — should be called is a pro-murderer. This subhuman is one of many radical pro-lifers who, while proudly wearing the mantle of life around their necks, are more than willing to kill in the name of life (here’s a decent source for other examples). It defies logic, but there it is.

For me, this murder brought back memories of the 1998 assassination, in Amherst, New York, of Dr. Bernard Slepian, slaughtered by pro-lifer James Kopp. I lived in Buffalo in the late ’80s and early ’90s and went to the OB/GYN office where Dr. Slepian practiced. I didn’t know him well as he was not my doctor, but on occasion he would see me when my regular doctor was unavailable. That this kind, beloved doctor was slain in his kitchen while making dinner for his family still has the ability to shock and sadden me 11 years later.

According to his Wikipedia entry, the killing was the climax of a series of five sniper attacks in four years in northern New York and Canada. Dr. Slepian was the fourth doctor and seventh person in the country to be killed at that time because of their involvement with performing abortions.

I believe people like the late Francis Schaeffer, who wrote a seething, hate-filled book called Christian Manifesto, are guilty by association. Schaeffer’s book calls for violent force if all other methods for overturning Roe v. Wade fail. He compares America and legal abortion to Hitler’s Germany, and says whatever tactics would have been morally justified in removing Hitler would be justified in trying to stop abortion. How he reconciles his bloodthirsty call to arms to his purported pro-life beliefs is utterly beyond me. The word hypocrite doesn’t even come close.

I also lay the blame for these murders directly at the feet of Randall Terry, who, along with his cohort in blood, Flip Benham of Operation Rescue, labeled calls for nonviolence protests “pitiful,” and suggested that unless abortion was outlawed, “we are in store for more bloodshed in the streets — the likes of which will sicken even the sturdiest among us.”

So in the sick minds of these people, it is all right to kill adults, but it is not all right to kill fetuses.

I further lay blame directly at the feet of evangelical preachers who call for violence from their pulpits. I lay blame at the feet of those who take these words to heart, who grab their guns and blow away good, decent people doing their jobs at times to save the life of a mother-to-be. God must be so proud, right? Hardly. I picture God crying and weeping with a sadness deeper than we know.

The pro-lifers love to scream their bile on street corners while holding up pictures of “butchered” fetuses. Their efforts would be more honest if they held up pictures of the blood spattered remains of Dr. Slepian and Dr. Tiller. That would be pro-life, indeed.