Can Hypocrisy Hurt the Pro-Life Cause?

Written by Drew on June 5th, 2009

george_tiller_croppedIt may be a little late for a post on the slaying of Dr. George Tiller, seeing as how thousands of blogs have posted their observations, but I have a few things on my mind that I want to get out there, particularly with respect to the way the media has handled the murder.

An inexcusable, horrific act was committed when Dr. Tiller was gunned down in at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita last Sunday. Despite the differences one may have with the victim, every person who respects life condemns this criminal act.  Murder at any stage of life is wrong.

With that said, I want to turn to the way Tiller has been depicted by the media in the aftermath of his murder.

In a memorial service held in Dr. Tiller’s honor, Katherine Ragsdale, president of Harvard’s Episcopal Divinity School, called him “a man who was a saint and a martyr.”  She said, “He was a prayerful man who put his life at risk to protect others and died for it.”  This is the same woman, by the way, who gave a speech here in Birmingham in 2007 calling abortion a “blessing.”

Colleen Raezler has done a superb job of assembling a number of statements that paint Tiller as a martyr who died for a virtuous cause.  One example she cites gives a fair representation of how the news organizations are reporting on the controversial doctor’s life:

On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” host Diane Sawyer gave Lee Thompson, another Tiller lawyer, the same opportunity to portray him as a misunderstood servant of women. She asked, “Given the controversy and given the danger, why was he committed to doing this? What was it exactly that he wanted to make sure that he was accomplishing?” Thompson replied, “The fact that he is one of, if not the only one of too very few doctors who perform these services speaks to his dedication and his courage throughout his life.”

These comments and others like them are a transparent attempt to stifle the opposition to abortion in this country.  According to the latest numbers, that opposition appears to be taking an effect, as for the first time a majority of Americans identify themselves as “pro-life.”  Liberal proponents of abortion, however, hope they can manipulate Tiller’s murder into an effective tool to use against the pro-life camp.  If they can blame everyone who opposes abortion for the isolated act of a madman, they might be able to turn the tide back towards their agenda.

The charge of hypocrisy works in the opinion polls, it is true, but it is meaningless.  Just because one pro-lifer was a hypocrite, that doesn’t mean his message was wrong.  All the charge of hypocrisy does is cue others in on the fact that one particular person doesn’t really practice what he preaches.

The facts are that Dr. Tiller’s life’s work is an embarrassment to pro-choice advocates who claim that the abortion debate is about women’s rights.  Tiller became a multi-millionaire by killing 60,000 unborn children in his clinic.  He was one of only three doctors in the country who would perform partial-birth abortion, a practice so gruesome that most Americans object to it.

It is hard not to be intimidated by media organizations and influential spokesmen who try to discredit the pro-life movement through subterfuge and deceit.  But clarity is restored to the abortion debate every time the facts are examined.  Don’t forget the facts.  They are, as John Adams said, “stubborn things.”


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