Tuesday, 2 June 2009

George Tiller' murdered in the name of "life"

Over the weekend so called "pro-lifers" murdered Kansas doctor George Tiller -- sacrificing his life to defend the so-called "right to life" of clumps of cells. Since it's almost impossible for me to put the disgust I feel into words, let me quote Ayn Rand's:
Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living. . .
Santi Tafarella has a short video interview with Dr Tiller talking about his experiences as a doctor under attack.  (And by the way, if you're going to comment here on this disgusting murder then be very careful what you say.  Commenters defending murder will have their comments deleted.)


  1. Yes this discussion could get old quick...but a 'late term' (7 or 8 months or whatever) foetus is more than a 'clump of cells' isn't it? May be unborn, but they sure aren't "unliving".

  2. May be unborn, but they sure aren't "unliving".


    They also can't be aborted - abortions can only be carried out before a certain (early) stage of the woman's pregnancy.

  3. "Commenters defending murder will have their comments deleted."

    Given the views of some people, pretty ambiguous in a discussion on abortion. Who is permitted to say what??

    And are such discussions confined to the pseudo liberal concept of pro-choice or anti-choice, or is wider and perhaps more accurate discussion permitted?

    BTW, most pro-life organisations have been quick to condemn the actions of the shooter.

  4. Let's see if we can debate this rationally...

    Fact 1

    The youngest surviving premature baby was born at 21 weeks 6 days.

    Fact 2

    The UK allows abortions up to 24 weeks (I don't know the US limit, but one web site describes the procedure for 22-23 weeks).


    Rationally, it follows that an abortion between 22 and 24 weeks is the deliberate "termination" of a living human. (Whether it survives or not is a function of medical skill and the baby's initial health. But it IS living.)

    If you are hypocritical enough that a blog called "Not PC" is unable to call such deliberate terminations what they really are (ie "killing"), then what are you really living for, and what are you defending?

    (I don't have to lecture you about Political Correctness, or Orwellian vocabulary. But that is what the pro-abortion lobby engages in, to try to fool themselves about what is going on.)

    And yes, I condemn the murder of Dr Tiller. (But I will shed no tears for him either.)

  5. You can come up with any definition of "living" that you like. The egg before it's fertilised is "living" if you use the biological definition. A clump of cells that's dividing and growing is living. Doesn't necessarily mean you should accord it the same rights as a person.

  6. Is that the best you can do, twr? "Life is whatever I say it is"

    I'm not arguing about when life starts. I'm trying to find points we agree on.

    Ok, let's back up a bit. (Or forward.) Can we agree that a new born baby is a living person?

  7. Regardless of what side of the debate you're on, an act of violence like this only polarises the debate even further. The emotional repercussions of acts such as these detracts from rational discussion, and should be viewed as the counter-productive act of stupidity that it is. Using violence to advance a political or moral agenda is a technique that belongs in the past.

  8. I've always wondered about when a foestus gains the rights of an adult human.

    Seems to me there's the following opinions:

    1. Upon conception. (Black and white)

    2. At some stage, that can't be determined, in the middle/late stages of the pregnancy. (Very grey)

    3. When the baby is born. Still somewhat a grey area - where is the line here - when part of the whole of the baby comes out, or when labour begins etc.

    4. When the baby starts breathing. (Almost black and white.)

    5. When the umbilical cord is cut. (Black and white.)

    The second question is does the foetus gain some or all rights at once?

    It's certainly a very challenging area of discussing.

  9. It IS about when to draw the line - WWallace makes one useful point that between conception and birth, an argument can be made that the foetus should have rights if it can survive outside the womb. I'd support this AND the point at which the brain starts to function, as that is where identity resides. Before that is absurd.

    My first priority would be to end state funding of abortion, as it is clearly repugnant to force those who oppose it to pay for it - beyond that a line needs to be drawn below which it is abortion on demand (if willing to pay) above that abortion only to save the mother's life (which must always come first).

    One side will no doubt regard the foetus as a parasite that has no rights (Dworkin I believe said this?), the other side thinks fertilised eggs have the rights of adult humans - the same side that prefers to cover up, whitewash and pretend it isn't to blame when it's own staff rape, beat up and torture living children? Even to the extent of facilitating the abusers to fresh pastures where new victims were found?

  10. @Liberty Scott

    The point at which the brain begins to "function" is a very difficult thing to determine isn't it?

    By function do you mean seeing electrical activity on scanners or do you mean the brain *understanding* the world in which it lives?

    Neither of those meanings of "function" are black and white and can be determined accurately and objectively to a point in time. What amount of electrical activity and what amount of understanding?

    However, you can say, for example, that time x was when the cells started dividing or time y was when the umbilical cord was cut.

    I think it's certainly preferable to have an objective method and clear point in time of determining a life form with rights, vs a foetus without.

    Is that even possible though?

    Again, I find this a very difficult topic to understand. Perhaps I haven't read enough on it.

  11. Another question....

    If human rights are gained when the foetus/baby can survive outside of the womb, how do you incorporate the fact that no human up until some age (somewhere between 3 and 10), can survive without assistance.

    A baby/child requires food and protection from the mother or someone else, or it will die.

  12. Wille, when you say
    I think it's certainly preferable to have an objective method and clear point in time of determining a life form with rights, vs a foetus without.

    Is that even possible though?
    I'm going on a limb and saying 'no, it's not possible", simply because it's impossible to apply black and white, clear-cut logic to an area that will always be grey.

  13. Willie said: If human rights are gained when the foetus/baby can survive outside of the womb, how do you incorporate the fact that no human up until some age (somewhere between 3 and 10), can survive without assistance.You cannot be serious! It is this sort of thinking that regards it as ok to put babies/toddlers inside washing machines, hang them on the line, and treat them like footballs!

  14. @WWallace

    "It is this sort of thinking that regards it as ok to put babies/toddlers inside washing machines"

    Really? What "sort of thinking" are you referring to?

    That I politely asked a number of questions on a topic I find difficult to understand?

    That I took common propositions from both sides of the debate, and explored potential conclusions in order to understand the problem better?

  15. Willie: Of course it is possible to draw a line - it is essential to do so. It is repugnant to allow late term abortions except to save the life of the mother, and it is repugnant to grant a fertilised egg the rights of a human being.

    An obvious line to draw is viability outside the womb, suggesting beyond that date that the foetus has some rights to be left alone unless it threatens the mother's life. Similarly another line to draw is the first three weeks, as implantation occurs. It seems absurd to give this collection of cells that has no brain any rights.

    and herein lies the fundamental debate that wont achieve consensus here.

  16. LibertyScott, you and I seem to agree that "viability outside the womb" is at least a point at which the baby can be regarded as human (the grey area of "is human" v "is not" becomes definite). I too, would argue an earlier moment, but that is immaterial to this point.

    Would you agree, then, that terminating babies over that gestation age is "killing"?

  17. Robert Winefield3 Jun 2009, 11:08:00

    "pro-lifers murdered George Tiller."

    That's balls. There is no evidence of a conspiracy hence your use of the plural is incorrect.

    Neither the accused nor the police interviewing him has issued a statement with regard to motive, we do not know why he did what he did. It is just as likely to be the act of a deranged individual as opposed to a zealot.

    I'm surprised you haven't repaired to your usual position of 'just the facts ma'am!'

    And if your supposition is true and the man is a pro-life idealogue christian. What of it? What does this act say about anyone or anything other than than the guy is a murdering scum-bag?

    As for your Rand quote. I suggest that you should check your premises. We live in an age where premature births are medically unremarkable.

    Late-term abortions of the type Tiller specialized in require the dilation of the cervix and evacuation of the uterus. In essence, Tiller initiated labor.

    It would have been medical child's play to deliver the infant alive and transfer it to an incubator, handing it off to adoptive parents (of which there are many willing and able - this need not be a public service).

    Given the nature of the procedure, it is of no consequence to the mother's health or her bodily sovereignty whether the infant is live or dead.

    Unless you are suggesting that she retains total ownership rights of the contents of her uterus until said contents are able to independently petition a court for emancipation...

    In this context, Rand's opinion is null and void. I'm willing to bet that she issued that opinion in a less medically sophisticated age and would amend it were she alive today.

    Rand, Tiller, Tiller's murderer and apparently you too, are wrong.

    And no, I did not wish Tiller dead. Nor do I see him as a hero. More like an morally challenged opportunist who profited of a loop-hole in the laws of Kansas.

    His killer deserves the electric chair. By what right does he assume the role of judge, jury and executioner?

    As to the pro-lifers. I agree with them that Late-term abortions are (except in exceptional medical circumstances) tantamount to infanticide.

    This is, in fact, the law of the State of Kansas. If a fetus is viable, it may not be aborted. Two physicians must independently conclude that continuing the pregnancy to full term would jeopardize the mother's life or permanently impair her.

    Tiller was notorious for bending those rules. His consulting physicians were not as 'independent' as the spirit and letter of the law imply. This was a charge unproven in a court of law. But the Kansas Medical board was still investigating him for ethics violations at the time of his murder.

    Sadly, this disgusting act of violence will now halt that investigation and the rational debate that needed to arise from it. The law is weak in this area. Not least because of the lack of quality in the philosophical debate that unpins it. Both pro-lifers and pro-abortion advocates are to blame there IMHO.

  18. "pro-lifers murdered George Tiller."

    Generally agree with Mr. Winefield's take on this. The perp was a mentally deranged loner who should have been under psychiatric care.

    The real shame is that the abortionist lobby is flat out using Tiller's death as a means to discredit those who have different ideas to them.

    Once again the pseudo liberals show their true colours.

    And to associate a pro-abortion stance with liberty demonstrates a perversity of thought that is stunning. Tiller, apparently one of only three doctors (in the US) who carry out late term abortions, made millions while terminating 60,000 lives over the period he operated, thereby denying all of these potential sons and daughters the opportunity to pursue life liberty and happiness.

    Apparently it can only be justified by quoting from the bibl.. oops, I mean Ayn Rand.

  19. Lots of talk about "rights". You all need to define what that concept may happen to be before you enter the debate. Unfortunately the term would appear to be one which means different things to different people.


  20. "The second question is does the foetus gain some or all rights at once?"

    Well, I'm pretty sure the foetus is not entitled to vote.

  21. Until it is surviving by the respiration of its own lungs and the beating of its own heart, separate from the mother, it does not have rights.

    It is still a part of her body. Any suggestion of removal would require that you violate the woman's rights. Further, rights pertain to distinct entities. Until birth, it is a part of the woman's body.

    and it would be a fallacy of the stolen concept to call it a slave

  22. as to the pro-life argument that late term abortions-- in the presence of absence of medical conditions-- are some sort of infanticide thats simply not true. Abortion is never ever infanticide

  23. You can say that, Mo, every day, like a mantra, until your conscience is deaf. Doesn't change the real story.

    (In fact, as someone whose wife has been through 2 miscarriages, I find your comments to be heartless and selfish.)

    The foetal heart starts beating 22 days after conception. The baby's brain is separate from the mother's. He/she is an "individual" -- someone who feels pain.

    For you to dismiss him/her as "part of the women's body" is a gross understatement.

  24. I can't help noticing that a month ago a few people here were defending the right of someone to kill a policeman that had violated his private property rights.

    Now most are condemning someone else for killing to save unborn children - at least as sound a cause as private property rights.

    Is murder ok when you agree with the murderer? Or is it always wrong?

    I'd say it's wrong, so I don't agree with Tiller's murder.

    Self-defence would be another matter (if Tiller was aborting a child with the mothers consent but against the will of the father, and he caught him in the act and protected his own child, that may be a different issue). But that is not the case here.

    It is a great shame that someone would do something so foolish that will save few if any children while damaging the pro-life cause.

    On another note, science is very clear that human life starts at conception, but many people are keen to pick a later date for emotional or religious reasons.

  25. Oh come on Dennis, stop being so disingenuous. What occurred on this occasion is that one religious nutter killed another religious nutter in that monument to non-reason, bigotry, prejudice and violence- church. This is what the result of arbitrary religious belief is. Far better to apply one's faculty of reason in a consistent and logical manner, rather than pollute it with religious mumbo-jumbo.


  26. LGM, if you leave religion out of it, the only point which life can conclusively be said to begin is at conception. Pro-lifers aren't just "religious nutters", many are atheists who just follow the science. Check out this article at Libertarians for Life if you want to actually consider the science.

    High school biology LGM, nothing religious about it.

  27. Dennis

    Your arbitrary nonsense knows few bounds. Try to think logicaly for a change. Life begins at conception? Not so. Sperm is alive and so are eggs BEFORE conception and implantation. They are not dead. You are making an arbitrary distinction between unfertilised eggs and fertilised eggs. You also choose to conveniently ignore the nature of the living uterus that is required for implantation and a particular process to proceed...


    Fact is, this was a religious matter decided between two faithful religious god-botherers. You can't wish that away or ignore fact. Tiller was a religious fruit-loop and his killer was and remains another of the same breed. Both had beliefs of an arbitrary and nonsensical nature. In the end such idiocy leads to violence and violence is exactly what happened. $The take home lesson is to ditch religion and embrace fact.



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