I believe the murder of George Tiller was an act of domestic terrorism whose aim was not only to assassinate a single man, but also to frighten a generation of doctors and to shame and terrify women and families who are making difficult choices. While the murderous rage of Tiller's assassin is not representative of the broader anti-choice movement, I believe that the anti-choice community operates with a totalitarian impulse that generates a culture of terror rather than a culture of life.Baby killers. Let's see: people who kill babies, what shall we call them? Perhaps people hired to permanently eliminate all future choices that might be made by the babies whose bodies they dismember?
Hannah Arendt suggested that totalitarians generate terror in part by cultivating profound loneliness among their targets. Loneliness locks human beings in isolation and hampers discourse, connection, and shared experience. When we believe we are alone and misunderstood we cannot form the bonds necessary to organize and resist. There are few experiences more lonely and isolating than facing an unintended pregnancy or facing the need to terminate a desired pregnancy in order to protect maternal health. The anti-choice discourse labels the women and families who chose abortion "baby killers." It is a strategy that dehumanizes these women and the doctors who care for them.
But that's far too complicated. Another possibility, though shockingly short on empathy for those who -- pardon the expression -- make a living killing babies is "killing babies."
What's worse, calling something by its right name or exploiting the vile act of one psychopath to avert attention from a mountain of small corpses which grows daily by the thousands?