Remember George Tiller, the recently murdered Kansas abortion doctor? Today we learned that his entire clinic, one of only a few in the country to provide late-term abortions, is closing down.
An opponent of abortion has succeeded in killing and intimidating yet another pocket of brave doctors who committed their professional lives to a woman’s right to choose the course of her own body-even in the hard cases.
Of course, anti-abortion groups have been quick to publicly denounce the murder as “vigilantism.” But there’s a reason why no one is really surprised when an abortion doctor is gunned down in cold blood.
The “pro-life” movement fervently believes that a fetus holds the same right to life as you and me, and so a pregnancy cannot be terminated at the decision of the woman experiencing it. But what is the source of this view? Anti-abortionists are unable to ground their position in a rational conception of rights. All they can hope for is that an unknowable God imbues a fetus with a mystical soul from the moment of conception. There can be no proof and no knowledge with respect to such a claim, as it based solely on religious faith. In imposing their religion on the rest of society, anti-abortionists are sacrificing the actual rights of women and doctors.
Because anti-abortionists cannot provide rational reasons for why a fetus holds the same rights as an actual human being, or why this supposed right outweighs the rights of the female carrying the fetus, it is no surprise that so many opponents of abortion resort to name-calling and intimidation tactics in advancing their agenda. It is also no surprise that they seek to exert a more sanitized form of force, in the form of governmental coercion, against these women and doctors.
Force is the only alternative to reason and rational argument. “Pro-lifers,” by virtue of the religious source of their conviction against abortion (whether acknowledged or hidden) reject a rational means of persuasion. The end of such a road is, unfailingly, a smoking gun.