Matt C. Abbott
Sharing a cab with Dr. Tiller
By Matt C. Abbott
June 2, 2009

Most pro-life leaders have rightly condemned the murder of Kansas abortionist George Tiller. I'd like to highlight the (slightly edited) reactions of two of my past employers: the Pro-Life Action League and Illinois Right to Life Committee.

From the Pro-Life Action League:

    ''We deplore the killing of George Tiller on Sunday morning,' said Joe Scheidler, the League's national director. 'It has always been my philosophy that we convert abortionists. As activists committed to saving lives, we vigorously oppose violence.'

    'Scheidler once shared a taxi with Tiller as both were headed from the airport in New Orleans to the National Abortion Federation Convention.

    ''Tiller apparently recognized me, but did not recall that I was a pro-life activist. He assumed I was another abortionist attending the conference,' said Scheidler. 'He enthusiastically extolled the value of the ultrasound in performing abortions, and invited me to visit his clinic in Wichita.'

    'The following day Scheidler attended Tiller's presentation on the use of ultrasound. By then the doctor had realized that Scheidler was in the opposition camp, and refused to proceed with his presentation until Scheidler left the room.

    ''Having sat and talked with George Tiller, I probably feel a little more connection with him than many other pro-lifers might,' said Scheidler. 'I am adamantly opposed to what he did for a living. But I believe that anyone can come to the truth. Tiller deserved the chance to turn away from the evil of abortion. I cannot condone the taking of his life.''

From William Beckman, executive director of Illinois Right to Life Committee:

    'As with other truly pro-life citizens and organizations, Illinois Right to Life Committee expresses our most profound sorrow after the outrageous assault that killed abortionist George Tiller May 31 during a church service in Wichita, Kansas. Violence against abortion providers is not the answer and has never been advocated by [authentically] pro-life organizations.

    'The mission of Illinois Right to Life Committee is education. Though not directly involved in the prayer and counseling that occurs at many abortion clinics, these actions become part of the potential education of abortion providers regarding the value of all human life, beginning at conception.

    'A number of prominent abortion providers have experienced a realization of the value of all human life and are now vocal advocates in favor of life. How many more have abandoned abortion after coming to the same conclusion but have chosen not to be vocal about their decision? Abortion advocates will claim that these silent converts stopped performing abortions because of threats of violence, but they are not able to substantiate such conclusions.

    'Performing abortions is a stressful job primarily because of the providers' knowledge of their killing of preborn children. Converting abortion providers to turn that realization into a true change of heart is pro-life, but killing them is not. Such an injustice denies the abortionist an opportunity for a change of heart.

    'Many abortion advocates are attempting to link the life-saving work of pro-life sidewalk counselors, prayer warriors, and picketers with the actions of the man who murdered Tiller. The suspect who has been detained in this case appears to have an affiliation with extremist political groups but not with the mainstream pro-life movement. Attempts to make a connection are unwarranted.

    'If there is any potential connection that might later be determined a factor in the motivation of Tiller's murderer, a more likely source would be the continuing miscarriage of justice in the failure of Kansas governmental entities to enforce Kansas law restricting late-term abortions.

    'With slick procedural rulings from judges and devious actions by states' attorneys, evidence has been suppressed that might have allowed enforcement of Kansas law and stopped the killing of many babies under Tiller's hands. Many of these judges and other officials have received large campaign contributions from Tiller. Such results would be much more likely to be a stimulus for misguided individuals, such as the current suspect in this case, to take the law into their own hands.

    'People praying at abortion clinics or offering real alternatives to mothers coming to those clinics do not stimulate violence, even by misguided fringe elements. In addition, displays of graphic abortion signs are not a trigger for violence, other than an occasional attack on the person holding such a sign.

    'We can only hope the tragic death of George Tiller will become an opportunity to teach respect for all human life, from conception to natural death.'

Finally, Catholic writer-activist Mary Ann Kreitzer makes some keen, if politically incorrect, observations in a June 1 commentary on Spero News (excerpted):

    '...The condemnation from NARAL, NOW, The Feminist Majority, Planned Parenthood is shrill and broad-based. One lone man shot the gun; all pro-lifers are guilty of his murder.

    'It's interesting to note that when women are forced to abort, when men kill women, in fact, for refusing to abort, not a word of protest is raised by the abortion machine. Condemning those deaths can't advance their agenda. When adult male predators take little girls to abortion mills to hide their sexual abuse, not a word of protest is raised. In fact, counselors instruct the children to lie to protect their abusers. Advancing abortion, no matter what the price paid by women and children, always comes first.

    'Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups will raise millions off of Tiller's death while they weep crocodile tears over his murder on the way to the bank. Using their strategy of hate speech against pro-lifers they will no doubt silence voices of reason under a deluge of slander and hysteria. The pro-life movement has shown itself to be the most peaceful, grassroots civil rights movement in the history of the United States. That won't prevent the pro-abortion mob from calling for us to be fed to the lions.

    'One last comment, when was the last time you heard about pro-abortion violence? Hundreds of murders and attempted murders have occurred against women who refused to have abortions. Was the pro-death movement targeted with those deaths? Never! For a report on pro-abortion violence visit [this Web site]. All of those women are just as dead as George Tiller, but to the pro-abortion fanatics they are nothing but collateral damage.'


© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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