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"Resetting Our Moral Clocks - Commentary by Joseph C. Phillips"

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The fact that those of us opposed to abortion find the work of late term abortionist George Tiller perverse and immoral does not mean that we give sanction to his assassination – either overtly or privately.

Scott Roeder, Tillers alleged killer, is misguided -- and according to the New York Daily News, mentally ill. He is a man that has gone to great lengths to set back a cause he held so dear. Pro-abortion activists on the left have long accused the membership ranks of the pro-life movement as being filled with religiously rabid hypocrites and domestic terrorists, and of being part of a growing cadre of right wing extremists. Roeder’s lack of moral clarity has now provided them with a poster child. Just as the pro-life movement was winning converts and making legal headway with passionate, but reasoned and civil arguments against the practice of abortion, Roeder steps forward to tear down what had taken decades to build. He deserves our scorn (and pity) as much as Tiller. Murder is wrong. Roeder must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and if found guilty he must be punished.

In fact, it is our collective inability to bring such moral clarity to the entire issue of abortion that has led to the deep cultural divisions and produced the kind of violence that killed Tiller.

It is also further indication of just how out of sync our moral clocks have become that those of us that abhor the practice of abortion must work overtime to distance ourselves from Roeder, while those on the other side of the debate are under no similar pressure to distance themselves from the depravity of Tiller. Indeed they have used the occasion of Tillers death to point an accusing finger at Anti-abortion activists and wrap themselves in the cloak of righteousness.

It is only moral ambiguity that allows the death of one doctor to indict an entire cause while the death of millions of children remains rather unremarkable.

The one concession we have heard from the new left on abortion is that they wish to discourage the practice(in fact we heard similar rhetoric from President Obama immediately prior to his reversal of U.S. policy on overseas abortions thus ensuring that in spite of his stated desire there will be MORE abortions during his administration; but I digress). What remains unclear is why? If abortion is not murder, if it is not immoral and unhealthy; if what is sucked out of a woman’s womb is in fact only a blob of tissue, why would we wish to discourage it? Do we also wish to “discourage” tonsillectomies? Or is the wish to discourage abortion made precisely because deep in the abortionist heart there is the recognition that what is carried in the womb is more than a blob of tissue, but is in fact a human life? If it is wrong why do we not treat it as such? No doubt Scott Roeder and those of similar imprudent tendencies will be happy to hear that we only wish to “discourage” the killing of abortionists.

The sad truth is that in spite of all the talk the same folks that are intent on regulating everything that we put into out bodies from tobacco to Grape Soda are not willing to put the same energy into discouraging abortion. In fact they seem to do everything in their power from fighting parental notification and prohibitions against partial birth abortions to encourage it. Moreover, not only did the political left embrace Tiller as a brother in arms, accepting campaign cash by the truck load and protecting him from prosecution, in his death they have eulogized him as a hero for women’s health. Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, described Tiller as “a hero to those seeking help in the most desperate of situations.” That is rather like suggesting that Sherriff Jim Clark was a hero for civil rights. During testimony published by the Pro-life Action League’s Luhra Tivis, a former employee of the good doctor’s says, “…out of those two dozen [8 and 9 month pregnant women] a week, only about 2 percent had medical deformities. I thought I was pro-choice back then, but week after week I kept seeing these women coming in with healthy babies…” According to records from Tillers practice some of the “desperate situations” offered as pretext for the murder of these healthy children were: needing to go to a prom, the desire to go to a rock concert and depression. Talk about being out of sync…

Resolving the question of abortion will only come with moral clarity. Consistency must be demanded of those on both sides of the debate.

Joseph C. Phillips is the author of “He Talk Like A White Boy” available wherever books are sold.

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