It seems everyone has commented on the murder of Mr. Tiller. I will call him “Mr.” as opposed to “Dr.” as his role was the ending of life, not the preserving of life. He was a killer, not a healer. The term “Doctor” has a wonderful history and a deep meaning to society. Doctoring is a profession, a calling. What Mr. Tiller did in no way resembled the practice of medicine.
I agree with my daughter who eloquently stated a Christian way to view this horrible act of murder. The man who murdered Mr. Tiller should be punished to the full extent of the law, which, I would guess, he is ready and willing to receive.
Why were Mr. Tiller’s actions as an abortionist so heinious, so revolting, so unjustifiable, so abhorrent? Several reasons, actually, some common with all abortionists and some unique to him.
First, killing is easy. (Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.) And he was particularly good at killing.
As an OB/GYN physician, I had to spend time in the busiest abortion clinic in Iowa when I was in residency; so I saw abortion, up close and personal, and spoke to the women seeking abortion. In the following paragraphs, I describe, in some detail, abortion mill procedures and especially the late-term abortions for which Mr. Tiller gained his fame. If you would prefer not to be exposed to such details, you may want to skip to the last couple paragraphs.
The usual first trimester abortion (up to 14 weeks) done in a typical abortion mill takes 10 minutes, max, for an experienced abortionist in a well-organized abortuary. An abortion-minded woman or girl calls an abortion clinic because she thinks she may be pregnant and is considering abortion. Most don’t call already determined to have an abortion. She is, however, drawn in by careful words. “Oh, your pregnant,” the receptionist says, confirming the pregnancy without a test. Then, the receptionist confirms her worst fears. “You’re right,” she says, “a pregnancy now in your situation (boyfriend not supportive, may have to quit school, mom and dad won’t approve, too young, too old, too poor and on) would ruin your life. We can help.” The receptionist makes clear the cost and the cash needed and offers suggestions about how to get the money from family, friends, loans, savings or other relatives, because the need is so great and the abortion-minded girl doesn’t want her life ruined. Once she arrives for the abortion appointment, the receptionist collects the cash before anything is done. Once the cash is in the drawer, the young girl sees a faux-counselor who confirms with her the great need to end the pregnancy. The nurses or medical assistants turn over rooms like lightening to keep the abortionist working.They clean only visible blood off the table or floor. Any hesitation to back out on the girls part during this process is met with reminders of her ruined life if she delays. The abortionist enters the room with the patient on the table, in the stirrups and ready. Gentle is not a word used to describe the procedure. The typical woman seeking an abortion is young and has never had a baby, so the exam itself is not comfortable, not to mention injecting the novacaine, dilating the cervix and suctioning out the baby. Once done, the canister containing the baby and placenta may be emptied into a container to count arms and legs and identify head, thorax and placenta as confirmation all the parts are out. Many places don’t even do that. The woman may be watched for a short time–very short time–and hustled out the door with a prescription for pain meds and instructions to go to the ER if problems develop.
And those are the easy ones.
An abortion done after 14 weeks entails more risk and more time, but the encouragement to proceed, the tight organization to make maximum money with minimal effort, the quick discharge and use of ER for complications is the same.
Abortionists prefer D&E (dilatation and evacuation) from 14 to 18 weeks. The procedure is like a suction, except 1) the baby is more developed and doesn’t collapse into the suction tube easily 2) the cervix has to be open to a bigger diameter to get it out 3) the blood loss is greater 4) the risk of perforating the uterus with an instrument is greater and 5) the pain is more severe. After opening the cervix overnight with laminaria or cervical ripening medicines, the abortionist dilates the cervix even more, then inserts a large grasping forceps with tissue-crushing teeth into the uterus, crushes the baby and removes it in pieces. Then the abortionist suctions out the remaining pieces and the placenta.
Past 18 weeks, the abortionist may inject a strong salt solution into the uterus through the abdomen which kills the baby. The patient then labors over the next 1-2 days and delivers a dead baby. (Not always, of course, but that’s the plan.)
Also, past 18 weeks, the abortionist may choose D&X (partial birth abortion). I would imagine this technique would have been the one done most by Mr. Tiller, as he specialized in late term abortions. With a D&X, he would open the cervix as in a D&E abortion. Then an assistant would scan the baby with the ultasound while Mr. Tiller would insert grasping tools through the cervix into the uterus to grab the baby’s feet or legs and deliver the baby up to the head. The head stops in the cervix because it is too firm and too big to get through. Mr. Tiller would then take a long, sharply-pointed scissors and poke it into the skull, spread it apart to make a hole and insert the suction tube into the skull. Then he would apply suction to empty out the brains which collapses the skull. The now-dead baby then comes all the way out.
Picture this if you can without vomiting. The baby is 3/4 of the way out, wiggling and squirming in the abortionists hand when he sticks the scissors into the skull. The baby stiffens to the trauma. When the abortionist applies the suction, the baby goes completely limp, dead, is removed and then discarded into the trash.
Mr. Tiller had no limit on gestational age. He bragged once that he aborted a baby a day before its due date.
And that, dear reader, is why Mr. Tiller was such a lightening rod for controversy. He was a baby-killing machine, killing mostly those babies who could have survived outside the womb had they been born alive.
Was he a selfless hero as describe by the pro-abortion groups? No. Like all abortionists, I imagine him a self-serving, lazy, money-grubbing man who, in years past, would have been jailed or perhaps executed. Self-serving as he seemed to craved the praise and attention of the abortion activists and advocates by performing abortions so much like murder that no one else would do them. Altruism? Hardly. Lazy in that he likely worked the day shift with no night call or weekend work. Pretty cushy. Money grubbing in that the money is always the draw for abortionists. A good abortionist can make 7 figures, with no collection problems, no insurance hassles, no clinic inspections, no recording keeping rules, no dealing with postop complications and no messy relationships with patients (by the time they meet him, they are on their backs, on the table, draped and ready), generally speaking.
Do I mourn Mr. Tiller’s death? Yes. The killer removed Mr. Tiller’s chance for repentance and salvation. I also mourn that a lawless man murdered him. I would have rather seen laws changed and his activities stopped by an outraged society. I mourn that the pro-abortion groups will use this act to paint all pro-life people with a terrorist brush. See how terrible we all are, they will say. That man didn’t kill Mr. Tiller. Mr. Tiller died as a result of the retorhic and encouragement from prolifers, they will say. The murderer was just the point of the spear thrown by pro-lifers.
But I don’t mourn Mr. Tiller’s death too much. I am not disappointed that some babies may now live who would not have otherwise lived. I am not disappointed that some women will have a take-home baby to love instead of the grief and guilt of killing her own child.
Will someone take his place? Probably. But one has to love money–really, really love money–to wear a bullet-proof vest to work and deal regularly with the controversies involved in late-term abortions.
Lastly, am I any better than Mr. Tiller? No. My only hope is salvation through the redeeming work of Christ, His sacrifice and my hope of eternal life in Him. Prior to His effectual call, I sinned. I only sinned. I continually sinned. And sin is sin. Any sin separates me from a Holy God. Once redeemed, I am justified in Him and declared righteous by God. Still, I am continually reminded of my fallen state and my need for His grace. Mr. Tiller was mudered at church, but I doubt he heard a sermon on Revelation 21:8 which reads, “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”