The news has been full of commentary on the murder of Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas abortionist sometimes referred to as "Tiller the Baby Killer". He was one of only a few doctors in the country who perform late-term abortions (considered being 22 weeks or later), according to reports having performed somewhere between 250 and 300 of them in 2008 alone.
According to my research, this man was responsible for an estimated 60,000 abortions over his lifetime. Sixty-thousand. To put that in perspective, the number of babies whose lives this man terminated would fill Lavell Edwards Stadium to capacity.
And yet, everyone from liberal bloggers to religious leaders are hailing this man as being deserving of sainthood: the Very Reverend Katherine Ragsdale of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts stated, "This is about the loss of a man who was a saint and a martyr. He was a prayerful man who put his life at risk to protect others and died for it."
Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia adds that Dr. Tiller "joins the list of martyrs for ethical decency and human rights, killed for healing with compassion" and that he is a "religious martyr in the fullest classical sense..."
I initially found it very incongruous that Dr. Tiller was gunned down in a church because it seemed like the last place I would have thought a man of his character and profession would be spending his Sunday afternoon. But when statements like these are coming from other religious leaders, I can see just how easy it may have been for Dr. Tiller to find a comfortable spot on a non-judgmental pew.
As so many people - both religious and non - have been hailing the mission of this man as being heroic, and as there are so many nuts on both sides of the issue who like to give partial bits of information to further their own agenda, I went to the Kansas Department of Health and & Environment report on abortions performed in the year 2008 to see what the real skinny was:
10,642 total (reported) abortions were performed in Kansas in 2008. Of these, 323 were performed at 22 weeks or later (one can only assume by Tiller himself, or someone at his clinic). Of these late-term abortions, it was stated that 192 of them were in fact viable babies who could have survived outside the womb. As the far-left often likes to state that these types of abortions are never performed except to save the life of the mother, I found it interesting that not one of these viable babies was aborted for that purpose. Instead the reason was stated as being that "The patient would suffer substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function if she were forced to continue the pregnancy."
Somehow no one ever wants to mention the substantial and irreversible emotional harm that results from aborting a human life. And as abortion numbers increase due to the shaky economy - Planned Parenthood reports number of abortions climbed in the last half of 2008, and phone calls to the National Network of Abortion Funds (which helps women pay for abortions) have nearly quadrupled from this time last year - it seems that we are failing women more and more. When a woman in an inconvenient or distressing situation feels that her only option is to abort her baby, we have landed ourselves back in the dark ages. Adoption waiting lists for newborns are still years long. Especially in the cases of late-term and third-trimester abortions, it is a tragedy when men like Dr. Tiller feel they are "helping" these women. Just think - if a single compassionate person could convince even one of these women to hold on for two or three more months, allowing her baby to be placed in a loving home, now that would be heroic. That would truly be helping someone in a distressing situation.
So I just don't see how it is that people are honoring this man, who spent his life harming women and killing babies. Personally, I can't think of any action that is less heroic and less deserving of emulation.
Dr. Tiller may have been a lot of things, but saint is certainly not one of them.