It has become acceptable in the US to use violence and intimidation to stop women and men from participating in activities that are their legal right. In Wichita Kansas, where Dr. Tiller was murdered over a year and a half ago, there is not a single doctor who provides abortion services. This is not because there are not any doctors willing to provide the services, but rather because doctors are intimidated and stalked by anti-abortion protesters and are afraid to offer these services.
How is this okay with anyone who respects the Constitution to allow bullying and intimidation tactics to trump the legal rights of American citizens? It truly does not matter what you think about the issue of abortion, if you respect the law and the Constitution then you agree to respect ALL the laws, even the ones you disagree with. We have an entire democratic system in place that allows laws to be discussed, amended and voted on in order to have a democratic, civil society. By trumping the legal system and taking matters into their own hands, anti-abortionists are in effect snubbing the law and making a mockery of our judicial system. And to make matters worse, there are people who have sworn to uphold the law that are participating in this debasement of our judicial system either by standing by and doing nothing or using their power to help in the subversion.
In order for our country to continue to subsist, respect for the law and the Constitution must be upheld. I hear this often from politicians on all the sides of the political spectrum, but we need to see some action that actually supports this view point. Where are the rational pro-life supporters who disagree with abortion, think it should be illegal, but who also recognize that murder is wrong? That taking the law into your own hands is not the answer. I want you to stand up and say, “I disagree with abortion and with Dr. Tiller’s medical practice, but killing him was wrong.” That stalking and intimidating medical providers is wrong. That instead of intimating practitioners and patients of clinics that provide abortions, people who think abortion should be illegal should channel their energies into our judicial system and work to change the law or find productive ways to lower the need for abortions like access to birth control, rather than bullying and intimidating people who disagree with them.
Just because you disagree with a law does not give you the right to break that law for any reason, moral or otherwise. If we begin to use moral justification for breaking the law, we liken ourselves to peoples that otherwise would be called terrorists–people who disagree with the law, often on moral grounds, and therefore decide to take it into their own hands. We do not live in a society filled with terrorists. For the most part we live in a peaceful society that respects and upholds the law through which those who break the law suffer the consequences. While Dr. Tiller’s murderer was caught, tried and sentenced to life in prison, the lack of pro-life voices decrying the horrific act is in affect silently, but powerfully, endorsing the murder of Dr. Tiller.
Being unable to agree on the intricacies of abortion is one thing, but if we cannot come together and agree that murdering a man in cold blood while he attends a church service is wrong–no matter the reason–then we have a serious problem.
Kimberly is a law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. When not studying or writing, she can be found devouring video games and books. She is commonly caught muttering under her breath a critique of the consumeristic mechanism that constantly insists on bombarding her personal space.