Alice Eve Cohen recently wrote in USA Today that Dr. George Tiller, one of the most infamous abortionists who ever lived, was actually pro-life.
Yes, you read that right. He “rescued countless women who would otherwise have died as a result of medical complications...[and] saved the lives of women who might otherwise have taken their lives.” He helped women “in desperate circumstances, women facing nearly impossible choices,” Cohen writes.
So why don’t we give him the Mother Teresa Award and be done with it?
To answer my own question, this is why we don’t.
In case anyone has forgotten how Tiller made his living, let me refresh your memory. In his partial-birth abortion practice, Tiller started off using ultrasound to locate one of the baby’s legs. He used forceps to pull the baby’s leg into the birth canal. He then proceeded to deliver the living baby’s entire body—except for his or her head.
And then, this great humanitarian picked up a pair of scissors and stabbed the baby in the skull.
He then opened the scissors to make a bigger hole.
He then inserted a suction catheter into the baby’s head and vacuumed his brains out. After the child’s skull collapsed, he pulled the head out of the birth canal.
Tiller had his very own crematorium. Following each baby’s brutal and extremely painful killing, his corpse would be thrown into the flames, like the thousands who went before him.
And then Tiller came back the next day and did it all over again. On average, according to a case study of Tiller, “He killed a viable unborn baby...every day that he went to work.”
Ms. Cohen writes of the many women and girls who, had it not been for Tiller, would have died.
Wrong. Martin Haskell, another infamous abortionist, once admitted that “there are in fact absolutely no obstetrical situations encountered in this country which require a partially delivered human fetus to be destroyed to preserve the life of the mother.”
Drat those big-mouthed abortionists who rat out their own.
Come to think about it, we should have figured this out for ourselves. Think about that procedure again: The baby is pulled from his mother’s body except for the head, which is held firmly inside the birth canal until the abortionist completes his deadly work. It would make a lot more sense, if the mother’s life is truly in danger, to remove the entire baby as quickly as possible, without taking precious minutes to jam a pair of scissors into his brain. Wouldn’t it?
Unless the true goal is not a safe mother, but a dead baby.
A few years ago, when the horrifying reality of partial birth abortion became more widely known, abortion supporters were quick with the lies. Among them: Most if not all “late-term” abortions were performed on terribly deformed babies who probably wouldn’t have survived, anyway. Abortion supporters made this claim when they came to Washington to try to beat back the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. I know—I was there, watching and listening. I was strongly tempted to shout down from the balcony, “Liar!” especially when a certain feminist senator from California spoke.
Martin Haskell once again unwittingly came to the rescue. At a National Abortion Federation seminar in 1992, he pointed out that about 80 percent of all partial-birth abortions are elective. That is, they are not performed because of medical complications; the baby is perfectly healthy. The only “medical problem” is that his or her mother took a longish time deciding she didn’t want the child, and didn’t want anybody else to have her, either.
Tiller’s own records back up Haskell’s claim. When Tiller was required by the state of Kansas to begin reporting on the abortions he performed, he was forced to admit that not a single abortion was performed to save the life of the mother. Not one.
So much for “essential, life-saving medical services.”
Ms. Cohen once considered Tiller’s services herself. She claims she was suicidal when she discovered that the tumor she’d been told she carried was actually a baby in its third trimester, and that it was too late to abort the child. This is why she sought out Tiller, who was happy to abort babies up through the last day of the ninth month, if that’s what the mother wanted. In the end, Ms. Cohen decided not to kill herself, and she even allowed her unborn daughter to live. “I chose life,” Ms. Cohen writes.
Apparently, readers are meant to applaud at this point. But when they stop applauding, they might want to ask a question: How many women have actually committed suicide because they couldn’t obtain an abortion? Are there any? Have any studies been performed to determine the truth of this claim? Or is it just another deceit lobbed into the abortion wars?
Sometimes the lid is lifted on the deceits, if only for a moment. A former Tiller employee once reported the stabbing death, by Tiller colleague Shelley Sella, of a 35-week-old infant who had survived an abortion. One of Tiller’s own victims, Sarah Brown, survived for five years following another form of abortion he specialized in. The little girl—much loved by her adoptive parents—ultimately succumbed to the terrible injuries Tiller had inflicted on her.
Tiller’s clinic must have been one of the darkest places on earth.
To keep the darkness at bay, the truth about abortion must be hidden as much as possible. Ms. Cohen says that for the anti-abortion side to call itself “prolife” is manipulative, narrow, misogynist. Perhaps she has forgotten that that, some 40 years ago, those who wanted to legalize abortion came up with the term “choice” in order to hide what they really meant: the destruction, by the millions, of those of whom we now recognize, through those amazing ultrasound images, as very small and lively human beings.
It was a brilliant PR move.
So was the claim that those “anti-choice” crazies don’t care about women. Several thousand pregnancy care centers put the lie to this claim—as do surveys of the grateful women who use them (as opposed to Planned Parenthood spies intent on destroying their reputations).
Should we call Tiller “pro-life” because he offered women a particular choice? As Frederica Mathewes-Green once observed, “A woman doesn’t want an abortion the way she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its leg.”
This is the “choice” George Tiller offered women. A brutal, violent choice. But as the folks at Susan B. Anthony List put it, women deserve better choices.
They also deserve the truth.
Anne Morse is a senior writer at BreakPoint.
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