Our Reflections on MSNBC’s Dr. Tiller Documentary

29 Oct

Instead of having each of us write about our different reactions to MSNBC’s documentary titled The Assassination of Dr. Tiller , we here at the Abortion Gang decided to give you all our opinions in one place, in no particular order.

Not Guilty:

To begin with, I am very struck by the age of Dr. Tiller’s staff. These were all women who remember before abortion was legal, who possibly knew or knew of women who died from self-administered or illegal abortions. I wonder, will it take the antis knowing that same kinds of grief to see why they are wrong? Do they need to see women they love kill themselves to avoid being pregnant? Or deliver a baby that lives a short, painful life before dying? What will it take for them to understand?

It becomes evident that the antis viewed all the women entering the clinic as simply needing to hear the “right words” to be persuaded to leave. They refuse to give any credence to the possibility that these women have any idea what they are doing and that it might be the right decision for them. They simply view the ones who go through with the abortion as a lost chance. They completely infantilize these women so that they can convince themselves that they just have to try harder to make them change their minds.

Many of the antis seem to have a general disdain for government and some, including Roeder, refuse to acknowledge its authority. As a result, they see themselves as martyrs, not subject to the laws. This is brought on by religion and the belief that ‘God’ is the only authority they have to answer to. When you believe that you only answer to an authority that can never give you direction, you are a danger to society. The authorities have to deal with the root cause of this hate – the websites with the information on all staff and the perpetuation of hate. Until that is dealt with, they will always be one step behind the next murderer.

At this point, I am numb from the hatred I feel towards these people. I am feeling more hate towards these people than I have every felt towards anybody in my life.

Finally, groups like Operation Rescue are exactly like the Nazis. The Nazis were propaganda machines and they dehumanized the Jews so that when the time came to round them up and put them into concentration camps, the Germans were unable to see anything wrong with the practice. That is how SS officers were able to herd them into the gas chambers; they weren’t herding people, they were herding cattle. This dehumanization of abortion doctors is summed up perfectly by Terry Randall’s final statement that it is time to “move on to the next villain.”

The hatred and anger that these people make me feel make me not even recognize myself. I feel so powerless because how can I, how can anybody, fight against ‘God,’ merely a figment of their imaginations?


“The Assassination of Dr. Tiller” was a heart wrenching documentary. After watching it, I felt the need to cry into my pillow for the rest of the night. I already knew Dr. Tiller’s story, but this documentary really brought it back to the surface in a very emotional manner. I feel like the documentary could have easily been twice as long if it had further explored the connections between anti-choice groups, anti-choice rhetoric, and the murder of abortion providers. The fact that Roeder was not a “lone wolf” was made fairly clear, but I feel as if that point should have been emphasized even more. However, for an hour long documentary, it was very well done and very eye opening. Thank you, Rachel Maddow!


Watching this documentary was very painful for me, as I am sure it was for many people who work in abortion care. Along with the rage and sorrow that came with Dr. Tiller’s death, the documentary brought new feelings of frustration with every link in the chain leading to Scott Roeder pulling the trigger.

Why didn’t the slightly less fanatical people around Roeder turn him in? The fellow militiaman, the people in his Bible study group – they were explicitly aware of Roeder’s obsession with Tiller, but they never thought to report it. Troy fucking Newman, with his smug face and his carefully rehearsed, emphatic hand gestures, says he was just as “shocked and horrified” as everyone else when Roeder shot Tiller. But you were sitting there with him at Tiller’s court hearings! What the hell did you think was going to happen?

The frightening and violent strength – the secret weapon – of the right to life groups is highlighted in this documentary: drawing in vulnerable people, with something missing in their lives, and pushing them over the edge. People like Scott Roeder are looking for something, and it is a sad reflection of our society that when they reach out for understanding, to belong and be found, it is the fanatical evangelists that take their hands. I feel like abortion isn’t even the issue here, like George Tiller was caught in the middle of an unfortunate partnership between a lonely, disenfranchised person and a group of desperate crusaders. The issue is that we need something better to give people like Scott Roeder. Scott Roeder, who cared so much about babies only because it was something to latch on to (after all, if he had really cared so much about children, why would he spend so little time with his own son?).

That said, the documentary also made me think a lot about Dr. Tiller himself, and about what we all lost when he was murdered. One thing that stayed with me was the former patient of his, a patient with a wanted pregnancy who had to terminate because of a problem with the fetus. She said: “I had dreams for this child.” My heart aches for that woman. It is here, in the shades of grey, that we are waiting to meet the pro-lifers. What is that woman to them – one minute she is the picture of health, a glowing and expectant mother, just one diagnosis away from becoming a horrible murderous slut. She is the same woman. What changed for them? Why would they now lie under the wheels of her car to stop her from removing the dead or dying fetus from her body, to force her to carry for another two or three months this tragic reminder of those dreams? “Yes I’m still pregnant, but please don’t congratulate me, because the baby is dead.” How many times do you think you could say that to friends, acquaintances and coworkers before you lost it?

Sometimes, the pain and anguish these women are feeling is part of the beauty of motherhood that the anti-choicers so revere. Death is also sacred. I wish that their hearts could be as open as George Tiller’s was, that they could learn to bring only love and understanding to these women’s lives.


Watching this documentary stirred up some feelings of anger.  I am angry that people are trying to control what I do with MY body, and when they can’t get their way, they commit acts of violence and terrorism.  After watching this video and seeing the past acts of violences committed on abortion clinics and their workers, I see that it really IS terrorism.  I’m angry that people lack understanding and compassion to see that women NEED these services.  I am angry that these terrorists would rather me get attached to this thing growing inside of me knowing full and well that there is a threat to my life and that this fetus will certainly die, than allow me to make a painful but rational decision that will be better for me.  I am upset that these nut jobs think that an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy should decide a woman’s fate.  As one of the nurses pointed out, it’s already hard enough for the patients, and the anger, hatred, and ignorance directed at them doesn’t make it any easier.  Let’s be clear. No one really “wants” an abortion.  It’s not any decision a woman wants to make, but it should always be a decision for her to make should she decide that her life isn’t suitable for a baby, and she should be able to make this decision without fear or threat of intimidation or violence.  While all of those crazy people were busy laying in the middle of the road and sitting in front of the clinic(s), they should have been in the schools and community centers tackling the issue of unwanted and unplanned pregnancies from the beginning through comprehensive sex education.  However, I now see that it isn’t about the babies.  It’s about control.  It is about punishing women for being pregnant and for some of the pregnancies being anomalies.  It is about wanting to control and enslave our minds and bodies, and we will not let that happen.

I don’t like the arrogance of that Operation Rescue schmuck  who tried to say that he had nothing to do with Dr. Tiller’s murder.  Aside from pulling the trigger, he had EVERYTHING to do with it because he filled people with rage, hatred, ignorance, and anger until it boiled over, and one of those unbalanced people, Scott Roeder, was pushed over the edge.  As another nurse pointed out, “the ones without guns incite the ones with guns,” and I think that was Operation Rescue’s goal so they could claim plausible deniability and still be able to operate under the auspices of “saving the babies.”  Operation Rescue’s goal was to make Dr. George Tiller a household name. Job well done.  He IS a household name.  His name and his legacy will live on.  I will tell my daughter that he was a martyr for the war being waged on her right to choose.  He was a courageous, kind, gentle, and devoted man who trusted and helped women.  When she asks me about the great people and heroes in history, I will tell her of a great man who resolved that “abortion is a matter of survival for women.”

One Response to “Our Reflections on MSNBC’s Dr. Tiller Documentary”

  1. Samantha October 29, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    This documentary brought tears to my eyes. The anti-abortion fanatics think that women are either sociopathic whores, or that they’re too stupid to know what they’re doing. This isn’t about abortion itself or babies, and it never has been. It’s about controlling women’s bodies and sexuality.
    May George Tiller rest in peace knowing that there are so many more of us who are willing to take up the cause and fight back against these terrorists.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: