Abortion. If there's a more distasteful topic for columnists, I can't think of it now. However, Texass has forced the issue with tattletale legislation that allows extremists to sue anyone involved in an abortion into submission. The state won't actually enforce the law; zealots will through lawsuits essentially offering $10,000 bounties. That's the construct. Enforcement by mob. Neighbor v. Neighbor. Vigilantes.
If you have an abortion beyond six weeks of pregnancy, you, your doctor, anyone “aiding and abetting,” can be sued by anyone. Anyone. That's big news. Everything's bigger in Texass, including, apparently, their brain tumors.
First of all, no one's pro-abortion. No one celebrates such serious decisions and often medically necessary procedures. I know. Few things are as emotionally debilitating as hearing a doctor tell you that your baby's condition is “not compatible with life.” Then to run the gauntlet to find a facility that will perform a respectful induced delivery. In our situation, only a doctor in Wichita would accept our case. You may remember the name. Rush Limbaugh demonized “George Tiller the Baby Killer,” inciting violence against a man who was our last refuge. He'd been shot multiple times, his clinic bombed. It became a fortress surrounded by cruel protesters each morning shouting, “You can still save your baby.” If only.
Until now, “pro-lifers” have scored in public debate by painting pro-choicers — the majority of Americans — as “baby murderers.” Many of these “pro-lifers” are the same Typhoid Marys and COVID Larrys who blithely spread a disease that's killed millions, all in the name of free-dumb — the same folks who bristle at any government interference in their lives. But when it comes to their moral certainties, they have no compunction about letting slip the Dogs of Legislation to interfere in yours.
It's a Talibanesque law. Many women have no idea if they're pregnant at six weeks. Periods are missed for any number of reasons, so what the law does is effectively outlaw all abortions even in the case of rape or incest. It's remarkable cruelty justified by an insidious sense of moral superiority. Sure, it's their body, their choice, when it comes to masks, vaccines and horse dewormer, but when it comes to this very difficult circumstance, they know best. They're forcing one-size-fits-all personal decisions on everyone, in violation of Roe v. Wade, which probably got things as right as they could.
We all agree that fewer abortions would be a good thing, as would sex education and easy access to contraception, but the do-gooders find that immoral, too. There's no winning with these people, who would make women permanent second-class citizens by legislating female genitalia.
I remember walking past timid teenage girls in the lobby in Wichita who were accompanied by parents or boyfriends, thinking to myself about the irony of it all. We desperately wanted our baby, but we all were heckled equally.
George Tiller, an ordained minister, saw the couples like us with babies that were “incompatible with life,” as his most righteous causes. For life is not as simple as moral certitude. Life is gray.
The Texass law won't stand up. It goes too far. Extremists always do.
In 2009, a vigilante finally succeeded in executing George Tiller, the man who baptized our stillborn child in 1999. George Tiller, wearing body armor, was shot down in church. A bullet to the head. He was ushering that day.
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of this publication, nor Forum Communications ownership.