George Tiller Died and Let's Talk About It May 31, 2009 3:09 PM   Subscribe

About the George Tiller murdered thread: game warden to the events rhino wrote this quote, which is attributed to Mark Thomas: "The problem with anti-abortion extremists is that their very existence disproves their point." Huh?

Can someone more clever than me explain this quote?

Also:

What's the deal with responses consisting of a single period? Sorry if I'm late to MeFi etiquette.

P.S. That quote, when googled, only shows up on the MetaFilter thread.
posted by trotter to Etiquette/Policy at 3:09 PM (78 comments total)

.
posted by OmieWise at 3:10 PM on May 31, 2009


The dot is a site custom denoting a moment of silence.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:11 PM on May 31, 2009


It's kinda peripheral to the anti-abortion argument—it means the world would have been a better place had they been aborted.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 3:15 PM on May 31, 2009


I will suggest the following explanation: You can't shoot someone and claim to be pro-life.
posted by boo_radley at 3:17 PM on May 31, 2009 [13 favorites]


Their existence disproves the position that abortion should be prohibited. In other words, the activists -- the human beings themselves -- constitute a good reason to allow abortion. Why? Because they should have been aborted, because we don't like them. Ha.
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:17 PM on May 31, 2009


I'm guessing it's supposed to mean "The existence of anti-abortion extremists disproves their point that abortions should not be allowed, by which I mean that they, the anti-abortion extremists, should themselves have been aborted."
posted by lore at 3:18 PM on May 31, 2009




When I met my birth mother I was nine0000teen. It was the summer after my sophomore year at college. Exactly when she was pregnant with me some 20 years earlier, exactly a month after I crossed a line of hardcore "pro-lifers" in the wee-wee hours in Boston, MA to abort my own.

She said, "How could you be a Harvard student and become pregnant unwillingly?"

I said, "Because I can't/won't take the pill, and the diaphrahm is only 86% effective." We were just getting to know each other.

AIDS and condoms were not yet part of everyone's picture. For those of you late to the party, condoms were only for after your first-born and there is no other choice. In the late '70's they might as well have been called "French Letters" or something.


Later she told me: "If abortion had been safe and legal in 1962, then yes I would have had one." I said "I understand. I just did it for both of us. Meantime, here I am!"

Four live births (all perfect, healthy, unmedicated), two miscarriages (both painful and sad) and three "elective abortions" later, I can understand my mother's feelings, misgivings, and be grateful to be myself alive without eschewing anyone else's right to choose.

Now let's talk about the death penalty; nah, let's save that one for tomorrow . . .
posted by emhutchinson at 3:44 PM on May 31, 2009 [13 favorites]


The "." is actually a JPG of a fetal sonogram at two weeks. Draw your own conclusions.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:50 PM on May 31, 2009 [9 favorites]


Geez, well now I've all but calmed down.
posted by mds35 at 3:53 PM on May 31, 2009


Also:

What's the deal with responses consisting of a single period? Sorry if I'm late to MeFi etiquette.


Don't be sorry, just read the FAQ.
posted by carsonb at 4:20 PM on May 31, 2009


. < - Fertilized egg.

. < - blastocyst at 1 week.

, < - week 3 or four.

6,783,552,172 < - Currently estimated world population.
6,783,552,235 < - Again, seconds later.
6,783,552,418 < - Heh.


One million dots looks like this.


Reload or open that page a thousand times for a billion. Here's what a billion pennies looks like.
posted by loquacious at 4:34 PM on May 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


Mods, please help me and delete two previous errors, or this one. Thanks.
posted by loquacious at 4:35 PM on May 31, 2009


Somebody needs to sidebar that werkzeuger post.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:47 PM on May 31, 2009


Inconceivable!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:54 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Somebody needs to sidebar that werkzeuger post.

Seconding that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:00 PM on May 31, 2009


Somebody needs to sidebar that werkzeuger post.

I agree.

A few years ago I went with my family to the Common Ground Fair, basically a fair for small and organic farmers.
As we were driving in, there was a line of churchies waving their bloody aborted-fetus signs for a half mile down the road. At a celebration of organic farming.
My dad, always pleasant and mild-mannered, rolled down the window and flipped them off the whole way.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:04 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


It has nothing to do with wishing they'd been aborted. The fact that they murder doctors disproves their claim to be "pro-life".
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:07 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


The problem with anti-abortion extremists is that their very existence disproves their point.

My thought is that it means that their mothers made the choice to not abort.
posted by deborah at 5:10 PM on May 31, 2009


Somebody needs to sidebar that werkzeuger post.

Done. It's helpful if you link to what you're talking about so we can track it down more quickly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:33 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


My thought is that it means that their mothers made the choice to not abort.

Yeah, bit of a mean-spirited or bad faith interpretation earlier in this thread, but I think you've hit on both the correct interpretation and the error here. It's basically saying: "Presumably you're happy to be alive, and therefore happy that you weren't aborted; aren't you glad your parents weren't pro-choice?"

But of course pro-choice isn't pro-abortion. The hypothetical pro-choice activist's parents may very well have been.

Now it's a more interesting matter when it's the kind of thing that emhutchinson is talking about, but complicated situations don't make for good talking points on either side.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:06 PM on May 31, 2009


May 31
First person memories of Dr. George Tiller.


Wow. That's a hell of an addition to the thread.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:08 PM on May 31, 2009


It (correctly) means their opinion doesn't matter because it's a woman's choice. The fact that they are making it a debate negates the whole "issue" (an "issue" that was made up by right wing strategists 30 years ago to dupe the working class into voting for for republicans.
posted by Zambrano at 6:34 PM on May 31, 2009


)
posted by Zambrano at 6:35 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bah. Anti-abortion activists? I misread the quote.

Then yeah, seems to be snarking in the way Jaltoh suggested.

Sorry for the misinterpretation. I'd heard the opposite more than once.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:12 PM on May 31, 2009


It has nothing to do with wishing they'd been aborted. The fact that they murder doctors disproves their claim to be "pro-life".

No, it does mean the first one. Mark Thomas is a wickedly funny satirist (and activist), and this was almost certainly what he was going for. And it's hilarious.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:12 PM on May 31, 2009


I'm pretty sure Mark Thomas did mean that he wished the anti-abortion extremists had been aborted. It's definitely a tasteless joke, and one I hesitated to post. (I may also be misremembering the exact phrasing, to be honest.) But it seemed grimly appropriate in the light of today's atrocity.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:22 PM on May 31, 2009


You know, if jesus had been aborted, we wouldn't have to worry about these nutjobs in the first place.
posted by orville sash at 8:45 PM on May 31, 2009


I'm going back in time to abort you all.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:52 PM on May 31, 2009


You know, if jesus had been aborted, we wouldn't have to worry about these nutjobs in the first place.

No way! They would just be Orthodox Jewish nutjobs then.
posted by smackfu at 8:54 PM on May 31, 2009


Burhanistan: "I'm going back in time to abort you all."

Not if I abort you first!!!
posted by philomathoholic at 9:07 PM on May 31, 2009


Could a mod fix the tags on the thread? GeorgeTiller, DrTiller or Tiller would all be better than "georgetillman" which is just plain inaccurate. Thanks.
posted by werkzeuger at 9:42 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, if jesus had been aborted

mary would have been pregnant 3 days later
posted by pyramid termite at 9:45 PM on May 31, 2009 [12 favorites]


Imagine a hero, half Dr. Tiller, half Pat Tillman.
posted by vrakatar at 9:54 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


smackfu: "They would just be Orthodox Jewish nutjobs then."

Trivia: Orthodox Judaism started in the 19th century as a reaction to reform Judiasm.
posted by boo_radley at 9:55 PM on May 31, 2009


My wife and I are pretty shook up. It was almost exactly a year ago to the day we were in Wichita. I'm not sure my list of first-person memories really conveys what I wanted to. It's just that Tiller took something horrible, a terrible cruel fluke of nature, and made it possible for us to do what we thought was right. And in a dignified way. The medical care there was exceptional. The guy was a flight surgeon and quite prominent in Kansas medical circles. I mean, christ I would have loved to have him as my regular doctor.

I just wish I could take every raging prolifer fantasizing about blood-splattered walls and babies stuffed down sinks, and let them really see that whole experience through my eyes. Because the thing I took away was a sense of being cared for, the sense that Tiller and every member of the clinic staff understood what a tragic situation we were in and were working their asses off to make us feel loved and cared for.

I wonder what will happen to his clinic now. He was really only one of maybe two or three late-term options, and he specialized in fetal abnormalities.
posted by werkzeuger at 10:01 PM on May 31, 2009 [18 favorites]


It also has occured to me that there are perhaps dozens of women, and couples, who at this very moment were scheduled to see Dr. Tiller because of a severe abnormality with their pregnancy like we had, and those women may very well be forced by circumstance to bear those children, due to the legal patchwork of state abortion laws.
posted by werkzeuger at 10:43 PM on May 31, 2009


boo_radley: "You can't shoot someone and claim to be pro-life."

On the subject of reproductive freedom, I would be considered a pro-choice extremist. But that comment is nonsense.

Every society believes that a murderer's life is of less value than a murder victim's. If one truly believed that a microscopic collection of cells was a human life, it would be morally mandatory to stop abortions by any means necessary.

That so few abortion providers, relatively speaking, are targeted in this way is evidence that the anti-abortion forces are hypocrites or cowards.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:45 AM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


If one truly believed that a microscopic collection of cells was a human life, it would be morally mandatory to stop abortions by any means necessary.

This is untrue and incredibly morally naive.
posted by ninebelow at 6:38 AM on June 1, 2009


Yes, that's sort of the point, ninebelow.
posted by boo_radley at 6:55 AM on June 1, 2009


This is untrue and incredibly morally naive.

The thing is, if you accept that killing people is ever justified - to prevent genocide, to end gross oppression, etc - then, if you're against reproductive rights, you've sort of got to accept that it would be justified to prevent baby murder on a mass scale. What could be worse, after all? Obviously, one might prefer to stop the baby-killers without murdering them, but one could hardly claim, with any consistency, that murdering them would never be justifiable.

This is why it's so difficult for me to hear the people who claim to be implacably opposed to abortion, yet also shocked and saddened by Tiller's murder. It is too easy a position to take. It distracts us from the fact that the real moral outrage here, the really abhorrent and sick thing, is to believe abortion should be against the law. Tiller's murder, however horrible, is really just a symptom of that.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:06 AM on June 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Obviously, one might prefer to stop the baby-killers without murdering them, but one could hardly claim, with any consistency, that murdering them would never be justifiable.

Change that sentence a little to make it about murder in general:

"Obviously, one might prefer to stop killers without murdering them, but one could hardly claim, with any consistency, that murdering them would never be justifiable."

That seems like an argument for the death penalty, eh?
posted by smackfu at 7:15 AM on June 1, 2009


That seems like an argument for the death penalty, eh?

Superficially yes. But a) the death penalty does not lower the incidence of murders, and b) the death penalty is carried out by the state, which is easily capable of restraining dangerous people (in jail) without resorting to killing them. The better parallels (if you're a pro-lifer) are with armed resistance movements, such as the ANC's armed struggle in South Africa, or "just wars".
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:22 AM on June 1, 2009


"Obviously, one might prefer to stop killers without murdering them, but one could hardly claim, with any consistency, that murdering them would never be justifiable."

That seems like an argument for the death penalty, eh?

No, it doesn't seem anything like an argument for the death penalty. If one would prefer to stop killers without murdering them, then one would prefer life in jail to the death penalty...and that's assuming those are the only two options.

In cases where killing someone is the only way to stop them from murdering, i.e. self-defence, killing is justified.
posted by creasy boy at 7:38 AM on June 1, 2009



I'm of the mind that it's time to recast "going postal" as "going prolife". It works on a number of levels.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:43 AM on June 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


"The problem with anti-abortion extremists is that their very existence disproves their point."

I think it means killing to prevent what one calls killing makes no sense.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:41 AM on June 1, 2009


It also has occured to me that there are perhaps dozens of women, and couples, who at this very moment were scheduled to see Dr. Tiller because of a severe abnormality with their pregnancy like we had, and those women may very well be forced by circumstance to bear those children, due to the legal patchwork of state abortion laws.

I hadn't thought of this. This makes me feel like crying.
posted by Maisie at 9:42 AM on June 1, 2009


Andrew Sullivan just linked the sidebarred comment.
posted by empath at 11:26 AM on June 1, 2009


It's unfortunate that we give Andrew Sullivan traffic to his web page. Walking through a bookstore yesterday, I was uncomfortably reminded of his pro-Right politics all these past, numerous years, the same ideology that gives unspoken aid and comfort to Right-wing domestic terrorist groups like Operation Rescue. It's uncomfortable to see him abuse the medium of the web to reinvent his public persona.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:45 AM on June 1, 2009


It's unfortunate that we give Andrew Sullivan traffic to his web page.

That's what adblock plus is for.
posted by loquacious at 11:53 AM on June 1, 2009


BP, seriously? The man has frequently and publically apologized for being wrong about Bush and the Iraq war. Are people never allowed to change their minds?
posted by empath at 12:29 PM on June 1, 2009


Are people never allowed to change their minds?

I don't get the sense he's changed his mind, so much as joined the winning team. (Especially after he found out he wasn't a powerful enough media figure to influence his Right-wing political friends into acknowledging his rights as a human being.) Anyway, I don't wish to derail further — it's just that I wince when I see his new-found support for civil rights reposted, given that his ideological brethren work so hard to deny women and minorities those rights.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:42 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Abu Ghraib woke him up to what was going on in Iraq, and he endorsed Kerry. He endorsed Obama when Clinton was a clear favorite to win the nomination. I don't see how that's switching to the winning team.
posted by empath at 12:56 PM on June 1, 2009


Blazecock Pileon: "I don't get the sense he's changed his mind, so much as joined the winning team."

I reluctantly agree.

May 13: In what can only be seen as a stunning reversal, the president is now refusing to release photographs that would help prove that the abuse and torture techniques revealed at Abu Ghraib were endemic in the Bush military. ... Slowly but surely, Obama is owning the cover-up of his predcessors' war crimes. But covering up war crimes, refusing to proscute them, promoting those associated with them, and suppressing evidence of them are themselves violations of Geneva and the UN Convention.

May 14: My immediate shock that Obama would be willing to suppress evidence of prisoner abuse, torture and even murder - stunningly widespread in the Bush-led military - somewhat distracted me from the politics of this. That is often a mistake with Obama who both takes his own responsibilities as commander-in-chief seriously and always appears to be playing a longer game than his opponents.

I'm sure one can find similarly fawning tributes to the Wise Leader working in mysterious ways in his posts from the equivalent point in Bush the Second's first term.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:57 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it means killing to prevent what one calls killing makes no sense.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:41 PM on June 1


Do people really not understand the logic? If person A kills x people a year and will likely continue working for another y years, killing person A results in a net savings of xy-1 lives. Even if you believe in the immortal soul, it may be worth it to sacrifice yours to save those lives.

I'm not saying I agree with it, but the logic is hardly complex.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:59 PM on June 1, 2009


I admire the way that Joe Beese finds openings to bash Obama in threads of almost any subject. Well done.
posted by found missing at 1:14 PM on June 1, 2009


found missing: "I admire the way that Joe Beese finds openings to bash Obama in threads of almost any subject. Well done."

I appear to be in your head as badly as Obama is in mine.

The critical difference, as I see it, being that he's the President of the United States and I'm not.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:41 PM on June 1, 2009


I realize that many people wonder who exactly Joe Beese is, and why he both has unlimited time to post in MeFi, and unlimited hatred of Obama. But, I think the fact that his appearance here on MeFi was contemporaneous with the conclusion of the presidential campaign is purely coincidental.
posted by found missing at 1:43 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was under the impression that Joe Beese was Three Blind Mice...
posted by empath at 1:59 PM on June 1, 2009


I was under the impression Joe Beese was Jello Biafra.

By the way, dude, Bedtime for Democracy? That album sucked. Seriously. "Rambozo the Clown"? Breaking up was the best thing you guys could've done after that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:21 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


The critical difference, as I see it, being that he's the President of the United States and I'm not.

You could be President, Joe, if you just put your mind to it and work hard.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:38 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I realize that many people wonder who exactly Joe Beese is, and why he both has unlimited time to post in MeFi, and unlimited hatred of Obama. But, I think the fact that his appearance here on MeFi was contemporaneous with the conclusion of the presidential campaign is purely coincidental.

Coincidence? Or is Joe Beese actually DIck Cheney?
posted by cjets at 6:03 PM on June 1, 2009


By the way, dude, Bedtime for Democracy? That album sucked.

I was all set to argue about this but then I went back and looked at the track listings and, yeah, it's a pretty shit album all right. I didn't remember DK having a totally shit album, but now I realize it's because I forgot that album existed.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:32 PM on June 1, 2009


werkzeuger- the clinic will re-open on Monday and continue to provide all the same services.

... the clinic will resume normal operations next Monday, said LeRoy Carhart, a Nebraska physician who has been coming to Tiller's clinic on a rotating basis for more than 10 years now.

"What people need to know is... the women's services that we provided for 30 years are not going to change," Carhart said. "The same abortion services will remain available in Wichita."

posted by fshgrl at 11:42 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Bedtime for Democracy had "Chickenshit Conformist" and "Where Do You Draw the Line?", both of which are classic tracks.

The rest are pretty forgettable.

And I guess "Chickenshit Conformist" takes the blame for every third or fourth punk song since being about much the punk rock scene sucks, but so it goes.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:06 AM on June 2, 2009


"Chickenshit Conformist" gets props for saying what needed to be said about the scene, even if Crass said it earlier and better in "Punk Is Dead". But the album as a whole just sounds like a band that was tired of being together, tired of playing this music, and in a hurry to get out of the studio. Considering the drama* that followed the band's disintegration, I guess it's not surprising.

* No heroes in that story, in my opinion. The more I learned about it, the less I liked what I was learning, and in the end I just stopped digging and put on Plastic Surgery Disasters.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:18 AM on June 2, 2009


Plastic Surgery Disasters was my first DK album, and I still think it's the best of the lot. That it usually comes with the In God We Trust, Inc EP on the end of the disc is pretty shiny, too.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:23 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, PSD was my first, too! Lent to me by a friend after he learned I was a Duran Duran fan. "Let me do you a favor" he'd said, and it was one of the single best things a friend ever did for me.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:57 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


werkzeuger, I just wanted to thank you for sharing such a private story. It's brave, and seeing what Tiller's work really was is sorely needed. Like you I wish I could show those who don't understand what Tiller did - by your description he sounds like he really went that extra mile to cope with the grief. I have a friends story that I dare not share, but they did not have such an understanding doctor, and greived alone, which was very hard on them mentally. The couple didn't really stop grieving until they finally carried a healthy baby to term six years later (aka the most wanted baby in the world, we call him). I'm sorry for your loss.
posted by dabitch at 1:38 AM on June 2, 2009


Jezebel decided to copy part of werkzeuger's post, but they did not credit him and instead linked to Andrew Sullivan quoting it. Here's the link. So it goes.
posted by Ms. Saint at 5:14 PM on June 2, 2009


Here's the link. So it goes.

urge to kill rising.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:53 PM on June 2, 2009


urge to kill rising.

Tell me about it.
posted by werkzeuger at 9:16 PM on June 2, 2009


Tell me about it.

Yeah, sorry about that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:24 PM on June 2, 2009


Done. It's helpful if you link to what you're talking about so we can track it down more quickly.

OK, will do in future.

I'm also sorry about the Jezebel/Sullivan hijack, but it doesn't really detract from the awesomeness of the comment and Metafilter in general for being the kind of place where people feel safe/comfortable enough to share that kind of stuff.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:49 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sorry about that.
...
I'm also sorry about the Jezebel/Sullivan hijack, but it doesn't really detract from the awesomeness of the comment and Metafilter in general for being the kind of place where people feel safe/comfortable enough to share that kind of stuff.

First I was like, "grrr, copyright!" but then I was like "if it helps set the record straight, fine."
posted by werkzeuger at 5:48 AM on June 3, 2009


Mrs. werkzeuger was actually joking last night that if I'm not careful I'll end up being known as That Dead Baby Guy on Metafilter and I should quickly make some posts about bicycling or gardening or Indian food or the other stuff my life is 90% about.
posted by werkzeuger at 5:52 AM on June 3, 2009


Your life is 10% about dead babies?
posted by graventy at 8:59 AM on June 6, 2009


Your life is 10% about dead babies?

When it comes to knowing what my life is about, I include a fairly large margin of error. Point taken though.
posted by werkzeuger at 1:39 PM on June 8, 2009


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