Jessa Crispin at The Smart Set contemplates the return of violence to the anti-abortion movement:
On Sunday, May 31, a man walked into a Wichita Lutheran church and shot Dr. George Tiller to death in front of his wife. The man accused, Scott Roeder, had been following Dr. Tiller, attempting to vandalize his clinic and appearing at Tiller’s misdemeanor trial earlier in the year.
George Tiller had long been a favorite target of extremist pro-life groups such as Operation Rescue, as he was one of the only doctors in the United States who would perform late-term abortions. Most of his clients were women whose fetuses had severe birth defects, but he was labeled one of the worst offenders of the war on the unborn by groups including Operation Rescue and the Army of God.
Recently there had been glimmers of a resurgence of violence in the pro-life community, but nothing quite like this. A bomb was left outside a clinic in Austin, Texas in 2007, but it was disarmed before it could explode, and the man arrested did not appear to have any ties to extremist groups. Earlier this year, a man was arrested for intentionally driving his SUV into a St. Paul Planned Parenthood clinic before opening hours.
The last abortion doctor to be assassinated was Dr. Barnett Slepian in 1998, and it has been almost 10 years since the last organized attack on abortion clinics.