Rachel Maddow must be passionate about the battle for abortion rights to have gotten this special on the air. The Assassination of Dr. Tiller deserved a 2 hour time slot but only received 1 hour which is amazing since the people behind the scenes of the killing were worth further exploration. There wasn’t time to dig into the personalities and the politics that allowed for an abortion provider to get shot point blank in the head at his church. Even with the lack of time, the documentary is a good overview on a small segment of the abortion rights war and how some individuals on the pro-life fringe actually believe what they say–“Abortion is murder.” You can watch the entire show online at MSNBC. I would encourage any pro-choice advocates to link to it from their websites, blogs or Facebook to show there is an interest. By and large, the public ignores abortion provider shootings much like they ignore school shootings. It was horrific when it happened the first time but now it’s kind of old…why do we need to hear about it again and again?
Women may feel differently when they end up in a situation where they need the help of an abortionist and there’s none to be found. Rachel Maddow has reminded us that a basic right under law has been undermined by violence. As was said by one of the clinic workers interviewed, no one likes abortion and no woman wants to have an abortion, but the need arises in tragic circumstances and honestly when poor life decisions are made (like not using birth control or a condom). Abortion is a gray moral area full of dead-end arguments and the reason Christians in particular react so strongly against it is that their world is black and white. They can’t stand the idea that there may be an issue on the table with no easy answers.
I’m not going to get into the arguments on abortion here, but in reference to The Assassination of Dr. TillerI was surprised at how unbiased the documentary was. Both pro-lifers and pro-choicers should be able to watch this without getting mad at the producers. It is what is. Dr. Tiller was shot at his church after years of intimidation. The documentary reported what happened and gave everyone time to speak including Operation Rescue.
This documentary is not significant in its premise as the fringe has been covered by documentaries on the premium cable channels which are far superior in strength and focus, but it is significant that we were able to see this on MSNBC with the perfect time slot for the average news watcher to tune in. We do need to be reminded that while abortion still doesn’t seem to be a hot button issue these days–though the Tea Party is trying to make it one–women have lost a lot of ground to scare tactics. And one person interviewed on the special made a good point: Why does abortion have to be localized into a couple of clinics that are open targets? Why aren’t a majority of gynecologists providing this service with privacy for the patient? I think it’s because gynecologists are scared. No one wants to be targeted by former militia members with guns or the former pastor with a glazed look in his eyes holding a giant sign.
Watch the special, send Rachel Maddow an email of thanks and send feedback to MSNBCthat we want more exposure on abortion news. This is a humanist issue. Women shouldn’t have to step backwards because of bullying by people who can’t even prove their skygod exists.