Quote of the Day: Shooting abortion providers “will be a blessing to the babies”

In a recording posted to YouTube, Iowa anti-choice activist Dave Leach says that it would a “blessing to the babies” if someone shot the brave folks who recently re-opened Dr. George Tiller’s former abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas.

“If someone would shoot the new abortionists, like Scott shot George Tiller, … hardly anyone will appreciate it but the babies. It will be a blessing to the babies. Everyone else will panic. Of all places to open up a killing office, to reopen the one office in the United States more notorious for decades than any other is an act of defiance against God and the last remaining reverence for human life.”

The recording is all the more chilling since Leach is speaking to Scott Roeder, the man who really did shoot and kill Dr. Tiller in 2009 and is currently serving a life sentence in prison.

Of course, Leach claims his comments aren’t an actual threat. He explained, “It would be tragic to have someone have to die over that, but it’s also tragic that they would open a clinic and kill more babies.” How very reassuring. 

Meanwhile, the head of the Iowa Right to Life condemned Leach, saying the group does not support violence. Which I’m sure is true–most anti-choice folks wouldn’t kill anyone. But the reality is that it’s hard to separate the violent fringe from the more moderate mainstream when the entire anti-choice movement claims abortion is murder and demonizes the doctors who provide them. I mean, there have been 218 bombings and arsons at clinics over the last few decades; it’s not like that’s an accident.

As Jos wrote after Dr. Tiller’s murder, “[The anti-choice movement's] leaders call providers murderers, compare them to the worst war criminals and say the world would be better off without them. Of course they publicly condemn murder, but this is in contrast to everything else they say.”

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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