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Monday, October 25, 2021
CNS' Donohue Pretends Anti-Abortion Protesters Aren't Violent
Topic:'s favorite dishonest Catholic, Bill Donohue, spent his Sept. 15 column railing against Attorney General Merrick Garland for the commonsense comment that "We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, physical obstruction or property damage in violation of the FACE Act." How dare Garland imply that anti-abortion protesters are violent, Donohue raged; unfortunately for him, in serving up his version of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy, reminded us of exactly that fact while pretending the violence wasn't representative of anti-abortion protesters:

If pro-life Americans are so violent, Garland should be able to rattle off the names of abortionists whom they have killed. In the 21st century, there have been four such killings: one in 2009 and three in 2015. Two men, both ex-cons, were responsible, and neither was assisted or associated with a pro-life group. They acted alone.

In 2009, Dr. George Tiller was killed by Scott Roeder. When it happened, I condemned it. "We have to get the message out that life means we have to respect all life," I told CBS Evening News, "including somebody as bad as Dr. Tiller was." 

Tiller, by his own admission, performed over 60,000 abortions. His specialty was killing babies in utero who were nearly born, or were partially born. Hence his nickname, George "The Killer" Tiller.

Roeder was a deranged man who was hardly representative of pro-life activists. He had been diagnosed as schizophrenic, and got into trouble when he stopped taking his medication. His wife testified that she thought he was bipolar, and his brother also spoke about his mental problems. He had previously been arrested for carrying explosives, and he spent time in prison for other violations.

In 2015, Robert Lewis Dear Jr. killed three people in a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo. He had previously been arrested and convicted for carrying a "long blade knife" and illegally possessing a loaded gun. 

His mental state was worse than that of Roeder's. A judge ordered him to undergo a mental competency exam to see if he was sufficiently competent to represent himself. After fielding the results, the judge ruled that Dear was not mentally fit to stand trial: he cited findings that he suffered from a "delusional disorder." Dear was sentenced indefinitely to a Colorado state mental hospital.

Donohue is trying to have it both ways --  effectively endorsing Tiller's death for being a prolific "killer" while insisting that the man who killed him was an outlier who was "hardly representative of pro-life activists." In fact, as we've documented, Roeder had contacts with anti-abortion group Operation Rescue before he killed Tiller, and a phone number for the group was found in his car when he was arrested. He also did not mount an insanity defense at his trial and a psychologist found him competent to stand trial -- which kinds blows up Donohue's dismissal of him as a "deranged" schizophrenic.

As for Dear, he had undeniably absorbed the messaging of the anti-abortion movement. He was quoted as ranting about "no more body parts" -- a reference to a key storyline at the time involving undercover anti-abortion activists secretly taping and deceiving Planned Parenthood about purported trafficking in fetal parts .Just because Dear has been found incompetent to stand trial doesn't mean he was not influenced by mainstream anti-abortion rhetoric frequently skirts the line between activism and advocacy of violence.

Donohue waled that very line in his conclusion: "And lest we forget, while the killing of unborn babies is legal, the fact remains that abortion clinics are a much more deadly place for children than they are for those who do the killing. Think about that, Mr. Garland and Mr. Biden." Donohue will never admit it, but Roeder and Dear certainly didn't forget about that.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:37 PM EDT

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