Memorializing George Tiller’s Evil
by Jack Cashill
In reading David Kupelian’s exceptional new book, How Evil Works, a worthy sequel to his bestseller, the Marketing of Evil, I had to ask myself a basic question.
In America, with what Kupelian rightly calls our “transcendent heritage of liberty rooted in self-government,” could we produce someone who is as genuinely evil as, say, a Saddam Hussein, whom Kupelian cites as its very embodiment?
That answer, unfortunately, is yes. But what Saddam accomplished through brute force, here one must do through guile, and there is no better example of the same than the late abortionist, George Tiller.
A few weeks back, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid memorialized the first anniversary of what Tiller supporters call his “assassination.”
Although Reid, an alleged Mormon, cagily avoided defending Tiller’s profession—“these are emotional debates, and ones on which people of good faith can disagree”--he expressed no such equivocation about his murder, which he branded “an act of terrorism.”
“What reverberated out to our borders and coasts from the center of our country,” Reid continued, “was the violation of our founding principle: that we are a nation of laws, not of men.”
Although Kupelian does not address Tiller specifically, he makes a shrewd point as to how citizens and politicians conspire to keep his profession alive. “We elect liars as leaders because we actually need lies.”
The pro-life activists in Kansas who had worked years to bring Tiller to justice were devastated by Tiller’s murder for one very good reason: his murder enshrined the lie and got the liars off the hook.
Here is the essence of the lie as documented in Wikipedia, a brilliant service even when it merely reflects the prevailing media sentiment as it does in this case:
“Tiller treated patients who discovered late in pregnancy that their fetuses had severe or fatal birth defects. He also aborted healthy late-term fetuses, in cases where two doctors certified that carrying the fetus to term would cause the woman "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”
The Wikipedia page also notes—to suggest a bit of hysterical overreach on my part--that “columnist Jack Cashill compared the trial to the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals.”
The Kansas City media had been promoting the idea that Tiller’s trial in Wichita for performing illegal late term abortions was really only about “technicalities.” Here is what I said at the time to counter that: “As the all too typical experience of Michelle Armesto-Berge attests, however, this is no more a trial about ‘technicalities’ than Nuremberg was.”
Armesto-Berge’s sworn testimony before the Kansas legislature should have put a lie to all of the media nonsense. In 2003, the then 18-year-old Michelle was pressured by her mother to abort her baby in the 26th week of her pregnancy.
"It's murder and I will not do it," Michelle protested, but the Tiller staff undermined her resistance with a series of lies, beginning with the fabrication that Catholics "believed in abortion," and that a local Catholic group promised baptism for the aborted baby.
In reality, the Catholic Church considers abortion "murder" and "always morally evil." As Michelle would soon learn, Tiller honored Kansas law about as faithfully as he proffered Catholic doctrine.
Under Kansas law, two independent physicians have to confirm that a woman carrying a viable unborn child could be saved from death or "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function" only through a late-term abortion.
The technicality that had brought Tiller to trial was the fact that the second “independent physician,” Ann Kristin Neuhaus, was not independent and barely a physician.
Neuhaus had been twice branded a danger to the public by the Kansas Healing Arts Board and has no practice at all other than rubber-stamping the death warrants coming out of Tiller's office. Michelle, as it turned out, would not even get the privilege of a rubber stamp.
Not one woman among the five with whom Michelle was being processed, herself included, risked physical or mental health impairment of any sort.
The women talked among themselves during their stay in Wichita. "All were there," Michelle testified, "because they were told [late-term abortion] would solve their problems."
These problems ranged from unreliable boyfriends to socially ambitious parents. In other words, Tiller was fully prepared to abort five healthy babies, ready to be born to five healthy mothers, in flagrant disregard of the most serious of Kansas laws. For Tiller, this was business as usual.
The literal millions Tiller had contributed to local Democrats earned him a special exemption from state law and even a night in his honor in the middle of the criminal investigation at the mansion of then governor, now HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.
After Michelle's group watched a video on "Dr. Tiller's legacy," a nurse took her to a private room and prepared her for an ultrasound. When she tried to look at the screen, the nurse abruptly moved the screen away.
Michelle was then taken to another room. There a female doctor inserted a large needle twice to make sure she injected the unborn child, "and that," said Michelle, "is when the baby was killed."
By the third day Michelle's labor had proceeded to the point where she was ready to deliver. They sent her to the toilet. What follows is not for the faint of heart.
"I finally birthed the baby, and I distinctly remember seeing the baby on the floor to the left of the toilet." Said Michelle, "That image haunts me daily."
Despite the alleged threat to her health, there was no follow-up care of any kind for the young woman. Nor did Tiller's clinic call to see that there was.
Only when Michelle obtained her medical records four years after the abortion did she learn the depths of Tiller's deceit: He had falsely designated her baby "non-viable," a status that did not require even Neuhaus’s rubber stamp.
That sham second opinion added time to the process, time that might have enabled an obvious waverer like Michelle to resist parental pressure and halt the process.This was one baby out of 60,000 sacrificed to Tiller's death machine. Yes, he made a lot of money, but money does not explain a heart of such inexplicable darkness. Evil does, and evil can triumph, Kupelian reminds us, only through lies.
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