I cried several times throughout Abby Johnson’s Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line. I cried tears of sadness in the beginning as she told about the turning-point in her life with the sonogram abortion. I cried in the end with tears of joy as Abby left one way of life for a better and brighter one. But one part in the book that brought my heart down to the ground with the weight of grief and sorrow was when Abby talked about the murder of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas.
My heart sobbed as I relived this event through the eyes of someone on the ‘other side of the fence’. It saddens me greatly to think that Wichita, Kansas, in Abby’s mind, will forever be the place where a terrible injustice occurred.
I will never forget that day the news was announced. I have been pro-life my whole life, this means many things but mostly in this post that I believe human life begins at conception and no action should ever be taken by another human to directly and deliberately take that innocent life away. I had passed by Dr. Tiller’s abortion clinic more times than I can count throughout my life. I had even been there, to pray and protest what was going on inside. I have to admit, that I did not have many good thoughts about Dr. Tiller. He was the enemy. For a long time, that was the only way I could think of him. As I grew up a little, I came to understand that even while what he was doing was absolutely evil and illicit, underneath his actions there was a real man; a man that God had created and brought into this world. He did not bring him into this world to assist in the murder of innocent babies or in the destruction of many women’s lives and families. He brought him into this world because he loved him, and desired to have his heart in return. Somewhere in there, yes, he went amiss. But I did not believe God forgot him or gave up on him.
So instead of hating him, I prayed for him. I prayed, earnestly, that he would ‘see the light’ and realize why abortion was not the answer for these women. I prayed and prayed that God would heal him and that Dr. Tiller would one day reach out and receive his mercy.
And then one day, just like that, that hope was shattered. Gone.
The process of conversion and healing had been interrupted by one man’s erroneous choice to play God and take matters into his own hands. This was not justice and this certainly was not ‘pro-life’.
The murderer felt justified in his actions, maybe still does. To him, Dr. Tiller was nothing but a cold-hearted murderer who wanted nothing else but to kill unborn babies. In this killer’s mind, he saw that the law would always protect him and he would never receive worldly justice and so he clearly had no other choice in order to save innocent babies and make this doctor pay for what he’d done. In this killer’s mind, Dr. Tiller received what he deserved.
The abortion work of Dr. Tiller can never be justified. Even if he was doing it sincerely ‘for women’ and even if he was a kind, gentle and caring man and even if his job was ‘legal’. Deliberately killing innocent babies can never ever be right. However, no matter how frustrated pro-lifers get with the whole abortion debate, no matter how blatantly wrong it is, we must work to fight against abortion not for our own righteousness but for the babies and their families. A man is innocent until proven guilty but we must rely on our court system, not on our own hands, to carry out the rightful penalty for the crime. Yes, even when our courts are seemingly corrupted. We can’t forget what we are fighting to protect: the sanctity of life. “A person’s a person, no matter how small,” and no matter how born or unborn or how guilty or innocent. Dr. Tiller deserved mercy, he deserved a chance at conversion-a chance to be forgiven and bring healing to those he had damaged. I can only hold onto the hope that God’s mercy is infinite and his compassion inexhaustible…
When I drive by the empty clinic and see the For Sale sign, I cannot smile. I think of all the souls that died there and of all the women who were broken there. I had so looked forward to the day when that clinic would be shut down and abortions, at least there, would no longer occur. But not like this. Nay, the murder of Dr. Tiller was not a victory; only a tragedy that will never be forgotten.