Just two years ago Dr. George Tiller was murdered in cold-blood while attending church. His killer, Scott Roeder, was a well-known anti-abortion activist and insisted his actions were justified by both his religious conviction and the rule of law.
Thankfully the courts disagreed.
Roeder’s legacy includes not just making it more difficult for women to seek and obtain health care services, he has apparently spawned a following of other zealots who justify murder all in the name of their cause. Just last Friday another anti-abortion extremist was arrested while in Wisconsin. Ralph Lang’s mission, he admitted freely, was to murder doctors at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Madison.
Like Roeder, Lang had a history of abusing health care practitioners. In 2007 he was arrested for menacing doctors and nurses at the same facility. During this arrest Lang said pointedly his goal was to shoot the doctors in the head, claiming, according to reports, that the Bible justified such killings.
Lang was arrested and charged under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, a federal statute designed to create a safe space for employees of health clinics and their patients. The law was ignored by the Bush administration, emboldening clinic protesters and ultimately making the murder of Dr. Tiller a reality.
Lang’s arrest, while good news, should send chills to those involved in the reproductive rights movement, because it signals a growing disregard for the rule of law, even in the face of stepped up enforcement by the Obama administration. In fact, it’s reasonable to expect more of these kinds of situations as the hard-right looks for ways to challenge the FACE Act and terrorize as many innocent providers and patients as possible.
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photo courtesy of infowidget via Flickr.com