May 12, 2013
Review: The Wichita Divide: The Murder of Dr. George Tiller, the Battle over Abortion, and the New American Civil War
The Wichita Divide: The Murder of Dr. George Tiller, the Battle over Abortion, and the New American Civil War by Stephen Singular
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the story of Scott Roeder and Dr. George Tiller, and how the two came together in a burst of violence in 2009.
But there's so much more to the story than that. The author traces Roeder's life, and how he fell in with extreme anti-abortion groups and became an extremist himself, to the point where he felt it was perfectly justified to murder Dr. Tiller in the name of "saving babies." This is some dark, scary stuff, wonderfully fleshed out by the author.
He also tells how Dr. Tiller fell into the practice of providing abortions almost by accident, and how gratifying it was to him, because of all the women he was helping. The doctor's motto "Trust Women" is highlighted throughout.
(One thing I do wish the author had done, however, was go into greater detail why late-term abortions are needed. In almost all cases, they're due to fatal birth defects and/or dangers to the mother's life. No one gets a late-term abortion just for the sheer fun of it.)
The 2008 Presidential election is also woven into the narrative, and how that triggered so many of these extremist groups (I wonder why...). It's not a major part of the story, but it definitely provides an undercurrent.
The most disturbing thing about the book, however, is how it depicts Scott Roeder as being completely without remorse, and how it's appropriate for him to be a vigilante and shoot someone, just because he doesn't agree with what that person is doing. That is true to this day, as far as I know. Talk about some seriously twisted thinking.
This is a thoughtful, well-researched book. I'll be hunting out the author's other work.
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