"A fascist movement in this country"

Late-term abortion doctor Warren Hern speaks out on George Tiller's murder

By Sarah Hepola

Published June 1, 2009 8:32AM (EDT)

The chilling murder of George Tiller has left so many lingering questions: What happens to the women who once depended on him? How will this effect the national debate on abortion and Sotomayor's confirmation process? I suspect we'll be talking about and wrestling with these questions all week.

For now, I want to direct your attention to the Colorado Independent interview with Warren Hern, a doctor uniquely qualified to speak about Tiller's murder, since he performs late-term abortions at his Boulder Abortion Clinic. Shockingly, that may make him the last of his kind -- at least that's what Hern tells reporter Ernest Luning, saying that he doesn't "know of any other doctors in the world doing late abortions like I am." (The AP reports that three clinics in the country, in addition to Tiller's, perform late-term abortion. Presumably the third is that of Illinois doctor LeRoy Carhart. Whether Carhart has stopped practicing or his work qualitatively differs from Hern's is not clear. Either way, the scarcity of late-term abortion doctors is cause for serious concern.)

Despite the neon target on his forehead, Dr. Hern has never been shy about voicing his opinion, and the interview is no exception:

"I'm profoundly sad and I'm furious and I think the American people need to understand that we have a fascist movement in this country … We don’t have to invade Iraq to find terrorists. They're right here killing abortion doctors …

Dr. Tiller is dead by an anti-abortion assassin, and this is the absolutely inevitable consequence of 35 years of anti-abortion fanatic rhetoric and intimidation and assassination violence and exploitation by the Republican Party of this movement."

On a related note: Last year, Salon ran an interview with Susan Wicklund, whose book "This Common Secret" recounts how she donned a bulletproof vest and carried a gun in her job as an abortion provider throughout the Midwest. The terrific interview is especially compelling in light of the weekend's grim news. 

Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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