Mourning Dr. Tiller And Fighting For Better Teenage Health

Mourning Dr. Tiller and examining who bears moral responsibility. Heather Corinna on better comprehensive sex education, and Amanda asks for less panicking over oral sex.


Subscribe to RealityCast:
RealityCast iTunes subscription
RealityCast RSS feed

Links in this episode:

Dr. Wicklund on anti-choice harassment and violence

O’Reilly’s vendetta against Dr. George Tiller

More of O’Reilly’s vendetta

Scott Roeder was not marginal in the anti-choice movement

Right wingers celebrate Dr. Tiller’s murder

O’Reilly implies Dr. Tiller had it coming

Oral sex is the new goodnight kiss?

Teenagers delaying intercourse more than ever


On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be addressing the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, and attempts by anti-choice leaders to evade moral responsibility.  I’ll also be interviewing Heather Corinna about new ideas for comprehensive sex education, and I’ll also have a segment on a new version of the same teenage sex panic.  

Thanks to Rachel Maddow for coming out strong in support of abortion providers in the wake of this act of terrorism.  She had Dr. Susan Wicklund on to talk about the issue.  

  • wicklund *

This has been a terrible time.  The only thing I can think of to do is to keep on keeping on, the way that Dr. Tiller did, even in the face of being shot in 1993.


Of course, the past week the pro-choice movement has been in mourning over the death of Dr. George Tiller of Kansas, a real hero to the women whose lives he saved and to all of us, who admired the bravery of a man who went out and served every day, even though he knew that he had a target painted on his back.  And now, of course, anti-choicers who have spent years viciously condemning Dr. Tiller are running away from their culpability in spreading the hate and lies that led the assassin to feel justified in his behavior.  Well, I for one won’t let that happen.  I will warn you that this was extremely hard for me to write, because I had to muck around in the hate.  And it will be hard to listen to, but I feel that I have to document this.

Bill O’Reilly has used the ploy of calling Dr. Tiller a murderer to boost ratings and whip up his base for a long time now.  He has featured rabble-rousing against Dr. Tiller 29 separate times on his show for this purpose, and he rarely even hesitated to do so in the most provocative of ways.  Daily Kos put together a video highlighting O’Reilly’s constant vendetta against Dr. Tiller.  

  • tiller 1 *

That last one is an interesting one, because one of the ongoing issues with the right wing’s willingness to use late term abortions as a scare tactic was that late term abortions are, in many ways, the most sympathetic of abortions.  The later in a pregnancy that an abortion occurs, the more likely it is going to be to preserve a woman’s life or health.  A lot of things can go wrong with a pregnancy that put a woman’s life in danger, and in addition you have a lot of fetal abnormalities that are incompatible with life, and so the choice to abort instead of go through with the pregnancy is medically the most sound decision.  In order to get around this issue, O’Reilly lied, and called the women liars, the women who went to Dr. Tiller to say goodbye to much-wanted babies.  

  • tiller 2 *

Oh yes, he also made the incoherent and false claim that Dr. Tiller was in the habit of delivering babies and then killing them.  It’s a pure fantasy, concocted specifically to rile people up, and it’s ridiculous to suggest that people who spin these lies are unaware of how this might make others feel they have to commit acts of violence in order to stop it.

Some anti-choice leaders made attempts to distance themselves from the murder, even going so far as to make unfounded claims that the shooter had no association with the pro-life movement, even though he was well-remembered by anti-choice activists in Kansas.  But as Roy Edroso discovered, plenty were willing to go the distance and celebrate Dr. Tiller’s assassination.  

Pro Life Blogs claimed to be sad only that Dr. Tiller wasn’t converted before he was murdered.  Radio host Macsmind told Dr. Tiller to rot in hell.  LaShawn Barber openly celebrated the murder.  And Don Surber said, "Rest in peace, the Lord forgives", a bit of disingenuous viciousness disguised as piety that’s especially galling since Dr. Tiller was murdered at church.

Of course, anti-choice leaders who prep their people day in and day out to have the sort of anger and persecution complexes that lead to violence were careful to cover their asses and claim that they don’t condone murder.  With that out of the way, they felt free to continue to smear abortion providers and call them murderers.  An unruffled Frank Pavone of Priests For Life offered the obligatory, routine reminder that murdering doctors is illegal, before making outrageous claims that it’s not likely to be an anti-choicer and making excuses in case it was.  

  • tiller 3 *

Of course, just like every other murderer of an abortion provider, it turned out that the shooter was an anti-choicer, so his weird hopes and excuses sound even more vicious and childish.

But Pavone made his video not to denounce people who shoot doctors, but to go on about how the real bad guys are the pro-choicers.

  • tiller 4 *

Yeah, uh-huh.  But at least he tacitly admits that he and his own the people who shoot doctors with this statement.  But just because they have fantasies of pro-choicers stalking and barricading crisis pregnancy centers doesn’t make it true.  There’s no denying the ugly reality here, and we should not let people who want to cover up the ugliness get away with it.

Sadly, O’Reilly had the nerve to try to defend his odious vendetta against the good Dr. Tiller, condemning the murder because it’s illegal and focusing his energy on implying Dr. Tiller deserved it.

  • tiller 5 *

And on and on.  So O’Reilly is basically saying that it’s wrong to murder someone. And as long as he disingenuously says that, he is free to paint a target on someone’s back and say that he had it coming when he


  • insert interview *

Just when you thought that scaring people about teenage sexuality combined with fantasizing that it’s more lurid than it actually is was about to die under a wave of renewed support for comprehensive sex education, I bring you Sharlene Azam.  Who is the author of a new book called….wait for it….."Oral Sex Is The New Goodnight Kiss".  I expect at any moment the defenders of America’s purity to jump all over Azam for her ungodly suggestion that unmarried goodnight kisses, which lead directly to whoredom, are old-fashioned American fun.

The book is described as a journalistic investigation into, believe it or not, prostitution rings in Canada being run out of middle-class high schools and involving teenagers as young as 13.  Now, there is truth to the fact that there are prostitutes that young, but they are usually streetwalkers who are at the mercy of abusive pimps, and are not the sort of girls that Azam or her intended audience knows or cares much about.  This is about convincing you that your pristine middle class daughter could actually be a prostitute.

Reasonable people should be skeptical. Which is why this author got the red carpet treatment on "Good Morning America".  What’s interesting is that the line between being upset over kids’ sexual behavior and being titillated by fantasizing about it has completely collapsed.

  • oral sex 1 *

Right before this ridiculous assertion that teenagers are sex-crazed monsters who don’t understand mundane things like nerves or crushes, they warned viewers that what they were about to hear was very shocking.  Which is another way of saying, this is going to be hot hot hot, so tune in for all the salacious details.

  • oral sex 2 *

That it took her four years to find stories about oral sex and prostitution tells me that perhaps her claims are a tad bold.  And just maybe it took years of digging to get even a few stories to hang this nonsense on.

What’s also funny to me is that the book is supposedly about a prostitution ring, but the segment seems more interested in oral sex.  Increasingly, I’m convinced that TV producers are the most sexually deprived people in the nation, since they appear to think that oral sex is a shocking new kink that teenagers quite likely invented sometime in the early 21st century.

  • oral sex 3 *

Honestly, to hear the panic about it, you’d think that oral sex was a much quicker way to get pregnant or an STD than intercourse, which, by the way, 46% of teenage girls 15-19 have done.  The real story here is not that teenagers are more sexual than the past, because the Guttmacher shows teenagers are actually delaying sexual intercourse longer than they did in the past.  

"Good Morning America" couldn’t have it more backward.  If teenagers are using oral sex as a substitute for sexual intercourse, then we should be happy, because it shows that kids are finding creative ways to reduce their risks.  Far worse would be kids who though you had to have intercourse before oral sex, and gave into both and put themselves in much more danger of STDs and pregnancy.  

  • oral sex 4 *

What I found fascinating about this is that it’s assumed right off the bat that the only people who have sex are apparently female.  If there are teenage girls getting paid by their classmates for sex, then what does that say about the boys?  Why isn’t anyone worried about how badly that can ruin a young man, to believe from a young age that women are a commodity to be purchased?  Why doesn’t anyone worry about the way this could ruin young men for life, make them unable to marry or have real relationships with women?  

Well, I know why.  Because this is just a dog and pony show to make the sexist oppression of women’s rights go down more easily, of course.  Thanks, network TV.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, the ass-covering edition.  Here’s Randall Terry.

  • terry *

I’ve looked at that statement 15 different ways, and it’s exactly like rape apologists who say the victim did it to herself by wearing that short skirt and being such a tempting target.


Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte

  • invalid-0

    From the GMA piece, I was particularly taken aback by the Azam saying, “A lot of girls are disappointed in love. I think they believe they can hookup the way guys do and not care, but unfortunately they do care.”

    So it is okay and natural for boys to hook up without relationships, but girls are just hurting themselves when they do it, because of course they don’t know how to interpret their own feelings. Also, I’m not exactly sure where she’s getting this idea that the girls “care”- is it from the fact that they’re getting more casual with sex?

  • invalid-0

    “just like every other murderer of an abortion provider, it turned out that the shooter was an anti-choicer”
    I believe that it’s not right to call every one of them a murderer. Our life is a fkn complicated thing, you can’t even imagine what can happen to you the next day. I can name 10+ reasons for them to exist …
    sad enough reasons, but still. Take care ppl, stay positive no matter what!

  • misledyouth

    "If there are teenage girls getting paid by their classmates for sex, then what does that say about the boys?" First, girls are not a commodity to be purchased by boys in their quest for pleasure. Second, those boys should be well guided by their parents because there are lots of materials and elements that encourage a boy into pursuing such perverse acts like internet porn addiction. Those elements should be extinguished or at least kept to a minimum in order to turn the boy into a man and not a sex-hungry beast.

  • invalid-0

    Final strokes in classical concept glamour have been introduced in the eighties: a high heel, the narrow short skirts, underlined a waist, and the most important thing – a beautiful body, smart dresses, refined jewelry.