Abortion Protester Is Killed in Michigan

After all the fuss the media (and the President) made of an abortionist being killed at church, I am waiting to see what they say about an abortion protester being killed in front of a high school. Also, he was shot to death, so this is perplexing; most (I know, not all) pro-choice people are also anti-gun people. So what’s up with the gun? And riddle me this: the person who killed Dr. Tiller could at least attempt to justify the shooting by saying that he was saving the lives of the unborn. What can the shooter of someone who is passively attempting to  stop abortions say? Whose rights can they claim to be defending?

From The New York Times:

By EMMA GRAVES FITZSIMMONS
Published: September 11, 2009

A man who had long opposed abortion and was known nationally among anti-abortion protesters was shot to death Friday morning while staging a protest outside a Michigan high school, the authorities said.

Leaders of anti-abortion groups said they knew of no other instance in which a person protesting against abortion had been killed. In May, Dr. George R. Tiller, an abortion provider in Kansas, was shot to death in a crime that renewed debate over the use of violence in the abortion battle.

The protester, identified as James Pouillon, 63, was one of two people, the authorities said, who were shot dead Friday by the same man in Owosso, a city of fewer than 15,000 people about 10 miles west of Flint, Mich. The other victim, a local businessman, was not connected to the anti-abortion movement, the authorities said.

A suspect was arrested and charged in both killings.

Troy Newman, the president of the national anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, which had condemned Dr. Tiller’s death, said he was saddened by the death of Mr. Pouillon, whom he had known for more than 15 years.

“There is very little, if any, common ground between pro-abortion and pro-life people,” Mr. Newman said. “One thing we had in common after Dr. Tiller’s death, there was a unilateral cry against violence.”

A spokeswoman for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Laura MacCleery, said her group, which supports a woman’s right to abortion, was stunned by the “senseless killings.” But Ms. MacCleery said Friday’s shooting did not seem to her to be tied to the abortion debate since the suspect was also charged in the killing of the second man, Mike Fuoss, 61, the owner of a local gravel company, who did not appear to be involved in the abortion issue.

“This is not something any group on either side of this debate would ever contemplate condoning,” Ms. MacCleery said.

Prosecutors said that the suspect had singled out Mr. Pouillon because of the visible style of his regular protests at the school, but that they were uncertain whether the broader political message of the protests was at issue.

“There was some displeasure with how open he was,” said Sara Edwards, the chief assistant prosecutor for Shiawassee County. “He tended to carry big signs with very graphic pictures of fetuses.”

According to the police, Mr. Pouillon was protesting just outside the high school at 7 a.m. as students gathered for the day, when several shots were fired at him from a passing car. A witness provided the car’s license plate number, and the police arrested the suspect, Harlan James Drake, 33, at his home in Owosso a short time later.

The police said Mr. Drake told them that he had also been involved in another shooting, at Fuoss Gravel in nearby Owosso Township. Mr. Fuoss was found dead in his office about 8 a.m.

Prosecutors said Mr. Fuoss was not involved in abortion protests and had no link to Mr. Pouillon. Mr. Drake, they said, was angry at him for another reason. They did not elaborate.

Mr. Drake was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and with weapons charges and held without bond. Prosecutors said he had also planned to shoot a third person, whom he apparently failed to find before he was arrested.

Monica Migliorino Miller, a Michigan anti-abortion leader who knew Mr. Pouillon, said he wore leg braces and used an oxygen tank and had protested for years outside various Planned Parenthood offices and abortion clinics in Flint.

“He was just a quiet, unassuming, very committed pro-life activist,” Ms. Miller said.

Mr. Pouillon had planned to attend a national protest against abortion at the United States Capitol this weekend, Mr. Newman said. Now organizers are planning a vigil in his memory.

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