Sunday, July 26, 2009


After an anti-abortion zealot murdered Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas physician who operated an abortion clinic, his family decided to close the clinic. Even some opponents of abortion were bothered by the decision, Stephanie Simon reported in The Wall Street Journal, because they feared that "extremists might conclude that violence gets results where legal protests don't."

Seventy-seven percent of the readers who responded to an informal poll on my column's blog said that the doctor's survivors are free to act as they see fit, regardless of the circumstances.

"This family has suffered a tragic loss," writes Dagmar Roman of New Windsor, N.Y. "No matter which side of the abortion issue you're on, the decision to close the clinic is theirs and theirs alone. It's no one else's concern how they choose to handle their grief."

"The family ... has every right to decide what to do with the clinic," agrees Bert Hoogendam of Sarnia, Ontario. "The family has decided to close the facility, so let it be!"

Check out other opinions here, or post your own by clicking on "Comments" or "Post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business and The Good, the Bad, and Your Business: Choosing Right When Ethical Dilemmas Pull You Apart, is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2009 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

1 comment:

Jordan said...

In response to commenters who claim that it's the family's right to close the clinic: Of course it is. Who is contesting that point? That doesn't change the fact that it's very sad indeed that in Dr. Tiller's murderer has succeeded in ending the doctor's important work in more ways than one.