Megan has two thoughtful posts on the politics and morality of abortion in the context of the Tiller murder. The posts make an interesting comparison between liberals' attitude towards the Pro-life movement and America's struggle against Islamic terrorism:
I am shocked to see so many liberals today saying that the correct response is, essentially, doubling down. Make the law more friendly to abortion! Show the fundies who's boss! You know what fixes terrorism? Bitch slap those bastards until they understand that we'll never compromise!
Well, it sure worked in Iraq. I think Afghanistan's going pretty well, too, right?
Using the political system to stomp on radicalized fringes does not seem to be very effective in getting them to eschew violence. In fact, it seems to be a very good way of getting more violence. Possibly because those fringes have often turned to violence precisely because they feel that the political process has been closed off to them.
. . . .
But like many contributors to Obsidian Wings, I can understand the structural forces that contribute to Palestinian terrorism without believing the terrorism is legitimate. Unlike them, apparently, I don't find it all that hard to transfer that understanding to the fringes of our own democratic system.
Unsurprisingly, I don't believe -- and neither does Megan, I think -- in the moral equivilance between abortion opponents, or even Tiller's killer, and the efforts by Muslims to create a global Islamic Caliphate (or whatever). But Megan is speaking pragmatically about how to reduce violent impulses, and at what cost.
Megan elsewhere implies that compromise with violence-prone adversaries does not mean compromising with the violence itself; this, she says, should be punished, and I quite agree. But this gets tricky when faced with nationalist movements. Take the Israeli-Palestinian problem, as an example. If Israelis believe that the activites of Hamas are motivated primariy by, say, a desire to secure water rights for the people they represent, then Israelis can make a reasonable cost-benefit analysis of compromise on this issue: reducing violence at the cost of granting improved access to water On the other hand, if in fact Hamas is motivated by the aspiration of exerciseing political sovereignty for its own sake -- i.e., to create a government or control an existing one -- then it necessarily becomes important for Israelis to look very carefully at what that government's territorial ambitions would look like. Political sovereignty -- political power in general -- necessarily includes the ability to exercise violence, so buying peace at the cost of granting sovereignty to your enemies only makes sense if you believe that your enemies don't have totalizing claims against you.
Liberal hyperventiliating to the contrary, Tiller's murder is almost certainly a one-off. Violence against abortionists is vanishingly rare and is in no danger of becoming a political force. Liberals know this, which is why they can afford the macho swagger Megan describes.
But let's have a thought experiment: let's suppose abortionists, and their allies in media and goverment. started dropping at the rate of American soliers in Afghanistan. Liberals would reasonably evaluate whether our abortion regime was worth the price they were paying, and whether support for the violence would drop if, say, state-level variability in abortion law were permitted.
But let's suppose that instead of asking for this, the anti-abortion guerillas asked for a territorial concession: the right to form their own government, one in which they exercise complete control. Let's further pretend that these guerillas pretty much sell this to their own supporters as a way of securing a base of operations for turther attacks against abortionists nationwide. You can see the problem that such a "compromise" poses for liberals: it is exceedingly unlikely to actually buy the social peace Liberals want.
So I do think that, absent Roe, a peaceful detente on abortion is possible. But I don't think Megan's analogy is entirely appropriate.