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Remembering an American Hero: Dr. George Tiller

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  Remembering an American hero: George Tiller

We continue to mourn the loss of our friend and colleague, Dr. George Tiller. Dr. Tiller was a dedicated physician who provided quality abortion care to women, at great personal sacrifice and risk. He is truly a hero to his fellow abortion providers and his patients. Dr. Tiller’s office is filled with letters from women, thanking him for the excellent, compassionate care he provided. Many of these women say Dr. Tiller saved their lives.

Since his tragic death, we have received messages from some of his patients and from people around the world who are saddened and outraged. We feel it is important to share these words and tributes to our beloved colleague and friend. For the first time, we will enable comments on our blog so that all of you can share your condolences or offer memories of Dr. Tiller. We invite you to join us in honoring a true American hero, Dr. George Tiller.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Notes from providers



I am honored to have had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Tiller. He was a sincere and gracious man. He
was there for our patients who needed and wanted his special services. He was a lifesaver for many of the women we referred to him and his caring staff. He not only wore the botton but practiced the words of the button, "Attitude is Everything" We will miss him. Our condolences to his wife, children, grandchildren and to all who loved and respected him.

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 10:47 PM  

I watched Vicki Saporta on MSNBC last night and wish to send her my thanks for her poignant and effective commentary on the murder of Dr. Tiller, as well as the lack of an effective response from law enforcement and the government over the past 35 years.

As the former director of a women's health clinic, my passion and commitment have always been to provide quality healthcare services to women and to protect their reproductive rights. My staff and I were picketed and threatened continually, patients were harassed and traumatized, and I truly expected to be shot in cold blood by one of the anti-choice fanatics one day. Although that didn't happen to me or our medical staff, I have grieved as good men and women providing legal, critical pregnancy termination services have been threatened, harassed, shot at and murdered.

Why has this been allowed to go on? In a country so focused on "terror", how can these domestic terrorists be allowed to sow their hatred?

My thanks to all of you for the work you've done over the years to protect the rights of women to seek a pregnancy termination when their situations dictate the need for such a decision. All of you, including Ms. Saporta, should be congratulated on your courage and determination in the face of potentially devastating personal and professional consequences.

If there is any way I may assist you in these efforts, I hope you will count me among your supporters.

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 10:48 PM  

The "Attitude is Everything" paper weight that sits on my desk brings tears to my eyes. We have lost such a great man who cared for so many women who had no where else to go. It was an honor to have known him.

By Anonymous marilynn, June 8, 2009 10:50 PM  

My Friend, My Hero, George Tiller

My Sunday morning reveries were shattered by the sobbing voice on the telephone of a close friend, a young OB/GYN who spent time at my office while in medical school. Our friend George Tiller had been murdered at his church in Kansas.

You see, many of us who are involved in this line of work are members of a large extended family called the National Abortion Federation, a group of physicians of various specialties, administrators, counselors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, lawyers, and clinic workers who gather once or twice a year at different cities around the country to discuss the work that we do and the challenges that we face. The common thread that binds this group is the certain knowledge that our efforts have dramatically improved women’s lives, both in our country and around the world.

As I have attended these meetings I have had the great pleasure of spending approximately three days a year with George in each of the past thirty years, most recently last month in Portland. He was one of the most thoughtful, considerate, and sensitive human beings I have had the pleasure of knowing, never too busy to sit down with anyone to discuss difficult situations or cases while bringing to the table his own considerable experience. When George rose to speak in his rather soft and hesitant voice you could hear a pin drop in the room. He was universally respected and epitomized the very pinnacle of medical care as it is practiced in this country.

And what was his reward for this life of exemplary service? We are all by now aware of the incredibly brutal treatment he received from the hate mongers and terrorists of the religious right, including the previous attempted murder by Shelly Shannon of Grants Pass, and the ongoing vituperation and character assassination by such “champions of women” as Bill O’Reilly and Randall Terry.

But even more challenging may have been the attacks from more establishment figures, politicians and physicians, who bought into aspects of the inflamed rhetoric and took it upon themselves to punish George. He confided in me last month that he had just spent approximately a million dollars in defending himself against bogus misdemeanor charges brought by a politically motivated attorney general in Kansas. A jury of Kansans acquitted him after less than an hour of deliberation. The very next day the Kansas medical board initiated an action to take away his medical license, so rather than celebrate his victory in court he was forced to prepare for another expensive and draining legal action.

Prominent amongst the criticism I have seen directed against George in recent days is the idea that he would perform an abortion at any stage of a woman’s pregnancy simply because she requested it. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of us turn away patients and counsel them about other alternatives such as adoption when the pregnancy has progressed past a certain point. But George did feel that it was immoral and unacceptable to do elaborate prenatal testing if the only response to a devastating diagnosis was to force the woman to carry the pregnancy to term.

This has been a difficult week for all of us who knew George, what with the alternating emotions of extreme sadness that he will no longer be with us and the incredible anger that we feel towards the many who contributed to and were responsible for his death. Our hearts go out to his immediate family, who by this cruel act are deprived of the inspirational and loving role he played in their lives.

Peter Bours

By Anonymous Peter, June 8, 2009 10:53 PM  

I met Dr. Tiller recently at NAF's reproductive health conference in Portland. Each time he walked into a room people's heads would turn and they would look and usually smile in his direction. Each time he spoke people leaned forward in their chairs to hear what he had to say. He spoke very quietly and in my opinion, without ego.

Respect and compassion for the women he cared for came first in everything he said and did as an abortion provider. He said once that "abortion is a matter of the heart. For until one understands the heart of a woman, nothing else about abortion makes any sense at all." I believe that George Tiller was able to look into the heart of women because he opened his heart to them and they in turn could open their hearts to him.

When I heard about his murder last Sunday I immediately knew it to be true, but I did not want to believe it. I had really hoped that society had risen above committing murder because of a belief in abortion as a wrongdoing, a sin or whatever else anti-choice people deem abortion to be. I lost some faith in humanity the day Dr. Tiller was shot, and am having a very hard time getting it back. I heard Peggy Bowman, who previously worked with Dr. Tiller at his clinic, mention that he frequently wore bulletproof vests, including at church, yet he was not so protected on the day of his death. I wonder why he didn't wear protection on that particular day. Maybe he had faith as well that society had risen above this kind of violence. Believing that Dr. Tiller sustained his faith in humanity goes a long way to helping me find my own way back to that faith. My heart goes out to his many beloved family members and friends. He will always be missed and remembered.

Rejena Miles

By Anonymous Rejena Miles, June 8, 2009 10:54 PM  

i only met Dr. Tiller once at a conference in New York years ago,i made it a point to meet him and had to shake his hand to thank him for all the great work he has done.
He will be missed by everyone in my office in mass. he was very kind, gentle, and one of the most caring men i have met. i will not forget him. My sympathies go out to his family, and he is in my prayers.

elizabeth m Massachusetts

By Anonymous elizabeth, June 8, 2009 10:58 PM  

IN MEMORIUM Dr. George R. Tiller Ours is a prof... IN MEMORIUM

Dr. George R. Tiller

Ours is a profession filled with sadness. The bitter sweetness of life is our specialty, as we take one life to preserve the choice to create another. Thus are we steeped in the catechisms of sacrifice.
We gather here to remember one whose life was an offering, a penance and a redemption. Smitten in a very public spasm of violence, his loss is our shared and very private grief. For we alone and only can fully know the depth of his love, the fire of his mission, the covenant of his devotion and the endlessness of his forbearance.
The journeys of men and women like George Tiller are often lonely ones, but in his case it was not. Fortified by those who came before, strengthened by his family, cherished by his colleagues and heralded by a courageous few persons in the public eye—some of whom are here today—he is now carried to his place of peace by those who will carry on his work.
Blessed are those of us whose dear friends sustain us with faith, infuse us with courage and delight us with humor. Never more do we need them than on this day.
We bear collective witness to a life of service; we lay to rest a soul of courage.
May the Lord bless him, honor him and keep him close to his bosom, evermore.

Steve Lichtenberg
Betsy Aubrey

By Anonymous Steve Lichtenberg/Betsy Aubrey, June 8, 2009 11:10 PM  

For me the highlight of the NAF conference each year was the opportunity to hug Dr. Tiller. My heart hurts for his loved ones, the families he helped heal and the providers who looked to "St. George" for pearls of wisdom.

By Anonymous Kathaleen Pittman, June 11, 2009 2:32 PM  

Dr Tiller was a great man. He was always available to me in person or by phone to discuss difficult cases. He thereby helped ame grow in my skills and protect the women of northern Nevada. Dr Tiller found it difficult to believe the evil in the souls of the hateful terrorists even after the attacks he suffered. My soul has lost a part of itself and the force of life on this planet has been diminished.
Damon L. Stutes, M.D.

By Anonymous Damon L. Stutes, M.D., June 11, 2009 2:38 PM  

Dr. Tiller was trained in the clinic in which I work. I never met him, but have heard the stories of women who had been helped my him. We used to refer women to him who were farther along in their pregnancies than we could service. A true hero has died, but his legacy will live on forever. Thank you, Dr. Tiller, for everything you accomplished and every woman you helped. You are missed.

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 13, 2009 2:47 PM  

From Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada I send my sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. I have assisted women to leave their home, family and country to seek care and he was there to provide it. Over the years I have referred women to his clinic, and they all said they felt heard, respected and cared for. In my career I have had the privilege to work for Dr Morgentaller. In one career knowing two men that sacrificed so much to assist women, it has been an honour.

By Anonymous Anonymous, September 13, 2009 12:12 PM  

California Academy of Family Physicians Statement
on the Murder of George R. Tiller, MD
August 2009

Members of the California Academy of Family Physicians mourn the murder of George R. Tiller, MD, a family physician, who was assassinated at his church in Wichita, Kansas, on May 31, 2009. As outlined in an extensive article in the New York Times in July, Dr. Tiller had long been a target of protest for anti-abortion activists in the United States.

Academy members send their deepest condolences to Dr. Tiller’s family, friends, patients, colleagues, and community. We are grateful to Dr. Tiller for his many years of courage and his commitment to providing reproductive health services despite extraordinary opposition.

We believe disagreements over health policy should be resolved solely through legal and humane means. No physician, other health care provider, or staff member should be forced to work in a climate of vigilance and fear when providing legal health care services.

It is our fervent hope that physicians’ right to engage in a full medical practice and women’s right to choose are not compromised in the aftermath of the murder of Dr. Tiller. Instead, we commit to renewed courage and dedication in practicing according to the dictates of our own individual consciences, without illegal, immoral, or criminal actions toward those who may hold differing beliefs.

By Anonymous California Academy of Family Physicians, September 25, 2009 11:56 AM  

Post a comment (comments will appear only after review for appropriateness)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Patient Stories



There are many stereotypes and misconceptions about the care Dr. Tiller provided. The later abortion care he offered was for women who had very poor fetal prognosis, babies with anomalies. Saying these babies were viable is misleading. Most of the later procedures were done for babies with illnesses that were not conducive to life. The few infants that would have survived delivery would have had drastically shortened lives filled with numerous surgeries and endless suffering. The week I had my procedure there was a woman whose baby had its internal organs developed outside of its body. Another woman’s baby had no brain. There was never any hope for those babies—there was no miracle that would have saved them.

I was forced to make an agonizing choice for a baby my husband and I wanted and loved very much. This was NOT a form of birth control. I chose the lesser of the evils and did what any loving parent should—eased the suffering of an innocent baby. Forcing my baby to live would have been cruel. That was a deeply personal decision and one I will gladly sort out with my maker in the hereafter. I would gladly offer my soul to protect my child.

I do not take pride in what I was forced to do but I carry no shame. In a perfect world my baby would have come home to a family that wanted them very much. It was not a situation I took lightly. I will also mourn this loss the remainder of my life.

Dr. Tiller was the only doctor who accepted my particular case due to my own physical complications. Dr. Tiller is my hero, he not only saved my life but saved my family. I was fully prepared to end my own life to protect my baby from a life of misery. Dr. Tiller offered a service that although much despised is also critical in a civilized society.

The man who shot him is a coward. He ran away like a thief in the night, too afraid to stand tall for his principles. Dr. Tiller was a man who stood up for what he believed in without fear. I will never forget him or the profound impact he had on me and my family for the rest of our lives.

By Anonymous Alison, June 8, 2009 10:39 PM  

I am so sorry this tragety has taken place. No one knows more than a person who's been through tan unwanted pregnancy in their lives what a terrible loss this is. I was pregnant in a time prior to abortions being legalized. The shame and humiliation at that time was unbearable. I learned of a doctor in Mexico that would perform an abortion. Many girls ranging from 16 to 29 were rounded up from motels in the middle of the night to proceed to this Doctor in Mexico. The vehicles had to turn their headlights out and proceed up a dirt road for approx one mile. The procedure took place in a boarded up old house. There was a man with a shotgun circling the house and directing us on where to go in. Inside was a small kitchen with another man sitting drinking coffee and also had a shotgun. After we were all in the house, they locked and bolted the door, no one was allowed to leave until all procedures were completed. I was the last of 13 women. The Dr and the nurse spoke very little english, so they would come down the stairs and look around, then point at whomever they chose to be next. I developed a severe infection after returning home and miscarrying (at a later term). I am now 58 years old, and childless I'm sure because of this infection I developed and was afraid to go to a Dr in the US. Women were being put in jail at that time. It's easy to say "I would NEVER", until you are in a situation that forces you to see another view.

By Anonymous Jeanne, June 8, 2009 10:59 PM  

We have come a long way from shotgun guards in Mexico for a women's lawful right to choose for herself. But hate always seeks another direction. Truly the death of this man is both tragic and a reminder for us to honor him and stay or become involved.

I know law enforcement CAN walk and chew gum at the same time. It appears though, that while focusing on international terrorism at the local levels - we've forgotten the law and overlooked many times the many reports regarding the national terrorist killer.

I hope the Justice Dept & Homeland Security (and with all the money now funneled their way) will accept some accountibility on this issue. While many may not accept or understand the service to women Dr. Tiller stood for, he was appreciated in every woman's individual case, and should have been better protected.

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 11:00 PM  

On behalf of all pro-choice people in the country, I have to say, the death of Dr. Tiller is going to encourage me to be more involved. Almost, five years to the day, I visited Dr. Tiller, my husband and I found out at 20 weeks that our baby had not only a heart defect, which would not allow him to breath, but also a clefting syndrome that prevented the baby's face from developing and they were not sure about him having eye lenses. We were devastated as we already had two healthy children. Upon a 3d ultrasound, we had no other alternative but to save this baby from a life of pain. We flew to Kansas from Pennsylvania and we met the "family" of Dr. George Tiller. He saved our family from a lifetime of agony, hurtful days and we were able to put our baby to rest. This was our choice and we were treated with such respect and dignity while visiting Dr. Tiller and his staff. I will do everything in my power to fight for abortion rights and long live Dr. Tiller's memory.

By Anonymous Carol, June 8, 2009 11:02 PM  

I had a "late term abortion" in 2000, when my baby was diagnosed with a multitude of problems....One of the things I am most thankful for is that when we made this horrible, heartbreaking decision, my husband and I went to our local hospital in Victoria, accompanied by our midwife and were given the most respectful, compassionate care imaginable by very professional people. My heart always goes out to the poor women who have to face hatred and ignorance along with the unthinkable.

Thank you,
BC, Canada

By Anonymous Angela, June 8, 2009 11:03 PM  

If Ashton Kusher and Larry King can get one million "tweets" over the course of several days, why aren't the messages of the 10s of millions of women who have had abortions and how their lives were affected being broadcast, especially in light of the recent, tragic killing of yet another brave abortion provider!

When I was in college, I remember reading a statistic that one in three women in college would receive an abortion. I was stunned. However, four years later, two out of our apartment of six girls had in fact received abortions - including myself. This was something we spoke about amongst ourselves but not to other friends, and in many cases not to our parents. We were embarrassed. We were responsible, intelligent, women who had become pregnant. Even today there are only a handful of people who are aware that I even had an abortion.

Fifteen years after graduating from college and after having my abortion, my husband and I started our family. We have experienced great joy with our two children - a son and a daughter. One of my biggest concerns is that my daughter will not have the ability to make choices about her body when she gets to be an adult.

I have often times regretted engaging in unprotected sexual activity which led to my getting pregnant in college. I have NEVER, not once, regretted having my abortion. By having an abortion in 1985, I did choose life - my life. I feel that I also, in the long run, chose the life of my two children that I have today.

Please, please start a media "blitz" and make people aware of how many women have been affected positively by Roe v. Wade. There is so much misinformation out there about what abortion is/means. Perhaps if more people realized that within their circle of friends, family, neighbors, classmates, colleagues, one third of the women have had abortions and many have been saved by them.

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 11:04 PM  

I never knew the doctor's name that performed my abortion; I was referred by another physician. All I knew, at age 39, single, just having been raped by a former boyfriend, that I couldn't have that child. I had a career but little money. Oliver was a red-headed, freckled-face African American and every time I thought of bringing his child to term I cried, vomited and recalled every minute of the horrible rape that resulted in my first pregnancy.

I'd never thought of pro choice or pro life alternatives before this horrific life-changing event. I'd always been careful. First, in 1966, with my first marriage, I took the pill. Then, with my second husband, I used a diaphragm. I was very careful in every relationship. I never wanted to be driven to make such a decision.

But when confronted, the choice was clear. What kind of mother would I have been, looking at a little red-headed, freckled-face child whom I knew was the result of a rape? Although I've never been violent, I felt indefinable rage and the ability to commit violence on Oliver and, yes, his offspring. I'm not proud of the way I felt, I labored long and hard over my decision. I am, and always have been, a Christian, but I am certain that God forgave me for aborting Oliver's child.

The year was 1984. Two years later, remarried, I gave birth, at age 41 to my only child, a son. He is my only child, my beloved son, Andrew, is now age 23.

Following Dr. Tiller's tragic murder and your director's appearance on "The Rachel Maddow Show" I think it's time for all of us who have painfully but thoughtfully sought an abortion to speak up, if not shout our experiences to everyone who will listen.

By Anonymous Valerie, June 8, 2009 11:05 PM  

10 years ago I found myself pregnant and unmarried. My boyfriend left as soon as he found out. I made the choice to continue the pregnancy and have never regretted that decision. I understand the turmoil that women feel when they find themselves pregnant and alone. The best thing we can do is create support for women in these situations. It is extremely rare to "talk someone out of an abortion", which is what I find pro life organizations encourage. The most compassionate approach is to listen, truly listen to what the woman in crisis is saying, with her words and actions and to gently guide her in repeating what we hear her saying so that she can truly make her own choice.
This life alterning decision, regardless of which choice you make is too critical for another person to push there agenda, regardless of that that agenda, and pressure a woman to make a decision she is not comfortable with. Most of the people that are prochoice, believe that. When I was pregnant, the most critical conversation I had was with a staff member at Dr Tiller's office who referred me to a social worker. So often we hear about workers who are there to schedule the appointments, but there I found caring individuals who helped me make one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. Thank you.

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 11:06 PM  

I myself have never had an abortion, but if I were to ever need one I would be relieived to know I can. Dr. Tiller was a great man for helping out lots of women in need. How anyone can kill for something like that...I'll never understand.

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 11:07 PM  

This is message for Dr Tiller, a great and caring American and physician.

He saved my daughters life by being there to terminate a pregnancy due to rape. My daughter did not tell anyone until she was 26 weeks. She is an athlete and we suspected, but since she didn't really "show" because of her being is such good shape it was too late to do anything. That's when we contacted Dr Tiller's clinic and we drove the 350 miles for consultation. His compassion, caring, and understanding helped us all in a very difficult decision. This was in 2000. Since then she has done very well. Dr Tiller literally saved our daughter's life. He will be missed by all and until there is true justice in the world people like him who put their life on the line for others will always be in the extreme minority. I have always found it ironic that those that so oppose people like Dr Tiller and what they do for others are the first ones to want to go to war and kill those that disagree with them.

I will always support a woman's choice.



By Anonymous Tom M., June 10, 2009 11:53 AM  

I have had two abortions. One when I was 17 and a senior in High School. I had what I thought was protected sex (condom), and my birth control failed. I was addicted to drugs at the time, and was for many years after. I knew I was unable to care for a child and just wanted to finish high school.

My parents were going through a divorce at the time and were seemingly unavailable to support me. Luckily for me I didn't need parental consent in my state... I don't know what I would have done then.

I was treated at a local clinic for $200... Luckily it was a low enough amount of money that I was able to borrow it from friends and my boyfriend.

It was en emotionally painful experience but I was grateful to be treated with care by that staff. Prior to the procedure the staff counseled me on my other options. The procedure was painless, safe, and fast.

Four years later I became pregnant during a long term abusive relationship... also related to a failed condom. This time the experience was quite different for me. For one... I knew that a pregnancy would forever tie me to this man who abused me... if I kept the baby or not. I was unwilling to hold that attachment. Two, I was no longer living at home. I did not want to be on welfare. My family was unable to support me. Luckily I had medical insurance that covered the procedure this time, as my funds were more limited.

I was able to receive a safe and painless procedure. But on the way into the clinic I was forced to listen to protesters yelling at me and view their hateful, violent signs.

The wait at this clinic was very long, and my insurance didn't cover anything but local anesthesia, so I was awake during the procedure which was unpleasant. Still, the staff was caring and thoughtful... although they seemed overworked and stressed.

Today I am drug free, and I have a son. I am in a happy, healthy marriage with a loving man who understands my past decisions.

I thought about these "what COULD have been's" a lot while I was pregnant with my son. Caring a WANTED pregnancy also made me realize how much of a commitment a pregnancy itself can be. I can't imagine a woman who doesn't want her baby being forced to endure a pregnancy. The heartburn, the pelvic pain, the weight gain, the back pain, the nausea, the breathing difficulties... for me it was a lot to endure and I wanted this baby!

As selfish as some may see my decisions, I am not regretful. I know that the choices I made were difficult, and I know that I will always wonder what could have been. I know this is normal.

Today I use my voice to stand up for choice. I want to make sure that women of future generations will always live in a country where abortion is a safe procedure for women AND medical staff.

I want abortions to be affordable and uncommon. I want to see young woman taught more about birth control options and to see BC available and accessible to women. I want abstinence only sex education to be stopped.

I want to make sure young women don't hurt themselves trying to abort their own babies. I don't want young girls to commit suicide because they are pregnant. I want parental consent laws removed in ALL STATES.

I want to make sure that a woman who goes into a clinic doesn't have to look at a poster of a dead baby. That she doesn't have to hear people yelling "murderer!" at her. I want to make sure she doesn't have to worry about violence.

I want to insure that doctors, health care workers and clinic staff don't have to work in fear. I don't want to see more clinics close.

The terrorist murder of Dr. Tiller has shaken me and my husband to our core. We have already donated funds to Planned Parenthood to protect our local clinics. We will do what we can within our means to help.

By Anonymous Sarah, June 10, 2009 11:21 PM  

I am so sad and sacred for women's rights and those that serve us. I am a woman that had to make the hard choice at 15 years old. The decision for me was to let this fetus grow into a child I could not care for; I was a drug addict and drop out or delay this growth until I could really care for a child. It was 1973 the first year a women could make this choice. I was lucky the women and men that fought so hard to make this happen, I was able to chose my destiny. I am the woman and mother I am today, fully recovered, a social worker and good mother because I was able to delay having a child, as a child. I want to speak out and say I am not ashamed, I have no regrets, I am forever thankful that I was able to choose. When I had my abortion, there was no harassment, no bulletproof glass, and no angry, mean people calling me a killer. Today
when I take my young women to clinics we have to walk through hate and intimation. It makes me so sad and scared. And yet if you ask me I would die for this right. Dr Tiller is a hero, a man that said
Trust Women. We have loss so much and everyday we are losing more.

Thank you for all you do.

By Anonymous Eve, June 15, 2009 12:43 AM  

It is with deepest sympathy that I express my condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Tiller. I was introduced to Dr. Tiller in October of 2005 when I had found out that the baby that I was carrying would be born with congenital defects that no medicine or surgery could correct. It was a life changing experience that I will take with me to the end. He saved me, my family, and by unborn fetus a life of agony, anguish, and hardship. It was the most difficult decision I had to make. In addition to myself being at the clinic, there were other women there; not to abort a child that was healthy, but a fetus that was grossly deformed or sick. I would never wish the heartache I had to go through on an enemy but wish that they could catch a glimpse of what it feels like to have to make the decision that I made. There were thousands of letters of gratitude to Dr. Tiller posted throughout the clinic. Dr. Tiller was a professional, sincere, and caring physician that came highly recommended from renowned genetic doctors that I spent countless hours with trying to negotiate the results to painful testing that I endured only to find out the inevitable. There is no reason for a woman to continue a pregnancy that could endanger her life or the life of her unborn fetus. The world has evolved enough to know that women are entitled to make these choices on their own without the added burden of the world coming down on them. Instead of investing all the time it takes to protest, why not take the time to volunteer and counsel women that have had to go through the nightmare of losing a baby or take the time to volunteer and help the children that are abused or the vulnerable that cannot speak for themselves and have been taken advantage of by family members. Why not focus your negative energy on the selfless acts of "church-going" citizens that impregnate their 12 year old nieces or daughters. Choose the battle that is worth fighting, don't make the lives of people that have lived through this experience worse than what it was. I drove 60 straight hours from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to meet Dr. Tiller and don't regret any second of it. I sympathize deeply with the clients scheduled to meet with Dr. Tiller in the future, because he is the only one that was willing to help the people that nobody else would. Something that has stuck with me since meeting Dr. Tiller was that he said "pregnancy doesn't begin with a positive test, it begins with the first thought that you want to have a baby". It couldn't have been a more honest and sincere quote; we had been trying for some time to get pregnant, only to have to give the baby up. What about the staff at the clinic who have to worry about their own fate each day, what about their livelihoods? Are those protestors going to take in those families because they no longer have a job to go to? Pro-life? Isn't that what Dr. Tiller was doing? Grow up.

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 15, 2009 10:18 PM  

Post a comment (comments will appear only after review for appropriateness)

Monday, June 1, 2009




The murder of Dr. Tiller was domestic terrorism. With all the religious hate rhetoric towards pro-choice people like me, I am afraid to put a pro-choice sticker on the back of my car because I imagine my car will be vandalized. One study claims that 43% of women in the US will have an abortion in their life, yet a recent Gallup poll says that 51% of Americans (men and women) claim to be "Pro-Life". The numbers don't add up.

By Anonymous Nancy, June 8, 2009 10:49 PM  

I was shocked and deeply saddened by the murder of Dr. Tiller. It was a cowardly act against a brave man. He provided needed services to women in spite of hateful, disruptive, malicious harassment. My heart and warmest thoughts go to his family and friends.

By Anonymous Dedra, June 8, 2009 10:56 PM  

I am so sickened that someone shot Dr. Tiller. He is and will always be someone and his team will continue to help women that are in desparate need of help. It is unfortunate that women still fear going to the doctor for a legal procedure and fear for their lives. It is defintiely terroism in the United States that needs to be dealt with especially when doctors and staff have to wear bullet proof vests. Especially when their homes and work places are bombed, set on fire, and doors are glued shut! Even when they are followed home and the women needed abortions are verbally and physically harassed. Do these people that do this not understand the diffuculty and horrible decisions that these women and their families have had to make. This is not something they have taken lightly. These are decisions that they have thought about for months on end, day and night, not sleeping. These are decisions they have discussed with family, friends, doctors, nurses, and loved ones and even their religious or spirtiual advisors. These are decisions that these women have carefully thought out and thought our more then any decision in their lives. I hope that this event will bring more people out to speak and support the right for women to have abortions and freedom of their human rights. Human rights should not be taken away. I do expect that all those pro-life people should go immediately to the shelters and foster homes and start caring for the millions of children without homes. I also expect them to support birth control education. Let's start here, also knowing that rape, incest and more occurs that women need these services. And lets stop those rapest and family members that are raping their family members that are keeping it quite.

By Anonymous Christine, June 8, 2009 11:01 PM  

I am extremly pro life but the murder of Dr. Tiller has outraged me. Two wrongs don't make a right.

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 11:20 PM  

I was a patient of Dr Tiller's. His murder has devistated me. I was faced with a poor prenatal diagnosis. My daughter was a planned and very much wanted pregnancy. Because we wanted her so much we went to numerous doctors (including Johns Hopkins Pediatric Cardiology) hoping for a glimer of hope.

That hope did not come from a doctor from our home. We were told that we needed to prepare to watch our baby die slowly, while having numerous surgeries. Even with the surgeries her life expectancy was roughly 3 - 5 yrs old at the very best case senerio.

My only hope was Dr Tiller. He held my hand while he confirmed her diagnosis. He made sure I knew all of my options and that I understood how my induction would be carried out. Dr Tiller saved my baby girl from a horrible end. She died peacefully and he saved my family. We now have a beautiful little girl who would not be here if it was not for Dr. Tiller's dedication to women, families and children.

My heart is broken at the loss of this compassionate hero to these terrorists.

By Anonymous Kara, June 13, 2009 9:07 PM  

Dear Wonderful NAF members & supporters,
Meeting Dr. George Tiller at the Medical Students for Choice Luncheon in Pittsburgh 10 years ago was a privilege and and an honor. I have kept the "Attitude is Everything" paperweight on my desk every day. I have given the extras that he generously handed me to other clinicians; physicians, PA's and nurses. The blue plastic cup that I drink from everyday bears his values: "Kindness... Courtesy... Justice... Love... Respect".

Thank you, Dr. Tiller for your unswerving devotion and unmatchable power of example.

Gratitude and deep sympathy to his family and staff members who are left to deal with this horrible crime and its devastation.

with Love for women & their providers, with Hope for the future,

By Anonymous Elizabeth in Denver, PA-C, June 22, 2009 2:15 PM  

I only knew of Dr. Tiller's work through the newspapers, but I felt such gratitude for him and was so inspired by him from afar. The world seems an emptier, colder, less hopeful place now. Sending strength and deepest sympathy to his family as they try and live with this terrible, terrible absence.
NAF, thank you for providing a place to express my great sadness at losing this hero.
Miranda in New York City

By Anonymous Miranda, September 21, 2009 2:59 PM  

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Remembering NAF Member Dr. George Tiller

Yesterday, we suffered a tremendous loss when our beloved colleague and friend Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his church in Wichita, Kansas. It is with great respect and sadness that we send his family our heartfelt condolences. We join with our members in remembering and honoring Dr. Tiller’s life and his many contributions to women’s reproductive health care.

He was often seen wearing a button that read “Attitude is Everything,” and he maintained an amazing attitude and generosity of spirit throughout his life, despite the adversity he faced on a regular basis. Dr. Tiller learned to live with constant harassment and even survived a previous attempt on his life. However, despite these attacks, Dr. Tiller remained committed to providing women with quality abortion care because he knew how much his work affected and improved their lives.

His death is a devastating loss to his family, the abortion provider community, and the women who rely on him for care. He is truly one of our heroes and we will miss him greatly.



Dr. Tiller was one of the kindest people I ever met. Such a tragedy!

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 10:03 PM  

My deepest sympathies go out to Dr. Tiller's family, collegues and friends.

As an illegal abortion survivor I have a profound appreciation for those in the medical and pro-choice community, especially Dr. Tiller... who knew he was in grave danger, for the committment to making and keeping pregnancy termination legal and safe.

His killing slammed me emotionally back to my traumatic experience which was beyond description and I pray we never have to revert back to those dark times.

Thank you to all of those who put their lives on the line ever day for women's reproductive rights. We know.. we appreciate.. we care!

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 10:21 PM  

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 10:21 PM  

I have never taken side in the abortion issue however I consider myself a pro-choice person. Because of the recent cold blooded murder of Dr. Tiller I have to say that your organization and Dr. Tiller's family have my full support. Please continue helping those who has no where else to turn to and don't ever back down to the terrorists that called themselves people of god. I'm a liberal Christian myself and what they are doing are disgusting.

All my best NAF.

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 10:22 PM  

I am thinking of Dr. Tiller, his family, his staff, NAF members and all abortion providers at this tragic time. I also know how hard this must be for NAF staff who work to support these brave men and women. Know there is a world of sympathy and support coming your way!


By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 10:22 PM  

I learnt about the murder of George Tiller last week-end.
Just as everyone working in the domaine of abortion and family planning, this murder is an horrible shock and a reason for great sadness and outrage.
As you must be in contact with members of his family, I would appreciate if you could send them our deepest sympathies.
We understand how difficult it must be to loose such a gentle man, who was an example of excellence and of courage for abortion providers all over North America .
Please receive my kind regards.

By Anonymous Edith, June 8, 2009 10:25 PM  

Its always sad to hear about a good person dieing tragicly. It was someone like him who helped me when I was 18 and not ready to turn my life upset down and hurt a new life.... Peace be with the family and friends......

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 10:26 PM  


On cspan3 today they aired this Forum:

Security, Privacy, and Technology

The very last question from the audience was on What was being done to counter domestic terrorism, and religious radicals here in the U.S. in reference to the Tiller incident.

Two panel members, Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies, CATO Institute and Stewart Baker, former Assistant Secretary for Policy, DHS, both ANSWERED THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THIS WAS AN ACT OF TERRORISM

One said He felt it was just a homicide, one man killing another man.

And it was stated in a demeaning tone that of course one could "Stretch" the definition of terrorism to include it but that would be wrong.

Excuse Me?

I guess one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter in these peoples minds.

Amazing. If it were someone killing a CEO or a Environmentalist "spiking" a tree in the forest, You can bet your life these two gentlemen would call that terrorism and advocate policy to counter it.

By Anonymous Anonymous, June 8, 2009 10:31 PM  

Absolutely terrible the loss of Dr. Tiller. He provided medical care to those that needed it when other were too afraid to or just unwilling to. He was definitely a hero to his patients.

Joshua (Illinois)

By Anonymous Anonymous, July 16, 2009 12:09 AM  

As a person of faith and reproductive rights activist, I'm outraged by the cold-blooded murder of Dr. Tiller in his own place of worship. My heart goes out to his family, church friends, colleagues and patients.
Although deeply outraged, I'm not shocked by this senseless act of violence because religious conservatives, including the Vatican and other male-dominated Protestant groups like "Focus on the Family", "Operation Rescue" and others have incited this type of violence through their inflamatory anti-choice rhetoric and sexist TV programing.
Maybe I live under a rock, but I've heard and read little about the good work Dr. Tiller did and the stories from his grateful patients. All I've heard and read in the mainstream media is that he was a "late term abortion doctor" as though he did nothing but murder newborns for frivolous reasons. Until the pro-choice religious community becomes more vocal and counters this extreme anti-choice fundamentalist relgious voice, not much will change. I'm sorry.
Sue Amos
Unitarian Universalist

By Blogger Sue, July 29, 2009 1:06 PM  

I'am a pro choice supporter and I know that Dr. Tiller was a very caring man. Everyone grieves for his loss but the mark that he left will surpass all hate. Much condolences to the Tiller family.

By Anonymous Anonymous, August 1, 2009 12:40 AM  

I am a mother of three children. Twice in my reproductive life, I had the misfortune of becoming pregnant when it would have been a great disservice to the 'future' baby. My health care providers were so caring, compassionate and supportive during my terminations, that I have wept upon learning of the murder of Dr Tiller.

Please, please, pass my personal thoughts and condolences to the Tiller family. I know for sure that Dr Tiller saw a bigger picture of life, and his family should be proud.

By Anonymous Anonymous, September 8, 2009 10:05 AM  

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