Terrorism: Doctor George Tiller, one of only three doctors willing to provide late-term abortions, viciously gunned down by far-right extremist
A long target of the extreme right and a survivor of a previous murder attempt, George Tiller was tragically gunned down while serving as an usher in his local church. The late doctor Tiller ran one of only three clinics in the United States that provide abortion after the 21st week of pregnancy. Scott Roeder, the alleged killer, is a known anti-abortionist extremist who had been linked to various far-right groups and had previously been arrested with explosives allegedly destined to be detonated at an abortion clinic.
Tiller was a controversial figure in his Kansas home, where state law prohibits late-term abortion unless at least two doctors certify that continuing pregnancy would cause the woman “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function”. The doctor has been targeted before for alleged violations of state law, but his sole trial led to an acquittal of all 19 misdemeanor charges.
Doctor Tiller survived constant harassment by high-profile and local extremist figures, legal persecution, and attempts and threats on his life in his dedication to providing a vital service to women’s reproductive health. In a nation beset by misinformation and lies about abortion, he will be sorely missed.
Dr. Tiller was a diamond in the rough, who has sacrificed so much for women’s reproductive freedom. In a single act of terrorism, the number of people who are willing to provide half of the nation with a life-saving procedure if tragedy strikes has decreased 33%, and is now down to two.
It’s truly sickening that anyone could politicize the heart-wrenching and personal choices of the women who have to choose late-term abortion away, while pretending that this callous and disgusting murder was anything but a political manifestation of a culture’s hatred of a woman’s reproductive freedom.
I grieve for a world who has lost a brave and selfless man. And I grieve even more because I feel like the battle is lost. When people can go on camera and defend the cold-blooded slaughter of someone who had the audacity to use their medical education to grant women the reproductive choices they require, I feel like we’ve lost.
I have studiously avoided the news today, and I will tomorrow, because of the emotions stories like the ones you posted inspire in me. I can’t help but feel anything but a hopeless crushing agony.
Are women so reviled that even our physicians must be hounded off the mortal coil? Dr. Tiller paid the ultimate price for a medical defiance of the patriarchal colonization of the female body. I feel nothing but despair at the knowledge that now there are only two brave doctors to service the needs of a nation of millions.
What a travesty. Rest in peace Doctor George Tiller. May you find peace in an afterlife more merciful than a nation that stood idly by let your commitment to women’s freedom condemn you to years of harassment and a horribly unfitting end to a beautiful and selfless life.
Tiller’s account of his decades of harassment and fear
Melissa McEwan’s open letter to Obama
Reactions from Doctor Hern, one of two surviving American doctors willing to provide late-term abortion