Dr. George Tiller, whose clinic is quite possibly the most picketed and protested in the country, has been murdered while at services in his Lutheran church. So far, there’s no suspects caught, but police are looking for a powder blue Taurus. Odds are pretty strong the murderer is a forced childbirth terrorist, out to kill the doctor who focused his practice on providing therapeutic abortions to women later in their pregnancy than most abortion providers can or will service.
Dr. Tiller was a brave man and a real hero. He was already shot once in 1993, but despite the ongoing threat of violence, he continued to work diligently to provide abortion services to women who are often in the worst possible situation, facing down the termination of a pregnancy that was being eagerly planned for, until things went terribly wrong. If a woman has a later term therapeutic abortion—be it because it was a wanted pregnancy, she has serious mental health issues, or she is a child victim of rape—it’s rarely easy on her mentally or physically. Dr. Tiller’s clinic was renowned for the thoughtful patient support to help women get through what is a very difficult time—counseling, support groups, religious services for the lost baby if you desire.
He didn’t have to do this. He didn’t have to put his life and his family’s life on the line every day to tend to women going through a little-understood trauma. He didn’t have to go through a sea of protesters who hate women so much they actually think that women are lying about their problems so they “get” to have later term abortions. He didn’t have to suffer through relentless legal abuse at the hands of fundamentalist misogynists who obtain political power by exploiting voter ignorance about abortion. He didn’t have to make himself the target for this murder to help women, but for whatever reason, he rose to this challenge, and that makes him a real hero.
Condolences to George Tiller’s family.