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I Don’t Know What to Say About This

May 31, 2009

I’ve been out of town and offline for the last couple of days, and only just checked my email to find out that Dr. George Tiller was murdered. He was an abortion provider in Kansas, had been shot previously at his clinic, and had been the subject of a lot of news and drama in recent years regarding late-term abortions and the subpoenaing of patient records as part of criminal charges related to those abortions of which he was acquitted just a few months ago. Tiller wasn’t just murdered – he was shot inside his church. He had a family, and I am sorry for them, as well as for his church community who had their place of worship terrorized in this way.

A suspect is in custody. President Obama responded by saying, “However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.”

Added: Christine is on top of it and has more info pulled together at Our Bodies Our Blog.

Added #2: Naomi reminds us that “If you are reading this on Monday, June 1, you can follow NOW’s suggestion to wear a white armband to both mourn Dr. Tiller’s murder AND make a statement of protest against domestic terrorism.”

Also: I will not tolerate any arguments about abortion or “the unborn” on this thread whatsoever. Have them somewhere else – the post about someone being gunned down at church is not the place. Violators are going on comment moderation on the first offense.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. captiver permalink
    May 31, 2009 11:48 pm

    I don’t know what to say either. I haven’t known what to say, or do, all day. Ever since I heard. There’s a lot of good stuff on Huffington Post, including a sobering piece by Cristina Page about how there tend to be rises in anti-choice violence under pro-choice presidents.Click Click here

    I have followed Dr. Tiller’s struggle for a few years. I always meant to write to him to thank him, but never did. Anyway, I don’t know what to say either, so will stop now.

  2. MomTFH permalink
    June 1, 2009 7:51 am

    I am so saddened by this. I hope there is some silver lining. I hope people learn more about how rare and compassionate late term abortions are. I hope people realize how tenuous the supply of providers is, and how important it is to pay attention to our reproductive rights.

    I am trying to think of an appropriate letter to send out to my medical school class on behalf of Med Students for Choice, but I am at a loss.

  3. June 1, 2009 10:10 am

    If you are reading this on Monday, June 1, you can follow NOW’s suggestion to wear a white armband to both mourn Dr. Tiller’s murder AND make a statement of protest against domestic terrorism.

    Thanks, Rachel.

  4. June 1, 2009 11:33 am

    I have no words. What a good, brave person he was.

  5. Molly, NYC permalink
    June 1, 2009 1:09 pm

    Aside from everything else, Dr. Tiller was one of a very few docs (I think three–and now two) in the States who handled late-term abortions. So we didn’t just lose him–we’re at risk of losing this body of knowledge.

    Is there a training program in place for this subspecialty? (It’s not just the surgical chops–there are legal and security issues that go with it as well.) If not, how do we get one going? Dr. Tiller was 67 and I’d like to think at that age, he might be training a successor, but I haven’t seen anything about it (although I can imagine the parties involved wanting to keep it under wraps).

  6. MomTFH permalink
    June 1, 2009 1:43 pm

    There are family planning fellowships. I would assume this is where one would get this kind of training.

  7. Ethel permalink
    June 1, 2009 1:49 pm

    It makes me sad and chilled, and as our freedom has been shaved that much thinner too. My hope is that more doctors will have the guts to do what Dr. Tiller did, that is offer services that are needed as a doctor should – out of concern for the patients and not out of concern of profit and definitely not be curtailed becuase of terrorism. Any of us could be in a position of needing to terminate after 22 weeks, I’d like to have that available if needed because there are reasons to do so – just like if there was a risky surgery that might save my life it’d be nice if a surgeon had the guts to perform it without walking because some nut thought it was a sin and threatened violence if performed.


  1. Kansas Abortion Doc Assassinated: Tennessee Reacts : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee
  2. Tragic death of Dr. George Tiller « Raising Women’s Voices

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