Dr. George Tiller

Dr. George Tiller

I remember vividly the hundreds of handwritten letters that filled the walls of the Women’s Health Services clinic in Wichita, Kansas.

They were personal, poignant letters from women all over the world, thanking Doctor George Tiller and his staff for helping them in their time of need.   The women were from Los Angeles, Prague, Shreveport and Paris.  They had travelled hours and hours to Wichita to obtain a late term abortion.  The messages were sprinkled with phrases like “you saved my life” and “I don’t know what I would have done without you.”   It was impossible to read the letters without feeling the love emanating from the pages.

The irony is that no one wanted to be there.  That’s because for the most part these were women whose pregnancies had suddenly gone terribly awry.  Indeed, when I first met Doctor Tiller I bluntly asked him why women would wait so long to terminate a pregnancy.   “I’ll show you why,” he said, and led me into a small room.  He then opened up a drawer and took out a photograph album.  As he started quickly flipping through the pages, I became disoriented as he tossed out medical terms in rapid fire, terms I had never heard of.  When I asked him to stop for a moment, I composed myself and soon realized that he was showing me pictures of fetuses or, if you like, babies with shocking deformities.  I never imagined how things could go so wrong.   One had two heads jutting out of the neck area.  Another had a heart outside its body.   I ultimately excused myself, but I learned a lot about the work of Doctor Tiller and his staff.

These were wanted babies and the women did not want to be in Wichita.  They probably had already picked out the name of their baby when they suddenly discovered something horribly wrong and after a wrenching decision making process decided there was no other recourse except to abort the baby.   And, once the decision was made, they were fortunate enough to find Doctor Tiller.

I remember sitting in on some counseling sessions and how sensitive staff was with the woman.  I was amazed to learn that the clinic made a Chaplin available to discuss any religious issues that might arise.  The environment was as comforting as could be, considering the difficult personal circumstances of each woman and her family.

But while I was ensconced in the serenity of the clinic, hordes of anti-abortion zealots filled the sidewalk, spewing hatred, carrying signs with pictures of aborted fetuses.   Interestingly, after what I had just witnessed inside, I had to admit that for the most part the signs were accurate depictions of what a fetus would look like in the late second trimester.  Certainly at some point the fetus starts to develop and ultimately one can see a “baby.”  The terminology is not important.  The fact is that women were seeking Doctor Tiller out, not the other way around and fortunately he was there for them.

The protestors outside were just a reminder of the extreme pressure that Doctor Tiller and his staff had to work under for decades.

In July, 1990, the radical anti-abortion group, Operation Rescue, held its “Summer of Mercy,” which brought in thousands of protestors to camp out daily in front of Women’s Health Services.   Despite the near riotous conditions, the clinic remained open every day and, after running the gauntlet, the women found sanctuary with Doctor Tiller and his staff.

Then, the next year, just a few months after Doctor David Gunn was killed outside his clinic in Pensacola, Florida a woman jumped up on Doctor Tiller’s car as he was leaving for the day and fired several shots into his arms.   Amazingly, Tiller jumped out of the car and chased her down the street until he started to lose consciousness.   Ultimately, she was apprehended, tried, convicted and remains in jail today.

George Tiller, this unassuming, mild mannered Kansas physician, ultimately became a target on the Internet, on Bill O’Reilly, on anti-abortion posters.  He wore a bullet proof vest and his car was equipped with a special armor.  There was a national whirlwind about him, but he calmly went about his work during the storm.  He was a steadfast member of his church, a recovering alcoholic who spoke openly about the disease, an unassuming spokesman for the pro-choice cause, a grandfather and a loving husband.

A man of quiet dignity and strength beyond imagination.

Dr. George Tiller

Dr. George Tiller

And, now, he is gone.  One Sunday morning in May of last year, while ushering at his church, it finally happened.  For one man, whose name I refuse to repeat, the inflammatory rhetoric got to be too much and he walked up to George Tiller and shot him in the side of his head, killing him immediately.  Within minutes, the murder was national news.   The pro-choice movement went into deep shock, although many opined that it was inevitable with so much hate spewing his way.   Memorial services were quickly arranged.  His colleagues cried openly into their telephones.

I mourn Doctor George Tiller but, as the Irish would suggest, I choose to celebrate his life.  I choose to think about the thousands and thousands of women who he helped in a time of need.  I choose to thank him standing up for his convictions at great personal risk.  And I choose to think about the walls adorned with the letters from all over the world.

71 Responses to “George Tiller”

  1. Gloira Z Says:

    Clearly a Man to be admired. An advocate for a a woman’s right to an Abortion.

    Like

    1. Anne Says:

      Tiller was a mercenary, a hired killer, who performed ILLEGAL ABORTIONS. On average he killed one late term baby who could have lived outside the womb per day.

      One infant who never got held, never kissed, never loved, torn limb from limb and thrown away as hazardous waste.

      Never played with a puppy, never laughed, inside though he cried.

      Like

      1. Elena Carvin Says:

        Anne did you know Dr. Tiller well?

        Like

      2. Arny Says:

        Abortion is a delicate topic. Dr. Tiller was murdered by a crazy standard prolifer. Abortion is safe and abortion is the women’s choice.

        Like

        1. Shubham Says:

          It’s a good, simple, plan, but look at where it got Microsoft . . . So you pick a sneemgt worth billions (And how do you know that? Because another more creative company has developed and validated that sneemgt for you) and then you throw the mongol hordes at it in a take no prisoners attack and make it yours.Now don’t get me wrong, this strategy will work for a while (humm, maybe I should buy some google stock). But, as the saying goes sure as there’s sh*t in a dead cat the Justice Department will come knocking.But more than that, long before then, google will no longer be a cool place to work. Because it will be an IT bully, and geeks, abhorring authority by nature, would rather work for the underdog than the bully. The true engine of this industry is Aperger’s driven brainpower, not money and mongol hordes. The real magic will then leave google and find its home some other place. And google will become Microsoft.

          Like

        2. share Says:

          How neat! Is it really this simple? You make it look easy.

          Like

      3. Pat Richards Says:

        Just saw this silly post. In what way did Doctor Tiller perform “illegal” abortions, Anne?

        Like

      4. Holly Says:

        Dr. George Tiller was the best doctor that ever took care of me for anything!

        Like

    2. Arny Says:

      Dr, Tiller was the best doctor in my life he did my abortion. He did the Abortion well.

      Like

    3. Tim Says:

      Dr. Tiller was a great man, he helped us through the most difficult time in our lives.

      We will always be thankful to the good work Dr. Tiller performs.

      Like

    4. Ginny Says:

      Dr. Tiller took fabulous care of me.

      I hate the terrorist that assassinated Dr. Tiller.

      Like

    5. Ginny Says:

      Dr. Tiller is about the best doctor I ever met.

      Like

  2. Lisa Kamro Says:

    I pray that more people are willing to take the calling of Dr. Tiller.

    His assassination was brutal.

    His legacy will endure among the pantheon of people that helped women in the face of danger to his own well being.

    Lisa

    Like

    1. Anne Says:

      Just what the world needs now. More killers for hire.

      Way to go.

      Oh, yes, you are saving the baby from a tragic life, how heroic.

      Pity the day someone might find you unnecessary and end your life just as callously.

      Like

      1. Elena Carvin Says:

        Anne,
        is Abortion ever OK in your veiw?

        Like

  3. harriet Poitncasaire Says:

    He was a good man, he helped women.

    A victim of american made terrorism.

    So sad.

    Like

    1. Anne Says:

      I’m all busted up. He GOT PAID a fine sum, lived in a luxury house.

      The real victim of terrorism is the infant who got robbed of his/her shot at living.

      How can you say that a hired killer is tragic and that his victim is just so much rubbish?

      Like

      1. Elena Carvin Says:

        Anne,
        why can’t you answer a question.

        You like to cast stones.
        Do you support Dr. Tillers murder?

        Like

      2. Pat Richards Says:

        How do you know he lived in a “luxury house?”

        Like

      3. Karen Says:

        Anne is a sick person believing that murder is OK

        Like

  4. IAlwaysHaveAChoice Says:

    My time working with George Tiller was a defining point in my life. I will forever be grateful for the incredible amount of knowledge I gained from him and the time I was able to spend with him. I am proud I was able to call him my friend and grieve for his loss every day.

    Like

  5. Pat Richards Says:

    George was a dear friend of mine as well. The day after he was shot in the arm by an assailant in 1994 (?), he called me and said he was glad that he “gave the pro-choice movement a shot in the arm.” And when he thought someone was being borish, he said “that’s just bad manners.” Bad golfer also! We may know each other, IAlwaysHaveaChoice…..

    Like

    1. Anne Says:

      What an odd idea of a friend.

      He was about to have his medical license suspended for performing illegal abortions.

      Sebelius kept him out of trouble for a long time but his time was about up and he would have lost his license and been sent where he belonged, behind bars.

      Like

      1. Karen Says:

        Anne,
        You do not sound like you are educated on the topic of Abortion.

        Like

  6. harriet Poitncasaire Says:

    This was a great man.

    Like

    1. Anne Says:

      You like hired guns who murder helpless babies? Rip their bodies apart?

      GOOD FOR YOU?

      Like

      1. Elena Carvin Says:

        Anne you sound all full of Satan.

        Can you answer a question or only spew vicious vitriol?

        Like

        1. Pat Richards Says:

          Yeah, did you notice she just spews hateful stuff and never answers anything. Just another wayward 15 year old, no doubt….

          Like

  7. Wanda Smith Says:

    Dr. Tiller was the best doctor I ever had….

    Like

    1. Anne Says:

      He was the ONLY DOCTOR THE BABY “HAD”.

      And the last one.

      Like

      1. Karen Says:

        Another dumb remark,
        Anne, can you answer a question or just be a nuisance?

        Like

  8. Pat Richards Says:

    Wanda, I’m intrigued by your comment. Were you actually a patient of Doctor Tiller’s? If so, care to elaborate? Thanks….

    Like

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Anne
    seems to be clueless about abortion,
    as do they all.

    Like

  10. ankara Says:

    thanks good post

    Like

  11. Linda Cohen Says:

    Dr. Tiller was a great Man and humanitarian.

    This Anne person above just spews hate and evades questions revealing she knows nothing as we see most ProLifers do.

    Like

    1. Taketo Says:

      Even then, getting that next great idea will be hard. Challenge foeoback? My wife, who was a major foeoback user, burned out on it and turned it off a feew weeks ago. Why? If you do social networking for a while, you realize that knowing all that stuff about others and getting their opinions on everything isn’t what its cracked up to be. I think Facebook will plateau, and I can’t really see much that Google can bring to the table. Kinda smells like Bing! to me.Everybody points to Apple whn they say you can just innovate regularly. Anybody remember when the iPod and iTunes were products made to keep Macs relevant in the MP3 ripping craze? Apple was making great products back then but nobody but the faithful and the creative cared. A few million in profit in a quarter was a win. The iPod was a fluke that made people see Apple in a new light.The new strategy will bear fruit, but the put an infinite amount of monkeys approach isn’t gonna be much better than the previous approach. If it were the case, Microsoft would have already owned search and social.

      Like

    2. levitra Says:

      You’ve hit the ball out the park! Incredible!

      Like

  12. Karen Says:

    Dr. Tiller was a great doctor and humanitarian.

    Like

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  17. Cat Says:

    Dr. Tiller,
    One of the greatest doctors ever!

    I hate pro lifers that murder people!

    Like

    1. Rose Black Says:

      There’s a difference between anti abortion and pro life, I have never met any anti that was actually pro life.

      Like

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    Like

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      Like

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