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May 31, 2009

Abortion crusader Dr. George Tiller murdered in church

Dr. George Tiller was murdered in church today. Tiller was one of only a handful of physicians in America who perform late-term abortions. He survived an assassination attempt in 1993 and returned to his practice.

Amanda Marcotte has a touching post on George Tiller's life of 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.

Dr. Tiller gave his life for women's health and freedom. He must have known that the anti-abortion assasins would strike again. Tiller probably could have saved himself by getting out of the business--a lot of doctors do--but he refused to give in to terrorism.  His legacy will live on.

Update: KWCH-12 is reporting that the police have apprehended a suspected shooter [HT: Jezebel]


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I hope the murderer is locked in prison for the rest of his life.

I'm against the death penalty in all cases, and in this case it might seem more glamorous to some if he's executed for his beliefs than if he's locked up.

I was always so in awe of his courage; he persevered for years in circumstances that would have finished me off within a week. And while no one can claim to be surprised, how very sad for his family, friends, and any woman needing his services in the future.

Al Giordano has some thoughts here.

If RVW is ever turned over will priests and evangelists be murdered?

Thank God for Dr. Tiller. He was the most kind hearted, compassionate men I've ever met. He treated me and my unborn son with respect and dignity. I was his patient. He was my doctor and my advocate as well as my son's. I grieve not only for his family and friends but for the mothers like me who will have no one to turn to in their most desperate time of need. I had asked him about his shooting in '93 and he rolled up his sleeves and showed me one of his scars. Dr. Tiller just shrugged it off, he told me that as long as women needed him he would keep coming back to work. God bless you, Dr. Tiller. I sincerely hope you are resting in peace.

Both this doctor and his murder are shameful. God does not condone the murder of the small humans or large humans. Both the doctor and his murderer believed they were doing right but were doing wrong.

@ Eric Jaffa:

There is a rather considerable difference between being punished for one's beliefs and being punished for one's acts.

Please try to learn to distinguish the two.

What kind of killer goes to church. He's a monster and will be judged for his murders!!

Ktesibios -

I was referring to how a small percentage of Americans might perceive an execution, not to my own opinion.

I do hope that this is investigated and prosecuted as a terrorism case, because that is what it is -- a murder, intended to intimidate other abortion providers.

Someone should ask Cheney (dad or daughter) if the murderer should be waterboarded to see if he knows about any similar murders that are planned.

NARAL statement:

On behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America, our prayers and thoughts are with Dr. Tiller’s family and friends at this moment, a moment that fills us with immeasurable shock and deep sadness.

For almost two decades, Dr. Tiller and those individuals who helped provide care to his patients have lived under intense harassment tinged with persistent threats of violence. Even under these adverse circumstances, Dr. Tiller never wavered in his commitment to providing abortion services and other reproductive health care to women and their families, often in the most difficult and heart-breaking circumstances.

Dr. Tiller’s murder will send a chill down the spines of the brave and courageous providers and other professionals who are part of reproductive-health centers that serve women across this country. We want them to know that they have our support as they move forward in providing these essential services in the aftermath of the shocking news from Wichita.

We understand that the investigation is ongoing and that law-enforcement officials are pursuing a suspect. If it proves to be an act of anti-abortion violence, as we suspect it is, then the full weight of the law must be used to send a clear message that these types of attacks will be prosecuted fully and swiftly.

We also call on opponents of a woman’s right to choose to condemn this action completely and absolutely. What happened today in Wichita cannot become the beginning of a more aggressive wave of violence targeting abortion providers and the women for whom they provide care. Women accessing their legal right to abortion—and the providers who make this possible—should never be targets of violence.

Some Tiller fans are confusing recognizing the evil that he did with celebrating his murder.

But I bet I can think of an example of of Tiller's supporters recognizing the evil somebody did, while not wishing them dead.

Every time a murderer is executed.

You can hate, for example, what Ted Bundy did to Kimberly Leach, the Chi Omega sisters, and his other victims, and still not have wanted to see him fry.

You can hate what he did, in fact, and actually be sorry and upset that he fried.

Not because you thought he'd done no evil, but because you thought killing him was to indulge in that same evil.

THAT is how prolifers can despise what Tiller did, and still not wish to see him murdered.

Can you understand that?

Christina Dunigan -

There are valid reasons why a woman may want a late-term abortion. Her health may be in danger, or she may have found out that the unborn would be born without brain or live-in-pain-then-die.

Providing late-term abortions isn't evil. It's good.

I am so horrified by this I can't even think of what to say. My heart goes out to Dr. Tiller's family. His bravery won't be forgotten.

"Their assessment of the heart defect went from bad to worse: they diagnosed hypoplastic left ventricle (underdevelopment of the left side of the heart) repairable only with a complete heart transplant and/or three open heart surgical procedures. "However, not one doctor would promise us that if we opted not to have surgery and let nature take its course, that our wishes would be abided by. This was disturbing to us. Nor did they tell us that Down syndrome babies don’t get heart transplants. "Our hearts ache with sadness and no words can describe how much we miss him and how deeply we love him. He will always be close to our hearts, mind, body and soul. And if it was not for the Kansas doctor, giving us a little help, we are not sure what we would be writing … Death and life are the same mysteries."

Can you understand that Christina?

We already know how this is going to play out. The pro-life crowd will first, deplore the actions of the “single” loose cannon in their midst (They're “pro-life” followers of Jesus after all, and would never dream of violence of any kind.) and will then proceed to berate the monstrous, baby killing pro-choicers for cynically and shamelessly using this tragic event for their own ends.

Meanwhile, they'll continue to chum the water with this sort of vitriol.

"Late abortion" means kids could live by themselves in most of the cases it hey would have born that age. To do the "late abortion" one has to cut he hole in the head and suck the brain.

In his case one could say that George Tiller has been "late aborted" after 621 months of life.

oh, it's a shame, but let's not get all weepy.

LauraJMixon... I spent 16 weeks in NICU and PICU with my daughter who had two major and one minor heart defects (and Down syndrome). We knew before she was born about what we were facing. While we were there we saw many children with hypoplastic left ventricle, some on their first and some on their last surgeries that would fix it. These children are beautiful and so it my daughter who now has a perfect heart. Why would anyone "let nature take its course" and let their baby with a heart defect die? If your three year old got lukemia would you let nature take its course or would you treat it? Maybe Dr. Tiller should have told those people that there are fantastic pediatric heart surgeons out there that could have saved their child's life. Oh, yeah, but then they would have been stuck with a kid with Down syndrome... which is probably the real reason they chose to kill that baby.

Sorry Laura, my comment should be addressed to TB.

When you call your moral superior George Tiller "evil"---which of course is the last resort of misogynist cowards who will do less good in their entire lives than Tiller did before his lunch break every day---you endorse his murder. You tell potential murderers that their victims deserve it, and your disingenuous claims to the contrary are understood by the people you're communicating with as the necessary distancing of yourself from legal culpability, while quietly egging on terrorists.

1) Dr. Tiller did not provide nor did he perform the procedure that many have coined 'late term abortion' where the baby body is born vaginally and then the doctor stabs the baby in the brain. Wasn't an option. How do I know? Because I was a patient of his and I had a late term abortion.
2) Not all late term abortion babies can survive outside the mothers womb. My child wouldn't have.

Why did I and my husband seek his services? Because we were told by our physicians here that after my child was delivered the state would step in and keep my son alive by artificial means and there by subject him to a life time of surgeries which he wouldn't have gotten any satisfaction from since he would be in a constant vegetative state.

We wanted our son to have a peaceful death since he couldn't have a meaningful life. I was there. I saw *everything* Dr. Tiller did to me and my son. At no time did my baby experience any pain and he was delivered whole. That man stayed by my side through the whole heart breaking experience and I'm sorry, but he was working on the side of the angles.

If my son had been outside of my body and had been in a vegetative state, no one would gun down the doctor that took him off of life support.

Patient, thank you for adding your story. I'm very grateful to you and Margaret, another former patient who recalls Dr. Tiller's care in the other thread. You are both very brave to come forward and share your first-hand knowledge.

I think there are far to many crazy religious people out there. They really need to mind their own business on abortion. If you don't like abortion, don't have one. God is not against abortion, some of you are not going to be born in Heaven. God is going to abort you!

I think the Church is to blame for creating sick minds who in turn go out and murder abortion Doctors. They are just as bad as Izlamic churches that recuit Terrorist's.

I think there should be a law against stupid fat ugly white church people who picket outside clinics. These people really need to get their noses out of other people Uterus's and mind their own bees wax.

Patient... That must have been very hard on you and your husband. The laws in your state need to be changed. In NY state, parents can sign DNR orders and babies who cannot survive without life support are provided comfort care until they painlessly pass away. I can imagine that for you the pain would have been the same either way and I am sorry you had to go through losing your baby.

What I find weird about this issue is... if I had decided I did not want my very sick baby, I could have had Tiller legally end my 6 month old fetus' life. If my husband didn't want me or the baby and he murdered me when I was 6 months pregnant, he would have been facing two murder charges. Same baby, but in one scenario it has a right to life and in the other it does not.

Anyway, I did not mention it before, but Tiller, no matter what you think of him, had a right to his life.

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