Roundup: Remembering Dr. Tiller


Memorial Day seems like an appropriate day to remember the one year anniversary of the man who touched so many lives. Here at RHRealityCheck we’ve had the honor of having one of Dr. George Tiller’s colleagues remind us of the importance of both his life and his death.  Now, some stories from others on the anniversary of his murder.

First, a statement from Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Dr. Tiller’s murder is a reminder of the threat abortion providers face every day. We appreciate the efforts of the Obama administration and the Department of Justice to work with the reproductive health care community to address the threats and harassment that our providers deal with daily.

Planned Parenthood’s hope is that the virulent and inflamed rhetoric directed at abortion providers and women who seek abortion de-escalates. There is simply no place in civil society for this outrageous and frightening intimidation.

We mark the sad occasion of the anniversary of Dr. Tiller’s death by remembering his family, his community and his patients across America who were touched by Dr. Tiller’s courage and compassion.

In Kansas, the local chapter of NOW has organized a vigil today, according to KansasCity.com.

On Monday, the actual anniversary of Tiller’s death, the Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women is planning a  candlelight vigil. The event, at 8 p.m. in Wichita’s Old Town Square, is a follow-up to an impromptu vigil that occurred there just hours after the shooting.

Kari Ann Rinker, coordinator for the state NOW chapter, said the event will feature speakers and “messages of peaceful resistance against extremist anti-abortion messaging, legislation and the continued harrassment of the doctors that provide necessary abortion care.”

“Abortion is a right for all women,” Rinker said in the announcement. “Dr. Tiller gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of that right… we have not forgotten his life and his service to the women he trusted.

In Wisconsin, a touching tribute becomes a search for the next hero or heroine in the movement to truly trust women and their choices.  Via the Executive Director of NARAL PRo-Choice Wisconsin:

Now we claim Tiller’s mantle of privacy and freedom — and his call to “Trust women.” We must not cede ground to violent anti-choice activists who seek to deny women the medical care they need and deserve. One year after Tiller’s murder, we must not forget what lengths the extreme right wing will go to in order to deny women freedom, equality and health. We must not forget his sacrifice and his family’s sacrifice.

In Wisconsin, the number of abortion providers declined from 16 in 1992 to nine in 2005. Today, there are just four abortion clinics in the entire state of Wisconsin — in only three counties. Limited access to training opportunities for medical students, an aging population of providers, and laws designed to drive providers out of practice make this a difficult trend to reverse. And the renewed commitment to violence from anti-choice extremists makes it even more challenging to recruit new providers and ensure women have safe access to abortion services.

NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin honors Tiller’s commitment to women’s health by naming an award in his honor. The first annual Dr. George Tiller Memorial Award will be presented to an individual or organization that has exemplified Tiller’s motto — “Trust women” — in their work to ensure Wisconsin women have access to abortion care. Awards will be presented at NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin’s Wine and Choice Celebrations in Milwaukee and Madison in August. Nomination materials are available at www.prochoicewisconsin.org and will be accepted through June 25.

Let us unite and remember the words of Dr. George Tiller, “Trust women.”

Via Tapped, Senator Harry Reid released the following statement regarding the anniversary of the doctor’s death.

The tragedy of Dr. Tiller’s death, and of Dr. Slepian’s death – and of every atrocity like it – is independent of the issue of abortion. It’s not about the legality of abortion or funding of abortion. These are emotional debates, and ones on which people of good faith can disagree. What so shook that Kansas town was rather an act of terrorism. What reverberated out to our borders and coasts from the center of our country was the violation of our founding principle: that we are a nation of laws, not of men.

And one woman tells her personal story of Dr. Tiller — a stark reminder of the type of women he trusted and helped.

I had to be escorted into the health center through a throng of protestors who screamed the most hateful things at me, pounded on my car windows, shook gruesome signs at me and told me I would burn in hell. And at the time, I believed them.

Once inside the health center, it was a completely different scene. The staff inside was calm, professional, and seemingly oblivious to the chaos happening on the other side of the wall. I was 18 years old, and that was the first time I met Dr. George Tiller. I was his patient.

He was kind, soft spoken and caring. He comforted me as I cried that I was a Catholic and that I wasn’t even sexually active. He asked me to trust him and was completely without judgment. He told me that he was going to help me and that he would make sure that I would be OK. And he was right.

It took me years to come to terms with the fact that the rape was not my fault and that I made the best choice that I could possibly have made at that point for myself. It wasn’t easy. But I have now become an activist for choice.

Sadly, this day is also a reminder that the violence of the anti-choice movement is still a threat to those who practice the procedure.  Amanda Robb of Alternet examines the frightening idea that these “lone gunman” extremists murdering abortion providers are part of a larger, organized network.

As soon as Scott Roeder was named the sole suspect in the point-blank shooting death of Wichita, Kan., abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in the vestibule of the Reformation Lutheran Church Tiller attended, a predictable story began to be told. Following the lead of a recent Department of Homeland Security report characterizing right-wing terrorists as lone wolves, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, ABC, NBC and FOX News all ran stories calling Roeder a “lone wolf” gunman.

It is the oldest, possibly most dangerous abortion story out there.

August 13, 1994, The Washington Post: “Many anti-abortion leaders have… denounced Paul Hill [who killed abortion provider Dr. John Britton and his security escort James Barrett]…as a lone, sick extremist.

October 26, 1998, The Independent (London): “A doctor defiant [is] shot dead for his beliefs by a lone abortion terrorist [referring to James Kopp, who killed Amherst, N.Y., abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian].

But for loners, these guys have a lot of friends. A lot of the same ones, in fact.

In honor of Dr. Tiller’s death, it is important to spread the message that women should be trusted with their own healthcare decisions.  But it is also important to remember how many people want to do anything in their power to take those choices away.

May 28, 2010

Nc Abortion Opponents Push For ‘Choose Life’ Tags – WNCT

Ohio Senate Passes Pro-Life Bill to End Abuse of Abortion-Judicial Bypass – LifeNews.com

Poll: Abortion Morally Wrong, Embryonic Research OK, Assisted Suicide Split – LifeNews.com

Marie Stopes ‘abortion ad’ draws 370 complaints – ashdowngroup.com

Church’s double standards over barred nun in abortion scandal – Irish Central

SC House, Senate panel OKs $5B compromise budget; keep coverage for rape … – CanadianBusiness.com

Clinic owner filing suit against doctor-registration law – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Morocco holds conference on future of abortion – AFP

Abortion commercial sparks outrage among Christian groups – The Way

Burris amendment enables abortions at military hospitals – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Oklahoma lawmakers won’t attempt to override latest abortion veto – NewsOK.com

A Nun, a Bishop and a Decision About Abortion – New York Times

Mexican Docs Can’t Deny Emergency Birth Control to Rape Victims – Latin American Herald Tribune

In Hu’s China, this baby doesn’t exist – The Australian

Teen pregnancy rates rising – Kawartha Media Group

Anti-HIV Drugs May Help Prevent Spread of Virus – BusinessWeek

May 29, 2010

Abortion doctor sues to overturn county law – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Compromise $5 billion spending plan approved in SC – BusinessWeek

Nuance matters in abortion debate – Los Angeles Times

Why Don’t Fetal Ultrasounds Prevent Abortion? The Answer Depends on Your Politics. – Newsweek

Anti-abortion “fetus dolls” handed out in Virginia elementary school – Sify

The fake feminism of Sarah Palin – Washington Post

Drop in rates of teen pregnancy is a good sign for the future – Vancouver Sun

A Nun’s Excommunication Over an Abortion Decision – New York Times

George Tiller’s Motto – The Moderate Voice

Groups seek to block health ordinance – Indianapolis Star

The Pill: Are women really better off with it? – PennLive.com

European women more likely than Americans to use pill – Chicago Sun-Times

Study Finds Condom Use Is Increasing – TheBody.com

May 30, 2010

Unrestricted abortion should be banned by high court  – Rome News Tribune

New abortion laws draw fans, foes in Oklahoma – NewsOK.com

The New Abortion Debate – Big Think

The ‘Abortion Caravan’ succeeded. Or did it? – Toronto Star

SC GOP gov hopefuls would sign abortion overturn – CNBC

US women to be shown ultrasound of their baby before being allowed to go ahead … – Daily Mail

Of Abortions and Sister Margaret McBride… – TODAYonline

Pill no cure for women’s ills – Times LIVE

Austin woman studied pill that ‘changed everything’ – Austin American-Statesman

Clinic would address what matters to teens – Online Athens

Female condom popular in US AIDS capital, Washington – Earthtimes

G8 warned of ‘moral betrayal’ over AIDS funding – Globe and Mail

Canadian teen pregnancy rate dropping faster that US, Sweden, England – Calgary Herald

May 31, 2010

Me, Feminism And Sarah Palin – Lez Get Real

A distinctly Quebec view on abortion – Globe and Mail

Lisa Subeck: Award will honor Dr. Tiller’s trust in women – Capital Times

Setting the record straight on abortion access – Daily Gleaner

Parents hiding millions of babies a year – Vancouver Sun

Planned Parenthood President Responds To New York Times Column On Global … – Medical News Today

Researchers Say People Waiting Too Long To Start HIV Treatment – AHN | All Headline News

Hopes for breast cancer vaccine – BBC News

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

Follow Robin Marty on twitter: @robinmarty