George Tiller.

August 10, 2009

George Tiller was shot before I started this blog. So I didnt write about him. But I wanted to. I am supposed to say that I dont quite know what it is about this mans death that moved me, but that would be a lie.

For those of you who dont know who George Tiller was- neither did I really. He was a name in a newspaper, an abortionist.

Actually, he wasn’t just an abortionist, he was one of only two or three late term abortionists in the US. In a country of how many people- now without googling, am betting on 300million? 2 late term abortionists for 300million people. He continued to provide this service, through a life time of death threats, websites encouraging others to kill him, and villification from the Right Wing press. Then he was shot. And the threats were no more. Although Americas last late term abortionist still lives with them.

I know 3 women who have had late term abortions. Horrible horrible situations each and everyone of them. All much wanted babies. Desperately wanted.

I know the feeling when your heart stops at the 20 week anomoly scan, and you wait to hear if anything is wrong. Thank god, I dont have experience of being told at that stage that my baby would die, or I would,  being told that my baby has a birth defect so severe  that they may be better off having no life at all.

I cant tell you about the pain they went through when making this decision. Because I wasnt there- they were privately crumbling, as they made a choice that I cant even bring myself to try and imagine-against the clock.

Its a small mercy  they were British. Small mercy they werent living in a country, where instead of being quickly referred to the few centres  in the country that do this procedure- they would have to spend precious weeks trying to find a doctor who would perform it, have to face walking through bulletproof glass, knowing that violent terrorists were stalking the centre they had travelled across states to try and find. Have to hope that as they are there are only 2 doctors per 300million people, that the dreaded or much needed appointment was available. I am glad they didnt have to walk past baying crowds, accusing them of murder. I am extremely grateful that if I should ever have to live that waking nightmare- that I wont have to do that.

I am not a doctor, but am guessing there arent many who go into medicine with the idea that they will become an abortionist. Apparently George Tiller wanted to be a dermatologist- but watching his father carry out this service, led him to understand the importance of it, and the crime that there should be so few willing to do it.

In my social work life I had threats. Physical threats, verbal threats. When my daughter was 18 months old, we got a threat to her life. Risk assessment is my game, and I knew the risks weren’t that serious. I knew that there was very little chance of the threat realising. Didnt stop me frantically telephoning my  friends, making arrangements for my daughter to be somewhere else. Didn’t stop me being afraid.

When I try to imagine living an entire life under that threat. Threat to my family, my friends- my address made public on websites openly inciting my murder. Knowing that it was a very real threat-not the rantings of a disgruntled client acting out.

To do a job you are ever going to have someone express admiration for(What do you do? An abortionist? Wow, I always wanted to do that..). To do that job, because you know the consequences for women if noone will do it, and value that so strongly that you will literally sacrifice your life for it? That isnt even courage on a scale I can even imagine.

While the rest of the blogosphere is still writing about Micheal Jackson, I am writing about George Tiller. And about his sucessors. Because George Tiller MD,  will eventually be written into the history books as a true hero.

””Women and Families are intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and ethically competent to struggle with complex health issues — including abortion — and come to decisions that are appropriate for themselves.”
George R. Tiller, M.D., DABFP
Medical Director
Women’s Health Care Services, P.A.”



  1. Great post. Thanks.
    It is truly scary the terrorism women in the US face on a daily basis just to obtain health care services. There’s a war against women in the US but the misogynists hide behind their Bible and look for token women to spew their most hateful rhetoric (example: Sarah Palin).

    • I thank god I dont live in a country where the abortion debate is being won by fanatics. Dressing up the causing women appalling pain, under the rhetoric of protecting innocents, and preserving morality. Hate the term pro-life- I am pro-lives-real life womens lives. Noone is ‘pro-abortion’-its not like if am at a loose end this weekend, I will have abortion for fun. If you are against abortion dont have one- but forcing women to go through pregnancy is barbaric.

  2. The problem is a lot of men do not see women as human beings. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard men say that even if a woman is raped she should not get an abortion because the fetus’ life has value. This argument, gaining steam in mainstream rhetoric, totally negates the woman’s value as a human being. It is also a form of violence against women.

    • This is exactly it. THere may be debate about the value of a fetus’s life- I am sure the world can debate it. But there is no debate about the lives of women- they are real, and they are there. Unfortunately in the eyes of the fanatics who caused this situation- women have no value. Of course its violence to force a woman to go through a pregnancy. The irony of them calling themselves ‘pro life’- this man wore a fucking bulletproof vest to church, and was shot as his wife sang in the choir. Terrorists. Bloody terrorists and murderers. And those who refuse to condemn his murder, are no better than the man who pulled the trigger. If they are against abortion- dont get one- but pregnancy on women regardless of the circumstance is barbaric.

  3. It’s a fucking tragedy really. Truly scary statistics, amazing how backwards a so called forwards (mega!) country can be.

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