31 May 2009

R.I.P. Dr. George Tiller

Today, Dr. George Tiller was gunned down in the church he attended every Sunday with his family.  Dr. Tiller is survived by his wife, his four children and his ten grandchildren.  This is a day that many of us feared was inevitable – but always hoped to be proven wrong.

I wish that I were more eloquent, so that I could adequately convey the outrage, anger, sadness and hopelessness I feel by what has transpired today.  Sadly, I’m not.  My anger clouds my ability to write this in a way that is uplifting.

After his clinic was bombed, he was shot, his name and address was listed on right-wing websites, his clinic vandalized and he was targeted for prosecution – he still came to work everyday and provided a service that women needed, that they requested.

IMG_0683Dr. Tiller trusted women.  He felt they were competent to decide the direction of their lives.  He was compassionate enough to understand that for some women, giving birth to a dead or dying baby was worse than having a late-term abortion.  He was one of only three doctors providing these procedures.

Women came from far and wide for the services that Dr. Tiller courageously provided. 


Tonight they came from far and wide to pay tribute to an assassinated champion of women’s rights.

I think it is important to call this event what it is.  This murder was a political assassination.  Dr. Tiller was gunned down in his house of worship for the beliefs he held, as much as for the services he provided.

While Operation Rescue and other groups scramble to absolve themselves of responsibility for this tragedy, my hope is that they are not allowed to.  Many of them (Randall Terry I’m looking at you!) are just as guilty in this as the shooter. 

I can only hope that this tragedy will end the complacency regarding reproductive rights.  Everyday, every legislative session – the ability for women to control their destiny is under attack.  We must stand, we must fight.