Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dr. George Tiller, Murdered in Cold Blood

I didn't know him, but I knew of him.

Dr. Tiller was one of the handful of doctors who performed abortions for women after 20 weeks gestation. His patients were most often desperate women who had no where else to turn -- , for assistance in ending a pregnancy with a fatally ill fetus, a life that had changed dramatically and could no longer sustain another child, or such a lack of information and services that a pregnancy hadn't been realized until those later weeks.

He was gunned down this morning...his murder even more shocking in that it took place in his home church, in front of his wife who was singing in the choir.

There have been other murders, in Buffalo and in Boston, but they were years ago, and somehow, I think I had forgotten how dangerous the world can be for doctors who perform abortions. And perhaps for those of us who are public figures who support reproductive justice.

President Obama and members of Congress, we need to hear your voice about this senseless murder and how you will work to make sure it can't, won't happen again. To those who claim the title pr0-life but whose rhetoric leads to such violence, we need you to stand up and clearly denounce this killing and this killer.

And to my readers, please pray for Dr. Tiller and his family...and for all the other providers whose lives may be at risk. Rest in peace.


Anonymous said...

Hi Debra-

Thanks for your thoughts. It's hard for me to understand a person who claims to love life — and "unborn children" — so muh, to have so much (alleged) compassion and care that he is led to kill someone. It seems to me rather to come from a place of rage and anger. What a sad day.


Desmond Ravenstone said...

Dr. Tiller was a brave and deeply principled man. I read of how he educated several state legislators by having them go through his clinic as though they were a patient facing a crisis pregnancy.

Let's hope this leads to better protection for others who provide reproductive health services - and some serious soul-searching by anti-abortion activists.

Unknown said...

Gee, I'm sorry.....I really don't feel much sympathy for anyone that kills 95% born babies by sticking a scissors in their brains. Not just once, but thousands of times.

Unknown said...

True pro-lifers abhor the killing of Dr. Tiller, and are praying fervently for him and his family. True pro-lifers oppose the death penalty even for those convicted of violent crimes - they believe in the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death. Violence and murder are never EVER (not even in the case of state-sponsored murder of someone who may seem to deserve to die, or whose care is inconvenient or costly to the state) morally justified.

No matter how much anyone in the pro-life movement disagreed with Dr. Tiller's abortion work (and I certainly did), his right to life was just as sacred as everyone else's.

Legitimate pro-life organizations are emphasizing this fact this morning, although many in the pro-choice movement will have difficulty getting beyond their anger and demonizing the entire peaceful movment (probably not unlike all Muslims were targeted after 9/11, even though Islam is basically a peaceful religion.)

But Catholic pro-life people are praying for Dr. Tiller's peaceful repose, and for the comfort and peace of his family. We are praying very hard that violence will be repudiated by all and we reject this murder for what it is - as Rev. Haffner called it - cold-blooded murder.

I am not justifying the work that Dr. Tiller did. But I am saying that his murder is completely against pro-life principles and his murderer must be completely unbalanced, or evil, or both, to have hijacked a peaceful movement to justify his own inclination to a criminal and terrorist act.

Debra J.M. Smith said...

Obama said, "However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence." --If Obama only cared that much about the countless babies who died at the hands of that abortionist...

A family member said, "Today we mourn the loss of our husband, father and grandfather. Today's event is an unspeakable tragedy for all of us and for George's friends and patients. This is particularly heart wrenching because George was shot down in his house of worship, a place of peace." Wow, how about the wombs that all of those babies were in? The womb is supposed to be a safe place of peace for a baby. But that monster would intrude and kill each one of them, with no remorse.

And I do not feel sorry for a family who loved a murderer. And I sure do NOT feel sorry for a church that had no problem allowing a murderer to attend.

Debra J.M. Smith

Desmond Ravenstone said...


It is all too easy to make remarks such as yours in a vacuum. That was something the late Dr. Tiller realized.

In 1997, he invited several people to attend what he called "the clinic experience." Each was given the profile of a patient, describing the circumstances leading to their considering an abortion so late in their pregnancy. The clinic staff would then walk them through the process of counseling and educating each one about the medical issues and options they would face.

The bulk of these guests were legislators and clergy opposed to abortion; many had been arrested for picketing and blockading his clinic. Tiller had done this so that both sides could better appreciate the full truth behind their respective positions, especially and most importantly what each of his patients and their families had to go through deciding how to deal with a crisis pregnancy.

I wish you had been there. Perhaps then you, as Dr. Tiller hoped, you would have discovered “that the staff and the physicians are intelligent, dedicated, compassionate individuals who subscribe to the philosophy that women and families are emotionally, mentally, morally, spiritually and physically competent to struggle with complex health issues and come to decisions that are appropriate for them.”

Debra W. Haffner said...

Pamela, thank you for your thoughts...but I think the other comments on this blog show that hateful rhetoric and hateful acts are part of the anti-choice movement. See my blog from Monday night. Perhaps you'd like to address them and the folks at Rev. Currie's web site. Words fail me.