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