The featured photo above this post can be found in Ashton Pittman’s beautiful photo essay here.
Today is May 31, 2014.
Five years ago today, Dr. George Tiller was assassinated. He was shot point-blank through the eye on a Sunday morning, in front of his family & his congregation. He was at his church, where he was serving as an usher. There were children and families there.
Dr. Tiller was no stranger to the violence of the most extremist anti-choicers – his clinic was firebombed in 1986, and he was shot five times in 1993. He was wearing a bulletproof jacket the day he was killed, which he’d been doing since 1998 due to threats.
He operated his clinic out of Wichita, Kansas, where he’d been performing abortions since the 1970s after hearing about a woman dying from an illegal procedure. He was known for being one of the only doctors in the US to perform abortions in the third trimester.
He performed numerous abortions to save women’s lives and often performed abortions for women who discovered their child would be born with severe or fatal birth defects. He was constantly pressured through violence and protesting to cease providing abortions, but he never caved to their demands, and someone murdered him for it.
There are now only four abortion providers who offer abortion services after 21 weeks in all of the US. They are under constant threat from violent anti-choice activists.
Today I make a donation to my nearest abortion clinic, in Dr. Tiller’s name. He will continue making a difference in the lives of women, every time he is remembered for his strength, courage and conviction.
In the US, since 1993, eight people have been killed by violent anti-choice activists. Since 1991, there have been 17 attempted murders, and since 1977 there have been more than 6,400 reported acts of violence against abortion providers, including arsons, bombings, kidnappings, assault, death threats and arson.
There are people who are legitimately pro-life.
The people committing these acts of violence certainly aren’t.
Rest in peace, Dr. Tiller.