VIDEO Dr. George Tiller: The loss of a hero

Planned Parenthood Blog by: AmyB on 6/1/2009

Dr. George Tiller wanted to be a dermatologist. But when his physician father died, Dr. Tiller temporarily took over his father’s family practice in Wichita.

That was when he learned that his father had been providing illegal abortions in his office. Dr. Tiller was horrified. How could his father be involved with something so unsavory?

The women of Wichita soon convinced Dr. Tiller that his father was a hero. He was providing safe abortions to desperate women who had nowhere else to turn — women who might have died without him.

Unlike his father, who helped his patients in secret, George Tiller was a well-known provider of legal abortions. Women sought his services from all over the country. He endured daily protesters, sometimes numbering in the thousands. He fought off countless lawsuits that stretched on for years at a time. And in 1993, he survived an assassination attempt that left him with bullet wounds in both arms.

Dr. Tiller came to work the next day. His patients needed him.

There are few people in this world who are willing to risk everything to help others. Dr. Tiller knew that the work he did put his life in danger, but he chose to do it anyway. His needless, tragic death is an enormous loss to women and families everywhere.

Dr. Tiller shared his story as part of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health’s Voices of Choice project.