Dr. George Tiller’s Murder: A Call To Action

Dr. George Tiller-a husband, father to 4, grandfather to 10-was murdered Sunday while ushering at his Wichita, Kansas church.

Why Tiller?
Dr. Tiller was an abortionist. He was one of the few people courageous enough to perform third trimester abortions. Dr. Tiller’s patients were generally women who had desperately wanted their pregnancies but, either because the fetuses they were carrying were not viable or because their own health had been placed in serious jeopardy by their pregnancies, sought these terminations.

A soft-spoken man, Dr. Tiller risked his life daily to provide high-quality health care to women. He cared deeply about his patients, their rights, and their lives. He considered his work to be his calling, caring for women in their time of need.

Dr. Tiller was a hero-a true good guy. In 1998, Dr. Tiller made headlines by helping a 12-year-old Michigan girl who had been raped by her brother, taken into custody by the prosecutor thereby effectively delaying a termination beyond the legal limit in Michigan, and then was temporarily blocked from leaving the state by the judge. Her parents were finally able to get her to Dr. Tiller in her 27th week.

Dr. Tiller refused to be intimidated by the anti-abortion rights extremists who bombed his clinic in 1986, shot him in both arms in 1993, harassed him with frivolous investigations and prosecutions (cases in which he was acquitted), and targeted him daily.

We are saddened by the loss of a man who cared for so many women and who did not quit even when his life was endangered. Thank you, Dr. Tiller, for all you have done for us.

The Anti-Abortion Rights Strategy
The goal of violence against abortion providers is intimidation. Knock out other existing as well as potential abortionists by scaring the daylights out of them. This technique is not new. They used it aggressively in the 1990’s, when President Bill Clinton, our last pro-choice president, was in office. There was a five-fold increase in violence against abortion providers and clinics during those years. Despite public displays decrying this brutality, violent terrorist cells like Operation Rescue have been inciting horrific acts of violence. Now they are aided by the Bill O’Reily’s and the Rush Limbaugh’s of TV and web fame.

Anti-choice fanatics recognize that they are not able to stop women from getting abortions-legal or otherwise. So the next best thing is to get rid of providers, either by murder or intimidation, thus rendering the phrase, “safe, legal and rare” meaningless. Killing abortion providers, bombing clinics, and photographing patients as they enter or exit clinics and then placing their faces on the web have all been strategies employed by these extremists.

Don’t Get Mad, Get Even
This is a time of choice:
We can either sit around and feel deeply saddened over the loss of Dr. Tiller,
We can get up and say, “We won’t take it anymore.”

Step One
Let’s organize and support the candidates who support us.
That’s what we do here at WCLA – Choice Matters, and have been doing since 1972.
We get pro-choice candidates elected, and keep them elected-candidates who will protect our rights; who are not scared to speak out; who don’t hide behind the present-day catch-phrase, decreasing the number of unintended pregnancies to decrease the number of abortions, rather than speaking directly about abortion.

It is the job of the people we vote for to do our bidding or to get out of office. There is no middle ground.

The anti-abortion rights zealots terrorize with violence. We must use the voting booth as our weapon of choice. (You’ll be happily surprised to see what an effective weapon the vote can be.)

Laws, when passed and enforced by pro-choice individuals, can and do make abortion providers safer.

Step Two
Pass the Women’s Reproductive Health Act.
Right now, before the end of June, here in New York State, we must pass the Women’s Reproductive Health Act. It was sponsored by Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins during the last state Senate session.

Call your state senators and demand that they support this bill.
Find your elected officials
To learn more about the Women’s Reproductive Health Act, watch this video

Step Three
Judge Sotomayor is President Obama’s US Supreme Court nominee. Problem: we do not know her position on abortion, and Judge Sotomayor has made three judicial decisions that favored anti-choice groups.

Roe v. Wade and abortion rights are far too important to leave to chance! Too much is at risk. Sotomayor could throw the entire court into the anti-choice column.

As the blog A Candid World, A Short Series about Sotomayor wrote, “In today’s judicial confirmation battles, there’s really only one subject that matters: abortion. Justice Souter’s confirmation taught the right not to simply trust a nominee to vote the preferred way on the issue, and Democrats ought to have learned the same lesson.”

Tell your US senators that we must know where US Supreme Court nominee Judge Sotomayor stands on abortion rights.
Find your elected officials

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