Yeninko of the Umlaut

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Why George Tiller's murder matters

Outside of the ideological battle, he was an expert in his field doing work that few if any other doctors have the expertise or willingness to perform. For that he was murdered and I wonder if any others will step into the void left.

Susan Hill, President of the National Women's Health Foundation, who knew Dr. Tiller for over two decades and referred girls and women to his clinic, said in a phone interview, "We always sent the really tragic cases to Tiller." Those included women diagnosed with cancer who needed abortions to qualify for chemotherapy, women who learned late in their pregnancies that their wanted babies had fatal illnesses, and rape victims so young they didn't realize they were pregnant for months

...

A commenter at the blog Balloon Juice told the story of finding out in the eighth month of his wife's pregnancy that she was carrying conjoined twins. "Conjoined twins alone is not what was so difficult but the way they were joined meant that at best only one child would survive the surgery to separate them and the survivor would more than likely live a brief and painful life filled with surgery and organ transplants." They chose to terminate the much-wanted pregnancy, rather than bring a child into the world only to suffer and die. "The nightmare of our decision and the aftermath was only made bearable by the warmth and compassion of Dr. Tiller and his remarkable staff." A commenter on Metafilter tells a similar story: "My wife and I spent a week in Dr. Tiller's care after we learned our 21 week fetus had a severe defect incompatible with life. The laws in our state prevented us from ending the pregnancy there, and Dr. Tiller was one of maybe three choices in the whole nation at that gestational age." He went on to share his memories of Dr. Tiller. "I remember him firmly stating that he regarded the abortion debate in the US to be about the control of women's sexuality and reproduction. I remember he spent over six hours in one-on-one care with my wife when there was concern she had an infection. We're talking about a physician here. Six hours."

...

The trauma of receiving such a diagnosis is only compounded by the difficulty of obtaining a late-term abortion. Writes one woman, "The reality is that finding a doctor to do this procedure in the late second or third trimester is almost impossible. For me, the reality was that at the most painful time of my life I had to travel out of state, stay in a hotel room and face hostile protesters in order to carry out this most personal of choices." Another writes, "I had to fly to Kansas to have the procedure done. It was a five-day out patient procedure that cost us almost $9,000 after all was said and done. I am hurt and angry at the state of Maryland for taking away my right to allow my daughter to die in peace ... I was appalled that Maryland did not have a quality-of-life addendum to the late-term termination law." Susan Hill says enduring the expense and stress of travel is the only option for most women who need late abortions in the U.S. "The restrictions under the Bush administration made it impossible for most states to allow abortions past 16 weeks. All the southern states are restricted tremendously. A few places in New York, if it was medically necessary, could possibly do it, but the paperwork was unbelievable, and there was no time left. That's why they referred people to Tiller. And for that he lost his life. "

Hill last spoke to Dr. Tiller two weeks ago, not long after the Women's Health Center was vandalized, and she asked the 67-year-old why he didn't retire in the face of increasing harassment, after already having been shot in both arms and seen his clinic bombed. "Because I can't leave these women," he told her. "Those are the words I'm always going to remember from him. He just believed that when he left, they wouldn't get any kind of care." Unfortunately, it seems he may have been right. I asked Hill where women who need late-term abortions can go now, and her response was bleak. "There's Warren Hern, out in Boulder, Colorado, but he doesn't go as far as Dr. Tiller went." When it comes to those "really tragic cases," Hill said the harsh truth is, "We don't know where we're going to send them."


I've pretty much quoted the entirety of this article.

Update 6/9/09: Looks like George Tiller's clinic will closes permanently.

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2 Comments:

  • Tiller wasn't murdered because he "was an expert in his field doing work that few if any other doctors have the expertise or willingness to perform." He was murdered because dude thought Tiller was killing babies.


    John Brown didn't kill 5 southerners in the Pottawatomie Massacre because the dude thought those southerners were experts in the field of enslaving human beings in a way that fewer if any other enslavers achieved, it was because John Brown was really against the enslavement of human beings and thought these guys abetted it.

    So John Brown killed them enslavers and some others and then got executed because we don't resolve disputes like that in the U.S., except when we do and then we suffer the consequences

    By Anonymous Sony Baloney Who Loves Macaroni, at 5:08 PM  

  • Tiller wasn't murdered because he "was an expert in his field doing work that few if any other doctors have the expertise or willingness to perform." He was murdered because dude thought Tiller was killing babies.

    I disagree. From the alleged murderer, Scott Roeder,"...but when told the clinic had been shuttered since Tiller's death, he said, "Good." Roeder said the closure would mean "no more slicing and dicing of the unborn child in the mother's womb and no more needles of poison into the baby's heart to stop the heart from beating, and no more partial-birth abortions."

    While partial-birth abortion is exclusively a political term, not a medical one, the Supreme Court in GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL v. CARHART et al. has held that the terms "partial-birth abortion" and "intact dilation and extraction" are basically synonymous.

    So what is intact dilation and extraction? "An induced abortion procedure that occurs after the 20th week of gestation", a late term abortion.

    And finally, who in this wonderful nation of ours performs abortions after the 20th week? George Tiller was one a very few who specialized in later term abortions.

    Therefore if the alleged killer is indeed guilty, and his motivations for the murder were to prevent late term abortions as he implies, then he was killed because "was an expert in his field doing work that few if any other doctors have the expertise or willingness to perform."

    George Tiller was targeted because he provided later term abortions, one of a few doctors in the country who do so regularly and exclusively. By way of analogy, claiming otherwise is like saying MLK and Malcom X weren’t shot for there political views but simply because they’re killer simply didn’t like black men.

    By Blogger Yen, at 9:09 AM  

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