George Tiller

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George Tiller (2007)

George Richard Tiller (August 8, 1941 - May 31, 2009) was one of the only doctors in America who provided late-term abortions. Anti-abortion activists bombed Tiller's clinic in 1985 and he was shot in both arms in 1993. On May 31, 2009, while at church in Wichita, Kansas, Tiller was fatally shot."[1]

Contents

Early Life

"Tiller graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1967, and served an internship at the U.S. Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton, California from 1967-1968. He worked as a Navy Flight Surgeon until 1970, when his father, Jack Tiller, mother, sister, and brother-in-law were killed in a plane crash near Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, while on their way to a medical conference in Canada."[2]

"Prior to the death of his father, Tiller had taken steps to enter a residency program and pursues a career as a dermatologist. Instead, upon the death of his closest relatives in the plane crash, he returned to Wichita and assumed his father's private family practice."[2]

"Once Tiller began seeing his father's patients, they revealed to him that his father had been providing them with illegal abortions for years.[2]

Although he started his 'Private Practice/Family Medicine in 1970[3], "In 1975, Tiller opened the Women's Health Care Services. In 1980, Tiller began specializing in abortions on second and third trimester children between 14 and 37 weeks of gestation."[2]

"In the seventies, Tiller became increasingly involved in a number of radical pro-abortion organizations. In the seventies, he served on the advisory board of Planned Parenthood of Kansas. He held membership in abortion groups as the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), National Abortion Federation (NAF), National Organization for Women (NOW), Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights, ProChoice Action League, National Coalition of Abortion Providers, and Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.[2]

George Tiller hugs Charlotte Taft, at the time an operator of a clinic in Dallas, TX, in 1986 during a press conference outside of his office which was bombed.[4]

"In 1986, George Tiller's clinic was firebombed. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by Shelley Shannon."[2]

Women's Health Center Services

George Tiller's father, Jack Tiller, operated the 'Women's Health Center Services', a "family health center", until he was killed in a plane crash. George Tiller assumed his father's practice.[2]

Planned Parenthood of Kansas

From 1973 to 1976[3], George Tiller served on the Medical Advisory Board of Planned Parenthood Kansas.[2]

NARAL

From 1980 to 1987[3], George Tiller held membership in the Kansas National Abortion Rights Action Leage (NARAL).[2]

From 1985-1986, Tiller was on the Tribute Committee for NARAL.[3]

Impaired Physicians Committee

From 1987-1992, Tiller was a member of the Impaired Physicians Committee of Kansas Medical Society[3].

Medical/Legal Consultations

From 1985 until 2009, Tiller provided medical/legal consultations on abortion issues.[3]

National Abortion Federation

From 1978 until 2009, George Tiller held membership in the National Abortion Federation (NAF).[2]

National Organization for Women

From 1986 until 2009[3] , George Tiller held membership in the National Organization for Women (NOW).[2]

George Tiller speaks against a bill that would restrict late-term abortions in Kansas.[4]

Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights

From 1978 until 2009[3] , George Tiller held membership in the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights.[2]

ProChoice Action League

George Tiller was a Co-Founder and held membership from 1989 until 2009[3] in the ProChoice Action League.[2]

National Coalition of Abortion Providers

In 2002, George Tiller served on the Foundation Board[3] in the National Coalition of Abortion Providers.[2]

Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health

In 2002, George Tiller served as a Board Member in the Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.[2]

American Medical Association

From 1968 until 2009, Tiller was apart of the American Medical Association.[3]

American Academy of Family Physicians

From 1973 until 2009, Tiller was a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians.[3]

US Navy

  • From 1967 to 1968, Tiller did an Internship at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Camp Pendleton, California[3]
  • From 1968 to 1969, he took the Naval Aero-Space Medical Institute Flight Surgeon Course[3]
  • From 1969 to 1970, Tiller worked as a U.S. Navy Flight Surgeon in Oakland, California[3]

Soccer League

From 1980 to 1991, Tiller was a Team Physician for the Wichita Wings, a Major Indoor Soccer League.[3]

Women’s Alcoholism Treatment Services

From 1987 to 1990, Tiller was the Medical Director at Women’s Alcoholism Treatment Services for the Sedgwick County Health Department in Wichita, Kansas.[3]

Wesley Medical Center

George Tiller was involved with the Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas in the following ways:[3]

  • From 1970 to 1975 Tiller was the Chairman, did the Medical Records, Utilization, and was on the Pharmacy Committee in the Department of Family Practice
  • From 1974 to 1980, he was on the Executive Committee Medical Staff
  • In 1979, he was the President and was on the Medical Staff

Teaching Experience

George Tiller had the following teaching experience:[3]

  • From 1970 until 2009, Tiller was the Clinical Instructor at the Family Medicine Residency, Wesley Medica Center/HCA Wesley
  • From 1973 until 1975, Tiller was on the Volunteer Community Supervising Physician at the Family Practice Residency at the Wesley Medical Center
  • From 1976 until 2009, Tiller was the Clinical Instructor at the Department of Family and Community Medicine in the Wichita State Branch at the University of Kansas

Present University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita State Branch/ HCA Wesley Medical Center

Women's Health Care Services

Although he started his 'Private Practice/Family Medicine in 1970[3], George Tiller opened his clinic and was the director/owner, Women's Health Care Services in Wichita, Kansas in 1975. It was "world-renowned as a place where women could receive abortions up until the ninth month. There was a metal detector and patients had to provide their name and identification to get in. Women from age 9 to 60 came from all around the world to have late-term abortions.[2]

In 2009, the website claimed that, "Women's Health Care Services is a professional organization dedicated to providing expert, confidential, and respectful abortion care. We have a national and international reputation for providing the highest quality abortion services in a safe and caring environment. Kindness, courtesy, justice, love and respect are the cornerstones of our patient-provider relationships. We were the first non-university clinic to participate in an FDA-approved study of medically induced (non-surgical) abortions."[5]

George Tiller listening to a testimony in a 2008 pre-trial hearing in which Tiller's lawyers requested that 19 misdemeanor charges against Tiller be dismissed.[4]

Tiller's Employees

The following information is taken from a report by Operation Rescue. [2]

WHCS Abortionists

George Tiller was one of four abortionists reported to work at Women's Health Care Services. Each abortionist worked several days a month on a rotating schedule and were flown in from out of state. Other abortionists included the following:[2]

WHCS Clinic Staff

The following were at one time employed by George Tiller to help him run Women's Health Care Services:[2]

Abortion Chaplains

George Tiller employed two chaplains who, according to his website at the time, offered "individual counseling, group counseling and the celebration of spiritual sacraments such as baptism of the stillborn fetus and blessings for the aborted fetus. The program works with many different religions and is prepared to do, or arrange for, religious services from any spiritual religion."[2]

According to the website at the time, "The Chaplaincy program is designed to bring spiritual resources to those who come to the Clinic for help and assistance. Spiritually, abortion is acceptable in ten of the world's religions and in Christianity many denominations affirm and uphold the right of a woman to make the choice of abortion. The Chaplaincy program works with people from all religious backgrounds as well as those who are not a part of a spiritual tradition. The program offers individual counseling, group counseling and the celebration of spiritual sacraments such as baptism of the still born fetus and blessings for the aborted fetus. The program works with many different religions and is prepared to do, or arrange for, religious services from any spiritual religion. The services of Women's Health Care Serves is a coordinated effort so that every patient and significant other can experience the healing of body, mind and spirit."[6]

The chaplains were:

In 2009, George Gardner was a chaplain at the Women's Health Care Services.[6]

Affiliations

Tiller has been affiliated or been friends with the following individuals and organizations.

Rep. Ruby Gilbert

George Tiller

In 1997 George Tiller went through a mock consultation with Rep. Ruby Gilbert, D, Wichita in 1997 at the Women's Health Care Services. In the foreground of the photo, the blanket is covering photos of aborted fetuses that Tiller used to show patients what to expect.[4]

Fetal Anomalies

For over 25 years, the Women's Health Care Services performed abortions due to different fetal anomalies, "including in such situations as:

  • anencephaly
  • Trisomy 13, 18, and 21
  • polycystic kidney disease
  • spina bifida
  • hydrocephalus
  • Potter's syndrome
  • lethal dwarfism
  • holoprosencephaly
  • anterior and posterior encephalocele
  • non-immune hydrops
  • "and a variety of other very significant abnormalities."[7]

Late Abortion Care

According to the website at the time, "At Women's Health Care Services, we specialize in "late" abortion care. We are able to perform elective abortions to the time in the pregnancy when the fetus is viable. Viability is not a set point in time. Viability is determined by the attending physician and is based on sonogram results, physical examination and last menstrual period date (if known). Our telephone counselors will ask you a number of medical questions to determine if you are eligible for an elective abortion. If you have visited another clinic or physician, we will ask for the results from a recent ultrasound."[8]

1986 Clinic Bombing

"In 1986, George Tiller's clinic was firebombed. Tiller claimed the bombing was the work of the anti-abortion fanatics, however, local pro-lifers told Operation Rescue that according to police reports available at the time, Tiller himself was the prime suspect in the arson."[2]

Fetal Indications Termination of Pregnancy Program

"George Tiller added the Fetal Indications Termination of Pregnancy Program to his abortion practice in 1989."[2]

"Remembrance Services"

George Tiller encouraged 'remembrance services', "that he also called 'identification and separation encounters' for the families who have aborted their children at his clinic. These services are also referred to by Tiller as 'activities for the stillborn'. They include the following, quoted from Tiller's website at the time:[2]

  • Viewing your baby after delivery
  • Holding your baby after delivery
  • Photographs of your baby
  • Baptism of your baby, with or without a certificate, footprints and handprints of your baby
  • Certificate of premature miscarriage
  • Cremation
  • An urn for ashes
  • Arrangement of burial in either Wichita or your home state
  • Arrangement of amniocentesis/autopsy
  • Medical photographs and x-rays for your health care professional

Tiller was reported to always have taken photographs of each aborted child in the Fetal Indications Program and x-rays "for medical records". He would also photograph the family with their aborted child and present them with the Polaroid, if desired.

George Tiller explained, "We will take family photographs of the baby, and that means that the baby will be cleaned up after delivery. We will, uh, wrap the baby in a receiving blanket and we will take pictures that you may show your family at some time in the future or you may see or you may have to take home with you. You may hold the baby. We can take pictures of you and the family holding the baby, if you wish, and that is not an uncommon request. The identification/separation encounter may be very brief, five or ten minutes. It may even take less than that. Or the identification/separation encounter may involve 2 or 3 hours of bonding with the baby - the identification that this is your baby and you have had a delivery."[2]

1993 Shooting

"In 1993, Tiller was shot in both arms by Shelley Shannon. He reported for work the following day in spite of his wounds that had allegedly caused permanent nerve damage."[2]

Free Abortions

Tiller offered free abortions in commemoration of the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision. These free abortions were only available to women who qualified for Medicaid assistance. He ended this program in 2003. "[2]

Botched Abortions

According to Operation Rescue[2]:

George Tiller was involved in "complications requiring hospital admission including hemorrhage requiring transfusion, cervical lacerations and obstetrical trauma requiring surgery, and infection."

"There were at least eleven botched abortions, including one abortion death, that have been documented by people from Operation Rescue who were on hand when the ambulances arrived to transport patients to the hospital." There are several court records and many eye witness accounts of the botched abortions resulting in hospital admission and physical complications from abortions, including those in April 2001, October 2002, January 2004, June 2004, September 2004, January 2005, February 2005, May 2005, June 2005, July 2005, October 2005, and February 2006."

Abortion and Religion

On January 22, 2003, Tiller, instead of driving into his clinic parking lot, walked a half block in order to walk through pro-lifers protesting outside his clinic. The protesters begged Tiller to repent and Tiller replied, "Abortion is worth going to Hell for."[2]

Presentations and Lectures

According to his website at the time, Tiller gave presentations and lectures on the following topics:[3]

  • 1982-“Augmented D & E for Late Mid-Trimester Abortion”
  • 1984-“Seeing is Better Than Feeling (Routine Ultrasound in the First Trimester)”
  • 1985-“Induction Abortion as an Outpatient” - Family Practice Grand Rounds
  • 1988-“1st Trimester Abortion With and Without Ultrasound - A Comparison of 16, 000 Patients” - National Abortion Federation Annual Meeting
  • 1988-“Fruits, Spheres, and Soundwaves - Ultrasound and Abortion in the First Trimester” - Family Practice Lecture Series
  • 1989-“Transvaginal Ultrasound in the First Trimester: An Asset or a Liability?” - National Abortion Federation Annual Meeting
  • 1990-“Pre-op and Intra-operative Ultrasound in the First Trimester” - National Abortion Federation Annual Meeting
  • 1992-“Empowering Physicians/Operation Rescue Survival” - National Abortion Federation Annual Meeting
  • 1993-“Fetal Indications Termination of Pregnancy as an Outpatient: Experience with 340 Patients at 19 to 31 Weeks Duration” - National Abortion Federation Annual Meeting
  • 1993-“Spirituality and Abortion Providers” - National Abortion Federation Annual Meeting Panel Discussion
  • 1994-“Fetal Indications Termination of Pregnancy Program, January 1989-December 1993 Study”
  • 1995-“Emerging Technologies: The Impact of Medical Abortion” - National Abortion Federation Annual Meeting Panel Discussion
  • 1996-“Presentation of the Stillborn/Our Experiences with 1000 Fetal Indications Terminations of Pregnancy” - Abortion Matters: Amsterdam, the Netherlands (March)
  • 1996-“Gifts of Understanding and the Pyramid of Reason” - Region IV Meeting of National Association of Genetic Counselors, Kansas City, MO (March)
  • 1996-“Presentation of the Stillborn/Our Experiences with 1000 Fetal Indications Terminations of Pregnancy” - National Abortion Federation Meeting, San Francisco, CA (April)
  • 1997-“Emotional Care of the Fetal Indications Termination of Pregnancy Patient” - National Abortion Federation Risk Management Meeting, St. Louis, MO (September)
  • 1997-“Report to Providers: Experience with 1274 Fetal Indications Termination of Pregnancy Patients as Outpatients 1989-1997"-Private Communication with Referral Sources
  • 1997-“Clinic Experience with Kansas Legislators” - Clinic Tour (October)
  • 1999-“Understanding the ‘Late’ Abortion Patient” - Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts, Amherst College, Amherst, MA (January)
  • 1999-“Understncy” - National Society of Genetic Counselors, Washington, DC (November)
  • 2002-“The Effect of Previous Caesarian Section on Induction Termination of Pregnancy by the WHCS MOLD Technique: A Review of 4487 Late Abortion Patients” - National Abortion Federation Annual Meeting, San Jose, CA (April)
  • 2002-“A Provider’s Perspective” - Medical Students for Choice, San Jose, CA (April)
  • 2002-“Emotional Care of the Fetal Indications Termination of Pregnancy Patient” -- National Society of Genetic Counselors Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ (November)
  • 2003-“A Career in 15 Minutes: Policies, Procedures, Protocols and Philosophies of Success” -- National Abortion Federation Risk Management Meeting, Seattle, WA (April)
  • 2003-“Abortion Before It Was Legal” -- PRCH Video, Panel Discussion, National Abortion Federation Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA (April)
  • 2003-“AD Claman Memorial Lecture: Emotional Care of the Patient With an Anomalous Fetus” - Women’s and Children’s Hospital of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada (April)
  • 2003-“The Fundamentals of Fetal Indications Termination of Pregnancy” - Perinatal Grand Rounds, Women and Children’s Hospital of British Columbia, Vancouver BC, Canada (April)
  • 2003-“A Career in 15 Minutes (Axioms and Over-Arching Principles of Late Terminations of Pregnancy)” - Medical Students for Choice, Seattle, WA (April)
  • 2003-“Results, Rocket Science, and Religion: Lessons Learned from 5625 Abortion Patients” - National Society of Genetics Counselors Annual Meeting, Charlotte, NC (September)

Awards

George Tiller received the following awards:[3]

  • 1973-1978 -Active Teacher in Family Practice Award - American Academy of Family Practice
  • 1992 -Person of the Year, You Make a Difference Award - Planned Parenthood of Nebraska
  • 1993 -Faith and Freedom Award - Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights
  • 1994 -Christopher Tietze Humanitarian Award - National Abortion Federation
  • 1997 -25-Year Membership Award - American Academy of Family Physicians, Chicago, IL
  • 1999 -Reproductive Freedom Award - Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts, Massachusetts NARAL, Tapestry Health System
  • 1999 -Award for Outstanding Achievement in Women’s Health Care - Parke Davis Women’s Healthcare, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2003 -AD Claman Memorial Award, A Lifetime of Contribution to Women’s Health - Women and Children’s Hospital of British Columbia
  • 2003 -Jer Symposium Internacional Multicultural en Salud Reproductiva
  • 2003 -David Gunn Award for Providing Abortion Services with Courage and Compassion - National Coalition of Abortion Providers
  • 2003 -“Reproductive Care and Compassion Award” - Planned Parenthood of New York City, New York, NY

Quotations

The following are quotations by George Tiller, reported by Operation Rescue.[2]

  • "Abortion is worth going to Hell for."
  • "We have learned that patients don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." (from a videotape produced by George Tiller in 1996 for patients considering abortion for "fetal abnormality")
  • "We have learned that patients, in difficult times do not expect their physicians to be perfect." (from a videotape produced by George Tiller in 1996 for patients considering abortion for "fetal abnormality")
  • "The bedrock philosophy of this practice is that patients are emotionally, spiritually, and physically competent to come to decisions that are appropriate for them."
  • "Physicians are counselors, we're advisors, we'er diagnosticians, we're scientists, we collect information, we make diagnoses, we present options to you the patient, and you the patient make decisions. Physicians are not competent to decide for the patients because physicians are not responsible for the outcomes."
  • "Our first approach is our approach to women. We believe that women have more worth and more value beyond their biological reproductive support function for the fertilized egg, embryo, fetus, child, baby, call it whatever you have-call it whatever you wish."
  • "The women is the patient and the fetus is the problem."
  • "At Women's Health Care Services, our late elective abortion program involved managing the pregnancy by the premature delivery of a stillborn."
  • "We will take family photographs of the baby, and that means that the baby will be cleaned up after delivery. We will, uh, wrap the baby in a receiving blanket and we will take pictures that you may show your family at some time in the future or you may see or you may have to take home with you. You may hold the baby. We can take pictures of you and the family holding the baby, if you wish, and that is not an uncommon request. The identification/separation encounter may be very brief, five or ten minutes. It may even take less than that. Or the identification/separation encounter may involve 2 or 3 hours of bonding with the baby - the identification that this is your baby and you have had a delivery."
  • "We think the process is safe. Nothing is perfect."
  • "Bad things can happen to good people. You're good people. We're good people. But major problems do occur and they occur every year. We do not walk on water and we are not magic."

Legacy

Following the death of Tiller, pro-abortion groups conducted many and various campaigns and programs to honor his life and work. The following is a list of such projects:

  • I Am Dr. Tiller - a website that was created as "both a memorial to the lifework of Dr. George Tiller and as a living testimony to the courageous lives of abortion providers."[9]
  • Remember Dr. Tiller Tribute - a list of individuals and groups who signed a NARAL document honoring Tiller.

References

  1. InfoPlease: George Tiller (accessed on September 1, 2012)
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 Operation Rescue The Tiller Report (accessed on September 1, 2012)
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 Women's Health Care Servies Our Medical Director (accessed on September 14, 2012 via the WayBack Machine)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Wichita Eagle George Tiller Through the Years, May 31, 2009 (accessed on Sep. 17, 2012)
  5. Women's Health Care Servies deathangeltiller.com (accessed on September 14, 2012 via the WayBack Machine)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Women's Health Care Servies Meet Our Chaplain (accessed on September 14, 2012 via the WayBack Machine)
  7. Women's Health Care Servies Late Abortion Care for Fetal Anamoly (accessed on September 14, 2012 via the WayBack Machine)
  8. Women's Health Care Servies Late Abortion Care Elective (accessed on September 14, 2012 via the WayBack Machine)
  9. I Am Dr. Tiller website (accessed on March 26, 2013)
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