Controversial abortion doctor George Tiller shot to death in Wichita

Dr. Tiller was gunned down today as he was heading into church in Wichita.

Dr. George Tiller is one of the few doctors in the country willing to perform certain kinds of late-term abortions – women fly in from all over the world to see him.  This alone would make him controversial, especially in a town like Wichita, but he also has consistently defied the Pro-Life movement and organized against them.  He was widely reviled, and had even been shot and wounded before by an anti-abortion activist from Oregon.  So in a sense, this tragedy is not a total surprise.

This is huge – in his absense, Dr. Tiller’s clinic is unlikely to survive him.  The only other doctor there flew in once a week from Florida.  This means if you are a woman who lives in the high plains who needs an abortion – you’d better have money for a couple trips to a major city.

We tried many times to secure an interview with Dr. Tiller for our movie.  He’s a fascinating figure, who discovered after his parents’ death in a plane crash that his father had been performing illegal abortions, and slowly took over his practice after passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973.  Unfortunately for us, he stopped speaking to the media some years back, because he was constantly under some kind of investigation or lawsuit.

“What’s the Matter with Kansas?” covers the Pro-Life movement and its highly influential role in Kansas politics and the conservative movement.  Dr. Tiller loomed large for us – we were friendly with both his friends and his enemies, and would often see both in the same day.  However, none of the activists we spoke with condoned any sort of violence in pursuit of their cause — they were all very clear on this point.

For our part, we are saddened and horrified at the loss of Dr. Tiller, and extend heartfelt sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues.


  1. Patrice Lamoree
    May 31, 2009

    Not surprising. These ARE the people who were/are all gung-ho to Invade and Occupy Iraq. The people who, even once it was demonstrated that WE WERE LIED TO, STILL approve of the killing of 1,000,000 Iraqis, most of whom NEVER were, and never would have been, a threat to U.S. Though I can’t say as much about what Iraqis ARE now, since we have by a damned-site given them plenty to want revenge for now. There is such a thing as genuine Pro-Life values, but what passes for conventional “Pro-Life” values in U.S. politics is LIES and HYPOCRISY. These are the people that Sam Brownback will represent when he runs for governor.

    This act is another demonstration of why I may agree with these people in Principle, but I do not agree with them in practice, because, in practice, they ARE the same thing as that which they claim to abhor, just ask the 10s of thousands of dead Iraqi Children – if you could.

    Just extrapolate their willingness to act as “God” into, say something such as, a Long Term Care environment in which decisions about who gets the benefit of what Business dollars ARE going to be made.

    It’s waaaaaay more than 2 wrongs don’t make a right. At least when an individual woman makes a decision, right or wrong, that’s her and her family. I have been involved in the killing of 1,000,000 Iraqis and no one asked me anything about it. I WILL NEVER FORGET that fact. And, whereas I’d like to be on board with the values that “Pro-Lifers” SAY they support, I see no evidence that they DO actually support those values. Everything that comes out of their political camp is literally DOG-EAT-DOG. All I see is a political obsession with fetuses to the exclusion of the actual value of many other lives, especially those of Muslims.

    When it comes down to it, I DISLIKE Late-Term Abortion too for the SAME reasons that I hate War, but in order to deal with Late-Term Abortion, we NEED to begin by admitting that “we” kill ALL kinds of others in ALL sorts of ways ALL OF THE TIME, for ALL kinds or rationalizations. Maybe if “we” can admit that, we can begin to talk about what to do about it, not just Late-Term Abortion.

  2. […] anger that appears to be bubbling up in the wake of Barack Obama’s election.  The murder of George Tiller.  The shooting at the Holocaust museum.  Anti-gay violence.  One hopes things […]


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