George R TillerBMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b2465 (Published 16 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2465
- Janice Hopkins Tanne
Dr George Tiller, one of only three US doctors who provided abortions late in pregnancy, was shot dead as he served as an usher in his church in Wichita, Kansas, on 31 May (BMJ 2009;338:b2237, doi:10.1136/bmj.b2237). At his funeral on 7 June, more than 800 people filled the sanctuary at the College Hill United Methodist Church while hundreds of others crowded into an overflow room or church hallways, including women whom he had treated. Police kept a few antiabortion demonstrators blocked away. His wife, Jeanne, sang the Lord’s Prayer and dedicated it to “my best buddy and the love of my life,” according to the New York Times (www.nytimes.com, 7 June 2009, “Kansas doctor remembered as devoted to family and women”).
Tiller was no stranger to violence. In 1993 he was shot in both arms; his assailant was convicted and imprisoned. The clinic was vandalised last month. In 1986 it was bombed. Dr Tiller usually wore a flak jacket and drove an armour plated Jeep.
President Barack Obama said that he was “shocked and outraged” by the killing. The Planned Parenthood Federation, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the Guttmacher Institute, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the National Abortion Federation, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and other reproductive health groups expressed their sorrow at the killing.