Dr. Tiller’s murder: What you can do

In comments to my previous post on the killing of Dr. George Tiller, AnatomyFightSong asked,

I would love to hear people’s thoughts on how we can mobilize to
(non-violently) fight back. How can we turn this terrible tragedy into
an opportunity to strengthen the pro-choice movement?

It’s hard to know how to respond to something like this with more than just sadness and anger. A few suggestions on what to do with that energy:

Attend a memorial vigil for Dr. Tiller.

  • Wichita, KS: Meet at 8pm on Sunday in Old Town Square.
  • Lawrence, KS: Meet at 8pm on Sunday at the South Park Gazebo
  • Washington, D.C.: Meet at 9pm on Sunday at the fountain at Dupont Circle. Also at 6:30pm on Monday at the White House.
  • Boston, MA: Meet at 6pm on Monday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral.
  • Seattle: Meet at 6pm on Monday, Details TBA. (Follow @ProChoiceWA on Twitter for details.)
  • Portland, OR: Meet at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Monday at 8:00pm
  • Ottawa, ON: Meet at 8:00pm on Tuesday, June 2 at the Human Rights Monument @ Elgin & Lisgar
  • Kansas City, MO:Meet on Monday at 8pm at the JC Nichols Fountain (near the Plaza).
  • Yakima, WA: Meet at 6pm on Monday at Millennium Arts Plaza
  • St. Louis, MO: Meet at 6:30pm on Monday at St Johns Episcopal Church
  • New York, NY: Meet at 6pm on Monday, Union Square Park – South End – near 14th Street.
  • Dallas, TX: Meet at 6:30pm Monday at Robert E. Lee Park (corner of Turtle Creek and Hall)
  • Chicago, IL: Meet at 4pm on Monday at the State of Illinois Building (Thompson Center)
  • San Francisco, CA: Meet at 7pm Monday at City Hall
  • Atlanta, GA: Meet at 7pm on Tuesday at Woodruff Park
  • Columbia, MO: Meet at 6:30pm Tuesday in Peace Park
  • Greensboro, NC: Meet at 6pm on Tuesday at the corner of N. Elm and W. Bessemer streets (in front of 917 N. Elm)
  • Minneapolis, MN: Meet at 9pm Tuesday in Loring Park
  • Philadelphia, PA: Meet at 5:30pm on Tuesday in Love Park
  • Hayward, CA: A memorial will be set up between 9am and 6pm on Wednesday at the Cal State University campus, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd. People are welcome to come bring balloons, poems, photos, rocks, candles, etc

More vigils listed at NARAL’s site. If your city/town isn’t listed, plan a vigil yourself! 

Vigil photos are posted here and here.

* Also, NOW is urging people to wear white armbands in memory of Dr. Tiller today (Monday).

Donate to a pro-choice organization.

Discuss how this is connected to the daily intimidation of abortion providers all over the country.

  • Write letters to your local media when you see this framed as an isolated incident, or as the act of just one extremist. Explain how this is connected to the broader issue of threats and intimidation against women’s health care providers.
  • Encourage your friends and family members who aren’t pro-choice to reject groups that endorse or support extremist behavior.

Thank an abortion provider!

People who work and volunteer in reproductive health clinics (both those that provide abortions and those that don’t) risk their lives every day to ensure women’s health and freedoms are protected. They also deal with a lot of harassment and crap that might not be physically dangerous, but is a huge mental burden and daily stress. Let’s use this as an opportunity to recognize their commitment, and say THANK YOU!

UPDATE: Ask Obama to commit to reviving the National Task Force on Violence Against Health Care Providers.

Write to the Obama administration and ask that the Department of Justice work to enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. FACE was enacted after the murder of Dr. David Gunn in 1993, but the task force to ensure its enforcement was basically dormant during the Bush years. Ask Obama to revive it to protect reproductive health care providers and women who seek these services. More info here.

Other thoughts on how to respond — both individually and as a pro-choice community?

Some moving commentaries:
A Heartbreaking Choice

Awearness Blog: Dr. Tiller Assassinated in His Church (Read the first comment.)
A commenter at Balloon Juice on his experiences with Dr. Tiller

The Compassion of Dr. Tiller


Guest Book for Dr. Tiller

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47 Comments

  1. mugsandpugs
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Volunteer as a clinic escort or a patient advocate!

  2. mugsandpugs
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    also, the time of the portland, or vigil has been changed to 8 pm.

  3. AnatomyFightSong
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this. Another great, smaller org worth mentioning is Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (www.prch.org) — Dr. Tiller was a board member there. Also, NAF — the National Abortion Federation, an organization of abortion providers (www.prochoice.org).

  4. TurquoisePeanut
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for these great constructive options for channeling our energy right now. I know that I’ve so far been reacting mostly with unhelpful grief and rage, so it’s great to be reminded of where to put that anger so it might do some good.

  5. Mollie
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Sadness and anger… that’s exactly it. For some reason I couldn’t put any words to it…
    Thanks for the ideas.

  6. MJP
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi everyone,
    I wanted to let you know that due to an overwhelming number of requests from grief-stricken and outraged community members such as yourselves, the National Network of Abortion Funds has established a national abortion Fund in honor of Dr. Tiller to honor his memory by helping women in need, much as Dr. Tiller himself did every single day.
    The George Tiller Memorial Abortion Fund will help women in the second trimester with assistance paying for abortion care, as well as paying for travel and lodging enroute to providers.
    To donate to this Fund, please go to: https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?aid=19862
    You can also send donations via snail mail to:
    National Network of Abortion Funds
    ATTN: George Tiller Memorial Abortion Fund
    42 Seaverns Ave.
    Boston, MA 02130
    Please feel free to contact me with questions at: Megan (at) nnaf.org or 617-524-6034
    Megan Peterson
    Deputy Director
    National Network of Abortion Funds
    http://www.nnaf.org

  7. BROWN TRASH PUNK!
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Done and done. I hope everyone realizes they can donate as LITTLE money as they can– $1 can still be a great help for any of these organizations.

  8. Haley Leibovitz
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    The Chicago Abortion Fund has a wishlist of things that they need here: http://chicagoabortionfund.com/wishlist.php.

  9. NARAL OHIO
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    some clinic workers and NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio made a blog to raise funds as well.
    http://www.hopeforchoice.blogspot.com

  10. Logrus
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Volunteer for NARAL, and if you have training in law enforcement (civ or military) or relevant security training let someone know if you can contribute to the physical safety of patients or staff.

  11. Posted May 31, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Another vigil:
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Monday, June 1st
    8pm
    JC Nichols Fountain (near the Plaza)

  12. Yuki
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Hi all…
    Any word on a vigil in NYC?

  13. Desiree
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    I work in an abortion clinic and am having strong reactions about this. I have always been pro-choice but sometimes it is hard to know for sure if I am on the right side of things. I sometimes feel upset seeing dead fetuses everyday and protestors outside, which I assume is only normal. Only thing I can tell myself is that the woman is responsible enough to choose this path. (I don’t think I could handle seeing abortions past the first trimester. Not that I’m saying it’s wrong for a woman to get one. I just don’t think I could handle it.) Sometimes I am put off by things I see there and how things are done.
    Of course, as an act of terrorism, this is meant to put fear into people.
    I can’t imagine someone hurting one of the doctors I work with. They are amazing people, as is everyone I work with. I guess I just wish the Pro-Choice movement would recognize we believe we are on the right side just as much as they do. Abortion is such a sensitive issue.
    Thoughts anyone? Anyone else work for an abortion provider?
    Does anyone think universal healthcare would change how we handle abortion services? (Just wondering)

  14. Gretchen
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Just returned from the vigil here in Lawrence, KS, and even though the whole thing was hastily planned and barely advertised, around 200 people showed up. It was beautiful, and it filled me with hope to see so many people turn out to honor and remember such a great man.

  15. Desiree
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t mean for that post to be all about my feelings. This is so tragic, and his family and friends are in my thoughts.

  16. Siby
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    It’s a really small thing, but for a while, I’ll be wearing a necklace that I made in high school that I call my “choice necklace”. It’s a little charm that I made of the female symbol with the word “choice” engraved in it that I put on a chain to wear around my neck. I’d wear it whenever the anti-choicers at school would do their little “silence day” protest. It’s not really great quality craftsmanship, but people always seem to get my point whenever I wear it.
    I’m so saddened by his murder. :(

  17. existenz
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    I know this may be slightly off-topic, but this news has me wondering: where are all of the female abortion providers? It seems like most of these brave doctors who have been shot and killed are men. Do the right wing terrorists not go after the female doctors, or are there just fewer of them.
    Apparently there are only a handful of late term abortion providers in the country, and most (if not all) are male. Considering how many great female physicians and ob-gyns we have in this country, I wonder why more don’t provide this service.
    I’ve also noticed that many of these doctors are older, perhaps because they recall the pre-Roe days. I do wish we could get more young doctors to provide these family planning and “life of mother” health services.

  18. whoami
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    I was at the D.C. vigil, handing out candles (maybe I saw some of you there!), and one man heckled me and told me that he was “glad that Dr. Tiller is dead.” I was almost about to respond to him, but then I thought, the best response I can give is to keep handing out candles, with my head held high. I won’t give in to that sort of hate.

  19. Gossamer Facade
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting some good ideas about what to do. This is a great tragedy and I feel that women everywhere have lost a very strong ally. I hope we can all create something productive in the wake of this.

  20. Lise Marie
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 11:41 pm | Permalink
  21. Gretchen
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Oh, good for you! Thankfully, there were no protesters at the vigil I attended; I don’t know if I would have been able to restrain myself like you did.

  22. Alexandr
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    Snakes.

  23. JoanOfArc
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    I wrote to my local newspaper and I am going to see about becoming a clinic escort. Thank you for the ideas of actions to take.
    Joan

  24. firew0man
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Anyone know of any vigil in Michigan? I don’t, and I’m looking to organize one for Tuesday around 7 or 8pm, depending on what sort of feedback I get. Anyone in the area interested?

  25. Jen
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    Please consider donations to the Abortion Care Network, an organization that was very near and dear to Dr. Tiller’s heart. http://www.abortioncarenetwork.org
    They have a project called Enough! Basta! Stop Sidewalk Bullying at Women’s Clinics that is trying to raise money to put an end to harassment and intimidation of abortion providers.

  26. RaineyR
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    “Encourage your friends and family members who aren’t pro-choice to reject groups that endorse or support extremist behavior.”
    This advice is the most true – only by engaging with people who have dissimilar views can we understand one another and hope to mend these violent rifts. Above all: remember that this is the act of an extremist, not typical of those who are against a woman’s right to choose.
    Thanks for this blog post – it’s wonderful you’re working to find something positive in such a grisly act.
    http://twitter.com/Create_change

  27. arjun
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the post. I’ve just sent my medical school friends the link to the ‘Medical Students for Choice’ website. I’m sure it will get them pumped if they haven’t already seen it. Does anyone know if there is a San Francisco vigil?

  28. clementine
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    thank you for this! this list is great!

  29. Pantheon
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    Where did he actually work? I saw a blog post suggesting to donate to Planned Parenthood, but when I went to the PP website it mentioned in passing that he hadn’t actually worked for them. I think I’d like to donate in his name both to PP and to the clinic where he actually worked. Is that possible?

  30. Posted June 1, 2009 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    *******
    *******
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    Peaceful & Pro-Choice Vigil for Dr. George Tiller
    8:00pm
    Tuesday, June 2nd
    Human Rights Monument @ Elgin & Lisgar
    Ottawa

    This vigil will be a chance to gather to honour Dr. Tiller, and to gather together offering support to one another. Many of us are deeply shaken by what happened, and this event will allow us be together in solidarity, showing support for his family, his staff, for the women and families he has served, and for the abortion community.
    Please join us in a peaceful gathering.
    Bring candles, flowers, whatever you like.
    This is an accessible event for people of all faiths and genders, open to anyone that would like to join us in solidarity.
    *********
    8:00pm
    Tuesday, June 2nd
    Human Rights Monument @ Elgin & Lisgar
    Ottawa
    *********

  31. faith_aloud
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Memorial vigil in St. Louis: Join us at 6:30pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Tower Grove 3664 Arsenal St. Louis MO 63116.

  32. faith_aloud
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    The St. Louis service will be held on Monday, June 1.

  33. Jen
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Why was my previous comment taken down? This proves that your only interest is in demonizing those who are Pro-Life and attempting to blame the actions of one person on all those who respect the sanctity of all human life.
    Those who are Pro-Life condemn the murder of George Tiller, period. That is the truth. Why won’t you publish it?

  34. Toughchick
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Murder is never right, but holding a vigil for somebody who indulged into dodgy illegal late term abortions, I do not know.
    You will win over only the people who share your view already, those who do not only see somebody who indulged himself in illegal activities put on a pedestal.

  35. Sarah in Chicago
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Murder is never right, but
    You know, any time you write that, it might be an indication that the rest you’re about to type is also going to be shite.

  36. MomTFH
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    “This Common Secret” by Susan Wicklund is a fantastic autobiography of a female abortion provider. I have met several through medical students for choice.
    Most abortion providers are older, and medical school was not as welcoming to women until surprisingly recently. The demographics of all areas of medicine, including ob/gyn and abortion providers, are shifting towards more women.

  37. MomTFH
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    If you have to lie to get people to agree with you, maybe you should rethink your position.
    He provided a compassionate medical service for women who are already suffering. He was exonerated of all the BS investigations and legal cases brought up by lying extremists (like yerself) who are more interested in telling women what to do than actually reducing the abortion rate.
    How about fighting for comprehensive sex education? Access to affordable birth control? Universal health care for mothers and children (and everyone else, for that matter?) Better than lying on a board where everyone knows you are a liar.

  38. MomTFH
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Those who are truly pro life advocate for legal, safe abortion and access to birth control, because both of those actually save women and their existing children’s lives.

  39. annaleighclark
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I’d love to attend one in Michigan. Not sure where you’re at, but I’m in Detroit.

  40. annaleighclark
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    He worked at Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita. The website is http://www.drtiller.com, though it seems to be down right now (it was live yesterday)—I suppose many, many people are trying to view it right now.

  41. Star84
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Update:Facebook event for the Ottawa vigil.
    (I just noticed that the listings in the OP are linking to Facebook events)
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=92530400775&ref=nf
    ****Feministing Mods:
    Thank you so much for including this event in your listings! I have been a regular reader for a looong time, but today was the first time I made an account to comment, so I could share this event with others. Thanks for helping me get the message out!

  42. anon
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    As a native Wichitan, I think you should all also know that Dr. Tiller’s care for his patients went well beyond abortions. He purposefully educated his patients about the various medical procedures that they were about to receive.
    When a woman changed her mind about an abortion and opted for adoption, Dr. Tiller worked with a local adoption attorney to help his patients find suitable adoptive parents. He often ensured the women received appropriate pre-natal care, if that was their choice.
    Dr. Tiller provided many “normal” ob/gyn services and delivered hundreds if not thousands of healthy babies.
    Dr. Tiller was notorious because he was willing to help women in the most grave situations, when no other doctors would. He died because he believed these women, in terrible, painful situations should be treated with dignity and should make the decisions that best worked for them.
    When women needed abortions in the last trimester, he often gave them the opportunity to hold their children, to bury them if they wanted. He understood that some women needed to mourn like this, while others did not wish to see their mostly fatally ill children. He respected THEIR wishes.
    Locally, we have heard time and again that he is a compassionate, caring doctor and that his staff were simply top notch. What a tragedy.
    He was not a butcher, not a mass murderer. He was a DOCTOR. He provided the hardest most gut-wrenching services that other doctors don’t want to provide. So after mourning his loss, we must ask, WHO WILL REPLACE HIM???

  43. Pantheon
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Do you know if they’re set up for online donations, or would it be better to pick one of the national networks like PP or the med students fund? Maybe in terms of their publicity it would be better to donate a smaller amount to each…

  44. Miss Kitty
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Does anyone know of plans for a vigil on Toronto (Ontario)?

  45. Appetite for Equal Rights
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    What you are feeling is very understandable. I am fervently pro-choice, and even I sometimes have to convince myself that I am on the “right side.” But you’re correct in thinking that the women are responsible enough to choose these paths for themselves. No one, not even pro-choicers, will ever try to contend that abortion is pretty… of course it isn’t. It isn’t a pleasant procedure and anyone would get squeamish looking at graphic photos that depict fetuses. However, you just have to stay strong in your beliefs and keep reminding yourself that no woman would choose to have an abortion unless she felt it were absolutely necessary. Hope all works out for you :)

  46. laurakeet
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Chicagoans–passing along this info:
    Stand Against the Murder of Abortion Provider Dr. George Tiller!
    Monday, June 1st
    4pm rally and march
    State of Illinois Building (Thompson Center – Corner of Clark and Randolph)

  47. BROWN TRASH PUNK!
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    we don’t want and we don’t need your anti-choice agenda shoved down our throats, thanks. Now go troll somewhere else.

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