Via Broadsheet, we find that Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health have revealed never-seen-before video clips of the late Dr. George Tiller explaining why he is an abortion provider. On the 37th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the first day of opening statements on the murder trial of Dr. Tiller’s assassination, we wanted to share.
Approximate transcripts after the jump.
After I had been there for a little while, patients in the practice began to ask me if I was going to do abortions like my father did. And I was horrified, because the only thing worse than a woman that was request an abortion, was the physician that would do the abortion. So I was outraged, why would these people, that my dad had provided quality health care for over an extended period of time, say that he was a scumbag type physician? Well, so, I started going back through the charts, see who had…what chart looked like somebody might have had an abortion. So I began to ask some of these women, and I found out there were more than one or two. Here’s what happened – in 1945, 46, or 47, a young woman who my dad had already delivered two babies came to him pregnant again right away, and she said something to the effect of, “I can’t take it, can you help me?” And those are the two common denominators, that is the way you ask for an abortion from your regular doctor before abortion was legal. At least then, that’s my impression. That was the common denominator, “I can’t take it, can you help me?” My dad said, “No, big families.., by the time the baby gets here everything will be alright.” She went out, had a non-healthcare provider abortion, came back 10 days to 2 weeks later and died. Now, I have had the unique experience of delivering 2 and 3 babies for Tiller Family Practice patients, second and third generation babies. I know what that neat relationship is between the physician and the woman for whom he delivers 2 or 3 babies. I’ve had that relationship, it’s a neat relationship. Having had that relationship, I can understand how upset my father was. I do not know whether he did a hundred abortions or 200 abortions or 300 abortions, I think it may have been something like 200 over a period of about 20 years, but I don’t know for sure. I’m a woman-educated physician. I don’t know how many abortions he did, but the women in my father’s practice for whom he did abortions educated me and taught me that abortion is not about babies, it’s not about families, it’s about women’s hopes and dreams, potential the rest of their lives – abortion is a matter of survival for women.
It’s not what’s out there that makes a difference, it’s what’s in here. It is what you want to do if you have an understanding that this is a matter of survival for women and you are interested in helping women survive, then this is for you. It is not for you, if it is not an inner calling, it just isn’t. It doesn’t work that way. It’s not the technical component, it’s not the intellectual stimulation, abortion services are a heart issue. It’s a heart issue, and if you have a willing heart to help women in catastrophic situations, you can be an abortion provider. You can qualify and have a satisfactory life. There are probably more physicians who get shot working in an emergency room than are abortion clinics. There are all sorts of dangers – postal workers, firemen, police officers. Everything has a risk to it. I would prefer, personally, to have a challenging, stimulating, emotionally and spritiually-rewarding career that is short, rather than have a long one that is filled with ho-hum, mundane mediocrity, feeling as if you don’t make any difference to people. You will make a difference in women’s lives… if making a significant difference in women’s lives is important to you, having a career as an abortion provider will be an emotionally gratifying and tremendously stimulating occupation for you. If it’s sort of something you select intellectually, it’ll turn to salt in your mouth really quick and you’ll be gone.