One year ago today, it was a calm, bright, Sunday morning. I had nothing planned for that day. It was a lazy, relaxing, uneventful day for me. I was expecting it to stay that way.
Then, I heard the news that shattered my heart into a million pieces. A doctor dead by the hands of not just one assassin, but one deadly movement. They call themselves “pro-life”, and if you don’t do what they tell you to do, they will kill you. Today, they will weep their crocodile tears and hide behind their label, “pro-life”. Then they will go on to promote killing by promoting the outrageous idea that doctors are “mass murderers” and “baby killers,” when in fact the people who are responsible for murder are these “pro-lifers” themselves.
One year ago today, we lost a true American hero. We lost a man who saved dreams and lives, a man who eased and prevented suffering, a man who, for many women, was the shining star in the worst week of their lives, a man whose legacy will live on in my heart for the rest of my life.
One year ago today, America lost a friend. He was a friend to other doctors, to his patients, to his colleagues, and to women everywhere. We lost him because he was a friend. We lost him because he helped people. We lost him because the anti-choice movement hates to see a pregnant woman get help. They hate to see her get that help, so they destroy her only source for help.
I always hear talk of the hope that other doctors will “replace” Dr. Tiller. This will never happen. Maybe someone can take his place as a physician, but when we lost Dr. Tiller, someone lost a husband, a father, a grandfather, a best friend. No one can take Dr. Tiller’s unique place in this world. No one.
Today, I’m asking myself this: How many more doctors will have to die? How many more doctors will be assassinated before America (and the rest of the world) recognizes the anti-choice movement for what it is- a large terrorist group? How many more people will have to lose their spouses, their fathers or mothers, their uncles and aunts, before we can bring this terrorism to a halt? How many more clinics will be bombed? How many more doctors will have to live their lives in fear of terrorism, just because they choose to help women?
Dr. Tiller was a man who, in the words of Dr. Warren Hern, represented a thought. He represented dignity, he represented the opportunity for women to become full citizens and participants in our society, he represented social change. Dr. Tiller represented the value of human life. He represented freedom, and that is why he’s dead today.
Dr. Tiller is physically dead, but please don’t let his memory die along with his physical being. I am going to let Dr. Tiller live on in my heart and in my actions, and I’m asking you to do the same.
God bless you Dr. Tiller.