I learned about Dr. Tiller’s murder via twitter. I remember exactly where I was on May 31, 2009 — sitting on my couch, casually browsing the new internet phenomenon, not yet convinced that it was a worthwhile pursuit for me. I saw a friend’s tweet, “wtf Dr Tiller dead?!?” and at first it didn’t register. I looked around. Outside, the wind was blowing through the trees. My beagle was sleeping, snoring next to me. Dr. Tiller was dead. What?!
At the time, I worked at an abortion clinic. We referred our patients to Dr. Tiller if we couldn’t see them due to a later stage in pregnancy or a severe fetal abnormality. He was a hero in my mind, a kind of Abortion God who stood for justice, peace, and compassion. I aspired to live and work by his high standards, his well-known mantras.
I scoured the internet to read anything I could about the circumstances of his murder. I called my supervisor in a panic, afraid for my clinic, my patients, my co-workers. I was glued to my computer as the details unfolded, not taking calls from anyone who didn’t work in abortionland, my heart drenched in despair and anxiety.