Five years ago, we lost a dear friend, a brilliant and compassionate physician, and a true hero. Dr. George Tiller was murdered at his church by an anti-choice extremist. While we will never fully be able to forget the tragic loss of this day, we also will take the opportunity to celebrate Dr. Tiller's life and work and share the ways in which he inspired and touched us all.
Every year, we celebrate abortion providers at our Rashbaum-Tiller Abortion Provider Awards
, named for Drs. William Rashbaum and George Tiller. This year, on May 19, we honored two incredible physicians: Dr. Carol Ball received our Rashbaum Award and Dr. Cheryl Chastine the Tiller Award. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anna Quindlen gave the keynote speech, alongside President/CEO Jodi Magee
, Board Chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood
, founding member and 2010 Rashbaum Award recipient Dr. Carolyn Westhoff
, Trust Women founder Julie Burkhart, and Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota CEO Sarah Stoesz. The evening's speeches featured moving remembrances of Dr. Tiller and Dr. Rashbaum and rousing tributes to abortion providers everywhere. Read a Storify of the evening's Twitter feed here
In advance of the fifth anniversary of Dr. Tiller's murder, Dr. Stanwood spoke to Tara Culp-Ressler of ThinkProgress
and MSNBC's Irin Carmon
on the topic of clinic violence, abortion provider intimidation, and the future face of abortion providers. Dr. Stanwood says
that despite the threats and anti-choice legislation, she is optimistic:
“If there’s a bright spot, it’s that the younger generation gets it. I see a new generation of people that is ready, willing, and becoming able to provide this service.”
Dr. Tiller once said: “Abortion is about women’s hopes, dreams, potential, the rest of their lives. Abortion is a matter of survival for women.”
Today, as we do every day, we remember him and his impact on patients’ lives.
Read more remembrances:
: Former Physicians board chair Suzanne Poppema, MD
, on Dr. Tiller's commitment to his patients and how we can honor his memory
: From 2012, Physicians board member Willie Parker, MD, MPH, MSc
, discusses Dr. Tiller's generosity and kindness on Democracy Now!
: Dr. Tiller talks about how he became a provider
: Dr. Tiller explains why he continued his work, despite repeated harassment and violence
: Voices of Choice,
our documentary about pre-Roe
abortion providers, featuring Dr. Tiller
: "I have more to be grateful for than I have to be resentful about."
: A 1998 portrait of Dr. Tiller