Dr. D’s Blog

Archive for August 2009

It has been almost two month since Dr. George Tiller was murdered.  I haven’t written about this horrible tragedy until now because I have had difficulty coming to terms with it.  Dr. Tiller was not only a fellow abortion provider, but a personal friend.  He was targeted by right wing religious and political zealots because he provided second trimester and late term abortions.  Many physicians and their staffs who are involved with abortion services have experienced some degree of harassment from anti-abortion protestors.  In the thirty-five years that I have been providing abortion services, I have experienced my share of these incidents.  Although my clinic has been firebombed, blockaded, received multiple bomb threats, had all its windows broken and is picketed almost daily, I haven’t had to deal with the intensity and persistence of anti-abortion activity that Dr. Tiller experienced. It is a tribute to his courage and commitment that he persevered.  I remember a conversation I had with him last year.  We were pondering about the right time to retire.  We both agreed that as long as we were able to maintain our skills, we would continue to work.

I am often asked why we continue to provide abortions when facing this type of pressure and risk to our safety.  I was trained by physicians who worked when abortion was still not legal. They described the frustration they felt attempting to save the lives of the many patients they saw in ER’s and hospital wards who had resorted out of desperation to back alley abortions.  They saw many patients die or become infertile and felt that it was part of our mission as physicians to assure that this wouldn’t continue.  One has only to look to those countries in the world where abortion is still illegal to see the mortality and morbidity that still occurs.  Abortion providers work to assure that those conditions never return to this country.

In regards to the safety issue, of course I take precautions.  But nobody took more precautions than Dr. Tiller.  Ours is not the only profession that faces dangers.  Much like the soldier in the field, the cop on the beat, and the firemen racing into a burning building, we work in spite of the danger for the common good.  I haven’t been intimidated for the past thirty-five years, and I won’t be now.

More to this Blog in the next week or so. In the meantime you can visit: http://www.sjwc.net for more information.

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  • Mignon C: Dr. D, Thank you. Good insight. Med Student
  • Interested Citizen: Dr. Dee, I have been searching all over for a blog on abortion, but only from the medical perspective and that is written by a doctor that is in th

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