The Attacks on Dr. Tiller Continue

by Cara on August 6, 2007

in abortion, anti-choice extremism, courts, pregnancy, religious fanaticism, reproductive justice, women’s health

[cross-posted from Feministing]

drtiller.jpg Dr. George Tiller, one of the few late-term abortion providers in the U.S., has pleaded not guilty to 19 misdemeanor charges brought upon him by the state of Kansas.

Dr. Tiller has a long history of being harassed by anti-abortion activists. He has faced protests at his clinic incredibly frequently, other trumped-up criminal charges, physical threats and constant intimidation. His clinic is currently closed, thanks to severe vandalism. He has also been shot. Attacks have escalated to the point where his is a frequent pet cause of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

The current charges against Dr. Tiller revolve around a Kansas law which requires that two legally and financially uninvolved physicians sign off on any late-term abortion procedure. The charges against Dr. Tiller allege that he has an improper financial relationship with one of the doctors from whom he regularly receives authorization. As a result, he faces up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for each charge.

Any pro-choice individual should be outraged at the harassment of Dr. Tiller– and that includes the criminal charges he’s currently facing. Kansas Attorney Generals have a history of baselessly attacking Dr. Tiller. Not only that, but the law itself seem to have been created specifically for the purpose of making the lives of abortion providers more difficult.

Requiring written approval of any late-term abortion procedure from two independent physicians is not only requiring the abortion provider to seek permission to practice medicine, it’s also essentially requiring that the woman get permission to successfully request medical care. Her choice, along with the medical advice of her doctor, is not enough. Late-term abortions, contrary to what anti-abortion activists constantly profess, are not undertaken lightly. The women who receive medical care at Dr. Tiller’s facility come from all over the country; Dr. Tiller is hardly going to be their first medical consultation. They seek their abortions either due to health risks to themselves or severe fetal deformity. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who likes late-term abortion, and that includes the women who need them.

This law implies that doctors who provide abortions are somehow less scrupulous than doctors who practice any other type of medicine. It implies that the women seeking late-term abortions are too stupid to make the effort to seek a second-opinion on their own, or that their physicians would not recommend this to them. Even worse, it requires that a woman’s medical records be shared with other doctors whom she doesn’t even know, so that she can obtain what is likely to be an emotionally-painful treatment.

Lastly, Dr. Tiller is in no way being charged with improperly or unethically practicing medicine. He’s being charged with a minor infraction under a bullshit law. I somehow find it hard to believe that this law and these charges hold absolutely no relation to the other constant tactics of intimidation used against him. The effect, after all, is the same: money, time and resources are being diverted from providing women with medical care that many desperately want to wipe out of existence.

Update: There are requests for how to contact and help financially support Dr. Tiller. His address is:

WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE SERVICES
5107 East Kellogg
Wichita, Kansas USA 67218

For obvious reasons, there are not any publicized means to electronically contact him or the clinic, but I’m sure that any checks and words of encouragement by mail would be greatly appreciated.

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{ 4 comments }

1 Anorak August 6, 2007 at 9:13 pm

Hey Cara, just wanted to drop you a note to say what an awesome job you’re doing guest-blogging at feministing. Well done. If I was in your hemisphere, I’d offer to buy you a well-earned beer (Beer being the Australisian language of congratulations)!

2 Cara August 6, 2007 at 9:18 pm

Hey, thanks a lot! Things do seem to be going very well, thus far (knock on wood), and I’m thrilled :)

3 Anorak August 6, 2007 at 9:49 pm

You should be thrilled! And also proud. If I were you, I’d even be a little smug ;0)

4 Cara August 6, 2007 at 10:04 pm

Hehehehe, we’ll save smugness for the end of the week!

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