The Compassion of Dr. Tiller

From The American Prospect:

The Web site A Heartbreaking Choice is a place where women share their stories of late-term abortion. Though clearly pro-choice, the point of the site is not political; it is a support group for grieving parents. These are women who desperately wanted their babies but whose pregnancies turned disastrous. A section of the site is devoted to “Kansas Stories,” because when women learn very late in their pregnancies that their fetuses have abnormalities that are likely to be fatal, Dr. George Tiller’s Wichita clinic, Women’s Health Care Services, was one of the only places in the country that could help them.

One woman described her elation at being pregnant and how the possibility of motherhood offered a glimmer of hope through several family deaths. Then she found out her fetus had severe spinal and cerebral deformities. “I laid on the table crying and knowing in my heart at that point my son was not going to make it,” she wrote. At almost 23 weeks pregnant, she was too far along for an abortion in her own state, and so, like many women in her situation, she made the anguished pilgrimage to Wichita.

Writing five weeks after her abortion, she said, “I hate that my son is gone. I hate that I had to make the decision to end his life. I hate that my womb and my arms are empty. But I am strengthened in the fact that I made my decision by focusing on him and what was best for him. I am eternally grateful to the wonderful people that guided me through this horrible experience with compassion, love, and understanding.”

Her gratitude toward Tiller and his staff is not unique. Ayliea Holl, the administrator of the site, saw a different doctor for her own abortion, but she’s met many of Tiller’s patients. “Every single one of them received the kindest, most caring and compassionate, the best health care that they could get,” she says. “Dr. Tiller was extremely compassionate. He was so helpful to so many women.”