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Dr. George Tiller: A Life Lived on the Line


Statement from Merle Hoffman
President, CHOICES Women’s Medical Center
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, On The Issues Magazine

George Tiller was a friend, comrade and associate of mine for over a quarter of a century. I would share time and ideas with him at conferences, refer patients for his services and exchange holiday gifts with his staff. He, like so many abortion providers, was a person of courage, integrity and commitment to women’s reproductive rights.

I am sobered, deeply saddened, but not surprised by his murder. Like all of us, he knew that THERE IS NO CHOICE WITHOUT PROVIDERS. Facing ongoing legal and violent harassment, he continued to work for women on a daily basis in the middle of this war zone that all providers share.

As I write in my current editorial, “Higher Ground, Not Common Ground,” in On The Issues Magazine, “reproductive freedom is the front line, the bottom line and the everlasting line in the sand of any definition of women’s transcendent rights that must be continually defended.”

George lived on that line, defended it and paid with his life. I am profoundly grateful for that life, lived with courage, conviction and honor.

I ask all of us to pledge our passions, strength, power and continued commitment to the struggle for women’s reproductive freedom in his memory.


In 1993, Dr. David Gunn was the first abortion provider assassinated. Shortly afterward, Merle Hoffman wrote in “Praise the Lord and Kill the Doctor,” her prescient editorial:

“There is a method to their madness. They know that without providers there is no such thing as choice; legal abortion is merely theoretical if there is no one willing and technically capable of doing the procedure.”

Our current theme, “Lines in the Sand,” could not be more timely.

New stories in The Cafe also reflect on this line.

Loretta J. Ross’ piece, “Repeal Hyde: Even Republicans Know It’s Wrong to Politick With Women’s Lives,” calls on Obama to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits public funding for abortions for poor women. Interestingly, Ross points out that both Presidents Nixon and George H.W. believed in financially supporting family planning.

“Poem Honoring Slain Abortion Doctor- Again,” a poem by Judith Arcana, written for Barnett Slepian and re-dedicated in memoriam and with gratitude, to George Tiller, is also in the Cafe.


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