Yesterday Dr. George Tiller was shot down in cold blood as he served as an usher in his own church in Wichita, Kansas. Dr. Tiller was a hero.
He was a hero because he helped women who were facing death recover gracefully.
He was a hero because he helped expectant mothers and fathers grieve for the children they couldn’t have.
He was a hero because he helped prevent women from becoming infertile due to complications in their pregnancies, and gave them the chance to bear healthy children in the future.
He was a hero because he, like thousands of other doctors around the world, answered late-night calls to help people he had never met, perhaps disrupting family meals, gatherings, vacations, or just a good nights’ sleep.
He was a hero because he provided high-quality medical care even when it wasn’t easy or convenient for him to do so.
That should have been enough. But it wasn’t.
In order to safely remove an already-dead fetus from a woman’s womb, he had to be willing to face death himself.
In order to abort a fetus that couldn’t survive more than a few days outside its mother’s body, he was shot twice.
In order to remove conjoined twins, one of which was already dead and one of which probably would never survive and would certainly never be healthy, he and his family had to live locked in a gated community.
Because of forced-childbirth terrorism, it was estimated that there were only three (or fewer) doctors in the U.S. willing to do what Dr. Tiller did. Now there are two.
A doctor shouldn’t have to be this kind of hero.