Each year during this time, we grieve the loss Dr. George Tiller, my hero and mentor, who provided abortion care to families from not only the Wichita community, but from around the world.
Dr. Tiller understood that people need help every once in a while and that decisions about pregnancy, as with the totality of life, can be complicated and challenging. He helped people grapple with those difficult decisions with compassion and empathy. He helped people so that their hopes and dreams could come true.
Dr. Tiller did not set out to become an abortion provider, he even resisted following in his father’s footsteps and held out on taking over the family’s medical practice. But when he learned that his father had been quietly providing safe abortions years before the procedure was legal in Kansas, he realized there was an urgent need for women in his community and across the country.
At the time of his murder at the hands of an anti-abortion extremist, Dr. Tiller was one of the few physicians who provided later abortion care for women from across the United States, as well as from around the world.
I founded Trust Women to honor Dr. Tiller’s legacy and to ensure all people in this region would have access to abortion services. Trust Women has been proud, over the last seven years of the clinic’s operation, to have provided thousands of people from the Wichita community and the surrounding region with the reproductive health care that they need.
Opening the clinic, almost four years after Dr. Tiller’s death, was a labor of love. Seven years later, we are proud to be part of the Wichita community and carrying on Dr. Tiller’s work of healing and love.
In these painful and difficult times, we are reminded that equality, justice, and love are what will heal this country. We aim to be part of that process — as providers and advocates that put people’s needs above political agendas and provide services to people from all walks of life and from a variety of circumstances. At a moment of unprecedented division and anguish, Dr. Tiller’s life holds lessons for all of us — about mutual respect and compassion, about respecting every person’s dignity and autonomy, and ensuring equality and justice for all.
We are grateful that we have been able to continue to serve this community and have been able to rise out of the ashes of such devastation and tragedy.