Dr. George Tiller, who was murdered on May 31, 2009, operated the Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita, Kansas for more than 30 years. Dr. Tiller was a fearless defender of women’s fundamental health and rights, providing abortions despite decades of relentless and vicious attacks on his clinic, family and private life.
Recently, the Center represented approximately 2,000 of Dr. Tiller’s patients when a citizen paneled grand jury attempted to subpoena their private medical records. In August 2008, the Center nominated Dr. Tiller for the Netherlands government’s annual Human Rights Tulip award for individuals who have shown exceptional moral courage in protecting and promoting the rights of his or her fellow citizens.
Dr. Tiller’s death is a devastating loss to the reproductive rights movement and to women across this country. The Center honors Dr. Tiller’s legacy of service to women and will remember him as a stalwart defender of human rights.
Read more about the Center’s 2008 case and our history of work with Dr. Tiller.
In the Matter of the Grand Jury Investigation (KS) &, Jane Doe, Anne Roe, Sarah Coe, and Paula Poe v. Hon. Michael Corrigan and Hon. Paul Buchanan (KS)
Ann Roe* was 22 weeks into her pregnancy when her physician told her that she was suffering from a severe fetal abnormality. After weighing their options, she and her husband reached out to Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the U.S. who performs abortion later in pregnancy. Once the couple visited Dr. Tiller however, he diagnosed her with a healthy pregnancy and encouraged the couple to carry to term. Nonetheless, a grand jury convened by anti-choice activists in Wichita, Kansas sought Roe’s private medical records and those of approximately 2,000 other women from across the country who sought Dr. Tiller’s care. In January 2008, the Center went before the Kansas Supreme Court on behalf of Roe and other patients who feared that their identities would be disclosed.
The court ruled that the grand jury could not embark on a fishing expedition into Dr. Tiller’s patients’ medical records and ordered the lower court to take a number of steps in determining what information could be disclosed. Only some records with limited information were eventually subpoenaed. Shortly thereafter, the grand jury closed its investigation without returning any indictment against Dr. Tiller. In a written statement, the jurors said they had not found sufficient evidence to accuse Dr. Tiller of any crime related to abortion laws in Kansas.
More on the case:
- An Attack on Privacy in Kansas — ReproWrites, Issue 1, March 2008
- Center for Reproductive Rights Argues Before Kansas Supreme Court to Stop Grand Jury from Obtaining Patient Medical Records in Abortion Case
- Kansas Supreme Court Limits Grand Jury’s Power in Abortion Patients’ Medical Records Case
- Center for Reproductive Rights Statement on Conclusion of Grand Jury Investigation of Dr. George Tiller
Nomination of Dr. George Tiller for the Human Rights Defender Tulip award
In August 2008, the Center for Reproductive Rights nominated Dr. Tiller for the Netherlands government’s annual Human Rights Tulip award for individuals who have shown exceptional moral courage in protecting and promoting the rights of his or her fellow citizens. Here is an excerpt from the nomination letter:
“Dr. Tiller, like other physicians who provide abortions in the U.S., is forced to work under circumstances far more dangerous and difficult than other healthcare providers. There is a long history of violations to physicians’ physical security-including murder, attempted murder, and assault and battery-without adequate protection from the state. Physicians providing abortions increasingly are faced with other forms of violence and harassment, including destruction of personal property, smear campaigns, intimidation of family members, and stalking.” Read more >,
The Passing of Dr. Tiller
Center Deeply Saddened by Murder of Dr. George Tiller Today, the Center for Reproductive Rights issued a statement following the shooting of Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. Dr. Tiller was murdered entering his church in Wichita, Kansas. As one of the few physicians in the country who provides abortions later in pregnancy, Dr. Tiller has been the target of anti-choice movement for more than three decades. Read more >,
Center for Reproductive Rights Statement on Tiller Clinic Closing Today, the family of slain doctor George Tiller announced that they will not reopen his Kansas abortion clinic, Women’s Health Care Services, Inc. Dr. Tiller was murdered on Sunday, May 31, in his church in Wichita. Read more >,
Statements from Dr. Tiller’s Patients The Center for Reproductive Rights released statements from some of Dr. George Tiller’s patients in response to his murder on May 31, 2009. Dr. Tiller was one of the country’s only providers who performed abortions later in pregnancy and operated a clinic in Wichita, Kansas. The Center represented these patients in prior litigation. All of the patients’ names have been changed to protect the patients’ privacy. Read more >,