I Was a Patient of Dr. Tiller

I was a freshman in college when I had some issues that required a gynecologist.

My mother had heard of a “Dr. Tiller” who was supposed to be a good one and his office was in Wichita, where we lived at the time.

Dr. Tiller and I had never met but we each had played an important part in the life of a young high school girl.

The girl was a high school cheerleader who was friends with another girl in my Bible study. She had found out she was pregnant and was asking our group to pray for her since she was going to have an abortion.

I knew very little about abortion but loved babies and couldn’t bear the thought of them having a mother who was unprepared to raise a child. After all, maybe the baby would be neglected and abused? So, with compassion for mother and child but very uninformed about the logic, theology and ethics of my belief, we prayed.

Dr. Tiller was her abortion provider. I didn’t know it at the time, however , or that our paths would cross again.

But, they did when I scheduled an appointment with his office.

I can remember feeling a bit intimidated and embarrassed when Dr. Tiller hurried in and suggested that my problem could very well be a pregnancy.

I informed him that this wasn’t possible since I was a virgin. He got very cynical and began chastising me for being deceitful. He told me that of course since I was away from my parents at college I would be having sex. After all, college students are very hormone driven and this is what they do.

When I explained to him that I was a Christian and valued staying pure until marriage, he continued on that even if that was true for now, it wouldn’t last, and I would fall off of the Pollyanna bandwagon.

When his examination was completed, he admitted that the problem was not pregnancy but that he could prescribe birth control pills for me, if I would but come out of my denial.

After adamantly refusing them as unnecessary, I will never forget what he said:

“Look, I see young women like you in here everyday and I perform abortions on them for babies they don’t want. I don’t want to have to do one on you.”

After I left his office that day, his words continued to haunt me.

Did he view his job as an abortionist as a compassionate job? Did he truly care about these poor, trapped, pregnant mommies who he thought needed delivered from this burden of a child? It was doubtful to me that this was the case, given the cynical and annoyed treatment that he had given to me. I wasn’t feeling it, if you know what I mean.

Was his comment one of guilt?

Did suctioning out body parts keep him awake at night? Was anyone forcing him to do this? Couldn’t he just be a regular OBGYN and not be involved in the abortion end of it? Aren’t doctors supposed to be about saving lives, rather than ending them?

Were these questions that he ever even once asked himself?

I moved into a pro-life view after watching a film, “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” and asking myself some very hard questions. There was no doubt in my mind  that playing God with people’s lives, especially the weakest and most vulnerable of all humans, was far from an act of compassion. Not for the baby, nor the mother.

I was younger and much less educated than Dr. Tiller but didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that my former way of thinking was faulty. I wondered why, with all of his knowledge as a doctor about bodies and their developmental stages in the womb, their capacity to feel pain early on and the volume of information out there that argued for life, did Dr. Tiller continue doing something that according to him, he didn’t want to have to do.

The day I heard that Dr. Tiller was killed, I did not rejoice. It was very sad to me that someone took the law in their own hands. Did I believe Tiller had innocent blood on his hands? Yes. But our own laws made what he did legal and to some degree, we bear responsibility for voting in the people who passed the laws.

Did Tiller enter into eternity having never reconciled his guilt before God? I don’t know, I leave that between him and God.

But as for me, I pray, I speak out and I vote.

What has become of us if lower taxes or getting our welfare or unemployment checks, social security, protecting our unions and jobs are a higher priority than human lives?

What has happened to us that we ask babies to sacrifice their lives for our comfort? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

People often say that we need to be understanding as to how hard of a choice it is for a mother to choose abortion. That in itself speaks volumes. If it is only a blob of tissue like a tumor, then why would that choice be hard at all. There is a reason this is a hard choice.

Do we want to stand before God’s throne and give an account for our own lives by stating that we fought harder to let men and women share bathrooms with each other than we did to save the babies?

Dr. Tiller and I shared one person and one encounter that bound us together. We have parted ways at the crossroads where life and death intersect.

There is a path that leads to life and one that leads to death.

Choose life!!

3 thoughts on “I Was a Patient of Dr. Tiller

  1. Shelli, this is a great, great article and deserves a wider viewing. You write elegantly and passionately.

    The day after our grandson was born three days ago, a woman we know aborted her baby. She works crazy hours and goes to school nearly full time so I understand why she didn’t want the child, but abortion made her one night stand much too easy. I am pro-life all the way but some situations are extremely difficult. I am glad I did not have to make that decision.


    • Thanks Jim! I am passionately pro-life! I have known women who have had abortions and they have been sold a bill of goods. They were confused, scared and didn’t know where to turn for help other than the abortionist. I love the work of crisis pregnancy centers and churches who are willing to come along side these women and help them as well as save the life of God’s most precious of gifts next to His son…choose life!


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