Dr. Tiller, whose Wichita clinic performed late term abortions, was shot dead in front of his church today. A lot of the focus is going to be on right wing terrorism, and the culture of hate created by folks who call abortion murder, setting up the justification for these sorts of murders.

Tiller was one of only three doctors in the US who performed these sorts of abortions.  That’s not because they’re illegal, it’s because the level of physical and legal harassment they and their staffs face is horrific, and it never, ever ends. It takes a very brave man or woman, and one who has decided to dedicate their life to the cause, to put up with constant threats, vandalism, legal harassment and the very real possibility of being murdered.

Tiller was incredibly brave and dedicated to do what he did.  It’s highly unlikely that anyone will step up to replace him.

A theoretical right which cannot be practically accessed is not really a right.  The right to abortion, both late and early term, has been under constant assault for decades.   Unless other doctors step up, and start providing for that right (and even early term abortions are hard to get in many States) then what happened today is, in fact, a tragic loss for the right for women to be able to have abortions when they need.

In the meantime, I mourn Dr. Tiller.  People as brave and dedicated as he was are so rare, that, well, there were only three of them in the entire United States.  A lot of women will suffer, and yes, die, because he was murdered today.

Rest in peace Doctor Tiller.  Hopefully someone will pick up the torch which fell from your hand today.