I am pro-choice, and late-term abortions give me the creeps. I think they probably give most people the creeps. A late-term abortion isn't about a zygote -- it's about a baby. Fingers, toes, kicking, all that jazz. Um, couldn't you have got around to having this abortion just a little sooner, lady? What's your problem?
I went searching on the web for information about late-term abortion that came from someone outside the anti-choice movement. I found this article, which made me cry and helped me feel some empathy for women who choose late-term abortion. A lot of necessary medical procedures are gruesome. Sometimes this procedure is necessary. And someone has to be able to provide it, safely and with compassion.
I don't know much about Dr. Tiller, but I think he was a drum major for justice. I can't imagine anything other than moral principle that would motivate someone to put up with all that persecution, all that danger. There's a reason very few doctors will do this procedure -- they aren't interested in being harassed, or picketed, or shot. I can't blame them.
Thank you, Dr. Tiller. I hope other doctors will take up your difficult, important work -- but I won't be surprised or critical if they don't.
ETA: Feministe has collected some patients' memories of Dr. Tiller and how he helped them.