Dr. George Tiller persevered as one of the nation’s highest-profile abortion providers despite decades of violence against him and his clinic because he was a staunch believer in a woman’s right to choose, reports the Wichita Eagle. The Kansas physician—who was shot to death yesterday in the lobby of his church—was “passionate and compassionate” about his work, said the head of Planned Parenthood Kansas.
Tiller was a military doctor early in his career and returned to Wichita to take over his father’s practice when much of his family was killed in a 1970 plane crash. “I'd never planned to be a family physician," he said in a 1986 interview. Tiller learned through a patient that his father provided then-illegal abortions, and opened his own women’s health clinic in 1975.