George Tiller, MD was honored posthumously by the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR) in Washington, DC, last weekend with the Medal of Honor for “outstanding individual contribution to sexual and reproductive health.” The Medal of Honor is one of the highest honors given by IPPF/WHR. Dr. Tiller, who was medical director of the Women’s Health Care Services clinic in Wichita, Kansas, was assassinated at his church in May.
Alexander Sanger, the grandson of IPPF/WHR and Planned Parenthood Federation of America co-founder and women’s rights activist Margaret Sanger, presented the award to Dr. Tiller’s widow, Jeanne Tiller, who accepted it on his behalf. Sanger said “for 30 years, George Tiller stood up to protests, harassment and assaults, even being wounded some years ago in a shooting. He kept his clinic doors open to give a choice to women who never imagined they would ever need it-women with a wanted pregnancy that had gone terribly awry as it progressed,” according to the Wichita Eagle.
Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri told the Wichita Eagle that Tiller’s death was “a terrible tragedy that was a blow to women who need the kind of services that only Dr. Tiller provided.” A January 2010 trial is scheduled for alleged murderer Scott Roeder.
Correction: This piece originally incorrectly stated that the Planned Parenthood Federation of America bestowed the award. It has been updated to reflect that the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region gave Dr. Tiller the award.