The Guttmacher Institute joins the reproductive health community in expressing our shock and sadness at the murder of Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas physician who dedicated his life to providing abortion care to women in need—including later term abortions to women in the most difficult of circumstances. Dr. Tiller did so despite decades of harassment, vandalism, threats and violent attacks by antiabortion activists.

The number of U.S. abortion providers has been declining for many years; as a result, a growing number of women have difficulty obtaining abortion services in a timely manner. The overwhelming majority of abortion providers offer services in the first trimester, when nearly 90% of abortions occur. But at later gestations—when abortions due to fetal anomalies and threats to a woman’s health or life are more common—only 2% of all abortion providers offer the procedure, leaving women in need of later term abortions with very few safe, legal options.

The death of Dr. Tiller is a senseless tragedy. Dr. Tiller risked his life on a daily basis to ensure that women had access to safe, legal reproductive health services. For the women he helped over the years, as well as those who will now have nowhere else to turn, this is an incalculable loss.

Dr. Sharon Camp
President and CEO
Guttmacher Institute