Jurors find Scott Roeder guilty of first-degree murder of George Tiller

Old media is quite good at showing us the aftermath that wedge issue politics has wrought.

They’re not very good at illuminating the reality before: Vigil for Dr. George Tiller in Columbia – June 2, 2009 – part 3

Phillip Wood, in Columbia, Missouri:

….In brief, my wife and I were unable to conceive after our first child, and even sought fertility treatments to have a second child. We were overjoyed to learn that my wife was pregnant with twin boys. But, sadly, late in our pregnancy, learned that the twins suffered from a condition called Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome…in which the blood of one twin becomes transfused with the blood of the other twin. This is a condition that occurs about thirty per cent of twin pregnancies, and in our case, it was a threatening condition to the viability of the twins.

We first sought, of course, to save both twins. And then, we sought treatment in Florida to try to save the life of one twin by tying off the umbilical cord of the other. Unfortunately when we got there we found out that amniotic [garbled] had occurred and the twins were in such a state the pregnancy had [garbled]. As other people who are professional in this area can tell you, no one walks in the door and says, “We need to terminate this pregnancy right now because something’s going to happen.” They say things like, “It is possible that the condition may pose a risk to your ability to conceive in the future.”

Long story short. We drove from Florida to Granite City, east of St. Louis where we were told that well, “One of the twin’s head is a little too large to perform that service here,” and we were referred to Wichita.

I was really uncertain what to do in a situation like this as a husband. But Dr. Tiller asked me to take part in all stages of the termination of the pregnancy. I will spare you the details of the security procedures, of the protesters, of the video cameras, the surveillance cameras everywhere. I will share with you, though, the one thing that struck me on coming into the clinic, was after you went through the sort of airport security thing, you came into this room. It was covered with pictures. Framed pictures. Framed letters. Of people who had said, “Thank you Dr. Tiller…” Some of the pictures were of children. “You know, we went on, we had another kid. And here’s a picture of this beautiful child…”

…After the twins were delivered, I went with my wife back to the bed and was with her. And Dr. Tiller came and said, “Would you like to see your boys now?”  And I said, “Okay.” And I went into the room. And he had wrapped them up in little baby blankets…and he said, “In these situations, usually we perform a service.” If you can kind of picture him, this was kind of how he talked, he was very loud. And I said, “That’ll be nice.”

…And then said, “If you like, take some time with them.” And I remember unwrapping the blanket a bit and, holding up the hand of one of them and watching it kind of curl around my finger. And I looked up, and, Dr. Tiller was kind of wiping away a few tears, just for a very brief, and he turned away. He was very professional. And I opened my mouth to say something. He smiled and said, “It’s okay, take all the time you need.” And he left. And I took all the time I needed to say goodbye…

…We went back to Iowa, had a funeral for them.  And began the slow process of recovery. A couple of weeks after that I was surprised to get an envelope in the mail from the clinic. It was a white envelope, inside that envelope was another envelope. And it said, had the words, “dignity, compassion” and “respect” on it. When I opened that up, inside Dr. Tiller had taped pictures of our brothers…Now, that meant a great deal…

…In the past years I’ve had to listen to Dr. Tiller’s problems on the news. And ,”Oh, I ought to write him a letter.” But, you know, I never did. I wish…I had….