Pro-choice folks are understandably concerned that the murder of George Tiller will scare even more doctors away from offering abortion services.

Almost certainly, the constant assaults--both legal and illegal--that Tiller endured over the years were enough to make many docs think twice about whether providing such controversial procedures remains worth the hassle/danger. That is, after all, the broader goal of these acts of intimidation and terror. But I'm hoping that this final, bloody crime against Tiller was outrageous enough also to inspire a few brave souls to go in the other direction and commit to ensuring that abortion services remain safe and available. 

My husband has a friend from his college days who, several years after graduating, left her first career to go back to med school and become an ob-gyn. Her stated motivation was concern about the dwindling number of abortion providers. But unlike most of us, who only fret about such matters, she took dramatic action.

Like many pro-choicers--whose numbers, it bears noting, are dwindling--I regard abortion as a tragic option. But I also believe that for many women it is a vital option that should not be taken away either by law or by a lack of access to care. Murderous zealots cannot be allowed to impact this most serious of debates. Surely somewhere out there today are a few dozen young women who will look at what one angry, gun-toting man did to another man and decide that the stakes in the ongoing battle over our reproductive systems remain too high to leave to others--and certainly too high just to leave to the men.

--Michelle Cottle