By Kathleen Gilbert
ENID, Oklahoma, June 11, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A former employee of Kansas late-term abortionist George Tiller has shared how her gruesome experiences at Tiller's abortion facility drove her away from her pro-choice views and into a life of activism for the rights of the unborn.
Luhra Tivis, who was hired as a temp worker for Tiller and eventually became a full employee for one year, discussed her story Tuesday with the Enid News & Eagle in the wake of Tiller's death May 31. Tiller was shot and killed while serving as an usher in his Lutheran church. His family has stated that Tiller's Wichita abortion facility, Women's Health Care Services, will not reopen.
In addition to normal secretarial work, Tivis told the Eagle that she "underwent some sales training" when she began work in 1988. In a separate testimony, published on the Pro-Life Action League's website, Tivis explained: "I thought they were going to tell me how they want the information sheet filled out and how to keep the phone record and this and that.
"But what I was handed instead was a packet of information - materials to study - on how to be a high-pressure salesperson over the phone, like telemarketing: how to convince somebody to buy your product."
Though Tivis says Tiller assured her at the outset that he only performed late-term abortions on "severely deformed" children or for a medical crisis, Tivis says she soon came to realize that Tiller's words were not consistent with his practice.
“I was seeing eight- and nine-month pregnant women come in,” she said, “and out of those two dozen a week, only about 2 percent had medical deformities. I thought I was pro-choice back then, but week after week I kept seeing these women coming in with healthy babies and I saw all the records. I didn’t think that was right.”
Tivis' testimony is congruent with the allegations of Operation Rescue, who had frequently denounced Tiller for killing perfectly healthy late-term babies. At the time of his death, Tiller was under investigation by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts for performing illegal late-term abortions.
Discussing the typical abortion procedure, Tivis told the Pro-Life Action League in a previous interview: "[the mothers] have a sonogram, first thing and he tells them, 'Oh, you're not that far along.' He's very happy to take their money. Then the first thing he does to them is he kills that baby, because once that baby is dead, they can't change their mind and get their money back.
"He uses the sonogram — a tool for life — to kill the baby. He uses that to guide the needle into the baby's heart and he injects it with digoxin, which is a heart medication and it slows the baby's heart down.
"The second day, the women come in and they have little group counseling sessions, but they don't do any counseling until after that baby is already dead."
Livis described the testimony of a Southwest Kansas woman who had written a letter to Tiller, which Tivis says the abortionist distributed to his staff to read, describing her third-trimester abortion there as "the most horrible experience of her life."
"Although I was not down in the basement for any more than just a few seconds when those women were down there, I got a very vivid description of what actually went on down there from this woman," said Tivis, referring to a room in the facility where women would give birth to their babies' corpses following an abortion. "She said that women were crying and screaming and there was blood everywhere - blood running down their legs and it was just horrible."
One of the more disturbing aspects of the abortion process at Tiller's clinic was the "memorial services" he openly offered, as published on his website, to parents after they had killed their child. Tiller even employed a chaplain at his clinic, where he offered baptisms, baptismal certificates, and mementos such as a lock of hair or "fetal footprints."
The clinic also offered parents a chance to bond with the child's corpse for a little while after the abortion, in a process Tiller described in a 1996 promotional video as an "identification and separation encounter."
"We will bring the baby to you, either at the bedside, or we will go to our quiet room, and we will bring the baby to you there," said the abortionist.
"During this encounter we will describe to you what's right with your baby, we will identify what's wrong with your baby. You may hold the baby. We can take pictures of you and the family holding the baby, if you wish, and that is not an uncommon request. ... the identification/separation encounter may involve 2 or 3 hours of bonding with the baby - the identification that this is your baby and you have had a delivery."
Tivis told the Eagle about one pivotal experience just before leaving the office: Tiller emerged from the surgery room with a cardboard box one day and asked her to open a door for him. Tivis saw his crematorium - where the babies' remains are regularly incinerated.
“I realized that box was full of dead babies," said Tivis. "That freaked me out."
She says Tiller fired her after an attorney she had applied for a position with told Tiller she was searching for jobs.
A Tiller spokeswoman later contradicted Tivis’ testimony at a meeting of the Senate State and Federal Affairs Committee, denying that Tiller performed abortions on healthy late-term babies and calling Tivis a "disgruntled employee whose credibility is lacking because of that," according to a Wichita Eagle report.
Tivis has since then been active with Operation Rescue, and has spoken at pro-life rallies across the United States.
Regarding Tiller's murder, Tivis said: “He wasn’t a bad guy. He didn’t deserve to be shot and killed.
"He wasn’t all bad. He was very kind to me on several occasions. He didn’t deserve what happened."
Despite the sordidness of Tiller’s late-term abortion business, and the fact that he was under investigation for conducting illegal late-term abortions at the time of his death, the slain abortionist has been lifted up by the pro-abortion movement as a hero of the cause. In an e-mail shortly after his murder, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards described Tiller as “a hero to those seeking help in the most desperate of situations.” “We honor the compassionate care he provided to so many,” said Planned Parenthood.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Illegal Fetal Age Deception Scheme Uncovered at Tiller's Abortion Clinic with Undercover Investigation
Kansas Late-Term Abortionist George Tiller Shot and Killed - Pro-Life Groups React