Main Entry: he·ro
Inflected Form(s): plural heroes
Etymology: Latin heros, from Greek hērōs
Date: 14th century
1 a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b: an illustrious warrior c: a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d: one that shows great courage
2 a: the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work b: the central figure in an event, period, or movement
3plural usually heros : submarine 2
4: an object of extreme admiration and devotion
I suppose 1)c&d cover what I'm talking about in regard to Dr Tiller and other providers. It is one thing to do something heroic on a battlefield with nasty instantaneous events all around one and another to daily risk your life as a member of a tiny fraternity of doctors. Doctors who are consistently despised and denigrated in a very public and organized fashion and subject to ongoing threats to their lives.
The trail of death and destruction are clear to anyone who pays attention and those who are its subjects are well aware of it. Think for a moment about their lives, this isn't about being the used car salesman butt of jokes, they are named as practitioners of horrific crimes on a daily basis, on national media. Try to imagine that as the non-violent aspect of being them. Add in screaming protesters, arsons, bombings, shootings, and killings as a consequence of trying to provide women with a terrible choice in the face of a worse consequence.
The word hero has become so devalued by its application to people just doing a job that it is almost inadequate to apply to these people - but they bring a true personal definition to the noun. Stop for a moment and give these people a moment's salute.