NEWS

Despite Target Hardening, Abortion Doctor Murdered in Church

By Matthew Harwood

The Wichita,Kansas-based late-term abortion provider murdered yesterday had lived a life blanketed in security, according to various media reports.

Dr. George Tiller, 67, was a frequent target for militant anti-abortion groups. Aside from constant nonviolent protests outside his clinic, Tiller's clinic was bombed in 1985 and he survived a 1993 shooting, where an anti-abortionist activist shot him in both arms.

As the threats to his life mounted, Tiller fortified his clinic with armed guards, drove to work in an armored car, and lived inside a gated community with extra security.

But for all his attempts at target hardening, Tiller's life ended in an unexpected place: his church.

Tiller was murdered in the foyer of  the Reformation Lutheran church yesterday by a single shot from a handgun while handing out the church bulletin. The man in custody for his murder, Scott Roeder, 51, of Merriam, Kansas, held strong anti-government and anti-abortion views, according to The New York Times.

ABC News also reports that "In May 2007, someone posting to the Web site of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue used the name 'Scott Roeder' in response to a scheduled vigil to 'pray for an end to George R. Tiller's late-term abortion business.'"

Reacting to Tiller's murder, Attorney General Eric Holder dispatched federal marshals to protect abortion providers and clinics across the country, according to Fox News.

Already Tiller's murder has led to heated polemics from each side of the abortion debate. For a taste, click here.

♦ Photo by AnyaLogic/Flickr

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