As head of the Women's Health Care Services clinic in Wichita, Kansas, George Tiller has long been the most prominent target of anti-abortion activists in this country due to the fact that he was one of the few physicians in the country willing to perform "late-term" abortions.
His clinic was regularly targeted by anti-abortion activists and, recently, his "ties" to Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius became a right-wing talking point in opposing her nomination to become Secretary of Health and Human Services.
This morning, Tiller was assassinated while attending church:
Late-term abortion doctor George Tiller, a prominent advocate for abortion rights wounded by a protester more than a decade ago, was shot and killed Sunday at a church in Wichita where he was serving as an usher and his wife was in the choir, his attorney said.
Tiller was shot during morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church, attorney Dan Monnat said. Police said a manhunt was under way for the shooter, who fled in a car registered to a Kansas City suburb nearly 200 miles away.
As one would expect, those who had long targeted and demonized Tiller were quick to issue statements - with Randall Terry essentially blaming Tiller for his own murder:
Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue states, "George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.
"Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches."
Frank Pavone of Priests for Life also offered his own statement in which he sought to deflect blame from anti-abortion militants by saying that, for all we know, he might have been murdered by a "political enemy" or someone traumatized by abortion:
"I am saddened to hear of the killing of George Tiller this morning. At this point, we do not know the motives of this act, or who is behind it, whether an angry post-abortive man or woman, or a misguided activist, or an enemy within the abortion industry, or a political enemy frustrated with the way Tiller has escaped prosecution. We should not jump to conclusions or rush to judgment.
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