Police Arrest Alleged Killer of Dr. George Tiller

George_Tiller_croppedA Kansas man, Scott Roeder, has been arrested for the murder of Dr. George Tiller (left), 67, who was shot while serving as an usher at his Wichita church Sunday morning. Tiller was one of the few U.S. doctors performing late-term abortions in the country and had previously survived a 1993 shooting outside of his clinic when he was shot in both arms. I discussed this case on this segment of Rachel Maddow Show.

Tiller died Sunday morning in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church, where he served as an usher. Witnesses were able to identify the gunman’s car and give police its license plate.

Tiller practiced for 40 years and was the target of fierce criticism and anger. This anger was fueled by commentators like Bill O’Reilly who repeatedly attacked Tiller by name as guilty of “Nazi stuff” and described him as “Tiller the Baby Killer.” For a description of the Fox statements about Tiller, click here.story

He is only the latest victim of such an attack. In 1998, Dr. Barnett Slepian was killed by a sniper in his Amherst, New York, home.

In 1994, Dr. John Bayard Britton and a volunteer escort were shot and killed outside an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida.

In 1993, Dr. David Gunn, was shot to death outside his Pensacola clinic.

Eric Rudolph also attacked clinics, maimed a nurse, and killed an off-duty police in a spasm of violence in 1998. ,

For the full story, click here.

198 thoughts on “Police Arrest Alleged Killer of Dr. George Tiller”

  1. Tell that to Dr. Tiller and all the others harmed…

    While there are nothing but beneficial reasons to lead a healthy active lifestyle and many more to avoid tobacco and smoke, and unplanned pregnancy, there is nothing conclusively linking induced abortion, or even smoking, with increased risk of breast CA, that I am aware or according to the ACS – last time I checked!

    Disclaimer: That is not to say that there isn’t a link…

  2. GWLawSchoolMom: the abortion underground.

    Wow. Your mother really stood by her principles. What a role model. It’s easy to have principles if you’re not facing jail time for living by them. What an amazing story.

  3. Jim Byrne
    1, June 3, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    In 1986, government scientists wrote a letter to the British journal Lancet and acknowledged that abortion is a cause of breast cancer. They wrote, “Induced abortion before first term pregnancy increases the risk of breast cancer.” (Lancet, 2/22/86, p. 436)

    A workshop held by the National Cancer Institute done around 2003 found:
    “In February 2003, the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) held a workshop of more than 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk. The experts reviewed existing human and animal studies on the link between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortions. Some of their findings were:

    Breast cancer risk is increased for a short time after a full-term pregnancy (that is, a pregnancy that results in the birth of a living child).
    Induced abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk.
    Spontaneous abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk. ”

    Likewise regarding the safety of abortions- More women die from childbirth than first trimester abortions.

  4. GWLSM,

    Still agreeing with you. If your child is half as smart and passionate as you, I’m sure they’ll make a great lawyer.

    Fun abortion statistic: The number of abortions are lower during democratic presidencies than during republican presidencies – If you’re against abortion, be sure to vote democratic!

  5. Gyges
    1, June 3, 2009 at 7:12 pm
    “Lotta,… but come on who ever heard of a CHRISTIAN terrorist?”

    Gyges, you are a little demon you are 🙂

    on topic:
    There’s the Army of God- this is their statement in support of Paul Hill:

    “We the undersigned, declare the justice of taking all Godly action necessary, including the use of force, to defend innocent human life (born and unborn). We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child.
    We declare and affirm that if in fact Paul Hill did kill or wound abortionist John Britton, and accomplices James Barrett and Mrs. Barrett, his actions are morally justified if they were necessary for the purpose of defending innocent human life. Under these conditions, Paul Hill should be acquitted of all charges against him.”

    If you follow the link there’s a tie in to the first time Dr. Tiller was shot.

    Farther afield; an oldie but always reliable:
    Also, off the top of my head; there are those anti-Jew, racist, anti-Catholic folks that run around in sheets and have adopted as their symbol a …wait for it… BURNING FREAKING CROSS. I think they fit the Christian terrorist definition.

  6. *Rubs eyes after a lot of reading.
    Ah well, I have certainly proved to myself that my initial comment was not so very off-beat or controversial after all.

    You know, I have to feel glad I became embroiled in this discussion, and particularly for the invectives cast at me. It has roused me from apathy. Hark, I have awakened!

  7. Slart

    You wrote: I agree with what GWLSM said, so I’ll just add to her response. “Create a child” was meant to encompass everything from the sex act to birth – don’t you think that under this definition the woman has more to do than the man? As to “it takes a village…”, I have no problem with men or women giving moral guidance to a female youth (as most moral issues are not gender-specific), but it seems only reasonable to me that on issues (such as abortion) that are gender-specific that a woman’s opinion should be given more weight than a man’s. Furthermore, I don’t think that what a woman does with her own body is a moral issue (although I certainly understand that people like you see it as a moral issue).

    Me: If reducing the number of abortions is the goal then shouldn’t classes in human growth and development including prevention of STD’s be acceptable to the anti-abortion crowd? if it indeed takes a village as Jim suggested, then the village needs to have a school to teach young and old alike how women conceive and how to use various methods of contraception. Of course,this is only if reducing the number of abortions performed is actually the goal.
    if the goal is to prevent unmarried couples from having sexual intercourse as it seems to be with abstinence only programs and gag laws that prevent doctors from discussing contraception and abortion then the result will always have to include forcing women to complete unwanted pregnancies.

  8. Jim writes:

    n 1986, government scientists wrote a letter to the British journal Lancet and acknowledged that abortion is a cause of breast cancer. They wrote, “Induced abortion before first term pregnancy increases the risk of breast cancer.” (Lancet, 2/22/86, p. 436)

    me: yeah? so what. a high fat diet also increases the risk of breast cancer as does family history and pregnancies that are carried to term in older women. Smokers also have a higher incidence of breast cancer. So do women with the BRCA gene.
    And anyone can get hit by a car crossing the street.

  9. Lotta

    You wrote: 35, not quite 40 years ago a friend asked me where she could get an abortion. I didn’t know but I knew somebody that did and as it turned out the only place in Missouri was across the State in Kansas City. It was legal but it was totally cloak and dagger to get the initial authorization and be told where the ‘clinic’ was. No real names, no face to face, a deposit by check sent to a PO box, directions and address of clinic after the good-faith was put up. I was amazed and horrified at how it was done.

    in the 60’s my mother was part of a kind of underground railroad for women seeking to terminate unwanted pregnancies. I recall weird phone calls and taking bizarre messages that made no sense until she was forced to explain when I mistakenly bungled a message. I was really proud of her work and of her convictions. She could have gone to prison for what she believed which is that a woman should have the right to determine her own reproductive destiny. She went to college in Massachusetts in the 40s when contraception was illegal. doctors could go to jail for giving their patients diaphragms.

  10. Jim you wrote: I’m not trying to be smart, but you’re not getting it. (at least, not with your FAA hypothetical). If adults could go without oxygen for 30 seconds, but children could only go without for 10 seconds…they would tell you to put the mask on the child first. –It’s about saving the most lives…not the one that you determine to be the most important.

    Me: of course you are trying to be smart. perhaps my FAA analogy was a bit off-track. Let me be really clear. As long as women are the humans who conceive and carry pregnancies it is their decision whether or not to continue a pregnancy or not. It is a decision a woman makes with her doctor, privately. This means it isn’t any of your business or mine whether she decides to abort or not. All the hoo-ha about the unborn and when life begins are side issues meant to make the argument a moral one, an emotional one.
    The real truth is that any woman, for any reason she may have, and her reasons are none of anyone’s business but her own, may terminate any 1st trimester pregnancy. After that it gets increasingly more difficult to find a doctor who will terminate for any reason other than severe physical defect of the fetus or serious threat to the life of the woman.

  11. FFLEO,

    Thanks for the info on the FACE act. I agree that laws such as these should be used and not Bush/Cheney “terrorism” laws. I do, however, believe that it is appropriate to refer to the killing of Dr. Tiller and similar acts as terrorism.

  12. The FACE Act has some substantial penalties. I would rather not see the “terrorism” laws spread out with too wide a legal net as Bush/Cheney wanted and somewhat accomplished, as Prof T. also referenced.

    Freedom of Access to Clinics Entrances (FACE) Act — Statute
    18 U.S.C. § 248

    § 248. Freedom of access to clinic entrances

    (a) Prohibited activities.–Whoever–

    (1) by force or threat of force or by physical obstruction, intentionally injures, intimidates or interferes with or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person because that person is or has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from, obtaining or providing reproductive health services;

    (2) by force or threat of force or by physical obstruction, intentionally injures, intimidates or interferes with or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person lawfully exercising or seeking to exercise the First Amendment right of religious freedom at a place of religious worship; or

    (3) intentionally damages or destroys the property of a facility, or attempts to do so, because such facility provides reproductive health services, or intentionally damages or destroys the property of a place of religious worship,
    shall be subject to the penalties provided in subsection (b) and the civil remedies provided in subsection (c), except that a parent or legal guardian of a minor shall not be subject to any penalties or civil remedies under this section for such activities insofar as they are directed exclusively at that minor.

    (b) Penalties.–Whoever violates this section shall–

    (1) in the case of a first offense, be fined in accordance with this title, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and
    (2) in the case of a second or subsequent offense after a prior conviction under this section, be fined in accordance with this title, or imprisoned not more than 3 years, or both;
    except that for an offense involving exclusively a nonviolent physical obstruction, the fine shall be not more than $10,000 and the length of imprisonment shall be not more than six months, or both, for the first offense; and the fine shall, notwithstanding section 3571, be not more than $25,000 and the length of imprisonment shall be not more than 18 months, or both, for a subsequent offense; and except that if bodily injury results, the length of imprisonment shall be not more than 10 years, and if death results, it shall be for any term of years or for life.

    (c) Civil remedies.–

    More @ http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/split/facestat.php

  13. FF LEO

    If I could terminate it I would but I do not have the power to withdraw my own posts.

  14. Ha AnonY! That was my very recent “Zygoet” and therefore the clause has no force whatsoever.

  15. Like the white supremacist right wing, the theocrats have promoted a racially
    defined idea of citizenship. They exploit people’s fears of economic and social change, shrinking job opportunities and attendant community disintegration, fostering the notion that the racial or cultural
    nation is under attack by alien forces often within our own communities.

    According to researcher and journalist Sandi DuBowski, there is a well-documented connection between both the violent anti-abortion movement and so-called “militia” groups. This includes links between followers of the Christian Identity movement, the followers of the “Freemen” (and their anti-government ideology), the Ku Klux Klan, organized militias, the Gun Owners of America, the U.S. Taxpayers Party, militant anti-abortion groups such as Operation Rescue and the Missionaries to the Pre-born.

  16. Former Federal LEO 1, June 3, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Etiquette rule # 2,132 Section B subsection 1(a) ddc: The Blawg Thread Continuity Clause

    Thou shalt not highjack a thread on abortion or any other with a long copy/paste of completely irrelevant material that can easily be found on 101,286 websites, including HuffPo.

    Sorry I missed the rule, mea culpa. When did this one come into being and is it a zygoet?

    I usually do not hijack other threads or posts. I attempted to post a brief recap and the link went into Turleyspace, not once but twice. Sorry.

  17. Chris,

    Neither Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow advocated killing Dick Cheney – they’ve called him a war criminal and called for his prosecution, exposed his lies and hypocrisy, and in general showed what an evil toad he is, while O’Reilly called a doctor who performed a legal procedure “Tiller the Baby Killer” and a “murderer” and used language designed to inflame about someone who had already been targeted with violence (there is a link in the story above to a montage of O’Reilly’s comments about Dr. Tiller so you can watch it for yourself if you’d like). There is a big difference between the disdain of people like Rachel and Keith and the barely concealed hate speech of Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck (and Sarah Palin rallies, for that matter). The latter may have the right to free speech, but they are reckless and irresponsible in how they use it. In light of FFLEO’s comments, it seems that Mr. O’Reilly is not legally culpable for his inflammatory speech, but I believe that he is morally responsible for it.


    Thank you – I had forgotten Professor Turley’s comments on The Rachel Maddow Show. I understand Professor Turley’s civil libertarian qualms about using the word terrorism, but I disagree with him in this case (to be clear, I DO NOT advocate using draconian anti-terrorism laws against these people). I think that these actions are terrorism by definition and that the people who support them both overtly and tacitly need to have the term (and all of its associations) rubbed in their faces. I think that you need to acknowledge terrorism in order to effectively guard against it.

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