I am sickened and saddened by the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, which occurred this morning as he attended church services. Dr. Tiller was a health care practitioner who performed legal abortion services in Kansas and was an advocate for letting women make their own reproductive health care decisions free from government interference. Operation Rescue and other anti-choice groups have targeted Dr. Tiller with protests for years – he was shot in both arms in the early 1990s – and as CNN notes that:
On its Web site, Operation Rescue refers to Tiller as a "monster" who has "been able to get away with murder." And Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, who is no longer affiliated with the group, called Tiller "a mass murderer."
"We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God," Terry said in a written statement. "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."
Groups like Operation Rescue incite violence and should be held accountable under the law. They have condemned today’s violence butthat condemnation is empty rhetoric from an organization that has long sought to dehumanize their opponents.
My prayers today are with Dr. Tiller’s family. His wife was there singing in the choir at Reformation Lutheran Church when her husband was killed as he worshiped.
Update: President Obama said tonight:
I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.