WICHITA, Kan. Late-term abortionist George Tiller was shot and killed Sunday morning, May 31, during morning services at his church in Wichita, Kan.
Tiller, 67, was one of the few U.S. doctors who performed late term abortions and had been prominent in the news after he was acquitted in March of 19 criminal offenses. The state attorney had filed charges against him of violating a late-term abortion law requiring a second, independent physician to sign off on the validity of the abortions.
The decision was difficult for pro-life advocates who had been hoping to get Tiller to be held accountable for allegedly falsifying the reasons for some of his late-term abortions.
The Kansas Board of Healing Arts, the agency that monitors doctors in the state, announced however that it was considering taking action against Tiller's medical license.
Pro-life advocates condemn shooting
Pro-life groups are quickly condemning the shooting. Operation Rescue said that they have "worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice."
"We are shocked at this morning's disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down," said Troy Newman, Operation Rescue's president, in a statement on its website. " We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning."
"We pray for Mr. Tiller's family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ," Newman said.
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) took a strong stand against the killing. Executive Director David O'Steen said that NRLC unequivocally condemned any such acts of violence regardless of motivation.
"The pro-life movement works to protect the right to life and increase respect for human life," said O'Steen. "The unlawful use of violence is directly contrary to that goal."
According to Associated Press news reports, Tiller's Attorney Dan Monnat said that Tiller was shot as he served as an usher during Sunday morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church. Monnat said Tiller's wife, Jeanne, was in the choir at the time of the shooting.
The Kansas City Star reported that Scott P. Roeder, 51, of Merriam has been arrested in the fatal shooting. Authorities said they expected Roeder will be charged June 1 in Sedgwick County with murder and two counts of aggravated assault. Federal charges also are possible.