5.31.2009

breaking news: heroic reproductive rights doctor george tiller has been murdered

A hero of reproductive freedom has been murdered.

Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas, was shot dead this morning as he walked into church.

That's all I know so far.

Local story here.

Dr. Tiller was the doctor of last resort for many American women and girls who needed to terminate pregnancies and were unable to obtain procedures elsewhere. He was a steadfast supporter of women's control over their own bodies.

Now he is dead.

***

New York Times:
Wichita police said that the shots were fired from a handgun in the church lobby during the morning service. The authorities gave few details, but said they were searching for a powder blue Taurus made in the 1990s that had been seen leaving shortly after the shooting. They said witnesses had described seeing a white man departing. ...

In 1993, he was shot in both arms by an abortion opponent but recovered.

* * * *

Shooter's description:
The suspect fled the scene and authorities are still investigating. His car is described as a powder blue or light blue Taurus with a K-State vanity plate, license number 225 BAB. He is described as a white male in his 50’s or 60’s, 6’1,” 220 lbs, wearing a white shirt and dark pants.

* * * *

I am sick over this horrible, horrible news. In this BBC story, it says:
We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning," anti-abortion group Operation Rescue said on its website.

The hell they do. They all but pulled the trigger.

Tiller is the fourth abortion provider in the US targeted and killed because of his work since 1993.

20 comments:

redsock said...

This is terrorism.

U.S. Code Title 22, Ch.38, Para. 2656f(d):

(d) Definitions
As used in this section ... (2) the term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents ...

Nigel Patel said...

I knew this would happen.
Just as soon as their President is out of office the cease fire ends.

L-girl said...

"I knew this would happen."

Yes. So did he. He predicted it many times.

David Heap said...

This is horrifying... The Kansas news now reports a suspect is in custody, but I somehow wonder if they will actually charge him with terrorism.

Mara Clarke said...

When I read the news I felt literally sick to my stomach. Dr Tiller was the last point of rescue for many, many women, a man who put his personal safety far, far behind the needs of women. This is a tragedy. My heart goes out to his family and to the women who will no longer be able to turn to him.

L-girl said...

Mara, same here.

David, you can be assured he will not be charged with terrorism.

redsock said...

KAKE:
"Sedgwick County 911 dispatchers are confirming that the Johnson County Sheriff's Department has arrested a possible suspect in Dr. George Tiller's murder. A car matching the description of the vehicle wanted in the killing was pulled over near Gardner, KS.

Kansas City television stations report the stop was made along I-35 near Gardner, south of Kansas City. ...

The police department has scheduled a news conference at 4 p.m. this afternoon to discuss today's events."

redsock said...

Attorney Dan Monnat said Tiller, one of the nation's most visible and strident advocates for abortion rights, was shot as he served as an usher during morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church. Monnat said Tiller's wife, Jeanne, was in the choir at the time of the shooting.

***

A candlelight vigil will be held tonight, for people who want to remember Dr. George Tiller. ... The vigil will be held at 8:00 p.m. in Old Town Square. Organizers said the vigil is intended to be a peaceful gathering to show support for Tiller's family and friends.

***

Mara Clarke said...

Statement from the family (I received from NNAF)

PRESS STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF DR. GEORGE TILLER'S FAMILY

Dan Monnat
(316) 264-2800
Lee Thompson
(316) 267-3933

Dan Monnat and Lee Thompson, Dr. George Tiller's attorneys, issued the following statement today at the request of Mrs. Jeanne Tiller, the Tiller's four children and ten grandchildren:

"Today we mourn the loss of our husband, father and grandfather. Today's event is an unspeakable tragedy for all of us and for George's friends and patients. This is particularly heart wrenching because George was shot down in his house of worship, a place of peace.

We would like to express the family's thanks for the many messages of sympathy from our friends and from all across the nation. We also want to thank the law enforcement officers who are investigating this crime.

Our loss is also a loss for the City of Wichita and women across America. George dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality heath care despite frequent threats and violence. We ask that he be remembered as a good husband, father and grandfather and a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women everywhere." ---

L-girl said...

Thanks, Mara. I got it too and posted it - along with the names of all 8 people killed by anti-abortion terrorists in the US.

Kim_in_TO said...

This reminds me that I attended a talk on the history of the pro-choice movement in Toronto, and learned that the vast majority of acts of terrorism in the US are committed by Christian fundamentalist anti-abortionists. More people need to be aware of this.

L-girl said...

I also maintain that all women live with terrorism on a daily basis, as the fear of sexual violence is always a factor in our lives. From a very young age, we are taught to curtail our behavior around the potential for this danger.

This also applies to LGBT people in highly intolerant societies.

Put this together with what Kim_in_TO posted, and where is the terror coming from?

Yet our society defines terrorism only one way, and interested in preventing (or not) only one kind of terrorism.

David Cho said...

Very sad.

Expect the same group of people who harp on moderate Muslims to criticize the terrorists to remain silent about this horrific crime.

L-girl said...

Thanks David. Very true.

Mara Clarke said...

Story by ABC news quotes a woman from NOW calling anti-abortion groups terrorists

"Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, which supports abortion rights, decried the killing of Tiller as a form of terrorism.

"If they think that by killing Dr. Tiller they are going to stop women's access to abortions, they're wrong ... because there will be another doctor and another, and another," she told ABC News Radio. "These people are organized. ... They're raising money and funding domestic terrorism."

Full story: http://abcnews.go.com/US/Story?id=7722869&page=1

(One of these days will have to learn how to post links . . . )

James said...

A few weeks ago, the Republicans were outraged that a Bush-commissioned report said that right-wing extremists could commit acts of domestic terrorism.

Now, they're outraged at the suggestion that Tiller's murderer could have been inspired by right-wing political beliefs.

Meanwhile, the Free Republic shows just how hateful those beliefs can get. There's a sample at Sadly, No! -- not pleasant reading.

L-girl said...

Thanks for the link, James. I saw a brief sample at another blog. It was nauseating (predictably).

I considered posting it here, then couldn't bring myself to. I'm glad you did.

I might do a post with a couple of links, plus warnings.

Cornelia said...

Will he be at least charged with murder? Or just homicide? He should be locked up a long time, at least until he's no longer dangerous!!

Cornelia said...

I meant, the actual offender!

Cornelia said...

Thanks so much for the warning on the sample. I will stay away from it and I know anyway those reactionary idiots are awful and most of what they are up to is at odds with human rights, and particularly with women's human rights - ugh!!!