Did you know that Dr. George Tiller's reproductive-health center in Wichita is closed permanently?
On May 31, 2009, Scott Roeder, an anti-choice activist with a disturbing history of violence, shot and killed Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider in Kansas. This was not the first act of violence directed at Dr. Tiller. In 1993, he was shot twice in the arm and in 1986 a pipe bomb exploded at his clinic. Additionally, his health center, Women’s Health Care Services, was often a target for protests, harassment, and continuous attacks by anti-choice extremists.
Following his tragic death, Dr. Tiller’s family decided to close his health center permanently. In the wake of the closing, Dr. LeRoy Carhart, a Nebraska abortion provider, announced that he will open a reproductive-health facility in Kansas so that women can still receive much-needed health care. In response, the radical anti-choice group Operation Rescue launched a “Keep It Closed” campaign, using intimidation tactics to prevent Dr. Carhart from opening the new health center.
This campaign is part of an ongoing pattern of hateful rhetoric that unfortunately can lead to violence by some of the more extreme members of the anti-choice movement. Whether one is pro-choice or pro-life, both sides can agree that violence is never the answer. Clinic-protection laws must be enforced to protect the lives and well-being of women and reproductive-health providers.
David Barstow, An Abortion Battle, Fought to the Death, New York Times, Jul. 25, 2009; Abortion Provider Carhart Will Open Kansas Facility to Replace Tiller's Clinic, Medical News Today, Aug. 7, 2009.