George Tiller, 67, one of the few doctors in the nation who performed late-term abortions, was shot to death in a Wichita, Kan., church May 31.
Suspect Scott Roeder, 51, is in custody; he was located almost 200 miles away near Kansas City, according to the New York Times. Because of his controversial stance and actions, Tiller had heard and experienced harsh words and violence. There were protests outside his clinic, his house and his church; the clinic had been bombed; and, 16 years ago, a pro-life advocate shot him in both arms.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said in a statement that the " [ t ] he cold and calculated killing of Dr. George Tiller, apparently because he was a provider of abortion services to women utilizing their protected rights to end pregnancies, accomplishes nothing except the harvesting of a bitter crop of fear and intimidation among our American people, and especially reproductive service providers and the women who need them. But we cannot and must not yield to fear and intimidation; instead, we must continue to stand strong with reproductive health service providers."
Terry Cosgrove—president and CEO of the Chicago-based pro-choice organization Personal PAC, and a longtime gay activist—e-mailed Windy City Times that " [ t ] he cold-blooded murder of Dr. Tiller in a church demomstarates yet again what a complete fraud the label 'pro-life' is to describe the anti-abortion and anti-birth control movement is in the U.S. They are nothing less than domestic terrorists and should be treated as such by our society and law enforcement."
He added, "Dr. Tiller was an extraordinarily brave and committed person who refused to be intimidated as he defended the the reproductive rights of all women—the price for his unflinching bravery was his life. My heart goes out to his family, friends and co-workers. I know Dr. Tiller would want nothing less than every pro-choice person in the country re-doubling our efforts to protect the fragile right to privacy that he so valiantly defended and cherished."