Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
June 8, 2008
Pro-lifers condemn slaying of abortionist
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
WICHITA, KAN. - Pro-life advocates universally condemned the May 31 murder of a Kansas abortion doctor, with officials from U.S. right-to-life groups saying such extreme acts only hurt the pro-life cause.
"We condemn this lawless act of violence," said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life.
"The foundational right to life that our work is dedicated to extends to everyone. Whoever is responsible for this reprehensible violence must be brought to justice under the law."
Dr. George Tiller, 67, of Wichita, Kan., was fatally shot while serving as an usher at the city's Reformation Lutheran Church during morning services.
The suspect arrested in the shooting, identified as Scott Roeder, 51, was officially charged June 2 with one count of first-degree murder, according to the Associated Press.
The news service also reported that criminal justice officials have accused him of threatening two people at the church and additionally charged him with aggravated assault.
In 1996, a 38-year-old man with the same name was charged in Topeka, Kan., with criminal use of explosives for having bomb components in his car trunk and sentenced to 24 months of probation, the AP reported.
However, the conviction was overturned on appeal the next year, the AP reported.
Tiller - whose clinic is one of just a few in the nation where late-term abortions are performed - had been a target of abortion opponents since the 1970s. He was shot in both arms by a protester in 1993 and his clinic was bombed in 1985.
Cardinal Justin Rigali, chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, expressed regret upon learning of Tiller's shooting death.
"Our bishops' conference and all its members have repeatedly and publicly denounced all forms of violence in our society, including abortion as well as the misguided resort to violence by anyone opposed to abortion," Rigali said.
"Such killing is the opposite of everything we stand for, and everything we want our culture to stand for: respect for the life of each and every human being from its beginning to its natural end," he said.