The family of murdered late-term abortionist George Tiller announced that the Kansas abortion business Tiller operated for more than 30 years would be "permanently closed," effective immediately. Tiller's family said they would not be involved in abortion centers elsewhere.
Police arrested Scott Roeder, 51, for the May 31 shooting death of Tiller, 67, in the lobby of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita. Authorities charged Roeder with first-degree murder and aggravated assault.
Tiller's center was one of only a handful in the country known to offer abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy. LeRoy Carhart, a Nebraska abortionist who had traveled to work in Tiller's center on a rotating basis for a decade, originally said Women's Health Care Services Inc. would close only for a week. "The same abortion services will be available in Wichita," Carhart said the day after Tiller's death. But Tiller's family said Tuesday they would close the center permanently, though patient medical records would remain "fiercely protected."
Pro-life activists protested outside Tiller's center for decades, but pro-life groups condemned Tiller's murder, saying his killer used the same tactics the groups denounce in abortion. Operation Rescue President Troy Newman-who also condemned Tiller's slaying-called the abortion center's closing "a bittersweet moment." Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America also denounced Tiller's murder, but called the center's closing "very encouraging" for the pro-life community.
Back in Nebraska, Carhart defended late-term abortions in an interview with ABC News, calling such abortions nothing more than "a miscarriage of a stillborn fetus." Carhart also called on Congress to treat the murder of abortionists as hate crimes. "This is the equivalent of Martin Luther King being assassinated," he told The Washington Times. "This is the equivalent of Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Lusitania, and any other major historic event where we've tolerated the intolerable for too long."
On Capitol Hill, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., didn't respond to the call for hate crimes legislation, but she did introduce a House resolution that condemns Tiller's murder, and that "commits to the American principle that tolerance must always be superior to intolerance, and that violence is never an appropriate response to difference in beliefs." The resolution remained in a House committee on Tuesday and had 81 co-sponsors.
Wright agrees that violence against abortionists is wrong, but thinks the House resolution is inappropriate: "George Tiller was a man who had the blood of tens of thousands of innocent children on his hands, and what he did violated the very foundational beliefs of America-that we are all created equal and should be treated with dignity.