Kansas Abortion Doctor Shot And Killed In Church

George Tiller, the prominent and polarizing abortion provider, was killed Sunday, gunned down during morning services at his church in Wichita, Kan.

Tiller ran one of the few clinics in the country that performs late-term abortions, and for decades, he was a key figure in the battle over abortion in Kansas and on the national stage.

Tiller's clinic in Wichita was bombed in 1986, and in the early '90s, he was shot in both arms. Just a few months ago, he was acquitted in a criminal case in which he had been charged with violating a Kansas law that requires two independent doctors to agree that a late-term abortion is necessary.

Over time, Tiller became a "lightning rod for opponents of abortion, and accordingly those who supported abortion rights would rally to his defense," Wichita Eagle correspondent Stan Finger tells Jacki Lyden.

Abortion-rights opponents in Kansas have reacted to Sunday's shooting with "universal shock and dismay," Finger says. Meanwhile, supporters of Tiller's are "grieving profoundly," he says, and expressing outrage at the murder.

Listen to the complete interview with Stan Finger by clicking the red "listen" button at the top of the page.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.