May 31, 2009
George Tiller, one of the few doctors to perform late-term abortions, was shot to death today in a church in Kansas.
Tiller, 67, was shot in the lobby of Reformation Lutheran Church, where he was a member. According to the Wichita Eagle, he was serving as an usher at the church and handing out bulletins to people going into the sanctuary minutes before being shot. A 51-year-old male suspect was arrested about three hours later.
The New York Times offers more background on Tiller.
Dr. Tiller, who had performed abortions since the 1970s, had long been a lightning rod for controversy over the issue of abortion, particularly in Kansas, where abortion opponents regularly protested outside his clinic and sometimes his home and church. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by an abortion opponent but recovered.
He had also been the subject of many efforts at prosecution, including a citizen-initiated grand jury investigation. In the latest such effort, in March, Dr. Tiller was acquitted of charges that he had performed late-term abortions that violated state law.
Several pro-life groups have issued statements condemning the killing.