what a christian the shooter is!typical american evangelical,he believes god is on his side so everything is permissable

By Tim Reid in Washington

Monday June 01 2009

A controversial provider of late-term abortions in the US was shot and killed as he went to church in Kansas yesterday, the latest violent reminder of an issue that has provoked much division.

George Tiller, a lightning rod in the culture war over abortion, had been shot before and his clinic bombed and picketed in the past.

Dr Tiller (67), one of the few doctors who still performed late-term abortions in the US, has long been demonised by abortion opponents, who would demonstrate regularly outside his clinic, Women's Health Care Services, in Wichita, Kansas.

Police said that he was shot yesterday morning by an assailant as he walked into the city's Reformation Lutheran Church. His wife, Jeanne, was said to have been in the choir at the time.

The FBI and state police were called in to help to search for the assailant.


In 1986, a bomb exploded on the roof of the clinic, causing serious damage. On August 19, 1993, Dr Tiller was shot in both arms outside the clinic by Shelley Shannon, who received an 11-year prison sentence.

More than 2,000 protesters were arrested outside the clinic during summer-long protests in 1991.

Abortions are considered late term when they are performed after the 20th week of gestation on foetuses that are potentially old enough to survive outside the womb.

Dr Tiller remained prominent in recent years in part because of an investigation begun by Phill Kline, the former Kansas attorney-general and an abortion opponent.

Prosecutors had alleged that Dr Tiller had received second opinions from a colleague who was essentially an employee, not independent, as state law required, but a jury acquitted him in March of all 19 misdemeanour counts.

The trial became a rallying cry for supporters and opponents of abortion. One pro-life advocate compared Dr Tiller to a Nazi war criminal; a pro-choice supporter called him "a genuine hero who ranks alongside . . . Martin Luther King in the pantheon of defenders of human liberty".

Anti-abortion violence has killed at least seven people in the US. Dr Tiller's death comes as the issue of abortion is being debated once again because of the forthcoming confirmation hearings of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama's choice for the US Supreme Court.

The president has attempted to defuse one of the most emotive issues in America by arguing that while abortion should remain legal, the Government should do all it can to limit unwanted pregnancies.

Mr Obama has angered the anti-abortion movement by reversing restrictions imposed by his predecessor, George W Bush, on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research and for family-planning groups that carry out or facilitate abortions overseas.

The anti-abortion group Operation Rescue said on its website: "We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place. We pray for Mr Tiller's family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ."

A suspect has been arrested. ( The Times, London)

- Tim Reid in Washington