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By ROXANA HEGEMAN, Associated Press Writer Roxana Hegeman, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 1 min ago

WICHITA, Kan. – A man suspected of fatally shooting abortion doctor George Tiller in church was in jail Monday while investigators sought to learn more about his background, including his possible connections to anti-abortion groups.


Tiller, 67, was serving as an usher during morning services Sunday when he was shot in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church, police said. The gunman fired one shot at Tiller and threatened two other people who tried to stop him.

The suspect, identified by one law enforcement agency as Scott Roeder, was taken into custody some 170 miles away in a Kansas City suburb about three hours after the shooting.

Tiller had been a lightning rod for abortion opponents for decades. The women's clinic he ran is one of three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy, when the fetus is considered viable, and has been the site of repeated protests for about two decades. A protester shot Tiller in both arms in 1993, and his clinic was bombed in 1985.

Roeder, 51, was returned to Wichita and was being held without bail on one count of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault. Formal charges were expected to be filed Monday.

In Washington, the U.S. Marshals Service said that as a result of Tiller's shooting, Attorney General Eric Holder had ordered it to "increase security for a number of individuals and facilities" in the country. Jeff Carter, U.S. Marshals spokesman, said he could not disclose details.

A man with the same name as the suspect has a criminal record and a background of anti-abortion postings on sympathetic Web sites. In one post written in 2007 on the Web site for Operation Rescue, a group that closely followed Tiller's work and legal troubles in recent years, a man identifying himself as Scott Roeder asked if anyone had thought of attending Tiller's church to ask the doctor and other worshippers about his work.

But police said Sunday that all early indications showed the shooter acted alone. Operation Rescue condemned the killing as vigilantism and "a cowardly act." The president of the group told The New York Times that Roeder was "not a friend, not a contributor, not a volunteer."

In 1996, a 38-year-old man named Scott Roeder was charged in Topeka with criminal use of explosives for having bomb components in his car trunk and sentenced to 24 months of probation. However, his conviction was overturned on appeal the next year after a higher court said evidence against Roeder was seized by law enforcement officers during an illegal search of his car.

At the time, police said the FBI had identified Roeder as a member of the anti-government Freemen group, an organization that kept the FBI at bay in Jordan, Mont., for almost three months in 1995-96. Authorities on Sunday night would not immediately confirm if their suspect was the same man.

Morris Wilson, a commander of the Kansas Unorganized Citizens Militia in the mid-1990s, told The Kansas City Star he knew Roeder fairly well.

"I'd say he's a good ol' boy, except he was just so fanatic about abortion," Wilson said. "He was always talking about how awful abortion was. But there's a lot of people who think abortion is awful."

In May 2007, someone posting to the Web site of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue used the name "Scott Roeder" in response to a scheduled vigil to "pray for an end to George R. Tiller's late-term abortion business."

"Bleass everyone for attending and praying in May to bring justice to Tiller and the closing of his death camp," the posting read. "Sometime soon, would it be feasible to organize as many people as possible to attend Tillers church (inside, not just outside) to have much more of a presence and possibly ask questions of the Pastor, Deacons, Elders and members while there? Doesn't seem like it would hurt anything but bring more attention to Tiller."

The slaying quickly brought condemnation from both anti-abortion and pro-choice groups, as well as President Barack Obama.

"However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence," Obama said in a statement.

Wichita Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said that Tiller apparently did not have a bodyguard with him in church, although the doctor was routinely accompanied by one. An attorney for Tiller, Dan Monnat, said the doctor's wife, Jeanne, was in the choir at the time of the shooting.

Monnat said in early May that Tiller had asked federal prosecutors to step up investigations of vandalism and other threats against the clinic out of fear that the incidents were increasing and that Tiller's safety was in jeopardy. However, Stolz said authorities knew of no threats connected to the shooting.

Adam Watkins, a 20-year-old who said he has attended the church his entire life, said he was sitting in the middle of the congregation when he heard a small pop at the start of the service.

"We just thought a child had come in with a balloon and it had popped, had gone up and hit the ceiling and popped," Watkins said.

Another usher came in and told the congregation to remain seated, then escorted Tiller's wife out.

"When she got to the back doors, we heard her scream, and so we knew something bad had happened," Watkins said.

Church members said anti-abortion protesters have shown up outside the church on Sundays regularly.

"They've been out here for quite a few years. We've just become accustomed to it. Just like an everyday thing, you just looked over and see them and say, 'Yup they're back again.'"

He added: "We had no idea that someone would come into our church and do such a bad thing like that — inside of a church."

The last killing of an abortion doctor was in October 1998 when Dr. Barnett Slepian was fatally shot in his home in a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y. A militant abortion opponent was convicted of the murder.

Federal marshals protected Tiller during the 1991 Summer of Mercy protests, and he was protected again between 1994 and 1998 after another abortion provider was assassinated and federal authorities reported finding Tiller's name at the top of an assassination list.

One of Tiller's lawyers and friends, Dan Monnat, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that Tiller had been supported by his wife and children in his decision to continue providing abortion services.

"If Dr Tiller is not going to service a woman's right to chose, who will do it?" Monnat said.

"Many of those have been terrorized and run off by protesters," he said about other abortion providers.

One of the few remaining late-term abortion clinics is in Boulder, Colo., where Dr. Warren Hern denounced Tiller's killing as the "inevitable and predictable consequence of decades of anti-abortion" rhetoric and violence.

"Dr. Tiller's assassination is not the lone and inexplicable action of one deranged killer," Hern said Sunday. "This was a political assassination in a historic pattern of anti-abortion political violence. It was terrorism."

I'm confused. If the shooter might have a possible connection to an anti-abortion group, wouldnt shooting the doctor have an OPPOSITE affect to his cause?
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On balance, I agree with you. As well as being wrong (obviously), killing people brings the anti-abortion movement into disrepute, which makes people less likely to listen to its arguments, which presumably makes them more likely to have abortions.

However, I've heard that there are very few doctors in America willing to perform late term abortions, which is presumably what Dan Monnat meant by: "If Dr Tiller is not going to service a woman's right to chose, who will do it?" And fear of violence might also put other people off offering them. So I imagine it might prevent some abortions as well. That's obviously no excuse though.
However, I've heard that there are very few doctors in America willing to perform late term abortions

Ya know... If I was a doctor performing such things, I doubt I'd hang any shingles mentioning them. I suspect there are far more than are outwardly known by the general public.

I also think that something like this makes me wish I had gone into obstetrics rather than engineering. I'm contrary by nature.
Ya know... If I was a doctor performing such things, I doubt I'd hang any shingles mentioning them. I suspect there are far more than are outwardly known by the general public.

True, but if I were an extremist anti-abortion group, it wouldn't be difficult for me to wait for one of my members to get pregnant, pretend to want a late term abortion then pull out at the last minute. If you're not willing to tell *anyone* you're willing to perform late term abortions, you're not going to be performing many late term abortions!
Or be making a fortune off the few you're willing to do!

Seriously though, I suppose it's possible. To the best of my knowlege such doctors seem to flourish even in countries where it's illegal.

Besides, I didn't say a doctor wouldn't tell *anyone*. I only said she wouldn't hang a shingle. A doctor will typically get to know her patients well, and if something occurred that made an abortion an option for the woman, I think the doctor would be sympathetic. How that may translate is dependent on the circumstances. Or so I'd guess.

It's all speculation. I'm sure I wouldn't know of any doctors who perform late-term abortions. Not that many get performed in any case.
Probably not to his mind. He may have thought that as long as he's gone, he can't kill any more.

Personally, I think the prolife groups have cause to fear some sort of backlash and agree that this will hurt his cause in the long run.
I know lots of pro-lifers, and don't think I know any that feel this was a good choice. It hurts the cause.
IDK. I mean, I don't personally condone killing people, obviously, but I read a book recently called "How Nonviolence Protects the State" and while killing is the among the most extreme kinds of political violence that can be performed, I think there is a strong case to be made for non-peaceful acts.

There will be backlash, yes, and it might cause more harm than good - it's difficult to say. But that's always the case with any sort of movement - violence causes backlash, but without violence, you probably won't get anywhere in the first place. (For example, where would we be without people like Malcom X? For all that people like to tout MLK or Gandhi, they didn't work in a vacuum - violence and the threat of violence were 100% necessary.)

More than that, most of us are usually okay with killing in self-defense, correct? Or in defense of other lives? So I wouldn't be surprised if that's where the shooter was coming from, assuming that was his motivation.

I know this makes me sound like I am excusing what he did, and I really, really do not mean to do that, I just like to explore other p.o.v.'s and motivations and such. In a theoretical kind of way. Where I would never kill anyone that wasn't actively attempting to kill me at the time.
Or in defense of other lives? So I wouldn't be surprised if that's where the shooter was coming from, assuming that was his motivation.

I believe this is the case. People like Scott Roeder think that murdering doctors who provide abortion services is justifiable homicide because doing so protects the fetuses that those doctors would otherwise abort.

Not saying I agree with that, because I don't in the slightest. Just agreeing that that is likely the rationale behind his heinous act.
I believe it's wrong, because the ends don't justify the means.

But it is very difficult to debate the issue of it being a "Just War" because if you feel abortion it is murdering innocents, then you might feel it is justified by all the principles.

But to put it bluntly, murder is wrong, and it is not a "war" given proper authority and it does defy the law. If hearts remain unchanged, one death is nothing.... another will simply fill the role.

From a rational standpoint, the women will just seek other doctors, the pro-life movement looks like hypocrites, and a lot of hate, not love, is generated. How does this help?

The peaceful recourse may seem to leave no impact because it is slow in the course of things, but the abortion doctor and nurse who made the movie "The Silent Scream" are now pro-life, and really have convinced lots of people to be pro-life, and really, killing a doctor is only a temporary hold....if someone really becomes pro-life, it is likely a permanent and meaningful change.
Absolutely, and at least one pro-life group agrees with your sentiment. From the NYT article:
"Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group based in Wichita, said he had always sought out “nonviolent” measures to challenge Dr. Tiller, including efforts in recent years to have him prosecuted for crimes or investigated by state health authorities.

“Operation Rescue has worked tirelessly on peaceful, nonviolent measures to bring him to justice through the legal system, the legislative system,” Mr. Newman said, adding, “We are pro-life, and this act was antithetical to what we believe.”"


People on both sides of the fence (those with brains anyway) are well aware that the killer is an extremist who does not have a cause so much as a demented world view. Homicidal even. I really hate when shit like this happens, one for the obvious reasons, and two because it further pushes politics to the extremes. Extremist pro-choicers will make him a martyr (he's a victim, people die every day, some for far more heinous reasons and no one glorifies them), and extremist pro-lifers will clamor that 'justice has been served'. Sigh.

I'm also wondering how a post with the term "anti-abortion" got past the mods. I thought that language was against abortiondebate rules?
hmmm.
i didnt even think about that one.
it irks me when pro-life people say 'pro-abortion'.
i was just going with how the artcicle put it.
I think it's fine if it's in quotes (have to keep up with integrity of citing sources censor-free), but posters and repliers aren't allowed to use that language from what I recall.
"Anti-choice" is probably the term you're thinking of that is not permitted. The community rules do not have a clear position on "anti-abortion", but as one of the pro-life mods, I find nothing offensive about "anti-abortion", and personally (that is, not speaking for the mod team as a whole), in fact prefer it, since too often discussion in the abortion debate gets caught up in semantics and devolves into "how can you be pro-life if you're for the death penalty/not a vegetarian/a supporter of assisted suicide" or "if you're pro-choice you need to be pro-any-choice anyone could possibly make in their lives about absolutely anything".
But "anti-choice" is accurate. They are against people having a choice to get an abortion. So why is that term not permitted?
You missed out on that discussion. However, it's not this discussion. Say what you want after this, but I guarantee you some other, more on-topic discussion will drag this off-topic (historically, libertarianism and/or the definition of 'life'). The reasons for the rules and terms is something you should email mods about.
For the same reason that "pro-death" is not a permitted term. It is an antagonistic term used by one side to denigrate the other, and impedes reasonable polite debate.
But anti-choice is accurate. Pro-death is not. Someone who is pro-choice could be against abortion - they are just for the ability to choose.
"Anti-choice" isn't entirely correct either, though, anymore than "Pro-death" would be.

I have a friend who is pro-life. His views and my views are actually exactly the same, though. The only difference is A) how he views the unborn conceived child and B) That he believes the government should be able to enforce those limitations on abortion.

I don't need those limitations on abortion because I uphold them myself, and my religious choice and background both agrees with me and has its own legal system for the most part (I disagree with Jewish authorities that think rape or health issues of the child-to-be shouldn't be taken into account, however, the people I deal with more or less believe these are all acceptable standards for abortion). I also believe government involvement is unnecessary, and that MY views on abortion are not the only correct views. Hence, pro-choice. But he himself is not so much against abortion as he believes certain restrictions should be upheld by the government. And he actually voted against California's Prop 4 both times around... Clearly, Pro-life is no more clear-cut on a non-extreme scale than pro-choice.
why shouldnt rape and health issues be taken into account?
I believe they should. I was saying I disagree with Jewish rabbinical authorities who believe otherwise. However, that is not the majority of Judaism, let alone liberal Judaism. Even Orthodox Judaism is iffy on those areas at least and in some aspects quite liberal. But in any of my circles it of course should be taken into account.

I certainly do not believe in bringing a fetus to term if it has something that's going to kill it in forty-eight hours and cause it to be in terrible pain the whole time, and things of the sort. Or putting a female's life in danger, though all of Judaism agrees by technicality that if a mother's life is endangered then abortion is rendered necessary. But you get some people who don't believe the child having an awful, debilitating, painful illness that will kill it in a few days deserves that type of sympathy.

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Anti-choice is precisely as fitting as pro-abortion is. That is to say, within the context of abortion debate they are both 100% accurate and remarkably disingenuous. Pro-lifers aren't against all choices any more than pro-choicers are only about abortions. I think that's one of the main reasons they don't belong on this site.
I'm not going to argue with a mod per se, but from the rules and info page:

2. Respect your fellow debaters... The acceptable terms in this community are: "pro-choice," "pro-life," and "abortion rights supporter/opponent."

If this has changed, then definitely color me wrong. But that's just my understanding.
From my original comment: The community rules do not have a clear position on "anti-abortion". It falls in the grey area of not being one of the official terms, but also not being an antagonistic term (and thus its use falls into "respect your fellow debaters"). The mod team can have a discussion about the term and get back to you if you like.
I'm very against what happened to Tiller.
1. It makes pro-lifers look like hypocritical radicals who do not value ALL life....and they should.
2. God made unborn babies....and Tiller.
3. Murder is wrong....whether it is taking the life of a fetus or an adult.
4. God should decide when a life ends....and ONLY He should do that.
5. Yes, Tiller did bad things, but 2 wrongs don't fix that.
6. Saul from the Bible was killing Christians when God turned him into a Christian and he became St. Paul, converter of tons of people. Can you imagine the influence of an abortion doctor like Tiller becoming pro-life? It would definitely do better things for the pro-life movement than killing a doctor. And God can turn any heart...but now Tiller is gone because of man's hateful violence.
7. The hate that murder brings about will just set back any love the pro-life movement had built....doors for some who may have become pro-life will be shut forever due to this ugliness.
8. Another doctor will replace him, and I have my doubts any lives were saved, just another lost.
9. We must change hearts and laws in order to prevent abortion.

I only know a few people that even think his death was a good thing, but I know a great majority who feel as I do. Please, God, help our love overcome one crazy man's actions and keep us on your path.

On a different note, my dad made this comment to me....he doesn't feel this way, of course, but it poses an interesting point to one of the stupidest sentiments I have ever heard.
"I wouldn't kill an abortion doctor, but I wouldn't want to keep someone else who wants to from being able to do it."

Murder is murder, and YES, you should care if someone else wants to do it.
To be honest, I think only people who pay attention to abortion in politics will notice this event. I've had lots of patients who had no idea a doctor was murdered. This may galvanize some activists, but I get the feeling that Dr Tiller's death isn't actually going to change anything politically.