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Médico que practicaba aborto

31.5.09

Asesinan a médico que practicaba abortos en EE.UU.

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Un reconocido médico que practicaba abortos tardíos en Estados Unidos fue asesinado a balazos este domingo en una iglesia del estado norteamericano de Kansas, informaron autoridades locales, un hecho que fue repudiado por el presidente Barack Obama.

El médico, George Tiller, muy mal visto por los movimientos antiaborto ya había sido víctima de atentados con anterioridad.

El facultativo fue asesinado antes de las 10H00 locales (15H00 GMT) cuando entraba a una iglesia de la ciudad de Wichita, donde iba a asistir al servicio dominical, por un hombre que huyó en un vehículo, informaron la policía y la alcaldía.

La policía federal (FBI) fue movilizada para intentar hallar al asesino.

Delante de su mujer

El doctor George Tiller, de 67 años, fue asesinado el domingo por la mañana por un hombre en la Iglesia Luterana Reformación, dijo su abogado, Dan Monnat. Hace más de una década el famoso médico había sido herido a balazos por un activista opuesto al aborto.

La policía dijo que se inició la búsqueda del asesino, que huyó en un vehículo registrado en un suburbio de Kansas a unos 320 kilómetros (200 millas) de distancia.

Tiller figuraba entre los escasos médicos estadounidenses que practicaban abortos a mujeres con embarazo avanzado, es decir, después de la semana número 21. Su clínica se había convertido en sitio de protestas reiteradas.

Un grupo opuesto al aborto llamado Operación de Rescate ("Operation Rescue", en inglés) emitió un comunicado denunciando el asesinato.

"Quedamos impactados al conocer la horripilante noticia esta mañana del tiroteo contra el señor Tiller", indicó Try Newman, presidente del grupo.

Buscan al asesino

El capitán Brent Allred dijo que la policía de Wichita está buscando a un hombre armado que huyó en un Ford Taurus de color azul registrado en el suburbio de Merriam, Kansas. No se ofrecieron otros detalles del asesinato de forma inmediata.

La línea telefónica en casa de Tiller y su mujer Jeanne estaba ocupada el domingo.

Tiller empezó a ofrecer sus servicios de aborto en 1973. El doctor admitía que el aborto es un tema tan controversial como la esclavitud o la época de la prohibición de consumo de alcohol en Estados Unidos, pero dijo que también se trata de dar opciones a una mujer cuando se lidia con tecnología que puede diagnosticar anormalidades en un feto.

"Las pruebas prenatales sin opciones prenatales son un fraude médico", dijo Tiller una vez.

En 1991, las protestas organizadas por Operación de Rescate llevaron a muchos activistas opuestos al aborto a esta ciudad para realizar protestas marcadas por la disobediencia civil y los arrestos masivos.

Algunos oponentes al aborto ya habían planeado ataques contra Tiller mucho antes de la balacera del domingo. Un manifestante le disparó en ambos brazos en 1993, y en 1985 se atentó contra su clínica.


Asesinado un conocido médico antiabortista en EE UU


James TillerLate-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller

Abortion doctor George Tiller is killed; suspect in custody

The late-term abortion provider was shot at church in Wichita, Kan. A suspect was arrested three hours later about 170 miles away, police say. Tiller, 67, had been a victim of violence in the past.
Dr. George Tiller, one of the few American physicians who performed late-term abortions, was shot to death in the lobby of his church today in Wichita, Kan., according to his attorneys.
A 51-year-old suspect was arrested three hours after the shooting at 10 a.m. Central time in a Kansas City suburb about 170 miles from Wichita, police said. They did not release his name, but said he would probably be charged Monday with one count of murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
For years, Tiller, 67, was a lightning rod in the struggle over legalized abortion.

He had previously been the victim of violence. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by an abortion protester as he drove away from his clinic. In 1986, his Women's Health Care Services clinic was severely damaged in a bomb blast. In 1991, the clinic was blockaded for six weeks by anti-abortion protesters.

And this month, Tiller's attorneys told the Associated Press, the doctor had asked the FBI to investigate an incident where vandals cut wires to security cameras, cut holes in the roof and plugged downspouts, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage to the clinic.

In addition to fending off abortion protesters for years, Tiller had been pursued by public officials opposed to abortion.

In March, he was acquitted of charges that he broke a Kansas law requiring a second doctor to affirm that a late-term abortion was necessary to preserve the health of the woman. That second doctor must be financially and legally independent from the first physician.

In a trial that lasted five days -- and in which the jury took less than an hour to return its verdict -- Tiller was cleared of charges that he had improper ties to Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus.

Today, Neuhaus said that she had expected further violence after Tiller's acquittal. "I knew it was going to antagonize these people that he quote, unquote, got off the hook," she said. "Dr. Tiller really was a warrior. He was a quiet, persistent, capable visionary, a true leader. Even if he had known it was going to end up this way, he wouldn't have been deterred."

During his trial, when his attorney asked why he stayed in practice despite years of harassment, Tiller told the jury, " 'Quit' is not something I like to do."

The Associated Press reported that parishioner Adam Watkins, 20, said he was sitting in the middle of the congregation at Reformation Lutheran Church 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.

Later, Tiller's attorneys released a statement from Tiller's wife, Jeanne, his four children and 10 grandchildren.

"Today we mourn the loss of our husband, father and grandfather," it said. "Today's event is an unspeakable tragedy for all of us and for George's friends and patients. This is particularly heart wrenching because George was shot down in his house of worship, a place of peace. Our loss is also a loss for the city of Wichita and women across America. George dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality healthcare despite frequent threats and violence. We ask that he be remembered as a good husband, father and grandfather and a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women everywhere."

Phill Kline, the former Kansas attorney general whose investigations led to the charges being filed against Tiller, decried the killing.

'"I am stunned by this lawless and violent act which must be condemned and should be met with the full force of law," said Kline in an e-mailed statement.

But Warren Hern, a Colorado physician and close friend of Tiller's who said he is now "the only doctor in the world" who performs very late-term abortions, said Tiller's death was predictable.

"I think it's the inevitable consequence of more than 35 years of constant anti-abortion terrorism, harassment and violence. George is the fifth American doctor to be assassinated. I get messages from these people saying, 'Don't bother wearing a bulletproof vest, we're going for a head shot.' "

When President Obama was elected last fall, Hern predicted that antiabortion violence would increase, he said. Because Obama supports legalized abortion, said Hern, its foes "have lost ground. . . . They want the doctors dead, and they invite people to assassinate us. No wonder that this happens. . . . I am next on the list."
Today Obama said he was "shocked and outraged" by the killing. "However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion," he said in a statement, "they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.

The killing shines a harsh spotlight on the notion that common ground can be found between proponents of legalized abortion and those who oppose it. Last month, the University of Notre Dame, one of the country's preeminent Catholic institutions, came under fire for inviting Obama to give its commencement speech and receive an honorary degree. Obama devoted much of his speech to a plea for respectful discourse, but admitted at one point, "The fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable."
Kelli Conlin, president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, echoed that sentiment in a statement about Tiller's death: "It is cold-blooded, vicious actions like today's assassination that make it hard for those of us in the pro-choice community to find common ground with those on the other side. It is lawless, violent behavior like this that makes us fear for our lives and our families. When they sit down across from us, they have no reason to believe that we come to the table with violent intentions. Today is a brutal reminder that we are not privileged to have the same sense of security."

In a sense, Tiller's killing plunges the debate over legalized abortion back in time, to a moment when violent protests and blockades at abortion clinics led Congress to pass the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in 1994.

Carole Joffe, a sociology professor at UC Davis, said that the worst period of violence against abortion providers was during President Clinton's tenure and that attacks dwindled under President George W. Bush, when the movement believed it had an ally in the White House. But with a president that supports abortion rights and a Democratic Congress, she said, some abortion foes may be feeling desperate.

"When social movements feel they're not getting anywhere they get desperate," said Joffe, adding that the vast majority of antiabortion rights activists reject violence. "This is deeply tragic but unsurprising."

Although some commenters on antiabortion websites hailed Tiller's death, antiabortion leaders were dismayed.

"It's tragic," said the Rev. Pat Mahoney, an antiabortion activist who attended Tiller's trial in March. "The probability is that someone who opposed abortion did this. The reason we are pro-life is because we hate violence on any level. I don't know of one legitimate pro-life leader who would not unequivocally condemn this."

Mahoney said he had scheduled a news conference with antiabortion groups Monday morning on the steps of the Supreme Court to condemn the killing.

"One of my main concerns here is that the Obama administration and Democratic leaders don't make the same mistake that the Clinton administration made, and don't use this isolated episode to demonize an entire movement and try to take this tragedy for political gain," said Mahoney. "If they overreach, then they put pressure on peaceful people who are trying to peacefully change the climate on abortion in a way that President Obama talked about at Notre Dame."

Troy Newman, the head of antiabortion group Operation Rescue, who moved to Kansas from California to try to put Tiller out of business, said he was "shocked, horrified and numb."

"It's a horrible day," said Newman. "Nobody wants anything to end like this. We want to bring abortionists to justice through the proper channels, through legal means. We know that Mr. Tiller was violating the law and we could prove it and I am confident that we were a couple months away from getting his license revoked."

Newman was referring to an investigation of Tiller by the Kansas Board of Health Examiners, which announced on the day he was acquitted that it would be pursing charges against him.

Tiller, who was born and raised in Wichita, was the son of a physician. He took over his father's practice when he died in a 1970 airplane crash that also claimed the lives of his mother, sister and brother-in-law. At the time, Tiller was finishing medical school and had an internship at Camp Pendleton. He had planned to become a dermatologist, but when he returned to Kansas to close up his father's practice, patients pleaded with him to stay.

Eventually, his clinic evolved from family practice to abortions, and in the late 1980s and 1990s, protests became increasingly violent and intrusive. Tiller testified that he was the subject of frequent death threats, that he was harassed at his church and that members of his staff were picketed at their homes.

"The heroes in our practice," he testified, "are the courageous men and women who come to work every day in spite of threats and harassment."

Suspect in Dr. Tiller's Assassination Appears to Have Operation Rescue Ties.

Category: Medicine • Misc
Posted on: May 31, 2009 8:06 PM, by 
Mike Dunford

Wichita NBC affiliate KSHB-TV is reporting that the suspect being held in the assassination of Dr. George Tiller is a man named Scott Roeder. Posters in the forums at theDemocraticUnderground have identified at least one posting at Operation Rescue's website (currently down, link to Google cache here) that's written by a Scott Roeder and refers to Dr. Tiller.

There is also information that indicates that a suspected Freeman named Scott Roeder was arrested in Topeka in 1996 for parole violations related to his having bomb making materials in his car trunk. At that time, he was identified as being 38, which would make him 51 today.Another recent news report gives the current age of the suspect in Tiller's assassination as 51.

The information currently available strongly suspects that this Scott Roeder is exactly the kind of radical right-wing extremist that was discussed in a recent Homeland Security report - you remember that report, right? It's the one that various semi-mainstream conservatives got all self-righteously irate over a couple of months ago.

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