George Tiller assassinated

GEORGE TILLER ASSASSINATED…. George Tiller, a Wichita physician, was assassinated this morning while attending church serves in Kansas.

Tiller, 67, was shot just after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. Witnesses and a police source confirmed Tiller was the victim.

No information has been released about whether a suspect is in custody. Police said they are looking for white male who was driving a 1990s powder blue Ford Taurus with Kansas license plate 225 BAB. […]

Tiller has long been a focal point of protest by abortion opponents because his clinic, Women’s Health Care Services at 5701 E. Kellogg, is one of the few in the country where late-term abortions are performed.

Tiller has long been a target for right-wing criticism, and had been shot before. His medical clinic, a constant target, had been vandalized earlier this month.

As Amanda Marcotte recently noted, “[Tiller] is one of the two doctors in the country that specializes in the very small percentage of abortions performed late in pregnancy (but before viability) done for health reasons, usually because the pregnancy is a danger to a woman’s health or life, or because the fetus is dead or dying…. He’s been shot in both arms, stalked by the attorney general’s office under Phill Kline … and charged with the crime of performing a bunch of illegal abortions, for which he was acquitted.”

I emphasize this because it’s a point that may go overlooked in much of the media coverage — Tiller performed therapeutic abortions for women who wanted children.

Tiller, in other words, worked past the constant threats of violence to provide a service to women that few would. Today, he was apparently murdered for his efforts.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.