Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The status of the war for abortion rights

It's rather obvious that the pro-choice side has lost a great ally and a large part of itself with the murder of Dr. George Tiller, arguably the man at the forefront of the abortion debate raging in the U.S. However, yet another grievous blow has been struck, though it's of a related manner: Dr. Tiller's abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas is closing its doors forever, killing one of the few remaining symbols in the pro-choice movement.

WICHITA, Kan. — George Tiller's slaying has accomplished what anti-abortion activists had tried to do for decades: The doors to his Kansas clinic will shut forever. The announcement Tuesday from Tiller's family was a tainted victory for the nation's anti-abortion movement. For years, it made Tiller the focus of protests, legislation and legal attacks.


Operations at Women's Health Care Services Inc. were suspended following Tiller's death last month. In a statement released by his attorneys, Tiller's family said relatives had chosen to honor him with charitable activities instead of reopening the clinic.

"We are proud of the service and courage shown by our husband and father and know that women's health care needs have been met because of his dedication and service," the family said in the statement. They did not elaborate on their reasoning to close.

Tiller, who had said women with access to prenatal testing needed options in case those tests uncovered severe fetal abnormalities, was shot to death May 31 while serving as an usher at his Lutheran church. Prosecutors have charged abortion opponent Scott Roeder, 51, with first-degree murder and aggravated assault in Tiller's death.

It's a very sad day indeed. I wish his family would reconsider – I'm certain he would've wanted someone else brave (or reckless) enough to take his place at the clinic, but it's their decision after all, being next of kin. It's nonetheless a terrible loss and a damaging blow to the pro-choice movement.


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