June 9, 2009
For years, pro-life advocates tried without success to shut down the late Dr. George Tiller’s abortion practice through legal means. Today, they saw the end of the Women’s Health Care Services clinic – and found little reason to celebrate.
George Tiller’s family announced in a statement that the Wichita abortion clinic will permanently close, “effective immediately.” This ends the long battle between the abortion doctor and his foes, who have condemned his recent murder.
"Dr. Tiller's clinic was probably going to close soon anyway because of actions by our Board of Healing Arts, not to mention several serious lawsuits," said Mary Kay Culp, director of the group Kansans for Life, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. "[A]nd it's just really tragic that it had to happen because he was murdered."
The head of Operation Rescue, a group which consistently protested outside the abortion clinic, expressed no relief at the decision.
“Good God, do not close this abortion clinic for this reason,” Tony Newman said in an interview with The New York Times. “Every kook in the world will get some notion.”
In an email, Newman said Operation Rescue would have been just two months away from having George Tiller’s medical license revoked. That action would have closed the clinic anyway – and legally.
Legislative battles over the legality of late-term abortions – Tiller’s expertise – have waged for years in Kansas. In March, pro-life groups lost a criminal case that charged Tiller with violating existing abortion laws. New charges were brought before the State Board of Healing Arts that same day Tiller was acquitted, and a decision was never reached.
George Tiller was gunned down May 31 while handing out bulletins at his home church. Scott Roeder, a rogue anti-abortion protester, was arrested later that day as a suspect.
The announcement eliminates one of just a handful of clinics nationwide that still perform late-term abortions.
"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 statement said. “That is a legacy that will never die.”
An estimated 60,000 fetuses were destroyed at Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita since Tiller opened the clinic in 1975, according to LifeSiteNews.