Monday, July 27, 2009

NYT Times on Tiller

The Sunday New York Times had a long profile on murdered abortion doctor George Tiller.

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Here's an excerpt

Long ago, he had accepted the possibility he might be assassinated. It was something he and his fellow abortion providers had quietly discussed, and friends said he had lost count of all the death threats.

Even so, there was a mood of stunned rage when local abortion rights advocates gathered the Friday after his killing at First Unitarian Universalist Church in Wichita. ...

But it was a demoralized group. In Topeka, the state capital, they have long been outmuscled by conservative Christians, who have been steadily chipping away at abortion rights. One woman, a lobbyist for abortion rights, described how some legislators literally turned their backs when she testified.

Gail Finney, a junior member of the Legislature, stood and asked why there had not been more outcry from the state’s leaders over Dr. Tiller’s killing. “Where’s the anguish?” Ms. Finney said.

Not a single Kansas politician of statewide prominence showed up the next morning for Dr. Tiller’s funeral, which drew 1,200 mourners. Nor were any at Reformation Lutheran the next day, the first Sunday service after his death.

In the foyer where he was shot, the juice and coffee table had been turned into a memorial, with Dr. Tiller’s photograph next to a basket of buttons he had passed out by the boxful to patients, employees and friends. “Attitude is Everything,” they said.

Outside, Pastor Michelson greeted families with hugs. “There was no way I was going to hide inside,” he later said.

The Tiller clan took their usual spot in the pews, and Mrs. Tiller, radiant in red, was embraced again and again. Flowers from her husband’s funeral framed the altar.

The church was more crowded than usual.

In his sermon, Pastor Michelson openly acknowledged his own apprehensions. “Our sanctuary has been violated,” he said. He urged his congregation to rise above fear and anger, and took note of the supportive letters and e-mail messages from churches all over the country.


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