Dr George Tiller of Wichita KS, a famous “abortion doctor” who’s long been the target of the pro-life movement — I mean that literally, they’ve shot and bombed him as well has having taken other measures to destroy him — was gunned down this morning (as reported by the AP via the Hartford Courant):

Late-term abortion doctor George Tiller, a prominent advocate for abortion rights wounded by a protester more than a decade ago, was shot and killed today at a church in Wichita where he was serving as an usher and his wife was in the choir, his attorney said.

Tiller was shot during morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church, attorney Dan Monnat said. Police said a manhunt was under way for the shooter, who fled in a car registered to a Kansas City suburb nearly 200 miles away. …

Hmm. Given it’s Kansas we’re talking about — the state which the Religious Right turned into a crucible of religionazism in the US over the last decade and a half — one has to wonder how much is being done to apprehend his shooter. We’ll just have to see who how this manhunt works out. Of course, pro-lifers have already tried to distance themselves from the shooting:

Anti-abortion group Operation Rescue issued a statement denouncing the shooting.

Uh huh. Riiiiiight! As if I’m supposed to believe that Operation Rescue (led by one of the most bellicose, determined and vehement religionazis in the country, Randall Terry*) is actually upset at Tiller’s killing. No way is that possible! And I’m not sure what basis they can claim for denouncing his execution, given that they’ve gone after the guy full-bore, and have called the man every name in the book and even some that aren’t, for over two decades. Seriously … what did they think the product of their vicious campaign against Tiller would be? Did they think their campaign against him can’t possibly have inspired murderous hatred? And now that he’s been executed, how can they claim not to have any culpability in the matter? Just how stupid do they think I am?

The article lists just some of the often-violent features of their long campaign:

National anti-abortion groups had long focused on Tiller, whose Women’s Health Care Services clinic is one of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy.

In 1991, the Summer of Mercy protests organized by Operation Rescue drew thousands of anti-abortion activists to this city for demonstrations marked by civil disobedience and mass arrests.

Some abortion opponents had resorted to attacks against Tiller long before today’s shooting. A protester shot Tiller in both arms in 1993, and his clinic was bombed in 1985.

As I blogged a couple months ago, the pro-lifers had suffered a setback when Tiller was acquitted in a criminal case trumped up against him by the Religious Right. Perhaps this frustrated them enough to take the law into their own hands … yet again?

Let’s hear it for killing in the name of the “pro-life” movement! Folks … in case it’s not already crystal-clear to you … there’s nothing “pro-life” about the so-called “pro-life” movement. Rather it’s all about control … managing people’s lives for them, and using the state to force all of its citizens to live by one particular set of religious principles.)

* Correction: After publishing this post I realized Randall Terry is no longer head of Operation Rescue. See my follow-up post for more.

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