Anti-Choice Groups Denounce Murder of Dr. George Tiller

Anti-choice groups swiftly condemned the murder of Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, shot dead on his way to church this Sunday in Wichita, Kansas, while Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, stopped short of justifying the murder but failed to disavow the use of violence against providers.  

The New York Times reported, 

Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group that has led opposition to Dr. Tiller’s methods, denounced the killing on Sunday, as did other national groups opposed to abortion. “Our prayers go out to his family and the thousands of people this will impact,” Mr. Newman said in a telephone interview from his home in Wichita.

Other statements from anti-choice groups, including the Susan B. Anthony List — " "The Susan B. Anthony List condemns this anti-life act in the strongest of terms…Authentic progress in women’s rights has always encompassed the protection of human rights of every person across the board" — the American Life League — "Today’s actions were tragic, and serve as another reminder that all human life is sacred" — "the National Right to Life Committee unequivocally condemns any such acts of violence regardless of motivation" — suggested that anti-choice groups clearly consider pursuing their aims through violence immoral.

Yet Randall Terry, in a statement carried by Christian News Wire, said,  "George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God.   I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller’s killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder."

While mainstream anti-choice groups attempted to draw a bright line between their own anti-choice activism and violence against an abortion provider, on Religion Dispatches, Frances Kissling wondered whether an environment of unending protest, harassment and stigmatization of abortion provision inevitably, eventually, leads to violence:

…[W]hen people are treated to an unrelenting barrage of religious claims that abortion is murder, that doctors who perform abortion should be charged with crimes and sent to prison, and when pickets outside clinics pray the rosary and display mangled fetuses on crosses as if they were Jesus Christ himself, some nuts are going to do what Terry suggested and kill the “baby killers.” Perhaps nuts are just nuts and will do what they do whether or not some religious leaders provide a moral frame for immoral acts and others remain silent. Frustration at not getting your way leads people to do and say terrible things.

Frances’s plainspoken yet incontrovertible conclusion forces us to ask how a person could die for extending compassion to women: "Dr. Tiller saved women’s lives; this is not a debatable point."

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

  • sayna

    When you call someone a mass murderer and advocate using violent, harrassing means to stop him, you are demonizing him to the point where you might as well e advocating his murder. And again, if you really believe abortion is murder you won’t have any problem treating abortion providers the same as murderers. These people ought to be ashamed of themselves. If they didn’t demonize abortion providers so much things like this wouldn’t happen. But they never stop and think that there might be sick (or stupid) people out there who hang on their every word and take it really seriously. I’ll let Terry speak for himself:

    “Let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good…. If a Christian voted for Clinton, he sinned against God. It’s that simple…. Our goal is a Christian Nation… we have a biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want Pluralism. We want theocracy. Theocracy means God rules. I’ve got a hot flash. God rules.”

    [Randall Terry, Head of Operation Rescue, from The News Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Aug 15, 1993]

    When I, or people like me, are running the country, you’d better flee, because we will find you, we will try you, and we will execute you. I mean every word of it. I will make it part of my mission to see to it that they are tried and executed… If we’re going to have true reformation in America, it is because men once again, if I may use a worn out expression, have righteous testoserone flowing through their veins. They are not afraid of contempt for their contemporaries. They are not even here to get along. They are here to take over… Somebody like Susan Smith should be dead. She should be dead now. Some people will go, “Well how do you know God doesn’t have a wonderful plan for her life?” He does, it’s listed in the Bible. His plan for her is that she should be dead.”

    [Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, at the Aug 8, 1995 U.S. Taxpayers Alliance Banquet in Washington DC, talking about doctors who perform abortions and volunteer escorts]

  • heather-corinna

    That does not change my position that Dr. Tiller’s abortion services were particularly murderous because of the late term abortions that he performed…Condoning violence against abortion providers or encouraging hated towards them does, but that is not what most pro life groups do.

    I really, really think today is NOT the day for those kinds of sentiments.  Please.  Seriously: Please.

  • marysia

    I don’t agree with what Tiller did for a living, either.

    But what he did or didn’t do for his occupation has nothing to do with whether or not he had the right to keep living and breathing like any one of us.

    He was a human being, like any one of us. And no deserves to be shot down in cold blood.

  • invalid-0

    The same anti abortion nutjobs who are condemning this act of terrorism are inciting more acts of terrorism by fraudulently claiming that abortion involves the killing of human lives.

  • invalid-0

    Did you read the same statement by Terry that I did? Just what particular phrases came close to justification of Tiller’s killing? (And I don’t think a murder charge has been brought yet?)

    Perhaps if you had posted (or read?) Terry’s entire comment, you would not have made an unjustified charge?

    “George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller’s killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.

    “Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches.”

    “Killing” is not “peaceful protest”….

    Again, just what came close to “justification” in this statement?

  • invalid-0

    A right to live an d be left unmolested….

    Just as those he aborted have. I will be as upset by his death as the “pro-choice” are about the death of millions of unborn human children.

  • invalid-0

    and it took A LOT for me to censor myself in that subject line – it actually took A LOT for me to start off using such a harmless swear word for you, dan, in the first place.
    that statement calls dr. tiller a murderer several times. gee, let me think….what is the warped old testament belief you fundies cling to while ignoring jesus’ teaching of turning the other cheek? um…oh yeah! an eye for a freaking eye, you sick sociopaths. love, just freaking love how you ignore the gentle message put forth by one part of the god you claim to worship. sick sick sick. i wish i could force you to see/feel for just one minute how twisted you are to not see this doctor as a human because of fetuses & embryos.
    why i’m wasting my time on sick and twisted sociopaths such as yourself, i don’t know. go mind your own womb – oh wait! you can’t! YOU DON’T HAVE ONE!!!

    • invalid-0

      Wow, you have a smidgen of self control….. I am so impressed. No rational argument, eh?

  • marysia


    it sounds as if randall terry is waaaayyyy more concerned with denouncing george tiller’s occupation, which he could focus on at another time–and, by the way, challenge in a spirit of something better than his postured and not even millimeter-deep peacefulness,  than on the horrible fact that the man was killed, in church, no less, by someone who evidently thought he had every right to take the powers of judgment and life and death over another into his own hands, where those powers did not belong.

    and why anyone regards randall terry as a moral authority on prolife, i don’t get.  the dude abandoned his wife and kids, including the black kids he boasted of adopting, and his whole attitude is hateful and arrogant.




    Nonviolent Choice Directory,

    • invalid-0

      Why would Terry need to or want to shed a tear over this? From his POV, Tiller was as evil as you believe Terry is?

      And note that I did not defend Terry. I know almost nothing of the man.

      My comment was ONLY that Terry’s statement did not seem to, in any way, “justify” the killing. But, since this does not fit the narrative the original blogger wants to spread, she seems to have written more from her bias than from the facts.

  • harry834

    are we entitled to withold tears or sorrow over the death of someone whom we believe is evil?

    Perhaps we are. I know that a lot of us pro-choicers would not be too genuinely sorry if the murderer got cancer and passed. 

    So maybe it’s really about having the correct definition of "evil". I pray that pro-choice philosophy will be accepted as society’s definition of "good" and "evil", and in time America will honor Tiller as a whole the way it honors Lincoln (even though at the time, half the country hated Lincoln).

    Here’s to changing future minds and hearts…

  • invalid-0

    accepted killing 25 million (and more) as “good” for 36 years.

    Just as Nazi Germany accepted killing Jews as “good”.

    But calling a fish a bicycle doesn’t make it one, does it?

  • invalid-0

    I do not condone this guy’s murder, but he was an evil person. To abort babies just days before their due date for reasons as the mother’s “emtional distress” is not ‘saving the lives of the mothers’.

    It’s abortion for convenience. And so close to the due date is sickening.

    While mainstream America is horrified by the man’s murder, mainstream America is also against late term abortion.

    There aren’t too many people I know who would favor aborting a baby just days before its due date because the mother was under ’emotional stress’.

    Give it up.

    This is going to help the pro-life movement now because people who didn’t know about Tiller are now going to find out exactly what this man was all about.

    Offering photos, giving the dead child a toy before placing them into the incinerator to be cremated?

    What a demon from hell.

    • invalid-0

      I don’ think anyone would be in favor of aborting a perfectly healthy baby days before delivery because of the mother’s emotional stress. I also don’t believe Dr. Tiller ever aborted a perfectly healthy baby days before birth due to emotional stress of the mother. Dr. Tiller performed late term abortions for 3 reasons (per KS state law).
      1. The life of the mother was in danger.
      2. The fetus was not viable outside the womb
      3. The mother would be seriously physically handicapped by continuing the pregnancy

      Emotional Distress is not in the list. If you can site an article proving your assertions, I would be interested in reading it.

  • invalid-0

    Anti-choice groups swiftly condemned the murder of Dr. George Tiller, however they are as guilty as the shooter was as the killers of to many other doctors that perform health care for desperate women. These “Christan” religious terrorist should be treated the same as mauslam terrorists in Afghanistan. These radical terrorists say the killer acted alone but he was incouraged to become a terrorist at the beckening of all Anti-choice groups that spread their hate and venom in America.

    these extremists

  • invalid-0

    Words fail me.
    I don’t see the use of dialogue with antiabortionists. At bottom, they all wanted to see Dr. Tiller in prison. I cannot credit them with any sincerity at his death.