- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 31, 2009

UPDATED:

Local authorities in Wichita, Kan., arrested a man Sunday afternoon in the slaying of Dr. George Tiller, a nationally prominent abortion provider who was shot at his church a few hours earlier.

Officers with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man during a car stop between 1:15 and 1:30 p.m., and are holding him, an FBI spokeswoman said.

Dr. Tiller, 67, was slain at Reformation Lutheran Church before noon Sunday. He had been previously shot in both arms and his clinic was bombed in 1985.

Dr. Tiller was one of a small number of doctors to perform abortions during a woman’s third-trimester of pregnancy, was a frequent target of protesters, and had long-standing ties with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Senators vetting Mrs. Sebelius earlier this year questioned her ties to Dr. Tiller, who had donated money to her campaigns and had attended a reception with her at the Kansas governor’s mansion when Mrs. Sebelius held that post. Pro-lifers criticizing the Sebelius nomination frequently made use of her ties to Dr. Tiller.

Pro-life groups quickly condemned the shooting, conveying their condolences to the Tiller family.

“National Right to Life extends its sympathies to Dr. Tiller’s family over this loss of life,” David N. O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee, said in a statement. “Further, the National Right to Life Committee unequivocally condemns any such acts of violence regardless of motivation. The pro-life movement works to protect the right to life and increase respect for human life. The unlawful use of violence is directly contrary to that goal.”

Pro-choice groups condemned the shooting Sunday as well.

“The entire Planned Parenthood family is deeply saddened by the murder of Dr. George Tiller,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “While he was not a Planned Parenthood provider, he was an integral part of our community and his loss is felt by all of us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and those close to him who are suffering a personal tragedy.”

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