Sunday morning Dr. George Tiller -- well known for running a clinic in Kansas that performs late term abortions -- was shot and killed while at his church in Wichita. A violent act that has drawn sharp criticism from pro-choice and pro-life groups alike -- including one here in Mesa County.
Sunday night, Mesa County Right to Life held it's annual banquet and Dr. Tiller's murder was the first thing the pro-life group brought up. Speakers quickly condemned the shooting saying they don't condone or promote that kind of violence and taking that kind of action goes against what they stand for.
Flashing lights, officers, and yellow tape surrounded the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita Sunday morning, after officials say a man walked in and fired a single shot at Dr. George Tiller, killing him instantly.
Authorities say they have arrested 51-year-old Scott Roeder in connection with the shooting.
"You simply cannot retreat when you're committed," said Dr. Tiller during a 1992 interview.
Dr. Tiller was one of a few doctors in the country who performed late term abortions, or abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Although that practice has drawn heavy fire from right to life activists, they say his murder is in fact a loss to their cause.
"Life is life, even for Doctor Tiller," said Tabitha Plesek, President of Mesa County Right to Life. "We believe in life for everybody. No matter what side you're on, you're still a very important person to everybody."
"Our whole goal is to promote the value of life in society and America," said Kristi Burton, pro-life activist and founder of Colorado for Equal Rights.
Mesa County Right to Life says the fight to end abortion practices in the US should never come to these ends. Members say they plan to work towards their goal by explaining their cause in a positive light and letting people know about alternative choices to abortion.
"We're here to help out families," said Plesek.
This was not the first time Dr. Tiller had been violently attacked. In 1986, a bomb exploded on the roof of his clinic. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by an anti-abortion activist.
Sunday's shooting marks the first time in 11 years that an American abortion doctor has been murdered.
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