.- Following the murder of Kansas abortionist Dr. George Tiller, his familyâs attorneys have announced that his clinic will permanently close. Meanwhile, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City has urged pro-lifers to defend the unborn by praying for the conversion of abortionists and by realizing that they are not âevil people.â
Lee Thompson and Dan Monnat, attorneys for Tiller's family, said in a statement that Womenâs Health Care Services, Inc., will be âpermanently closedâ effective âimmediately,â Fox News reports.
An extremist opponent of abortion murdered Tiller at his Lutheran church on May 31. The crime was swiftly denounced by pro-life leaders.
"We are proud of the service and courage shown by our husband and father and know that women's health care needs have been met because of his dedication and service,â the familyâs statement stated, saying Tillerâs legacy âwill never die.â
Tillerâs funeral was held Saturday. His family said it would honor his memory through work at private charities.
Tillerâs accused murderer Scott Roeder, a 51-year-old with ties to anti-government groups, has been charged with first-degree murder.
Archbishop of Kansas City Joseph Naumann, writing in his column in âThe Leavenâ last week, said he responded to Tillerâs killing by offering Mass for the repose of his soul and for the consolation of his family.
âThe pro-life movement is about saving lives, not taking them,â he said. âKilling those who perform abortions builds up the culture of death, because it embraces its premise that we solve problems by destroying human life rather than honoring the truth that every human being is made in the image of God.â
Listing several abortionists who abandoned their practices and became part of the pro-life movement, Archbishop Naumann said abortionists are not âevil people.â
âThey are men and women made in the image of God and deemed by Jesus to be of such worth that he gave his life on Calvary for them. They are men and women who are engaged in a very evil activity â destroying an innocent human life, but often for what, in their misguided minds, they believe to be noble reasons. I believe this was true of Dr. George Tiller.â
The archbishop called for prayers for doctors involved in abortion and âto love them out of their abortion clinics.â
âWe need to continue to speak the truth about abortion, but always with love. Those who perform abortions and those who procure abortions are not our enemies. We must recognize in them the same God-given dignity that inspires us to be so passionate in protecting the lives of unborn children,â the archbishop said.
CNA also spoke about the closure of Tillerâs abortion clinic with Mary Kay Culp, executive director of the group Kansans for Life.
âWeâre brokenhearted that [the closing] happened under these circumstances,â she said. âIt was about to happen anyway as a result of pro-lifers working through the system methodically and responsibly for about five years now in our efforts to enforce the statesâ late-term law, which Tiller was repeatedly breaking.â
She reported that the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts had had taken two of three steps necessary to remove Tillerâs medical license because of allegations he was ignoring laws restricting late-term abortions.
Culp said Kansans for Life was âhorrifiedâ by the murder of Tiller. His clinic closing under the circumstances of his murder was âhorrible,â she added.
Asked about protesters at Tillerâs funeral who carried signs such as âGod sent the killer,â Culp noted that the protesters were âthe same old people from Topeka that you hear about at soldiersâ funerals.â
âThey have never been associated with us at all. The mainstream media doesnât even associate them with us because they know the difference.â
She compared pro-lifersâ peaceful actions against Tiller to a âreally tough raceâ against a cheating competitor.
âItâs really hard to be happy about âwinningâ when you could have won for a legitimate reason,â Culp told CNA.
âWe hadnât given up on the system, as challenging as that system is. It was paying off, and then this happened.â