Following the murder of Kansas abortionist Dr. George Tiller, his family’s 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 “evil people.”
Lee Thompson and Dan Monnat, attorneys for Tiller's family, said in a statement that Women’s Health Care Services, Inc., will be “permanently closed” effective “immediately,” 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,” the family’s statement stated, saying Tiller’s legacy “will never die.”
Tiller’s funeral was held Saturday. His family said it would honor his memory through work at private charities.
Tiller’s 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 “The Leaven” last week, said he responded to Tiller’s killing by offering Mass for the repose of his soul and for the consolation of his family.
“The pro-life movement is about saving lives, not taking them,” he said. “Killing 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.”
Listing several abortionists who abandoned their practices and became part of the pro-life movement, Archbishop Naumann said abortionists are not “evil people.”
“They 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 – 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.”
The archbishop called for prayers for doctors involved in abortion and “to love them out of their abortion clinics.”
“We 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,” the archbishop said.
CNA also spoke about the closure of Tiller’s abortion clinic with Mary Kay Culp, executive director of the group Kansans for Life.
“We’re brokenhearted that [the closing] happened under these circumstances,” she said. “It 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 states’ late-term law, which Tiller was repeatedly breaking.”
She reported that the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts had had taken two of three steps necessary to remove Tiller’s medical license because of allegations he was ignoring laws restricting late-term abortions.
Culp said Kansans for Life was “horrified” by the murder of Tiller. His clinic closing under the circumstances of his murder was “horrible,” she added.
Asked about protesters at Tiller’s funeral who carried signs such as “God sent the killer,” Culp noted that the protesters were “the same old people from Topeka that you hear about at soldiers’ funerals.”
“They have never been associated with us at all. The mainstream media doesn’t even associate them with us because they know the difference.”
She compared pro-lifers’ peaceful actions against Tiller to a “really tough race” against a cheating competitor.
“It’s really hard to be happy about ‘winning’ when you could have won for a legitimate reason,” Culp told CNA.
“We hadn’t given up on the system, as challenging as that system is. It was paying off, and then this happened.”