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Lawyer for Slain Abortion Doc Says He Never Showed Fear

Posted Jun 1, 2009 6:39 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A lawyer who represented slain abortion provider George Tiller said his client usually wore a bulletproof vest and drove a custom-made bulletproof SUV, but outwardly he appeared confident.

"I never detected fear in him,'' lawyer Dan Monnat told Inside Politics Daily. "He knew what he was doing was morally right, and right under the Constitution.''

Tiller was gunned down Sunday at his church in Wichita, Kan., while working as an usher passing out bulletins for the service, the New York Times reports. At the time, his wife was singing in the choir at the Reformation Lutheran Church where the shooting occurred. A man identified as a possible suspect, Scott Roeder, has previously supported the view that killing can be justified to protect unborn children, according to the Washington Post. Police took Roeder into custody after witnesses described a vehicle like the one he drove.

Tiller was one of only a few doctors who performed late-term abortions in the country. In March, he was acquitted of charges that he violated a law requiring two separate opinions before performing late-term abortions, Time reports. He also fought two grand juries convened under an 1887 law that permits state citizens to call a grand jury by gathering enough petition signatures. His clinic has been bombed and he was shot in both arms in 1993.

Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline had led the prosecution against Tiller. He issued a statement denouncing the murder, Politico reports. "I am stunned by this lawless and violent act which must be condemned and should be met with the full force of law. We join in lifting prayer that God's grace and presence rest with Dr. Tiller's family and friends," he said in the statement.

Monnat called the slaying “really, really tragic'' in the interview with Inside Politics Daily. "Despite the fact that his clinic had been bombed and despite the fact that he'd been shot before, and put on trial, ... he was always willing to get back up the next morning and serve his patients, who were his first concern. ... There was only one other clinic in the country doing this; all the rest have been scared away by protesters and terrorists.''

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